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Do You Live Near The Little River? Miami-Dade Wants To Hear What You Think About Flooding

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Google Earth
A screen shot shows the Little River, which forks off the Miami River west of Hialeah and winds across Miami to Biscayne Bay.

As rising seas continue their inland march, neighborhoods up and down the Little River could be among the hardest hit in South Florida.

Chronic flooding has already led insurers to write-off some properties as repetitive losses. Low-lying septic systems regularly flood, pushing bacteria levels in the river to hover around 40% year-round. And the South Florida Water Management District, which operates massive pumps to keep water out, has found pumps would be overwhelmed — possibly as soon as this decade.

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The problems are so dire that the district deemed the area its second most vulnerable among the 16 counties it manages.

“We have infrastructure needs in that area, like the need for sewers and some septic systems that are close to the groundwater table. We have water quality issues that we see in the Little River,” said Katherine Hagemann, Miami-Dade County’s resilience adaptation manager. “But the bigger picture is the communities that are built around the river are built not very far above sea level, like many of our communities.”

Planners have long known about the problems and will host two virtual meetings, Tuesday and Thursday, for residents and property owners.

Using a $75,000 state grant, Hagemann said the county hopes to come up with an initial plan to tackle some of the problems. Specifics will be determined in part by input from the neighborhoods. The deadline for submitting the plan is April.

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Residents and property owners in coastal areas are invited to attend Thursday's virtual meeting. To register email resilience@miamidade.gov.

“This is just a microcosm of things that are happening elsewhere. It's not that these things are unique to this area by any means,” she said.

But tackling a smaller neighborhood may be more doable and provide solutions that can apply to other parts of the county.

“It's a little easier when you have a smaller area to understand and also to have more of a conversation with residents who live in these neighborhoods,” she said. “And because there's no right answer for how to adapt, there are a lot of different ways that we can adapt.”

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Residents and property owners in inland neighborhoods are invited to attend Tuesday's meeting. To register email resilience@miamidade.gov.

The county completed a similar plan for the Arch Creek neighborhood several years ago, she said.

Tuesday’s meeting will address inland neighborhoods while Thursday will be reserved for coastal residents. To register for the meetings, email resilience@miamidade.gov or call or text 786-479-8947.