According to this mornings NY Times, Highlands is back to considering raising the town as a way to mitigate future flooding. (heavy sigh) I’m guessing its because no one can come up with a better solution. There is one piece of the puzzle that no one seems to be considering here. Yes, I understand that there have been towns in the past that have built up or filled in as a way to mitigate flooding successfully. However, can any one give me ONE example of a town that did this had ALSO had to deal with run off from a hill? Further, were any of these towns: Galveston, Chicago, Seattle butted up against the highest point in their area, in their state or on their coast? — Crickets…
Sea Bright seems more a logical choice to follow the path of raising their town than does Highlands.
You need more proof? Exhibit A: —> Run off from the hills above. (And this was just a normal rain storm)
Most towns that contend with flooding (including New Orleans) JUST had to deal with tidal surges. WE have to deal with tidal surges, low lying areas AND flash flooding.
Add in the run off issues with the fact that we DO have tidal issues = bigger issue. We’re NOT going to be able to mitigate one without addressing the other. Both have to be factored in to a complete solution.
If we listen to the Army Corps of Engineers and build a barrier along the waterfront and pump out the water that gets behind that wall, it would be like using a pail to bail out a boat with a hole. Just as quick as your bailing it out, it’ll come back in. That being said having SOME sort of barrier isn’t a bad idea. I believe it can help, but its NOT going to be the silver bullet.
That being said if we go forward with the barrier approach, the water will look for the path of least resistance, i.e. over the lower bulkheads of places like Captains Cove, and back through the sewer drains, and when the tidal water hits the water in the drain that comes from the normal storm participation AND from the hill run off its going to go up through the soil and create the bath tub affect that Mayor spoke of at the last town hall meeting.
If we actually take Professor Szulecki approach to to import perhaps 3.5 million cubic yards of dredged material and elevate the entire downtown, its not going to stop the mudslide issues from happening. I personally think his estimation of $25 million to $30 million, not including infrastructure work or raising homes and buildings, to raise Highlands by 8 to 10 feet is off. But it may be like the house lifting costs, when people argue that you can lift your house for under $30k, but its all the other work that puts that “all-in” number about $60k
So here’s my crazy idea:
Strategically Placed Sea Walls (not those rusty bulk-head things at the end of Barberie and Waterwith Aves), but actual Sea Walls Marina’s will have to built up, meaning those 2 ft high walls in Washington won’t fly, do they need to be 14 – 16ft and of FEMA standard? No.. but at a min 5 – 7 ft above the roadway.
Regular Maintenance of the catch by the community center and of the sewer drain flaps we supposedly have.
House Lifting – Required for any house under 4 feet elevation. (If you flooded for the past 4 big storms over the last 60 years and still haven’t raised your bungalow, its kinda time) – For everyone else, its a personal choice thing, you can lift or not. If this was the first time your house ever flooded, (not since you owned it but ever) then no pressure. Beaches & Oysters – having beaches & oyster beds can help with flood mitigation. So make sure both are on the water side of the strategically placed sea walls.
French drains on Rt 36 on both sides (this will take some cooperation from Middletown and the State since they own Rt 36) -My belief that if we ask the Governor for $200 million to raise the town or $10 to build French drains along the highway it’ll be a no-brainer, and if we have to we’ll have Sea Bright mayor Dina Long ask him, she seems to have the power to make him say yes on ideas.
Raise Whole DownTown – CBS