Sea Level Rise Adaptation in the Florida Keys:

Conserving Terrestrial and Intertidal Natural Areas and Native Species


May 10th – 12th, 2011

Hawks Cay Resort, Duck Key, Florida Keys 


The Florida Keys archipelago is a unique part of the natural heritage of the United States.  The islands support some of the northernmost occurrences of natural communities dominated by tropical plant species indigenous to the West Indies, including three globally imperiled habitats: pine rockland, tropical hardwood hammock, and mangrove forest.  More than two-thirds (about 57,000 acres) of natural habitats in the Florida Keys are managed for conservation by federal, state, county, and municipal governments and private organizations.  These areas provide habitat for more than 30 federally threatened and endangered species and other rare endemics, many of which are found nowhere else in the world.  Notable species include; Key Largo woodrat, Key Largo cotton mouse, American crocodile, Key deer, Lower Keys marsh rabbit, Key tree cactus, and Miami blue butterfly.  Low-island ecosystems such as the Florida Keys will face substantial impacts from climate change, particularly from sea level rise and storms.  The loss and/or transformation of habitats could substantially alter the distribution and abundance of already imperiled species. 


Meeting Purpose:

Engage Florida Keys terrestrial natural area and native species managers, regulators, and the scientific community in information sharing and facilitated discussion leading to initiation of integrated research and monitoring activities and adaptive management strategies for minimizing the consequences of sea level rise (SLR). 



* Share information about past, current and future research, monitoring and management efforts focused on SLR in the Florida Keys

* Lay the foundation for a prioritized Florida Keys SLR research agenda and long-term monitoring network

* Begin to identify best management practices for adapting to SLR in the Florida Keys and similar ecosystems

* Compile existing information and begin prioritizing research, monitoring and management needs for a synthesis report

Workshop Sponsors and Organizing Committee:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – Gulf Coast Coastal Services Center, The Nature Conservancy, and Impactofsealevelrise.org.




Tuesday, May 10, 2011


9:00 am    Welcome: Workshop Objectives and Introductions

9:30 am    Keynote Panel: Introduction to Climate Change & Sea Level Rise

·         Nancy Gassman, Broward County – Climate change overview

·         Reed Noss, University of Central Florida – Impacts of climate change and sea level rise in peninsular Florida - Can we adapt?

·         Mike Ross, Florida International University – Sea level rise impacts in the Florida Keys

10:30 am Break

10:45 am Managers’ Panel: Agency Management Approaches and Issues

·         Pallab Mozumder, Florida International University – Survey results of Florida Keys managers’ perceptions about climate change

·         Robert Ford - U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

·         David Hallac - National Park Service

·         Ed Barham - Naval Air Station Key West

·         Doug Parsons - Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission

·         Jay Obeysekera - South Florida Water Management District

·         Roman Gastesi - Monroe County

·         Heidi Stiller  - NOAA Regional Climate Services

12:30 pm Fieldtrip Logistics (pick up your bag lunch)

12:45 pm Depart for Fieldtrip to Middle and Lower Keys Natural Areas.  Field Trip guide

6:30 pm   Cookout Dinner at National Key Deer Refuge Headquarters (Big Pine Key)

8:00 pm   Depart for Hawks Cay



Wednesday, May 11, 2011


8:00 am   Coffee

8:30 am   Welcome: Review of Agenda for Day 2

8:40 am   Presentations: Natural Communities, SLR Impacts, and Management Interventions

·         Chuck Getter, Consultant - Mangroves & lagoonal ponds

·         Mark Hester, University of Louisiana-Lafayette - Coastal wetlands

·         Jim Snyder, U.S. Geological Survey - Pine rocklands

·         Keith Bradley, Institute for Regional Conservation - Rare plants

10:00 am Break

10:15 am   Presentations: Natural Communities, SLR Impacts, and Management Interventions continued

·         Mike Wightman, Geoview Inc. - Freshwater lenses

·         Danielle Ogurcak, Florida International University - Plant community boundary dynamics

·         Chris Bergh, The Nature Conservancy – Visualization of sea level rise and storm surges in the Florida Keys


11:15 am Panel Discussion/Q&As

12:00 pm Lunch (provided)

1:00 pm   Presentations: Species, SLR impacts, and Management Interventions

·         Ken Meyer, Avian Research & Conservation Institute – Birds

·         Phillip Hughes, USFWS - Lower Keys marsh rabbit & silver rice rat

·         Nova Silvy, Texas A&M University - Key deer

·         Dan Greene, FFWCC - Key Largo woodrat & Key Largo  cottonmouse

2:20 pm   Panel Discussion/Q&As

2:45 pm   Presentations: Species, SLR Impacts, and Management Interventions continued

·         Joyce Maschinski, Fairchild Garden - Key tree cactus

·         Marc Minno, St. Johns Water Management District – Butterflies

·         Larry Hribar, Florida Keys Mosquito Control – Mosquitoes

·         Juan Carlos Vargas-Moreno, MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning – Climate change scenarios: vulnerabilities and impacts of  conservation in the Florida Keys

3:45 pm   Panel Discussion/Q&As

4:45 pm   Wrap Up Day 2, Logistics for Evening Session

5:00 pm   Dinner at Hawks Cay Restaurants (on your own)

6:00 pm   Evening Public Session: Dessert Reception, Poster Session, Workshop Synthesis, Q&A with Speakers and Audience, and Open Discussion -

·         Heidi Stiller, NOAA Regional Climate Services

·         Anne Morkill, USFWS

·         Chris Bergh, The Nature Conservancy

Submitted posters & abstracts

9:00 pm   Adjourn



Thursday, May 12, 2011


8:00 am   Welcome: Review of Agenda for Day 3

8:15 am   Breakout Groups: Identifying and Prioritizing Best Management Practices for Resilience and Adaptation, and Communication & Education Needs

9:15 am   Groups Report Out

9:45 am   Break

10:00 am Breakout Groups: Identifying and Prioritizing Research and Monitoring Needs, and Communication & Education Methods

11:15 am Groups Report Out

11:45 am Full Group Discussion: Ex-situ Conservation Strategies

12:15 pm Next Steps and Closing Remarks

12:30 pm Adjourn


This site was last updated 10/10/12