Sea level rise threatens the Florida Keys: The economic costs - Episode 2

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By Avery Van Etten

The Florida Keys are making changes as sea levels rise, and every change comes with an immense cost. For example, people are adapting to nuisance flooding by elevating the roads, which is an expensive process for the Keys government. In fact, it can cost about $10 million to elevate a mile of road two feet, and the county has over 300 miles of roads.


Water flows up through a storm drain into a Key West street. (Avery Van Etten/Medill)

Residents face the expense of elevating their homes, as well. Currently, regulations about raising homes are intended to prevent flooding from hurricane storm surges, but this will also help protect homes from the effects of sea level rise: higher storm surges and more permanent flooding in the future.


A pavilion on Big Pine Key is marked to show the height of Irma's storm surge. (Avery Van Etten/Medill)

Additionally, if sea level rise deters tourism to the Keys, every level of the economy from the government to businesses to individuals would be affected. 

In this podcast episode, hear about economic impacts of sea level rise in the Florida Keys.


Looking at the ocean away from the Southernnmost Point on Key West. (Avery Van Etten/Medill)

The previous episode covered what sea level rise looks like in the Keys. Next, in the third and final episode of this series, I talk to Keys residents about their opinions on sea level rise. You can find that episode here.

 

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