MRD Works to Make Resilient Coastal Communities Amidst Sea Level Rise

Sea levels are increasing along the world’s shorelines. Sea level rise is caused by various global and local factors including warm, expanding oceans; melting glaciers, ice caps, and ice sheets; and geophysical factors like subsidence and tectonic forces. Rising sea levels result in many adverse impacts such as coastal inundation, erosion, and intertidal habitat losses. In the Southeastern U.S. and particularly in Florida, sea level rise impacts are expected to be profound with early warning signs being exhibited along the Gulf of Mexico and eastern Florida shorelines. Small changes in sea level rise can increase risks in the form of nuisance flooding, increased erosion of our beaches and shorelines, and greater impacts from tropical storms for our coastal communities and their inhabitants. Additionally, given Florida’s limestone and porous base, saltwater intrusion is likely to occur with sea level rise and may also threaten our freshwater systems that provide drinking water to the state’s population. With rising sea levels, coastal communities are seeing firsthand the damages from flood impacts by storms such as most recently with Hurricane Sally in parts of the Florida panhandle and Alabama.

To ensure their continued sustainability, coastal communities need to incorporate coastal resilience, mitigation, and adaptations for sea level rise to address the current and future risks. To do so, first cities, counties, and other local governments need to identify the problems and challenges that are or have the potential to impact their communities and infrastructure. Risks need to be identified to take the steps to address the problems and make coastal communities more resilient. Engineering solutions include modifications to roadways, drainage systems, and other infrastructure to defend or accommodate the rising sea levels. Defense systems may include building seawalls and barriers to keep out the water while accommodations include incorporating green infrastructure to direct and absorb the water.

At MRD, we have worked on several coastal engineering solutions to address sea level rise. Our approach includes integrating the strength of MRD’s professional expertise in coastal engineering with our teaming partners’ concentrations in civil and structural engineering, environmental and natural resource management, and other relevant areas to build more resilient coastal communities. MRD’s engineers have designed, permitted, and overseen construction for emergency berms, sea walls, revetments, and other coastal resiliency projects. We have worked closely with regulatory agencies to develop coastal solutions that are best for coastal communities, their natural resources, and the people who live here. Contact Us today for help in identifying your sea level rise and coastal resiliency challenges and risks and in working to build a more resilient coastal area in light of sea level rise.

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