What can a campus do in response to the climate crisis? The United States Naval Academy just offered one course of action.

The main thing the Maryland-based USNA is doing it repairing and extending the Farragut Field Sea Wall, according to an official statement. “The project aims to repair and raise the height of the seawall to address daily high tides and minor storms out to the year 2100.”

The project includes repairs to the sheet pile bulkheads along Farragut Field and the southeast side of Santee Basin. A new sheet pile wall will be constructed outboard of the existing one. A new tieback system will be constructed inland of the existing for lateral stability. The project will provide critical structural protection for the Naval Academy against floods and future sea level rise.

There’s more to come: “Future plans include adding earthen berms to protect the Naval Academy from storm surge[s].”

And, according to the secretary of the Navy:

“This sea wall is the first in a series of climate-related improvements from the Naval Academy’s comprehensive Installation Resilience Plan that I am personally committed to,” said Del Toro. “And this is just one achievement among many more past, present, and future.”

Calls and plans to do something along these lines date back at least to 2019. I’ve written about this in Universities on Fire (now available for pre-order).

A few reflections:

First, in my four-point scheme, this action falls under the Adaptation header. It’s not mitigating nor does it represent migration. It does seek to conserve, in terms of protecting the institution’s physical grounds, so perhaps we can locate the move angled in that direction, like so:

Second, this seawall project isn’t a one-off. Institutionally, the Academy now has a climate crisis portfolio:

This project is the first in a series of improvements from the Naval Academy’s Installation Resilience Plan that provides a comprehensive project portfolio, and year-to-year execution strategy to cohesively address and mitigate the combined effects of flooding caused by land subsidence, sea level rise, storm surge, and changes

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Bryan Alexander

Futurist, speaker, writer, educator. Author of the FTTE report, UNIVERSITIES ON FIRE, and ACADEMIA NEXT. Creator of The Future Trends Forum.