Tidal records from the Mayport bar pilots dock indicate that the mean sea level has risen almost 10 inches since 1930 and that the current rate of change is about 1-inch per decade – and increasing, Atlantic Beach City Engineer Steve Swann told city commissioners on Monday.
Swann addressed future flood risk and the City’s recent vulnerability assessment at a special workshop on that topic and other environmental matters.
“Predictions by NOAA, USACE and others indicate that we need to plan for a potential increase in sea levels of about 1 foot in the next 25 years and 2.7 feet in the next 50 years,” Swann said.
Areas of Atlantic Beach already suffer from routine nuisance or “sunny day” flooding during spring tides and normal weather conditions. This problem will be exacerbated by rising sea levels and over the next 50 years we expect a much larger area of the city to be subject to nuisance flooding, Swann said.
“As sea levels rise, storm surges will encroach into the city more and our drainage system will be less effective,” Swann said.
To assess the potential problems that the city may face in the future, the City developed future flood maps for planning for 25 and 50 years in to the future. These analyses utilized FEMA methodologies to assess the likelihood of any given area of the city to be inundated during a 100-year storm event (a storm that has a 1% chance of occurring in any given year) from both storm surge and rainfall.
The results of the future flood map modeling were used to identify critical city facilities such as potable water wells and sewage lift stations, roadways, homes, and businesses that may have an increased flood risk in the future.
The City’s Environmental Stewardship Committee (ESC) has asked that the City build on the recently completed coastal vulnerability assessment results by developing a corresponding adaptation plan.
Swann said the next step the city will take will be to develop a planning document identifying methods to adapt these potentially vulnerable facilities to future conditions where there may be an increased flood risk. Adaptation may include planning for activities such as relocation, flood proofing or elevating the facility to be more resilient to future flood waters.
Also at the meeting, the City was presented a plaque in recognition of it becoming the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver-certified city in Florida. Atlantic Beach achieved the designation for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at improving sustainability and quality of life.
The City’s efforts to become LEED-certified was spearheaded by the ESC, working in conjunction with Planning and Community Development Director Shane Corbin and Planner Brian Broedell.
Also Monday, the City’s staff discussed other recent ESC recommendations with the commission, including the development of a beach litter basket program for beach walkers modeled after Palm Beach, Fla.
In partnership with Beaches Go Green, litter baskets will initially be made available at two or three beach accesses during the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, said Amanda Askew, the city’s principal planner.
If the program is successful, the program can be expanded to other Atlantic Beach beach accesses, Askew said.
The ESC also is asking that the committee have input on plants are used in public beautification efforts; and adopt a ban on certain single-use plastics and Styrofoam products.
Cutline: The Atlantic Beach City Commission was presented a plaque Monday in recognition of it becoming the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver-certified city in Florida. Atlantic Beach achieved the U.S. Green Building Council designation for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at improving sustainability and quality of life. The effort was spearheaded by the City’s Environmental Stewardship Committee (ESC). Pictured are, from left, Planning and Community Development Director Shane Corbin; ESC Chair Bruce Anderson; City Commissioner City Anderson; Sean Lahav, who worked on the LEED project as a University of North Florida graduate student intern; City Commissioner Candace Kelly; Mayor Ellen Glasser; City Commissioners Brittany Norris and Blythe Waters; and ESC members Sarah Dark, Amy Palmer, Tony Pooley and Sarah Boren.