As someone who lives a block away from the National Mall, I cannot imagine looking out my window and seeing a lake. Or a river. Or a bay?
Well, that’s a possibility. Yep. Those 309.2 acres of federal property known as the National Mall, home to beautiful structures that attract over 25 million visitors a year, could very well be underwater when the perfect storm of conditions comes.
That’s why DC environmentalists have devised a plan to protect this place that is the center of my universe. They’ve decided to spend nine million dollars to build a flood protection wall that can supposedly keep out the Potomac River as it rises during storm surges. So, the Lincoln, Jefferson, and Martin Luther King Jr. memorials will be sharing sacred grounds with… a retractable cement wall?
The first question that you may wonder is, how will this affect the views that tourists come from all over the world to take in? Apparently this was a huge issue that the government had with the environmentalists’ proposals. DC zoning has restrictions on building so that the view of the capital and the Washington Monument are not obstructed. So, the wall will be retractable so that during good weather periods, there is nothing standing between tourists and the views that they love so much.
In 2005, New Orleans’s flood protection plan failed to prevent mass amounts of flooding from Hurricane Katrina. The plan included a levee system to keep water out of the city. The event exhibited how crucial protection measures are to surviving in a region susceptible to rising sea levels and storm surges. Flooding causes many ramifications including but not limited to diseases, dilapidation of property, and death.
Washingtonians’ awareness and support of this project is crucial to its development. DC isn’t going anywhere, but a few serious storm surges could change our town as we know it. We need to embrace adaptation and invest in our future on dry ground.