Saturday, October 05, 2019

St. Augustine mayor, former mayor to attend Washington summit on sea level rise, flooding (SAR)

I strongly support interim St. Augustine Mayor Upchurch's decision to join former Mayor Nancy Shaver at the meeting of the American Flood Coalition in Washington, D.C. later this month.

Mayor Upchuch must reject the cognitive misers in our town -- dull Republican climate change deniers, consisting of ninnies, boobies and hick hacks, like former City Manager WILLLIAM BARRY HARRISS.

Mayor Upchurch understands that the seven generation test requires bold action and strong leadership.

We must preserve and protect this magical place for future residents.

From The St, Augustine Record:

St. Augustine mayor, former mayor to attend Washington summit on sea level rise, flooding

By Sheldon Gardner
Posted Oct 3, 2019 at 5:43 PM

One of the City of St. Augustine's pump station on Coquina Avenue in Davis Shores. The city is working on repairing or replacing 13 of the city's pump stations that were damaged during Hurricane Matthew. [PETER WILLOTT/THE RECORD]▲

An aerial photograph shows St. Augustine's wastewater treatment plant at the end of Riberia Street in the city on Jan. 24. The city is seeking money to protect the plant from flooding. [CONTRIBUTED]▲
St. Augustine Mayor Tracy Upchurch and former Mayor Nancy Shaver are among those expected to attend a summit on sea level rise and flooding this month.

Upchurch said sea level rise is "an increasingly bipartisan concern" and the city and its residents are focused on the issue.

"I don't think there's any question that people's concern, appreciation and understanding about the issue has significantly increased," Upchurch said. "And, of course, part of that in our community is three hurricanes in four years."

The American Flood Coalition, a nonpartisan group of leaders from government and other sectors, will host the summit Oct. 21-22 in Washington. The coalition is focused on coming up with solutions for dealing with flooding and sea level rise.

The summit will allow mayors to share insights, hear from experts and meet with members of Florida's congressional delegation, coalition executive director Melissa Roberts said. St. Augustine has been one of the more proactive cities in looking at adapting to sea level rise and flooding and preserving historic resources, she said.

"I think they're leading the charge on trying to figure that out," she said.

The city is a member of the coalition, and Shaver is on the advisory board.

St. Augustine has a number of projects underway to deal with nuisance flooding or help protect the city from storms.

Upchurch said he plans to talk with Congressman John Rutherford and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials during his trip to Washington. The city wants the Army Corps to conduct a feasibility study of sea level rise and flooding solutions for St. Augustine.

Shaver, who resigned from the Commission in February after a stroke, said she still plans to help the American Flood Coalition. Sea level rise was a major focus during her time as mayor. It's still a focus for her, including in her personal life.

While she's been recovering out of state, her new house in St. Augustine has been under construction. It's being built with sea level rise in mind, she said.

And other people in the city are finding ways to deal with sea level rise and flooding, she said.

"You look at it. You figure out how you're going to manage it, and (you) go forward," she said.

Some projects underway in St. Augustine:

• A project focused on Lake Maria Sanchez is expected to reduce routine flooding for more than 200 acres of downtown's core, including around City Hall. The project will involve, among other things, adding a seawall south of South Street, Public Works Director Mike Cullum said.

The city plans to have a public meeting about the project at 5 p.m. on Oct. 10 at the Alcazar Room at City Hall, Cullum said. City officials will give a presentation on the current plans, take comments and answer questions.

• The city is working on plans to protect its wastewater treatment plant from flooding.

• The city has already installed about 30 valves that are intended to keep water from backing up through the stormwater system during high tides, Cullum said. The city is working on a study to prioritize placement of about 70 more valves to finish the project in the city. The study should be done by the end of the year.

• The city purchased land at 91 Coquina Ave. this year to create a park and build flooding improvements. Flooding occurs in the area during very high tides.

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