“In highly vulnerable Florida, environmental attorney and law professor Albert J. Slap and a team of climate scientists including Keren Bolter have teamed up to create Coastal Risk Rapid Assessment, an flood risk assessment tool for coastal properties. “Right now, when you look at property values, the closer a property is to the coastline, the more value is added to the property,” said Bolter.
With sea level rise, many coastal properties will be physically vulnerable to flooding—and susceptible to increasing flood insurance rates of the nature mentioned by UCS’s Spanger-Siegfried. “This is a real risk that people don’t think about,” said Bolter. “Ultimately, this should be a disclosure requirement, like a termite inspection.” “We created this tool because the existing datasets in the public domain are hard to use and interpret,” said Bolter. “Our goal is democratize this data by taking government datasets at the highest level of accuracy available and putting that data through our algorithm in a way that makes it usable for a property owner or buyer in any coastal county in the country.” The CRRA works by taking a range of sea level rise projections and evaluating how much more often a property will be flooded in the future. Properties are scored by the estimated number of flood days during a 30-year mortgage period, with the progression broken into five-year increments. A sample CRRA score shared with CCBJ shows a property on Key Biscayne going from zero flood days in 2020 to between 11 and 20 by 2035. CRC takes on a wide range of projects for local governments, including peer reviews of stormwater management plans developed by engineering companies. But Bolter foresees use of the CRRA becoming widespread in coastal communities. The firm has automated the CRRA for most of South Florida and anticipates automating it for the entire U.S. by 2017.