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Longboat Key group pushes for sea level rise solutions

The Revitalization Task Force sent a letter to island leaders asking for an infrastructure analysis plan about what parts of the island could be impacted by sea level rise.

The Longboat Key Revitalization Task Force has called for local action on sea level rise, saying recent storms and floods portend more drastic conditions in the future.

In a letter to the Town Commission this week, Revitalization Task Force Chairman Tom Freiwald warned island leaders of the potential adverse impacts of rising sea levels, including more intense storms, higher tides and storm surges and a potential decline in property values.

“LBK needs a well thought-out master plan, combined with a timeline of action, in order to counter all the negativities that will soon cloud our reputation as a reliable long-term investment and desirable place to live,” Freiwald wrote.

Global sea level has been rising over the past century, a rate that has increased in recent decades, which the National Ocean Service at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration attributes to continued atmospheric and ocean warming.

The average annual rise in sea levels is one-eighth of an inch, according to NOAA.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration estimates that by 2100, sea levels could rise anywhere from just over half a foot to six-and-a-half feet. Most of the island would be underwater if sea levels were to rise six feet, according to NOAA projections.