My first Magazine 2018 Quarter 4 Town Notes with Election CandidatesSinglepageformat - Page 3

Mayor’s Corner The potential impact of sea level and tidal changes over the next several decades has received a great deal of recent media attention. Major east coast cities, including Charleston, are evaluating measures to address existing flooding problems and ensure the lon- ger-term resiliency of their infrastructure. Last year the Town established a subcommittee to evaluate current scientific thinking and assess what the long-term impact might be for a barrier island like Kiawah. Their conclusions were provided to the Town Council in September and reflected months of study and discussion by a group that was represented not only by key organizations on Kiawah, but by external scientific and academic experts as well. Their report is well-researched and debated, thought-provoking, and can serve as a blueprint for the Town, as well as KICA and other groups, to consider fu- ture infrastructure and building policy actions and ensure our island’s resiliency to evolving sea level and tidal changes. The entire study is available to read on the Town’s website, accompanied by an excellent summary at www.kiawahisland. org/floodandsealevelrise. At the risk of over-simplifying the study’s findings and recommendations, the subcommittee’s conclusions are straightforward. • A rising sea level is not a new event. Our coastline has been experiencing a sustained, decades-long trend of slowly rising sea levels. There is no evidence that this trend will reverse, but there is increasingly accepted evidence that the rate of this trend will accelerate; • The study identifies and evaluates the many different pro- jections of future sea level change. Importantly, the subcom- mittee discounts the most extreme high and low projections and proposes that Kiawah adopt a widely accepted mid-range expectation of 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 feet over the next 30 to 50 years. Wild ABOUT • The study stresses that as a barrier island it is important that we consider and plan for the potential impact, even though that may be decades into the future. It also emphasizes that this is an evolving issue and we will have numerous oppor- tunities to adjust our thinking and our actions as we develop better insight into the issue. • Finally, the study points at the areas where Kiawah should focus its attention. As you would anticipate, stormwater man- agement, roads, utilities, and the resiliency of our beach and marshes are highlighted. This is an issue that I think most people agree needs to be taken seriously but addressed thoughtfully and with a great deal of discussion. Several weeks ago, we took the first step by holding a joint meeting with KICA and the ARB to discuss the report. Along with the Town, these organizations own or set policy around the island’s infrastructure. I anticipate that we will follow this up with continued discussions early next year. On a different note, this is the last edition of Town Notes before our residents elect a new town council in early De- cember. Because three council members - John Wilson, Diana Mezzanotte, and Jack Koach - are not running for another term, I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank them for their contribution. I suspect that most residents do not recognize the amount of time and effort that these council members put into their council responsibilities, including chairing committees, attending events, working with staff on a variety of issues, and responding individually to the concerns of our property owners. They, along with our fourth council member Chris Widuch, have worked together as an effective, cohesive team. It has been a pleasure working with Diana and Jack during the past two years, and with John during the past four years. Their contribution will be missed by me and the community. Wild About Video Series The Town’s Environmental and Wildlife Department has released eight episodes in video series Wild About led by Town biologists. The latest epi- sodes are Wild About Painted Buntings (part two) and Wild About Sea Tur- tles (part two). Each episode is cataloged on the Town’s wildlife web page at www.kiawahisland.org/wildlife The Wild About video series focuses on elements of nature, wildlife or the environment from life on Kiawah. The series airs each month via YouTube and our social media outlets. 3 }