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Want To Learn More About How The Keys Plan To Adapt To Rising Seas? Here's Your Chance

David Goodhue
Miami Herald
The Key Largo neighborhood of Stillwright Point has seen sustained tidal flooding in recent years.

How the Florida Keys will respond and adapt to rising seas is a crucial — and likely very costly — proposition and, next week, Keys residents will have a chance to learn more and weigh in on the county's local adaptation plans.

At 10 a.m. Monday, the Monroe County commission is holding a special meeting to discuss sea level rise projections for the Keys and the county's plan to elevate some local roads. That meeting will be held at the Marathon Government Center and the public can participate in person or via Zoom. The meeting will also be shown on the county's website and TV streams.

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The county is planning for seas to rise 17 inches by 2040 and raising half the county's roads is estimated to cost $1.8 billion.

The agenda includes presentations from the deputy director of NOAA's Climate Program Office and a NOAA oceanographer about climate change and sea level rise projections. The public will have two opportunities to comment during the meeting and commissioners are scheduled to vote on whether they want to continue using the current sea level rise projections, and whether to stick with the county's plan for elevating local roads.

There will be three more meetings through the week, these focused on informing the public about the county's options to create "adaptation action areas." That's part of a state program that allows local governments to identify specific areas for climate adaptation — and to target funding for them.

Those meetings are all virtual on Zoom and will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and at 2 p.m. Thursday.

Adaptation plans for the Keys also call for elevating nearly 5,000 homes, expected to cost more than $2 billion. To help homeowners learn more about that process, the nonprofit group Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe is holding virtual workshops with local officials from throughout the Keys.

You can sign up for the workshops at the FIRM events page. The workshops will be recorded and available for online viewing afterwards.

Here's the lineup for the week:

  • Marathon City Manager George Garrett and Planning Director Brian Shea, 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 22
  • Key Colony Beach City Manager Dave Turner, 1 p.m. Tuesday, June 22
  • Layton Floodplain and Building Code Administrator Tom Bray, noon Wednesday, June 23
  • Monroe County Assistant County Administrator Christine Hurley, 6 p.m. Thursday, June 24
  • Key West Sustainability Coordinator Alison Higgins, 11 a.m. Saturday, June 26.
Nancy Klingener was WLRN's Florida Keys reporter until July 2022.
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