Thursday, June 13, 2019

“Sea level rise threatens bird habitats along Atlantic Coast, study says - UPI News” plus 2 more

“Sea level rise threatens bird habitats along Atlantic Coast, study says - UPI News” plus 2 more


Sea level rise threatens bird habitats along Atlantic Coast, study says - UPI News

Posted: 14 May 2019 12:00 AM PDT

ORLANDO, Fla., May 14 (UPI) -- Sea level rise is hitting coastal habitats along the south Atlantic Coast faster than scientists previously thought, threatening entire species of birds and whole ecosystems if action isn't taken soon, according to a new study led by a Florida ecologist.

The study, led by researcher Betsy Von Holle, found the most at-risk wildlife are seabirds who nest along shallow coastal areas -- specifically the gull-billed tern and sandwich tern. Brown pelican nesting areas were not as risk-prone. Sea turtle nesting showed increased vulnerability over a 1999 study.

More than 1,200 miles of coastline is projected to have an increase in coastal erosion vulnerability by 2030, according National Science Foundation researcher Von Holle published recently in the Journal of Wildlife Management.

Von Holle is affiliated with the University of Central Florida. Other institutions involved in the study included Virginia Tech.

Fully 75 percent of the coastal area cited -- from Cape Hatteras, N.C., to Cape Canaveral, Fla. -- is at high risk for erosion and flooding by rising seas and storm events, the study concludes. That is an increase from about 45 percent of coastal area found to be at high risk in a similar study published by the U.S. Geological Survey 20 years ago.

Map shows risk of flooding along southeastern Atlantic Coast. Map courtesy of University of Central Florida/National Science Foundation.

The study was accompanied by a map that depicts high-risk zones in red. Most of northern and central Florida's Atlantic Coast is red.

"We were surprised at the big jump in vulnerable areas," Von Holle told UPI. "We're not saying that these areas are all going away, but people should be aware of that when they are managing for these impacts."

Short-term fixes

In some areas, though, the only result might be a faster and higher buildup of sand dumped on beaches in multibillion-dollar beach renourishment programs. Such fixes are effective in the short term, but could be masking the growing crisis, according to the study and local officials,

Von Holle said the study was "an important initial step in managing coastal species" in the face of climate change and sea level rise -- a broad-scale attempt at predicting susceptible areas.

The study suggests tailoring restoration strategies for specific locations and species. Governments in vulnerable areas with dense seabird populations, for example, might adopt "setback regulations or a minimum distance from mean high tide line" for future development. That would allow for natural inland migration of beaches as seas rise, the study said.

Beach restoration of low-lying areas still would be needed in developed areas where buildings or roads prevent the beach from moving inland.

Von Holle said the problem is exacerbated by heavy buildup of homes, condos, hotels and highways along the coast. With a natural coastline, sand dunes would migrate inland and keep up a barrier between the land and the sea. But hardened concrete coasts don't allow for that.

If sand washes away, there simply is no beach anymore. Ocean waves just lap up against roadways, seawalls or foundations.

Effects on wildlife

Some of the most significant wildlife in the study area reside or nest in Brevard County in central Florida, home to Cape Canaveral National Seashore and Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge. Those areas, which are prime nesting grounds for sea turtles, are shown at high risk of flooding or storm damage in the new study.

Dave Cheney, a board member with Sea Turtle Preservation Society in Indiatlantic, Fla., said he is not seeing damage to sea turtle habitat yet, mostly due to restoration of sand brought in by dump trucks as part of a regular program. Florida has spent billions on sand renourishment of beaches.

"At this point we haven't seen anything detrimental to the sea turtles," Cheney said. "The data actually shows that sea turtles are doing quite well, especially for green turtles. Beach renourishment is responsible for sea turtle success."

After dump trucks bring in new sand, sea turtles avoid the beach for about a year, he said. Then they return and thrive. He said studies about sea level are cause for concern, though.

A 'wake-up call'

Mike McGarry, program manager for beaches, boating and waterways with Brevard County, believes the problem can be dealt with in the short term.

"We'll be able to keep up with it by adding height to account for the higher sea level, make it 11 feet instead of 10 feet," McGarry said. "In 100 or 200 years or so, they may have to decide to evacuate the whole barrier island, but that's not practical for us now."

