Photo image of water flooding damage

As the climate changes, one city on Florida’s Atlantic coast is serious about preventing damage from the rising seas.

Winsten: “Satellite Beach kind of looked at what Miami and the Keys were dealing with with sea-level rise and said, ‘Not in my city.’”

That’s George Winsten, a research assistant in the environmental studies program at nearby Stetson University.

He says that in 2009, Satellite Beach took a hard look at the city’s roads, schools, electric grid, and water drains to learn how much damage sea-level rise could cause to its critical infrastructure.

Winsten: “So what they found was that in almost all cases, their critical infrastructure was compromised.”

So Winsten and his team are working with the city to gather more data on what changes to expect locally.

Then they’ll make recommendations that will make Satellite Beach more resilient – for example, moving storm drains or installing pumps.

Winsten hopes the process – and final recommendations – will also be useful to other coastal cities looking to adapt to sea-level rise.

Rising seas are not flooding Satellite Beach yet, but by working to tackle climate change now, the city is building a more secure future for coastal Florida.

Reporting credit: Justyna Bicz/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image graphic: Created by David McCarthy.

Bud Ward

Bud Ward was editor of Yale Climate Connections from 2007-2022. He started his environmental journalism career in 1974. He later served as assistant director of the U.S. Congress's National Commission...