Satellite Beach prepares for possible sea level rise of 3 feet

City moving fire station, public works, changing construction codes ahead of 2070

How Satellite Beach is preparing for rising sea levels
How Satellite Beach is preparing for rising sea levels

SATELLITE BEACH, Fla. – Take in the surf and beautiful coastline of Satellite Beach, and one can see why City Manager Courtney Barker has lived there since she was a child.

"It's paradise," she said. "We have a beautiful beach, we have beautiful rivers, it's just a special place."

Barker said this special place faces a threat, though: rising sea levels.

"It's my job to make sure that we take care of potential problems," she said. "I mean, that's my job."

Prompted by some concerned residents, Barker said the city has conducted at least three studies during the past 10 years.

The latest produced a map, which showed the biggest threat was not on the Atlantic side of the barrier island in Brevard County, but on the Banana River side.

This inundation map is part of a study commissioned by the City of Satellite Beach, which shows a possible sea level rise of three feet by 2070 along the Banana River. (WKMG)

"This is the area that we know will be flooded in the future," she said.

She said studies showed by the year 2070, residents who lived along that coastline could see a water rise of more than three feet -- an event which she said could affect the city's infrastructure.

Barker said the City of Satellite Beach was in the planning stages to move the fire and public works departments to higher ground.

She said crews also started the process of replacing the storm drain systems in the city with larger pipes, which was funded by higher fees.

Satellite Beach City Manager Courtney Barker (WKMG)

The city council also voted to allow homes to be elevated off the ground to prevent flooding.

"We have been blessed with not having a crisis," said John Fergus, who has supported the city's efforts over the years to be prepared for a possible flooding event.

"I don't know what to think about global climate change," said Satellite Beach resident Scott Hoffman.

“If we do all of this planning, and nothing comes of it, we maybe wasted $100,000,” Barker said. “But if we don’t do this planning, and it comes around, then we’re wasting millions of dollars.”

Dollars that Barker said make sense.

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