Other regions are dealing with similar, gloomier outlooks for sea level rise. A recent study in Louisiana, published by Tulane researchers in the journal Ocean Science, found that previous estimates of sea-level impact were underestimating conditions in the area.

Gauges that measure sea level in the area were missing the fact that the land is sinking, or compacting, as the seas rise -- making the impact on low-lying land more severe. That's because gauges are anchored about 70 feet below the surface.

"It should be a wake-up call for people everywhere," said Molly Keogh, a doctoral student and co-author of the study published in June. "Waiting another decade is not the time."

Another report from the Union of Concerned Scientists in 2018 found growing risk to coastal property values around the United States due to sea level rise. That report found that risk is "masked by short-sighted government policies, market incentives and public and private investments that prop up business-as-usual choices and fail to account for sea level rise."

States most at risk by 2100, according to the scientists union, are Florida, with about 1 million homes (more than 10 percent of the state's current residential properties); New Jersey, with 250,000 homes; and New York with 143,000 homes. High-tech Silicon Valley near San Francisco also is at significant risk.

Venture Construction Group of Florida Boosts Employee Productivity and Health With Advanced Office Equipment - PR Web

Posted: 30 May 2019 06:41 PM PDT

As a leader in workplace best practices and first-adopter of new technology, Venture Construction Group of Florida (VCGFL) recently equipped their state-of-the-art office headquarters with Cemtrex SmartDesks. The SmartDesk includes a sit/stand desk, three 24-inch touchscreen display monitors, keyboard, touchless gestures with the leap motion gesture controller, document scanner, conferencing tools, wireless charging, and Windows software.

"These desks have literally revolutionized our work space and benefit our employees and company in so many ways. Health, productivity, and employee morale have improved significantly," says Sandra Lawson, director of operations, Venture Construction Group of Florida.

According to a recent study by Texas A&M University's Health Science Center School of Public Health, smart desks significantly support employee health and productivity. The study found that employees using stand-capable desks were more productive than their colleagues in standard, seated desks. Researchers also noticed a difference in the workers' "comfort, attitude about work and how they felt about themselves."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, use of a sit-stand desk reduces upper back and neck pain by 54 percent.

"Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death," says James Levine, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, in an interview with the LA Times.

VCGFL is committed to constantly integrating state-of-the-art technology into their offices to support employee health, increase workplace synergy, productivity, and safety. VCGFL's offices include a wide array of the latest technology and equipment to provide the most advanced level of service and safety to both employees and clients.

VCGFL headquarters includes a video wall of nine HD televisions that livestream jobsites and multiple weather channels. VCGFL's Digital Touch Screen Table provides an interactive presentation and display environment that enhances team interaction and document viewing in meetings. VCGFL's EarthCam webcam services and 4G LTE TrueLook cameras provide high definition security and project time-lapsing video on projects in progress. VCGFL's Matterport 3D cameras record a full-scale 360-degree three-dimensional view of all jobsites.

"We are committed to our staff and our clients and adopting the latest technology and equipment to constantly improve. We have so many amazing resources at our disposal. We are proud to lead the way in workplace safety, employee morale and customer satisfaction," says Stephen Shanton, CEO and president, Venture Construction Group of Florida.

