Location: Mexico Beach, Florida | Client: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Project Date: August 2019 – July 2020
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The City of Mexico Beach was at the epicenter of Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 hurricane, that devastated the 1.83 square mile community on October 10, 2018. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Mexico Beach was ‘wiped out’ by the hurricane and over 80% of the building structures suffered extensive damage. In the wake of the devastation, the state of Florida sought ways to identify community recovery needs that go beyond traditional FEMA assistance including stormwater infrastructure, recreational facilities, economic diversification and community resiliency to future storm events.
Working with FEMA’s Interagency Recovery Coordination (IRC) field operations team, Skeo supported the City of Mexico Beach to develop a stormwater management strategy that integrates green infrastructure and a greenspace network across the City. The vision supports recovery efforts and provides for the City’s long-term resilience to flooding and storm surge events while identifying opportunities to leverage resources to address the City’s priorities. Skeo developed design strategies for specific projects throughout the City and facilitated a three-day design workshop that included focused stakeholder group meetings, public open houses and strategic planning with project partners. Skeo convened federal, state and local agencies to develop an implementation framework and action plan based on the various tools, resources and assistance available.
The outcome of the final report is a green infrastructure system design and action plan for moving forward. This project builds off EPA’s Greening America’s Communities program and resulted in a model for other communities to integrate resiliency and green stormwater infrastructure into recovery efforts. Integrating sustainability into the long-term recovery effort provides a unique opportunity for collaboration across state and federal agencies that can address the critical needs of communities. In addition, existing funding resources and technical assistance can be more effectively and efficiently directed toward specific community needs. This process provided the City with added capacity to identify broader issues in their recovery effort that will support a more resilient community for the future.
The final report was produced in support of and through funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.