Community Input on Adaptation Strategies

During the Spring 2013 Adaptive Design Studio, the project team met with Cedar Key and Rosewood community residents and stakeholders for workshop activities, design presentations, and interviews. Through these interactions, the project team captured local experiences and adaptation preferences. Community members in Cedar Key and Rosewood intimately know what it’s like to live and work on the coast. Many have grown up with an ever-changing coastline, and predictions of future change are no surprise, however the rates and types of changes have become a concern for the community. During discussions about maintaining community assets, many residents preferred “soft” strategies that are integrated with the natural environment, as opposed to “hard” engineering fixes such as sea walls, since preserving a healthy and beautiful landscape is critical to local economic sectors and ways of life. Innovative, integrated design of the built environment and infrastructure will be a key element of successful adaptation to sea level rise and other coastal change.


Clam farming in the Cedar Key area is a profitable industry that relies on a healthy estuarine system. The estuarine water must contain the right nutrients, salinity, and water quality for the clams to thrive.

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Project Facebook Page

The Planning for Coastal Change in Levy County project has a new Facebook page! The page operates in tandem with the main project website,, to apply one of the most powerful social media tools to share the latest project activities and upcoming events. When you visit our Facebook page, “like” it for convenient, timely updates on the project. Liking and sharing the page also promotes the project and helps us reach a wider audience.

facebook page

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Planning for Coastal Change Curriculum Brief

Dr. Kathryn Frank and graduate student Sean Reiss presented the “planning for coastal change” curriculum developed for the Cedar Key Summer Youth Program in 2012 to 25 middle and high school teachers from across Florida who were attending a symposium on climate change at the University of Florida on May 24, 2013. For the presentation, Sean and Kathryn created a handy Planning for Coastal Change Curriculum brief. The brief describes the lessons and activities for each of the six weeks of the program, as well as tips for success. The teachers praised the project for involving children and youth in the planning process, and for sharing the methods with the teachers for use in their classrooms and communities.

Summer Camp Brief

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Adaptive Design Studio Process


Over the past 16 weeks, eight graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Florida conducted an adaptive design studio course led by Dr. Joseli Macedo. The class focused on the Cedar Key-Rosewood area and identified community-based strategies to adapt to sea level rise and other coastal changes. The class followed a seven-step analysis, public input, and design process:

  1. Inventory social and geographic data about demographic, economic, infrastructure, and environmental conditions.
  2. Visit the study area and perform a visual analysis.
  3. Facilitate citizen and community leader input, i.e., public participation.
  4. Identify community strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats, i.e., SWOT analysis.
  5. Conduct case studies of other places that have implemented adaptive strategies.
  6. Analyze the interplay between the form and functions of the built environment and potential sea level rise impacts.
  7. Make recommendations for adaptive strategies using community design principles.

The students presented the results of this process to community members at the Cedar Key Arts Festival on April 13-14, and at the Cedar Key Public Library on April 24. The studio class thanks the Arts Festival and Library for the venues, and everyone who came to these events and provided valuable feedback. This feedback will continue to inform the larger project, Planning for Coastal Change in Levy County. More information about the adaptive design studio analyses and recommendations will be posted on this website over the next several weeks.

Design Studio 1

Design Studio 2

Cedar Key Arts Festival

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Adaptive Strategies Workshop


On February 27 at the Cedar Key Public Library, community leaders and interested citizens gathered for an adaptive strategies workshop led by Dr. Kathryn Frank, Dr. Joseli Macedo, graduate research assistant Sean Reiss, and the students of this semester’s coastal design studio course in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Florida. The workshop included a presentation of areas in the Cedar Key-Rosewood area that are vulnerable to sea level rise due to low elevation, and activities whereby participants noted areas of current impacts and planning priorities. Participants also formed small groups and played a game to identify preferred, consensus-based adaptation strategies for a hypothetical island community. The project team and studio class greatly appreciated the thoughtful insights and contributions of the workshop participants. This input will guide the studio class design of adaptive strategies options that will be presented to the workshop participants and the public in April. The presentations slides from the workshop are available here: Adaptive Strategies Workshop Feb 27 2013.

