Adapting Coastal Communities to Sea-Level Rise: Why Isn't Anybody Doing Anything?Published: April 06, 2012
More than two years have passed since the City of Satellite Beach (Florida) accepted a report summarizing the results of a project commissioned to assess its vulnerability to sea-level rise. Commensurate with project completion, the City's Comprehensive Planning Advisory Board then approved a series of updates and revisions to its Comprehensive Plan. The Advisory Board had worked closely with the project team throughout the duration of the investigation to ensure their comprehension of the study and its results. If approved the City Council, their recommendations would provide a legal basis for implementing an adaptive management plan designed to mitigate the City's vulnerability to sea level rise.Yet to date no action has been taken. What happened? We review the results of the City's vulnerability assessment and then discuss why the City Council, like many other governing boards around the US and abroad, do not implement adaptive management strategies recommended by their own consulting experts, citizen advisory committees, or professional staff. We conclude by suggesting what could be done to overcome this 'business as usual' response.