Chalk And Rising Seas Combine In Delray Beach

Apr 27, 2015

Volunteers begin to draw the chalk line along Frog Alley in Delray Beach.
Credit Lisann Ramos

If you took a stroll through Delray Beach this weekend, you may have noticed a white chalk line on certain sidewalks and roads.

Along three neighborhoods in Delray Beach a group of volunteers pushed a field marker to release three lines of chalk. Each line spans three miles.

The chalk was drawn on the line where scientists project floodwaters will reach in the next major storm. In Delray Beach that’s four feet above sea level.

This is part of the High Water Line project.  The project was intended to use art as a way to showcase science. The first high water line was drawn in New York in 2007, and the project then migrated to Miami in 2013.

This is the first year that a line was drawn in Delray Beach.

Barbara Eriv is the Delray Beach High Water Line project coordinator. She regularly attends conferences and lectures on climate change but finds that this project is the best way to reach out to those affected by sea-level rise.

“This is really working with the community. It’s so much more real in a way," said Eriv. "It’s visceral. You’re working with people that are being impacted today, and we know that it’s only going to get worse in the future.”

Two of the lines were drawn along the coast. The third one was drawn a few miles inland in a neighborhood called Frog Alley.

Ivan Bain has lived in Frog Alley his entire life. He says that the drains back up after storms.

“They all back up. I mean since I was a little tadpole, I’m a full-grown bullfrog now. That’s why they call it frog alley,” said Bain. “Even with the new drains that they have in, it’s inadequate. It doesn’t work."

Eriv says Delray Beach is being proactive by adding detention ponds in areas with high flooding.