As sea levels are expected to continue to rise at an accelerated rate over the coming decades, Legislator Al Krupski has sponsored legislation that would empower and direct the Suffolk County Department of Public Works to consider the implications when constructing and reconstructing county roadways.
A report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) states, “regions of the Northeast Atlantic (Virginia coast and northward) and the western Gulf of Mexico coasts, RSL (relative sea level) rise is projected to be greater than the global average for almost all future GMSL (global mean sea level) rise scenarios.”
Having served as Southold Town Trustee for 20 years, Legislator Krupski is well-versed in coastal dynamics and the science of erosion. “As the occurrence of storms and higher tides become more prevalent, we need to plan for these eventualities and protect not only our county-owned infrastructure, but the vulnerable communities which are served by Suffolk County roadways as well,” said Legislator Krupski. “We are seeing more instances of ‘sunny day’ flooding during high tides, particularly on the south shore, but it is also happening on the North Fork. I believe that by investing in adaptive infrastructure, we will save taxpayers money in the long run.”
The Peconic Estuary Program’s Critical Lands Protection Strategy, part of the organization’s Climate Ready Assessment (CRA) Project, identifies those vital areas in the Peconic Bay region that, if preserved and left in a naturalized state, would help protect county assets from flooding and storm surges. According to Legislator Krupski, “Strengthening our infrastructure alone won’t tackle the problem of rising seas, but by continuing to invest in preserving wetlands and other environmentally significant parcels to address this challenge, we will certainly be a more resilient county.”
The proposed legislation was approved unanimously at the Public Works, Transportation and Energy Committee and will be considered for adoption at tomorrow’s General Meeting of the Suffolk County Legislature.