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Broward County Plans Ahead For South Florida Rising Sea Levels (VIDEO)

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The Broward County Commission began preparing for rising sea levels Tuesday by enacting a climate change plan, the Sun Sentinel reports.

To the dismay of developers, the plan would impact future building plans, energy use, and green living to prepare for what scientists widely believe to be rising sea levels. By 2060, the commission said, residents in coastal communities could be swimming at their door steps.

The commission hopes to avoid future problems like flooding, sewer failure and contaminated drinking water by implementing the blueprint now.

Miami-Dade County would also be heavily impacted by rising sea levels. Scientists believe that by 2030, oceans could be up to 7 inches higher, according to the Southeast Florida Climate Change Compact. By 2030, this could be up to 2 feet. The projections were calculated by utilizing Key West’s tidal data from 1913 to 1999.

“By the end of the century, a little under 100 years from now, there could be four to six feet or more of sea level rise above the present sea level,” Harold Wanless, chairman of the University of Miami’s geological sciences department, told the Biscayne Times. With a 4-foot increase in the ocean, only 44 percent of Miami-Dade County would remain above water, Wanless said.

To see which parts of Florida would be underwater, check out Geology.com's interactive sea levels chart -- or click play on the video above from FAU's John Michael Wilyat and Jammy Chong, which shows street-level Miami views of rising seas including water lapping at the front steps of AmericanAirlines Arena.

Even though these troubles seem far off, the ocean's changing levels are already impacting South Florida. Miami Beach is considering an upgrade of its drainage system, which is already experiencing overloading during heavy storms, causing flooding, Miami Today reports. The price tag: $206 million.

“It’s the first time, as far as I know, that any community in South Florida and actually in the entire state of Florida is taking into account sea level rise as they plan their storm water infrastructure,” Miami Beach public works director Fred Beckmann told the Miami Herald.

During extreme high tides, water already floods parts of South Beach.

Unfortunately, rising sea levels is just one of many ecological issues facing South Florida, said Matthew Schwartz of the South Florida Wildlands Association. See his roundup of what other issues could impact our environment:

10 Challenges Facing South Florida's Environment
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