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Big Army Corps Study Looks at Depopulating Coast

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A home in Belle Harbor, Queens, that remains damaged after Sandy at the end of February. A home in Belle Harbor, Queens, that remains damaged after Sandy at the end of February. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

A $20 million study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on how to protect the Northeast from future hurricanes is going to look at a radical idea: relocating people who live too close to the water further inland.

Joe Vietri, the director of the National Planning Center of Expertise for Coastal Storm Damage Reduction at the Army Corps, said the study would consider different approaches and was not limited to traditional engineering solutions such as sea walls. At a conference sponsored by the Union of Concerned Scientists, he said the corps will assess the costs and benefits of each approach.

If sea level is expected to rise as much as six feet over the next 100 years, Vietri said, "it becomes very possible that certain low-lying areas would have to consider retreat."

To hear the story, click the audio link above.

Editors:

Julianne Welby

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Comments [2]

Kevin from Hillsboro nj

6' rise in ocean levels? Pure govt fiction! Scam! 6'!?!?!? What a joke this country is.......

Jun. 09 2013 06:34 AM
phyllisbk from Morristown, NJ

During the 1980's, a plan was put forward in NJ to not allow the rebuilding of homes damaged by sea water, compensate homeowners, and allow the barrier islands to return to their natural state. Of course, that plan was defeated in the legislature as everyone who had property at the Jersey shore was against it.

Well, here we are, 25-30 years later and struggling to recover from Hurricane Sandy. Is it time to consider again that we really can't fight Mother Nature? Should we be spending and spending to replenish beaches and shoreline that should never have been developed in the first place and repair homes that are at risk for further damage in the not too distant future? Or should we spend the money on compensating homeowners to walk away and allow the beaches to return to their natural state? A difficult question but one that must be considered.

May. 22 2013 10:27 AM

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