Jeff Goodell on Raising Miami Beach. How High? How Long?
January 25, 2017
Reached by phone, Miami Beach Director of Environment and Sustainability Elizabeth Wheaton says she’s seen no evidence that Miami Beach is “sinking.” (She could not comment about the City of Miami.) Though she did say some cities, especially ones in the Northeast, are dealing with sea-level rise and land subsidence, she says it’s wholly inaccurate to claim Miami Beach is, in any way, sinking into the ocean.
“What you’re seeing in the Everglades is a completely different ecosystem,” she says. “The writer was misunderstanding what that article was about. In Miami Beach, our city surveyor is out there every day, working in the city, and he has not observed subsidence or any changes in elevation.”
As for any skeptics who claim it would be impossible to know whether the sea was rising or the land was sinking, Wheaton says land surveyors use fixed “control points” to ensure they’re getting an accurate read on the rising seas.
“There’s so much misinformation about what’s happening,” Wheaton says. “That’s what breeds the skepticism. It’s so important as a region that we go beyond the conversation of if it’s happening to how, as a region, we need to be preparing.”
Then, she says flatly: “The sea levels are rising.”