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Miami-Dade County, FL

Project: Natural Resource Planning, Miami-Dade County, FL
Client:Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Space Department
Principal Ecologist: Dr. Jay Exum created the concept for open space protection in the master plan, and led the
natural resource team in the implementation of specific projects across the County.

Local governments often mix the responsibilities and services of parks and recreation and natural lands management, and Exum Associates fits well in that niche. We have extensive experience on dozens of projects that have helped create appropriate recreational opportunities on natural lands and created plans to protect natural areas on parks primarily dedicated to active recreation. Our work for Miami-Dade County was typically led by David Barth, a close associate now with Barth Associates. Together, we have blended recreation with resource protection on dozens of master plans including the comprehensive work we did for Miami-Dade County over a number of years and series of projects.


Create a comprehensive approach to parks and open space planning for the entire County, and implement parks and natural resource plans consistent with the master plan.


  • One of the largest park systems in the US
  • Complex array of park types from extremely urban to the edges of the Everglades
  • Potentially conflicting stakeholders advocating for unencumbered use vs intense resource protection
  • Immense pressures on natural lands ranging from exotic species impacts to competition for water resources and sea level rise

Primary Accomplishments:

  • Created a Comprehensive Plan for Open Spaces across the County
  • Engaged with stakeholders and multiple agencies in south Florida to gain consensus for the Plan
  • Created a landscape pattern book that sets standards for park landscaping based on historic vegetative communities
  • Created Natural Resource Management Plans for specific parks that balance needs for recreation, cultural resource protection and natural lands management