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Rita Rich

NAVAL ACADEMY BREAKS GROUND ON SEA WALL PROJECT

 A small ceremony was held on Nov. 22, 2022, along the Farragut Field Sea Wall at the United States Naval Academy, breaking ground on the first project to protect against future sea level rise. 

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. Future plans include adding earthen berms to protect the Naval Academy from storm surges.

Ceremony guests included Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.); Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) of Maryland’s 2nd District; Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro; Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations, and Environment Meredith Berger; Naval District Washington Chief of Staff Capt. Grahame Dicks; Naval Support Activity Annapolis Commanding Officer Capt. Homer Denius; Cianbro Corporation Chairman and CEO Peter Vigue; and Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley.    

“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.”

In September, Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Washington awarded a $37,528,700 firm-fixed-price construction contract to Cianbro Corporation of Pittsfield, Maine, to repair portions of the sea wall along Farragut Field and Santee Basin.

“I’d like to personally thank our Board of Visitors for recognizing the need for these improvements,” said 63rd Superintendent Vice Adm. Sean Buck, the host of the ceremony, “as well as Congress and our Board of Visitors Chairman, Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, for their support.”

“As we saw last October – when the Naval Academy experienced historic flooding from just a small amount of rain – the issue of climate change is an issue of national security,” said Ruppersberger. “I was proud to have helped secure the federal resources needed to repair the Farragut Field Sea Wall and protect against sea level rise for another 75 years. By investing in the Naval Academy’s climate resiliency, we are investing in our nation’s future leaders and our security. We must continue to do whatever we can to fully insulate the Academy and all of our nation’s military installations from the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change.”

Both Ruppersberger and Cardin serve on the Naval Academy’s Board of Visitors, charged with inquiring into the state of affairs of the Academy, including its physical infrastructure.    

“With almost 3,200 miles of shoreline, Maryland is particularly vulnerable to threats from rising sea levels, flooding, and intensifying storm activity. Annapolis, and by proxy the Naval Academy, is ground-zero for sea level rise on the East Coast – NOAA reports that Annapolis experienced nine high tide flood days in 2021 and predicts that the city will endure as many as 115 high tide flood days by 2050,” said Cardin. “This investment will help future-proof the U.S. Naval Academy, and I will continue looking for additional ways to help our military installations build additional resilience to climate change.”

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. 

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 in groundwater elevations. It uses the most recent projections recommended by the USNA Sea Level Rise Advisory Council and the DoD Regional Sea Level database.

“The [Naval Academy’s Installation Resilience] Plan is a perfect example of the proactive measures we are taking across our Navy and Marine Corps to combat the climate crisis and make us a more lethal, flexible, and capable force,” said Del Toro. “Our Department of the Navy Climate Action 2030 strategy recognizes that there is not a trade-off between addressing the climate crisis and combat readiness….the Navy and Marine Corps do not have to choose between leadership in warfighting and leadership on climate change. We can – and must – do both.” 

Founded in 1845, the U.S. Naval Academy today is a prestigious four-year service academy that prepares midshipmen morally, mentally, and physically to be professional officers in the naval service. More than 4,400 men and women representing every state in the U.S. and several foreign countries make up the student body, known as the Brigade of Midshipmen. U.S. News and World Reports has recognized the Naval Academy as a top five undergraduate engineering school and a top 20 best liberal arts college. Midshipmen learn from military and civilian instructors and participate in intercollegiate varsity sports and extracurricular activities. They also study subjects such as leadership, ethics, small arms, drill, seamanship and navigation, tactics, naval engineering and weapons, cyber security, and military law. Upon graduation, midshipmen earn a Bachelor of Science degree in a choice of 26 different subject majors and go on to serve at least five years of exciting and rewarding service as commissioned officers in the U.S. Navy or U.S. Marine Corps.

 

Much thanks to USNA Media Relations team.

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