Sea level rise puts St Augustine at risk

St Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver told Historic City News that the sea is reclaiming much of the Florida coastline and St. Augustine is one of the most vulnerable cities. She says this is something that can’t be ignored.

During the first week of October, Hurricane Matthew delivered storm surge reaching all the way to US-1. But even without severe weather, flooding is a real concern for residents in low-lying St. Augustine.

“We know there is an increase in sea level rise that puts some of our facilities and our people at risk,” Shaver said, referring specifically to the city’s sewage treatment plant. “Rising seas could mean people won’t be able to flush their toilets. We have a gravity sewer system and one thing that is absolutely true is it does not run up hill.”

Mayor Shaver says that the city needs to figure out a way to move that plant or change it.

Last Thursday, the mayor was invited to speak at the U.S. Green Building Council’s “2040 Talks” where she laid out the case in favor of planning now before it’s too late. Using a NOAA model showing a 3-foot sea level increase by the year 2060, Shaver presented a slide that showed Davis Shores underwater.

Right now, the city is undergoing a vulnerability study to better pinpoint the weak spots. It is expected to be finished in the next couple of weeks.

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