Sea Level Rise
The Alabama Coastal Foundation was selected to be the engagement specialist for the "Connecting Science to Citizens Regarding Sea Level Rise Tools" grant from the Gulf of Mexico Alliance. The goal of this project is to "improve decision making
to protect local infrastructure
and human and ecological
resources affected by sea level
rise". The Project Partners (see
below) conducted focus group
discussions and workshops in
Grand Bay, Mississippi; Weeks Bay, Alabama; and Apalachicola Bay, Florida.
What is Sea Level Rise (SLR)?
Sea Level Rise is the increasing height of the world's oceans. The amount of sea level rise will vary for the different communities along the Gulf Coast.
Why is it occurring? The two major causes of global sea level rise are thermal expansion caused by the warming of the oceans (since water expands as it warms) and the loss of land-based ice (such as glaciers and polar ice caps) due to increased melting. Click here for more information.
What does this mean? If the oceans' waters reach a higher level, people will be faced with salt water reaching new areas farther inland. Coastal states such as Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and many others will become vulnerable to damage from rising waters. The consequences can be multiplied when facing natural disasters such as hurricanes and tropical storms, where water is carried onshore due to storm surge. Coastal environments such as islands, marshes, wetlands, and many others are at risk of being eroded, damaged, or completely lost from rising sea levels. Low lying coastal communities are especially sensitive and can face more frequent flooding.
Who is at risk? Everyone is at risk. Rising sea levels can impact coastal communities where people live, the natural environment and different habitats, and city infrastructure (roads, sewage treatment plants, ports, bridges, historical buildings). Natural buffers that protect and provide for the coastal towns can also be at risk from the effects of sea level rise. In addition, the economy in coastal areas is at great risk due to its dependence on fisheries and tourism.
What You Can Do
Buy flood insurance to protect your property and/or business.
Mitigate the effects by elevating your home above the required base flood elevation.
Work with nature to protect and create wetlands. Replace shoreline armoring with living shorelines to maintain vital beach and marsh habitat.
Remove debris and grass clippings from drainage areas to prevent clogging storm drains.
Work with nature to slow and filter water. Reduce erosion and stormwater runoff on your property by installing pervious landscape features that allow water to filter through them (such as gravel or porous pavers for sidewalks and patios).
Sea Level Rise Tools
To speak with local government offices regarding your area's SLR policies, please visit www.courtsystems.org
Additional Resource Links