We Must Prepare for Rising Sea Levels

Benjamin Franklin coined the expression 200 years ago, “You should buy land because they are not making it anymore.”  Well, that may not be exactly true for the last 100 years,  as all the communities on the water have been reclaiming low-lying marsh land.  One just has to look at the the Back Bay and the waterfront in Boston; sections of Revere such as the Point of Pines or Oak Island or lower Revere Street that are all below sea level; or areas along Bennington Street in East Boston that are reclaimed marsh land.

What brings this to mind is the recent discussion that took place in Boston about rising sea levels.  There seems little doubt that the “if” of disastrous flooding and the loss of billions of dollars in property damage and above all, the loss of human life, from Superstorm Sandy that occurred last year has become a matter of “when” for our neighborhoods.

In Boston, the Boston Redevelopment Authority seems poised to approve billions of dollars in new construction for housing and office spaces in these very areas of East Boston and Boston that would be devastated by rising sea levels coupled with a hurricane like Sandy.  In Revere, new construction is being proposed along the beach that would be easily flooded with a tidal surge from a storm.

Revere Ward 5 Councillor John Powers has been leading the charge and has secured more than $3M in flood improvements for residents in these Revere neighborhoods.  For the normal storms, these improvements have stopped the flooding that was commonplace.  However, all bets are off with a major hurricane.

After viewing the damage in New York and New Jersey on the Weather Channel special this weekend, we urge our city officials to make sure that these new buildings are using the most up-to-date technology and water safety measures to prevent the sort of disaster that happened last fall along the coastline just a short distance to our south.

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