When Superstorm Sandy battered the Atlantic coast in 2012, storm surge and floodwaters damaged two priceless national landmarks.

Rambo: “It devastated the infrastructure at Liberty and Ellis Islands. We lost our telecommunications, our electrical, water, power – all of those systems.”

That’s Mindi Rambo of the National Park Service. She says the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Museum survived, but priceless immigration records, photos, and other artifacts had to be removed for safe keeping.

It’s a situation that is likely to happen again as a result of storm surges and sea level rise. So Rambo says the National Park Service is getting ready.

They are moving the control panels for the heating and cooling systems above flood lines, and using easily replaceable parts so damaged systems can get back up and running quickly.

Rambo: “In other places, we are considering how do we build? If we build a new structure here, how are we going to make sure that it is resilient? Does that mean elevating it off of the ground? Does that mean rethinking putting something there at all?”

It’s an ongoing effort to protect these national symbols of freedom from climate change.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: Statue of Liberty (Source: National Park Service).

More Resources
National Landmarks at Risk
Will Climate Change Swamp the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island?
Climate Change Could Sink Statue of Liberty, Report Warns
Planning for the impact of sea-level rise on U.S. National Parks

Diana Madson

Diana Madson contributed regularly to Yale Climate Connections from 2014 to 2021. She enjoys exploring U.S.-based stories about unexpected and innovative solutions to climate change. In addition to her...