Subscribe to Florida Trend


August 14, 2018
Sea level rise 50-75
Sea level rise 50-75
Sea level rise 50-75
The government could adopt a policy of abandoning vulnerable areas if they're devastated by a storm rather than facilitating recovery.
Sea level rise 50-75

Save the Glades? At two feet of sea-level rise, a lot of Everglades National Park goes underwater.

Sea level rise 50-75
Florida shrinks at six-feet of sea-level rise.

Sea-level rise and Florida: 2050 - 2075

Mike Vogel | 10/26/2017

What We’ll See

  • Millennial generation Floridians, by this period in their senior years, will be living in a Florida much changed from that of their youth.
  • In Pinellas, as sea-level rise reaches three to four feet, major chunks of the barrier islands will be lost.
  • In central Florida, Lake Monroe, far inland, swells to absorb connected lakes.
  • You’ll need a kayak to get to the door of Cedar Key City Hall.
  • Kennedy Space Center and the commercial rocket industry grow increasingly isolated by rising water.
  • Fort Lauderdale indeed becomes America’s Venice, with water at residential doorsteps, U.S. 1 under water and downtown awash at three feet and gone at four. The corporate descendant of Flagler’s railroad will need to span long stretches of Broward water — imitating his ill-fated original Overseas Railroad in the Keys — to remain operational.
  • At three feet, Miami Beach is gone but for a spine close to the Atlantic. Brickell has standing water, and the Miami River widens up through central Miami-Dade. Water penetration from the former Everglades consumes western urbanized Miami-Dade.
  • In the Keys, at 24 inches of rise, nuisance floods occur 672 times per year — nearly every daily high tide.

Save the Glades?

At two feet of sea-level rise, a vast section of the southern part of the Everglades, including a lot of Everglades National Park, goes underwater. That eventuality carries the clear implication that the current project to restore the Everglades needs to be rethought with the focus on safeguarding urban south Florida and its water supply while preserving a sliver of the southernmost River of Grass. That holds even more so if the sea rises three feet by 2060, when the project is supposed to be finished.


In this period, sealevel rise will likely force substantial migration within the state — and out of it. Planners envision differing scenarios: A collective, thought-out retreat with government direction and financial assistance. Or piecemeal decisions driven by economics and repeated flood hits. Some foresee “storms of opportunity” in which a hurricane devastates a vulnerable area, prompting residents and investors to leave and government to withdraw infrastructure support.

The Heartland Prospers

The map shows the effects of six feet of sea-level rise along Florida’s coasts and rivers. Absent successful accommodation, rising seas will pressure coastal Florida and even sites well inland. Barrier-island and low-lying communities face a spiral of shrinking property values and increasing costs. A century after the great migration to Florida was set in motion by the availability of air conditioning and other societal forces, a migration away from the sea will occur. Central Florida, its heartland interior and the state’s lightly populated northern counties will see increasing economic opportunity. Union, Bradford, Columbia, Lafayette, Hamilton, Gadsden — your time is coming.


See other stories from Florida Trend's November issue.

Get Florida Trend's November magazine – print or digital. Select from these options:


Access Article Now!


Get a single DIGITAL copy of this issue



Get a single PRINT copy of this issue

plus $3 postage & handling


One year in PRINT

plus a FREE gift!


One year DIGITAL

plus a FREE gift!


One year Combo

plus a FREE gift!


If you are already a print subscriber,
to your existing subscription here!
(or call our office at 727-892-2643)

* offer valid for new subscribers only

Tags: Environment, Sea-Level Rise

Digital Access

Add digital to your current subscription, purchase a single digital issue, or start a new subscription to Florida Trend.

An overview of the features and articles in this month's issue of Florida Trend.


Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

Miami drivers now have to be on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. How did they do?
Miami drivers now have to be on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. How did they do?

Nobody crashed in Monday’s first hours of the new “wrong way” interchange in Miami. But that’s because Miami cops guided confused drivers in the manner of a first-grade teacher keeping wayward students in line on the first day of school.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

Have you encountered either the toxic algae or the red tide plaguing Florida this summer?

  • Yes, both, and it's horrible
  • Yes, the algae
  • Yes, red tide
  • No, luckily

See Results

Ballot Box