Group presents Scarborough responses to rising sea level

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SCARBOROUGH — Anyone who’s driven through the marsh on Route 1 or Pine Point Road knows the water is nearly level with the road.

And in winter, the snow often piles up higher than the road.

The Sea Level Adaptation Working Group has not only noticed this, its members want towns to prepare for what they say is the inevitable future.

“We know the sea level rose 7 inches the last century, since 1900,” Southern Maine Regional Planning Director J.T. Lockman said.

According to the group’s December, 2010, report, the sea level in Scarborough and the surrounding area is projected to rise by 2 feet in the next 100 years, which will dramatically affect local roads and businesses.

“We’re looking at what communities can do to mitigate against that,” said Scarborough Assistant Planner Jay Chace, who is a member of SLAWG.

During a workshop Tuesday evening, SLAWG presented its Vulnerability Assessment to the Town Council and discussed options to help the town to prepare for the possible sea-level rise, including inter-local agreements with towns in the surrounding area.

“Old Orchard Beach has already done engineering work for the East Grand Avenue area,” Lockman said.

The Old Orchard Beach study, done several years ago, recommends Scarborough increase the size of culverts in the marsh area to help alleviate flooding in neighboring OOB.

“Towns generally can’t do things to help other towns,” Lockman said. “But it’s possible to agree to work on these things together.”

Chace said SLAWG would continue to work on determining the areas that will have the greatest impact if the sea level rises dramatically, and discuss ways to prevent destruction of beaches, homes and businesses in those areas.

He said it will also keep an eye on current projects and making recommendations for larger culverts and better protected roads.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net

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