Coastal cities nationwide may benefit from Superstorm Sandy.
Tue, 20 Aug 2013 02:50:43 GMT —
The Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, a group assigned to develop a strategy for areas damaged by the storm, issued a report Monday listing 69 recommendations for coastal cities nationwide.
Its main goal is for communities to be prepared for future storms like Sandy in an age of climate change and rising sea levels.
"We have an enormous amount of infrastructure and our economy in these areas. So it's not a new issue, but certainly events like Superstorm Sandy in particular really bring them into focus about just how severe and just how vulnerable our resources are," Dr. Paul Gayes, Director of the Coastal Carolina University Burrough's and Chapin Center for Marine Studies said.
Among the recommendations, it says coastal communities should develop a more advanced electrical grid less likely to fail in a crisis.
It also suggested the use of natural barriers, like wetlands and sand dunes, to protect infrastructure along the coast.
"It's fair to say that we're going to have to address these in one way or the other chronically or episodically. The world changes. Most of our infrastructure is built to be static and not change, so this is the nature of the problem. It's not going to go away," Dr. Gayes said.
Dr. Gayes said the Grand Strand has already been trying to implement some of these recommendations for years, but money and politics have often gotten in the way.
"The state as a whole had a Beach Front Management Act that initially started out with the idea of rolling jurisdiction back away from a moving shoreline. That became very painful to try and actually implement. So a good idea was challenged by how do you actually make it happen in the real world because there's enormous expenses with that," Geyes said.
But he said it's either pays now, or pays later.
"We can plan and pay for things on the front end with the potential that it may be many years before an event actually comes in and potential effect on the bottom line that might have, or we wait and see the event and respond after the fact," Geyes said.
Gayes said there are some simpler protections we've already adopted along the coast like building homes near water on stilts to keep them away from the surge.