About Venture Construction Group of Florida
Founded in 1998, Venture Construction Group of Florida (VCGFL) is a licensed general contractor and an award-winning leader in construction, restoration, renovations, roofing, storm damage repairs, and 24/7 emergency services throughout Florida, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Bahamas and the Caribbean. Specializing in commercial projects, VCGFL assists property management companies, condo associations, multi-family structures, hi-rises, retail/business plazas, government facilities, hotels and resorts with comprehensive general contractor services, restoration, mitigation, specialty construction, historical restoration, remodels, property repairs and rebuilds due to fire, flood, water, wind, hail, and hurricane damage. VCGFL holds leading industry awards including the Roofing Alliance MVP Award, Coatings Pro Contractor Award, Pro Remodeler Forty Under 40 Award, Qualified Remodeler Top 500 Remodelers Award, Qualified Remodeler Master Design Award, Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association S.T.A.R. Spotlight Trophy for the Advancement of Roofing Awards in Sustainability and Community Service. CEO Stephen Shanton is a proud member of the prestigious Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC). Entrepreneur Magazine hails "YEC Consists of Some of the Most Well-Respected Minds in Entrepreneurship." With offices in Boca Raton, Ft. Myers, Naples, Orlando, Panama City Beach, Stuart, Tampa, San Juan, and Nassau, VCGFL is committed to operational excellence and exceptional customer service. VCGFL carries the industry's leading accreditations and is an exclusive certified National Storm Damage Center Preferred Contractor, Windstorm Insurance Network WIND Certified Umpire®, WIND Certified Appraiser®, WIND Certified Fellow®, Certified Member of the United Association of Storm Restoration Contractors, Platinum Preferred Certified Contractor with the National Insurance Restoration Council. VCGFL is a proud member of Insurance Appraisal and Umpire Association (IAUA), Restoration Industry Association (RIA), Property Liability and Resource Bureau (PLRB), Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association (FRSA), Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) Industry Members Association (EIMA), National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). VCGFL is a registered U.S. Federal Government Contractor and holds leading certifications including Owens Corning Platinum Preferred Contractor, Mule-Hide Legacy Contractor, Certified CertainTeed Contractor and Duro-Last Certified Contractor status. VCGFL credentials have been vetted and screened through independent third party Global Risk Management Solutions. For more information call 866-459-8351 or visit us online at http://www.VCGFL.com.

Media Inquiries:

Jennifer Greenawalt
Elev8 Consulting Group
Ph: 386.243.5388
Em: info@elev8cg.com
Web: http://www.elev8cg.com

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Overlooking this risk in your home could cost you nearly $10,000 - CNBC

Posted: 23 Jul 2018 12:00 AM PDT

Henrik Sorensen | Getty Images

A $10,000 threat to your wallet is hiding in your home, and you're probably doing nothing to address it.

A recent survey from Chubb found that 90 percent of homeowners believe they are "vigilant" or do an "okay" job of protecting their abodes.

The property-casualty insurer polled 1,204 people in May.

Nearly 64 percent of the participants have failed to update their home protection strategies in the last year.

This could be because owners are more concerned about fires, burglaries and other crises, and don't realize they can fall victim to things like water damage, said Annmarie Camp, executive vice president at Chubb Personal Risk Services.

"Most people think, 'Oh that won't happen to me,' " she said. "You're far more likely to have some sort of water loss to your home."

In fact, water damage is one of the most common property damage-related claims, according to Chubb's report.

Here's how homeowners are falling short when it comes to preventing water-related losses.

Be aware

PM Images | Iconica | Getty Images

Two out of 10 survey participants said they install pipe insulation, while less than half check their appliance hoses.

And just 40 percent of the homeowners do any water heater maintenance.

Awareness against damage is the best protection, Camp said. Talk with an independent insurance agent who can recommend the best coverage for your specific needs.

Between 2012 and 2016, the average homeowner's claim for water damage was nearly $10,000, according to the Insurance Information Institute. See the chart below for more details.

Homeowner loss 180723 EC Mercado

Internal water damage can be devastating, said Camp.

The standard homeowner's insurance policy covers damage related to an accidental overflow of water or steam from plumbing, heating and air conditioning, as well as frozen pipes.

Meanwhile, your homeowner's insurance will generally exclude damages that stem from a flood. You would need a separate policy for that.

Even if you don't live in a flood zone, primary flood coverage is a key, but often overlooked coverage to ask about.

Be proactive

Mike Kemp | Getty Images

A few simple steps will help protect your home from water damage.

The first step is learning where your main water valve is, so that you don't waste time trying to find it if there's an emergency.

"The number one tip we would give is before you go on vacation, turn off the main water valve to your home," said Camp of Chubb. "Water damage becomes so much worse when you aren't there for days."

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Regular home inspection checks can also prove useful, she added.

Do your own checks seasonally, and consider an annual safety check with a plumber.

Basic maintenance is essential to avoiding a loss, so don't overlook the small things — such as overgrown trees, clogged gutters or a pipe that keeps leaving a puddle.

"That problem is not going to go away — it's likely to get worse," said Camp. "Water will destroy your property, and that means it is very disruptive to your life."

Investing in technology such as water leak detection devices could save you money in more ways than one.

Your homeowner policies and insurance plans could also be discounted, if companies see that you're taking steps to protect your home, Camp said.

Be sure to inspect your air conditioning unit and roof for leaks and to prevent serious damage.

"It's really about the core foundations," Camp said.

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