New regulation makes Biloxi more resilient to storms, flooding and sea-level rise
Cities located along the Gulf of Mexico are at risk of environment, economic and societal impacts from rising sea levels and storm surges. Proactive long-term planning is essential to minimizing community damage from these climate change impacts.
Working with the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, the Mississippi city of Biloxi identified potential risks to its citizens and property from sea-level rise and storms. A climate team, made up of the city's floodplain manager, emergency manager, Community Rating System coordinator, stormwater management coordinator and Sea Grant's coastal storms outreach coordinator, developed a plan to share climate information and risks with the public and city officials to increase awareness of these risks.
Because of the climate team’s work, the City of Biloxi has 1) amended its Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance to require 1 foot of freeboard above base flood elevation for new construction, which will reduce damage to citizens and their property as a result of projected sea-level rise and increased storm surge; 2) adopted a comprehensive Stormwater Management Ordinance in an effort to minimize flooding from climate change impacts; and 3) included sea-level rise in its updated hazard mitigation plan, which the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved. As a result of these actions, Biloxi is better prepared to adapt to projected climate change impacts.
The formation of a climate team, facilitated by MASGC, for the City of Biloxi, resulted in three city actions that have reduced the risk of sea-level rise and storms to its citizens.