So, you spent last weekend celebrating American independence with patriotic fervor and you're now enthused about the preservation of American history and culture and all things awesome and bygone. Right?
Keep that historical buzz going for a moment to contemplate five sites the National Trust for Historic Preservation -- the country's preservers-in-chief -- thinks are most vulnerable to flooding caused by sea level rise.
Even though the the Trust fields regular requests for planning assistance from coastal cities across country, the group says no comprehensive models yet exist to address sea level rise and its threat to historic landmarks. That's bad, says Anthony Veerkamp, a program director with the Trust, because without first taking stock of what we might lose, "inevitably there will be adaptation strategies that do lesser or greater harm to historic resources."
Here are five sites the Trust are most worried about:
1. San Francisco's Embarcadero
California's Bay Area can expect sea levels to rise by up to 55 inches by the end of the century, putting an estimated 270,000 people and $62 billion worth of San Francisco urbanbling at risk of increased flooding. That presents a major challenge to the three-mile stretch of San Francisco's downtown Embarcadero district, which features more than twenty historic piers, a bulkhead wharf in twenty-one sections, a seawall built in the late 1800s, and the iconic Ferry Building, fully commissioned in 1903. California's seasonal king tides already overflow San Francisco's sea walls and occasionally spill into the Embaracadero, providing a preview for what might happen more regularly if sea levels continue to rise.