Coastal Relocation Part 2 – Long Point Floaters

Everyone thinks the Pilgrims landed at what is now Plymouth, MA. But the truth is the Mayflower found Provincetown, MA first and stayed five weeks before sailing over to the famous rock. Nonetheless, a community was eventually formed in and around Provincetown (hey the cod-fishing was good!) and by the mid nineteenth century homes spread out as far as Long Point, the arcing sandbar that curls back in on itself at the very tip of Cape Cod. But by then they noticed that this sand bar was not the most stable place for things like houses.

180px-Ptown_Floater_Plaque Thirty houses in Provincetown today bear this symbol and they are known as the Long Point Floaters. They were floated across the harbor from Long Point to P-town in the 1850’s and 1860’s. Perhaps these wise people saw their fate and decided to move off the sand bar and onto the relative safety of the main town (slightly higher elevation on a bigger sandbar.)  Whatever the reason, they relocated and passed their homes down and their history with them. Nice ending,

 

Coastal Relocation Part 1

We offer a series of posts about planned coastal relocation. Many people think retreat is a bad word that should not even be considered, that we always need to rebuild. We offer a different point of view that not only is it something we need to be doing in the face of increased sea level rise, but it is something we already have been doing for decades. There has been building AND retreating from the coast for centuries. It’s just that we’ve been on a tear for building in the last few decades.

So Exhibit 1 is Sea Haven, NJ. What’s that you say? You are a lifelong resident of the NJ Shore and you have never heard of such a town? You didn’t know that Burlington County had a beach community? Well they don’t. Despite being planned and plotted out in blocks and lots, this community was never built. It would have been just south of Long Beach Island on what was known as Tucker’s Island, which was home to a lighthouse from 1848 to 1927 when it fell into the sea. Can you imagine if they tried to defend and rebuild the parts of this island lost to storms, each successive storm? The financial losses? The human suffering? Who thinks it is better that we let the sea reclaim this sandbar?

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Splinters and Sand – the Emotion of Rebuilding

We continue with Sandy anniversary themed posts because for many, the indelible memories came three weeks or so after landfall. This was the first time that volunteers were allowed into certain places to start the cleanup, that (summer) homeowners were allowed on to barrier islands, and for some when they got their electricity back; although some islands had no gas, water or power for weeks more.

Splinters and Sand is a Ledger-Live video by Brian Donohue of NJ’s Star Ledger was made three months after Sandy. It gets to the heart of why we rebuild by exploring the charm of the Jersey Shore and the spell that is casts on all of us. This is why rethinking the Jersey Shore will be hard, but we firmly believe these two ideas are not incompatible. We can love this place and have our children and grandchildren love it while we make it safer and more resilient to the sea level rise and stronger storms that we know are coming.

 

Two Years Later – One Buyout Story

On this second anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, we want to focus on a few stories where people were followed from their situations after the storm until now. This one relates to a buyout on Staten Island. That is one less property we have to worry about, one less homeowner who will need relief in the future. From Jim O’Grady on NPR http://www.npr.org/2014/10/29/359873662/after-the-waves-staten-island-homeowner-takes-sandy-buyout

We like this one for the follow-up, and that it highlights a buyout program that is working.

The $100 Billion Hurricane

Think a $100 billion hurricane can’t happen; think again. It already has. The Hurricane of 1821 has been analyzed by the re-insurance company Swiss Re. A re-insurance company insures insurance companies. They took at closer look at available information from the 1821 storm and determined that if it were to hit today, it would cause $100 billion in losses. Full report here, which they have just called, The Big One. 

Mind you folks, this is not  some meteorological fantasy; mother nature has already dished this one up for real. The reasons it would cause $100 billion in losses now are a combination of:

  • Much increased population since 1821
  • Much more development along the coast since 1821
  • Higher sea levels, approx 2 feet higher

Get the short version from a WNYC radio report here by Ilya Marritz.

Oh and when we were on the Swiss Re website, we noticed they have a whole tab devoted to Re Thinking.  Guess what most of that is about? Just sayin!

Part Two of Reuters Sea Level Rise Series

Mick Huckabee feels “blessed” to have a $3 million, 11,000 square foot beachfront vacation home in Florida. We think he is blessed to have federally subsidized flood insurance and a Florida DEP that basically looks the other way and approves every application to build houses where beaches and protective dunes really should be. That is just one of the stories in part 2 of Reuters’ series on Sea Level Rise.

Part 2 is as good as the first.  http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/waters-edge-the-crisis-of-rising-sea-levels/#article-2-against-the-tide  This is reporting at its best folks. I urge you to read the in-depth piece by Deborah J. Nelson, Ryan McNeill and Duff Wilson. 

Reuters Report on Sea Level Rise

Wallops Island, Virginia is a NASA base. The people who work there are rocket scientists, literally. But instead of moving the barrier island facility to a place it will be safe from sea level rise, they have spent $100 million on new buildings and $43 million on dredged sand to protect the island, half of which has washed away.

You have to give it to the reporters…who do excellent in-depth reporting.  This Reuters Report on Sea Level Rise is as informing as it is through. The Wallops Island tale is just one of many.  http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/waters-edge-the-crisis-of-rising-sea-levels/#article-1-insidious-invasion.  By Ryan McNeill, Deborah J. Nelson and Duff Wilson It is part of a series so look for posts on the other parts coming out soon.

Wallops_Island_-_Overview