Lessons from Hurricane Irma
In 2017, storm surge from Hurricane Irma flooded Vizcaya’s formal gardens. Despite resiliency efforts made in the previous decade, including a new sea wall, new mangrove plantings as natural barriers, and other system improvements, the rising storm waters still reached our gardens.
Through the support of our local community, more than 500 volunteers came out to help clear the gardens of debris. Professional gardeners volunteered in the months that followed and worked with our staff to replant and restore Vizcaya’s gardens to their historic splendor.
Then we asked ourselves what else can we do to mitigate and “floodproof” the estate in the future? This question becomes even more critical as we face issues of climate change.
Support from the State of Florida
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens has received a $194,000 grant from the State of Florida, Division of Emergency Management’s Hurricane Loss Mitigation Program to secure a temporary floodproofing solution that will prevent damage to this National Historic Landmark.
This is the first time the state has funded such an effort through this grant program. Vizcaya earned the highest score across all applicants statewide at 99/100.
Through the project, Vizcaya will research, identify and purchase the most cost-effective temporary solution with the highest likelihood of successful flood mitigation and develop an action plan for its use including installation, removal, maintenance and storage.
Pro-active resiliency solution
Vizcaya’s mission is to preserve its cultural and environmental resources to engage people in connecting with the past, understanding the present and shaping the future. Projects like flood mitigation help ensure Vizcaya will be accessible to the public for many years to come and places Vizcaya as a leader in pro-active resiliency solutions in the face of climate change.
About the grant program
The Florida’s Division of Emergency Management created the Hurricane Loss Mitigation Program to act as a specialized mitigation program aimed at minimizing damages caused by hurricanes. The program began as an active response to the devastation brought by Hurricane Andrew, specifically to the insurance market in the State of Florida. With an annual budget of $7 million, provided by the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Trust Fund, the program is funding activities that promote resiliency through retrofits made to residential, commercial, and mobile home properties, the promotion of public education and public information, and through hurricane research activities.