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Ecosystem Services and Sea Level Rise

Ecosystem services are the various benefits (goods and services) that humans receive from natural systems such as estuaries, wetlands, and forests. These services are often undervalued and taken for granted. The international Millennium Ecosystem Assessment identified four categories of ecosystem services: provisioning services such as food and water; regulating services such as flood and disease control; cultural services such as spiritual and recreational benefits; and supporting services such as nutrient cycling that maintain the conditions for life on Earth.

Sea level rise and coastal change are threatening ecosystem services such as flood mitigation, storm surge protection, and water quality treatment. For example, coastal forests help reduce the inland impacts of flooding and major storm events, but as sea level rises and the forests retreat, the capacity of the forests to buffer storms will diminish. This may result in increased flood damage to infrastructure and capital investments. The potential negative impacts of sea level rise and coastal change on ecosystem services, and consequently coastal communities, makes it critical to begin planning for future changes now.

Ecosystem Services

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Conclusion of the Civic Engagement Studio

As the fall semester comes to a close, the studio class would like to wish our professor, Gail Easley, a wonderful retirement. Gail has been an invaluable asset to the studio. Her experience, leadership, and charisma contributed greatly to the success of the studio’s public outreach. All the students have benefited from her guidance and will carry her advice with us throughout our professional careers. We wish you the best of luck in you future endeavors and thank you for a wonderful studio experience!

Information gathered from the fall studio’s public outreach will inform next semester’s Spring Studio course focused on design and adaption strategies for coastal change in Levy County. Dr. Joseli Macedo, Director of the Center for International Design & Planning, will teach this course.

The Civic Engagement Studio class with Gail Easley:



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Yankeetown Seafood Festival

The Coastal Engagement Studio had another opportunity to meet residents and visitors of Levy County at the 31st Annual Yankeetown Seafood Festival on November 17-18.  The festival hosted hundreds of tents offering food, crafts, and outreach. Our booth displayed project information, including local sea level rise projection maps, and we spoke with many people who showed a keen interest in coastal change. The booth also featured activities for children, including coastal-themed word search puzzles, writing letters to the sea, and ‘fishing’ for goldfish crackers. We greatly appreciate the Inglis-Yankeetown Lions Club for giving us the opportunity to participate in the festival. We would also like to thank everyone who stopped by and shared their thoughts with us. Citizen input is vital to this project, and it will help shape future project activities.

Yankeetown Seafood Festival

WGP Duck Race

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Presentation to Withlacoochee Gulf Area Chamber of Commerce

On November 14th, 2012, students from the UF coastal engagement studio, Doug McDuffie and Stephanie Zarkis presented past, current, and future trends of sea level rise to the Withlacoochee Gulf Area Chamber of Commerce. We would like to thank the Chamber for hosting the presentation and providing engaging conversation that will help inform the direction of the project. You can view the presentation that was given below.

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Storm Surge

Increase in average sea level rise affects certain hydrologic processes such as storm surge. Storm surge is a coastal high water level caused by wind from storms. Many of us have become familiar with the effects of storm surge from the images and videos captured after Hurricane Sandy. Rising sea level can cause damage to coastal communities in Florida because it exacerbates storm surge generated by hurricanes. Buildings and critical infrastructure along the coast will be impacted by the flooding, higher waves, and faster flows associated with storm surge. The impacts of increased storm surge will most likely occur before other effects of sea level rise are seen. Utilizing the opportunity that exists to create adaptation strategies for infrastructure is imperative to mitigate impacts and preserve the cultural and economic vitality of coastal communities.

Below is an image of Cedar Key Fire Chief Robert Robinson walking on a section of a floating dock that broke loose during a storm surge from Tropical Storm Debby in Cedar Key, Fla., on Sunday, June 24, 2012.

(Brad McClenney/The Gainesville Sun)

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