Rising Sea Levels Threaten Dorchester County Land, Marshes - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Rising Sea Levels Threaten Dorchester County Land, Marshes

Posted: 10/30/2017 18:43:00 -04:00 Updated:

CAMBRIDGE, Md. - The land at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Dorchester County is lush with marsh grasses and spirals of water in between, but a year ago, the grass looked more patchy and was barely surviving.

It's a problem still going on today.

"Sea level rise is by far the biggest threat that we face here today," said Matt Whitbeck, a biologist with Blackwater.

Whitbeck says that by the year 2050, the land could be submerged with an additional 2-and-a-half feet of water, and he's not the only one who thinks that.

"It is very bad. In fact the Chesapeake Bay is the third most vulnerable region in the United States to sea level rise," said Ming Li, a professor at the University of Maryland's Horn Point Laboratory.

Li has been tracking sea levels in Dorchester County. Through a computer model, he predicts most of the county could be submerged by the end of the century.

It's a problem he and Whitbeck say they'll fight.

"At least we should try," Li said.

And try they have - last year, the refuge dredged up sediment to elevate 40 acres of marsh. Later, they planted vegetation and watched it grow.

"We're very happy with the success so far," Whitbeck said.

But it may be too soon to celebrate. Whitbeck says they won't see how well the marsh has grown for another five years.



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