Sea Level Rise Flooding Stroll -- Delray Beach Florida 4K & Drone Footage

  • Published on:  9/30/2019
  • Like this video? Check out my new website for the latest developments. Every Fall, South Florida, including Delray Beach, faces the horrific return of the King Tides, extra high tides that are made even more damaging by global warming-driven sea level rise. Anyone who's a global warming and sea level rise skeptic needs to come here and take a stroll in the water -- or watch me do it -- as it floods yards and threatens houses.

    I took this stroll in sea level rise-driven floodwaters in Delray Beach's historic Marina District today to show how serious the problem is growing. I also flew a drone -- DJI Mavic 2 Zoom -- over the flooding. The Marina District is especially vulnerable to sea level rise flooding but the problem stretches up and down the coast of Florida -- and even far inland.

    Solving the problem isn't as easy as you might think. Some believe sea walls are the solution, but, as you'll see in this video, even a brand new sea wall built in Delray Beach was unable to hold back the tides. I wasn't able to figure out why when I was shooting, but watching my video later, I saw that they left a gap in the seawall and put in a cleat for the boats to tie up to. With that gap and cleat in place, they might as well have skipped building the seawall. (UPDATE: The city gave WPBF-TV a statement that the opening was left in the new sea wall to accommodate the loading and unloading of the local cruise boats. The statement also said the city has ordered a special gate for the gap. I'm left wondering what took them so long? I'll be sure to document whether or not it works.)

    In addition to potential design defects, sea walls aren't effective in South Florida. When one property owner builds a sea wall, the water that used to spread across their land has to go someplace, and that's usually into neighboring properties. A battle of the sea walls is inevitable.

    Another problem is South Florida is built on porous sand and ancient coral beds that the sea water can easily travel through -- including under sea walls. As the sea water moves inland underground, it prevents fresh ground water from the Everglades from draining into the ocean. The fresh water rises up and you get inland flooding.

    This past summer, property owners in the Marina District built their own sea wall out of sandbags to try to hold back the tides, only to be ordered by the city to remove them. As a result, their properties began to flood with the arrival of the King Tides in September. The city has promised for years to build a sea wall to protect them, but they never did, and you can see the results in this video. Public officials are supposed to defend persons and property. They're really dropping the ball on this one at an enormous cost to our neighbors.

    Earlier this year, an environmental consulting firm told Delray Beach leaders that it will cost $378 million dollars to protect the city's roads and infrastructure from sea level rise flooding. Needless to say, the city, which has a $293 million annual budget, suffered instant sticker shock. While they're debating the impact of rising seas and how to deal with them, developers continue to build expensive projects within yards of the ocean and Intracoastal.

    I created this video to inform those of us impacted by sea level rise today so we can make life decisions with potential flooding factored in. (If you're buying real estate in Florida, you really need to do your homework and find out if the property is at risk -- and what the city plans to do to confront sea level rise.) I also made the video to let the kids who will pay the bill for our inaction and obscene drive for development one day how it all began. I wish them well.

    NOTE: I have written a script that could easily be used in a screenplay or stage production that illustrates the sea level rise flooding crisis in a very real and personal way. "The First Days of Atlantis" tells the story of husband and wife retirees in Florida who are forced to decide whether to hold down the fort or make a run for it when sea level rise-driven waters appear in their yard. Experience producers are encouraged to contact me. Thank you.

    Ether Oar by the Whole Other