Sea level rise threatens Atlantic coast, but building goes on

Miami HeraldNovember 2, 2009 

As early as the 1980s, scientists warned that rising seas could submerge vast portions of Florida's coast.

How have local and state governments responded? Build, baby, build.

A new study of development trends along the Atlantic Coast shows Florida has opened more vulnerable areas to construction than any other state. Three-quarters of its low-lying Atlantic coastline has already been, or will be, developed.

Despite mounting evidence of sea level rise, other states plan to follow Florida's lead -- though to lesser degrees -- eventually pushing homes, condos and other buildings onto nearly two-thirds of coastal land less than a meter above the Atlantic. By 2100, many scientists predict a rise near or beyond a meter.

The study divides the coast into rural or wild areas likely to be abandoned, and urbanized areas likely to be forced to employ ``increasingly ambitious'' and expensive engineering to preserve real estate from encroaching ocean. Think dikes, levees, pumps, stilts, more dredging to rebuild eroded beaches and mountains of fill to raise roads and structures.

Read the full story at miamiherald.com.

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