Sunday, January 25, 2015

As seas rise, Florida’s bill is coming due

Photo: DownState News
Treading Water: Adaptations will buy time, but can they save Miami?

By Laura Parker
National Geographic

Frank Behrens, a gregarious pitchman for a Dutch development company that sees profit, not loss, in climate change, cuts the engine on our 22-foot Hurricane runabout. We drift through brackish water toward the middle of privately owned Maule Lake in North Miami Beach.

It’s not quite paradise.

The lake, like so many others in Florida, began as a rock quarry. In the years since, it has served as a venue for boat races, a swimming hole for manatees, and a set for the 1960s TV show Flipper. More recently, as if to underscore the impermanence of South Florida’s geography, more than one developer has toyed with partially filling in the lake to build condos. Behrens is promoting a floating village with 29 private, artificial islands, each with a sleek, four-bedroom villa, a sandy beach, a pool, palm trees, and a dock long enough to accommodate an 80-foot yacht. The price: $12.5 million apiece.

Dutch Docklands, Behrens’s firm, has optioned the lake and is marketing the islands as a rich man’s antidote to climate change. As for the risks from rising sea levels, well, that’s the beauty of floating homes. The islands would be anchored to the lake bottom with a telescoping tether similar to those that enable floating oil rigs to ride out the roughest hurricanes.

(Continued here.)

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