Letter: County needs to prepare for seawater rise
The July 25 article in the Gazette Journal and the comments made during the July 2 Gloucester County Board of Supervisors’ meeting (which can be viewed on the county webpage) regarding seawater rise in Gloucester prompts me to provide the following opinion:
Gloucester County is extremely fortunate to have the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences (VIMS) located here because it is a leading research institute in the nation, if not the world, on marine topics and easily accessible to Gloucester residents. The VIMS website is a treasure chest of research information on the subject of seawater rise in the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean and I would encourage residents and Gloucester supervisors to access the data there to develop their own opinion as to whether seawater rise in the county is a policy issue that should be addressed for future action.
I found the summary of the focus group findings on seawater rise in Gloucester County, presented by Ms. Tanya Denkia-Cobb at the July 2 supervisors’ meeting, to be balanced and a fair representation of the likes and dislikes of the individuals in attendance at the focus group meeting. The focus group also agreed on several potential policy recommendations to mitigate future seawater rise in the county.
Of particular interest to me was the VIMS slide she presented to the supervisors depicting the historical sea level measurements at Sewells Point, Virginia, which showed that from 1900 to 2000 the mean sea level rose 1.5 feet at Sewells Point. This means to me that a hurricane or nor’easter hitting my shoreline with the same direction, velocity and tidal conditions in the year 2000 would deposit 18 more inches of water depth, on top of the storm surge, on my property than it would have in 1900!
Most individuals maintain a savings account for retirement or sending their children to college in the future so as to be prepared for those events when they occur. Similarly, I propose that the current and future supervisors review county policies with regard to seawater rise so that the county can be prepared for a further increase in mean sea level in the future which the data seems to indicate will occur.