Owners of real estate in areas now experiencing sea level rise flooding can fight back by teaming up and going public with their plight. That’s the experience of an Ocean City, NJ, woman whose neighborhood flooded on a regular basis.
Suzanne Hornick shared her story with Samantha Harrington, a reporter for the Yale Climate Connections website. Hornick said the flooding in her neighborhood has worsened over the decades her family has owned property in Ocean City. Fed up, she fought back by creating a Facebook page that documented the flooding and by joining with her neighbors to form the Ocean City, NJ, Flooding Committee. The committee demanded that the city deal with the problem. They even distributed “Fix our flooding now” signs that residents displayed on their lawns.
By aggressively demanding relief, Hornick and her group developed a contentious relationship with local city officials. Then they had a breakthrough when she consulted with Tom Herrington, a coastal scientist and director of the Urban Coast Institute at Monmouth University. Herrington, who grew up in Ocean City, advised Hornick and the group about how to gather tidal and flood data that could be used to convince the city to take concrete steps to solve the flooding problem wherever possible, which it did. As a result of all their efforts, Hornick says she hasn’t had flooding on her street in a year.
Hornick, the group, and the city can’t rest on their laurels, however. They still have to take additional steps to address the continuously rising seas.
With sea level rise flooding on the rise in communities along the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coastlines, real estate owners can’t afford to take a passive approach when it comes to protecting what for most is their greatest investment: Their homes. Gathering data, taking photos, building a website and forming flood-focused interest groups, is a great way to appeal to officials and the public for relief.