The Flood Next Time? Science Tells Us New Rochelle's Time Will Come

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The Flood Next Time? Science Tells Us New Rochelle's Time Will Come

January 14, 2014 - 02:00

IceCutting CrystalLake

Justin Gillis has an important article in The New York Times: The Flood Next Time which highlights one of my great concerns regarding ‘development’ along or near the shore, is the future impact of our ever-rising sea level.

Gillis reports that global sea levels are likely to rise a foot by 2100, while the USA East Coast will encounter much greater local increases in sea level due to the East Coast shore continually sinking in reaction to the end of the last Ice Age. That is in addition to the world-wide phenomena of sea levels rising from global warming causing major glaciers, on Antarctica and Greenland and elsewhere, to melt into the Oceans.

The official stance of the world’s climate scientists is that the global sea level could rise as much as three feet by the end of this century, if emissions continue at a rapid pace. But some scientific evidence supports even higher numbers, five feet and beyond in the worst case.

Scientists say the East Coast will be hit harder for many reasons, but among the most important is that even as the seawater rises, the land in this part of the world is sinking. And that goes back to the last ice age, which peaked some 20,000 years ago.

Gillis writes that Manhattan’s Battery will encounter a great increase in sea level:

Even if the global sea level rises only eight more inches by 2050, a moderate forecast, the Rutgers group foresees relative increases of 14 inches at bedrock locations like the Battery, and 15 inches along the New Jersey coastal plain, where the sediments are compressing. By 2100, they calculate, a global ocean rise of 28 inches would produce increases of 36 inches at the Battery and 39 inches on the coastal plain.

All of this has implications for development along the waterfront in New Rochelle.

I believe it is rational and obligatory that any local development near New Rochelle’s shore, must be built to withstand 36 inches or more of sea level rising over the next 100 years.

Also to be considered, until 100 years ago, when it was drained an built upon, New Rochelle’s largest lake was Crystal Lake. Crystal Lake existed from east of River St towards the Larchmont border, and from the area of the Sewage Treatment Plant north towards Beechmont Lake. Stephenson School was built on what had been an island in Crystal Lake (photo above).

I believe that as Sea Level rises, current inland areas south of Beechmont Drive, previously drained, will tend to naturally return to their former conditions of wetlands, unless massive, expensive infrastructure protects them. New developments along the shore must take into account the next 100 years, not only in protecting those new developments, but also to protect already existing developments.

This is especially true along Echo Bay, Stephenson Blvd, City Park, Titus Mill Pond, the area between and including Pelham Rd and Davenport Neck (including Trinity School), along Boston Post Rd east of River St east towards Larchmont.