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Cities, villages and other jurisdictions along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River face nearly $2 billion in costs over the next five years to address coastal damage driven by climate change, per survey results released last week by the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI).
According to survey responses, 95% of city officials say they’re highly or moderately concerned about coastal damage and 99% said there has been a consistent or increasing public interest in the issues. However, only 27% of respondents said their staff was highly knowledgeable on coastal issues and just 11% said they had a “high level of capacity” to respond to coastal problems.
Jonathan Altenberg, executive director of the Initiative, said the survey results should send a message to federal legislators as they debate a comprehensive infrastructure plan that could direct more money and ease policy around coastal issues. “These are big issues, there’s a lot of infrastructure at risk here,” Altenberg said.