More frequent and intense tropical storms have far-reaching ecological impacts on coastlines that last for months or years after storms pass. They affect estuaries, bays and marshes that are crucial nurseries for major ocean fisheries.
Coastal Flooding Is Erasing Billions in Property Value as Sea Level Rises. That’s Bad News for Cities. High-tide flooding is eating away at the coastal property tax base just when communities need it most to adapt to climate change and repair the damage.
Here is a second article on the same topic. $16B and Counting: The Climate Change List No One Wants to Be On. It ranks cities in terms of climate change and housing values. Includes an interesting chart.
To protect itself from a devastating flood, Boston was considering building a massive sea wall, cutting north to south through nearly 4 miles of Boston Harbor, taking $11 billion and at least 30 years to build. But a new plan unveiled in October represents a 180-degree turn: Instead of fighting to keep the water out, the city is letting it come in.
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, a Democrat, announced the city would be scrapping the idea of a sea wall in favor of, among other things, a system of waterfront parks and elevation of some flood-prone areas. The city will add 67 new acres of green space along the water and restore 122 tidal acres.
Hurricane Florence’s floods caused severe property damage. Here’s a solution.
It’s time to talk about managed retreat from the coasts.
From HSNewswire: Flood risk denial in U.S. coastal communities
Rising sea levels have worsened the destruction that routine tidal flooding causes in the nation’s coastal communities. On the U.S. mainland, communities in Louisiana, Florida and Maryland are most at risk. Stemming the loss of life and property is a complex problem. Elected officials can enact policies to try to lessen the damage of future flooding. Engineers can retrofit vulnerable buildings. But, in the face of a rising tide, changing hearts and minds might be the most formidable obstacle to decreasing the damage done by flooding.
The Wall St. Journal published an article on Jan. 28th titled: Boston Agonizes Over How to Protect Itself from Future Storms; cities that designated protections for past floods find future ones may be worse, but changes carry huge price tags.
Since you have to subscribe to the WSJ in order to read it, I cannot post the full article here. I do have a copy of the full text and would be willing to share it with a limited no. of readers who request it.
- State weighs buyouts, prohibiting new development, tax hikes
- Policy could become template for climate adaptation nationwide
Louisiana is finalizing a plan to move thousands of people from areas threatened by the rising Gulf of Mexico, effectively declaring uninhabitable a coastal area larger than Delaware.
A draft of the plan, the most aggressive response to climate-linked flooding in the U.S., calls for prohibitions on building new homes in high-risk areas, buyouts of homeowners who live there now and hikes in taxes on those who won’t leave. Commercial development would still be allowed, but developers would need to put up bonds to pay for those buildings’ eventual demolition.
The Diva has been contemplating the concept of resilience, as described in the document Disaster Resilience; A National Imperative, published by the National Academy of Sciences in 2012. Reviewing it against the present setting of disaster recovery efforts in Houston, TX, the State of FL, and all of Puerto Rico has raised many questions.
Reading this powerful article in the N.Y. Times suggests to me that it is time to review current thinking about resilience and about emergency management in general. See: Lessons From Hurricane Harvey: Houston’s Struggle Is America’s Tale. Some key excerpts:
For years, the local authorities turned a blind eye to runaway development. Thousands of homes have been built next to, and even inside, the boundaries of the two big reservoirs devised by the Army Corps of Engineers in the 1940s after devastating floods. Back then, Houston was 20 miles downstream, its population 400,000. Today, these reservoirs are smack in the middle of an urban agglomeration of six million.
Unfortunately, nature always gets the last word. Houston’s growth contributed to the misery Harvey unleashed. The very forces that pushed the city forward are threatening its way of life.
Sprawl is only part of the story. Houston is also built on an upbeat, pro-business strategy of low taxes and little government. Many Texans regard this as the key to prosperity, an antidote to Washington. It encapsulates a potent vision of an unfettered America.
After every natural calamity, American politicians make big promises. They say: We will rebuild. We will not be defeated. Never again will we be caught unprepared.
But they rarely tackle the toughest obstacles. The hard truth, scientists say, is that climate change will increasingly require moving — not just rebuilding — entire neighborhoods, reshaping cities, even abandoning coastlines.
We need a whole new structure of governance,” he insisted. “We’ve built in watersheds, paved roads and highways because we don’t have mass transit.
“Inevitably, it all catches up with us,” the judge said. “Mother Nature has a long memory.”
See also this posting dated Sept. 7th: What H. Harvey Says about Risk, Climate, and Resilience.
Coastal Cities Look to Resilience Chiefs to Combat Climate Change; Global warming has created a hot new job in U.S. coastal cities
From the Journalists Resource website, maintained by Harvard University, here is a recent roundup of research on the topics of Global warming, rising seas and coastal cities: Trends, impacts and adaptation strategies.