Special Report: Sea Level Rise and Florida
Impact: Building and Infrastructure
Hot Spot: Monroe County
Monroe County, home to the Florida Keys, is one of the most vulnerable regions in the country to sea level rise and has the most long-term historical data.
The county is approaching building projects and ongoing maintenance work with sea level rise in mind. When it decided to build a $4-million fire station on Stock Island, just north of Key West, the facility was designed to be 1½ feet higher than code required. The fire station, set to open in December, will be 10 feet above sea level and five to six feet above surrounding ground.
Monroe County Sustainability program manager Rhonda Haag says the county didn't want to waste "taxpayer dollars on something that is going to be under water." Adding the extra foot-and-a-half only cost $10,000 extra, she says.
"We're not a whole lot above sea level as it is," Haag says. "We're already seeing the effects of it, with roads that flood more than they used to."