What are Land and Water Systems?
Natural land and water systems are ever changing due to biophysical forces of the planet. Human population growth, urban development, industry, and agriculture have altered many of these natural land and water systems with little regard for ecosystem wellbeing. Land and water systems encompass all terrestrial and aquatic environments around and within a city that must interact and deal with human intervention and stressors. These systems are highly interconnected, with a change in one having the potential to greatly affect the others. The City of Satellite Beach is highly dependent on its surrounding land and water systems, with both directly influencing the health of the City’s social, economic, and environmental capitals.
This category considers the actions necessary to maintain and preserve the land and water systems of the City of Satellite Beach, all the while helping to sustain local natural resources and keep the local economic and social systems strong. Higher priority was placed on specific indicators within this category and their GAT derivatives because of the City’s location on a barrier island, with extensive shoreline along the Indian River Lagoon.
Land and Water Systems includes the principles of:
1. Promoting the use of green infrastructure by the public and private sectors
2. Using low impact landscaping and native beach gardens
3. Creating more opportunity for regional stormwater management, swale systems, and clean drainage systems
4. Identifying how municipal resource consumption of energy, water, gas, trash, and sewer can be reduced, re-used, and recycled
5. Identifying ways to instill and educate the community on waste reduction and recycling and eliminating harmful elements such as plastics, balloons, and non-bio-degradable materials from the environment
6. Identifying ways to create shoreline protection areas
7. Creating ways to reduce harmful pollutants and waste
Land and Water System Stressors:
Many daunting environmental issues pose significant short and long-term challenges to the future health and sustainability of many land and water systems surrounding the City of Satellite Beach. Natural systems are highly interconnected not only to themselves but also to human endeavors. If a natural system is degraded outside of the City limits, it can negatively affect systems within. The City’s marine habitats within the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean, as well as terrestrial habitats, are vulnerable to human activity. Mangrove communities and other aquatic species are expected to be challenged by impacts from sea level rise but also changes in lagoon and beach sedimentation, amplified tidal impacts, and increasing aquatic and terrestrial resources usage. Threats to land and water systems in the City are important to take note of as smart infrastructure decisions can improve city resilience to tropical cyclones, coastal flooding, and introduction of pollutants to the system.
Over the short-term local land and water systems must contend with stormwater runoff that is polluted with fertilizers, lawn clippings, sediments, and litter that is not biodegradable. Once introduced into the environment, these contaminants can feed algae blooms, choke out native species, and hurt local wildlife as well as affect other cities’ natural ecosystems. Areas with ecological sensitivity, such as Samson’s Island and various beaches that contribute heavily to local land and water system well-being, must be adaptively managed for multiple human impacts for long-term system resilience.
Long-term issues of decreasing local aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem habitats and their associated species are expected in both the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean and across the island as development increases. As sea levels rise, ecosystems on both sides of the island could face inundation. Increasing ocean temperatures and ocean acidification are also expected to induce macro-scale changes in the makeup and natural efficiency of marine ecosystems. When used in Satellite Beach, runoff can transport chemicals to the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean. These chemicals can be toxic to wildlife and humans. The City, through Green Achievement Target #19, will attempt to inventory what chemicals are being used for lawn and agricultural care, and accurately estimate the concentration at which these chemicals are being discharged in both land and water systems.
What is Satellite Beach doing?
Since the adoption of the City's Sustainability Action Plan, numerous projects, policies, and initiatives have been researched, are under development, or have been completed in order to help the City's surrounding land and water systems. What follows is a list of initiatives and projects currently being undertaken by the City in order to optimize and build resiliency throughout its land and water systems. If a bullet point contains a star (*) next to it this means the initiative or project is directly related to fulfilling a Green Achievement Target. Check out the other links below as well to find out more and see what other sustainability-based endeavors there are for you to explore!