Scientists Experiment, Fight Against Rising Sea Levels in Dorche - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Scientists Experiment, Fight Against Rising Sea Levels in Dorchester County

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TODDVILLE, Md. - Scientists say that for centuries, rising sea levels have taken over marshlands in Dorchester County and as the threat of sea level rise picks up speed, they now have plans to fight back.

Sloshing through knee-deep waters at Farm Creek Marsh, located miles south of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, David Curson of the Maryland Audobon Society and Dominic Serino of the Chesapeake Conservation Corps are leading the charge.

Curson says the standing saltwater is choking out life. You can see it in the dying trees and stumps overtaken by water, leaving little habitat for wildlife.

"It's a real problem, we've lost about 20 acres of marsh at this site," Curson said. "There's an assemblage of birds out here which totally depend upon this environment."

But with the help of an excavator from Maryland's Department of Natural Resources, Curson says they're now in the final stages of digging a 500-foot long and 3-foot deep channel. The marsh and clay, moved to the side, will make room for water to flow and drain from the area.

Serino says that once done, they'll begin watching for changes in water levels and native plants.

"At this point we have 4,000 hours of recordings," Serino said. "We're really excited to see species come back and use the vegetation that will be improving from this project."

If successful, Curson says the experiment could save more marsh in more areas of the globe.

"We want to learn from this because there are other places that could benefit from similar treatment," Curson said.

Curson adds that sea level rise is getting so bad in the county that if projects like the one at Farm Creek Marsh did not exist, marshes could be completely gone in about 80 years.

Curson predicts the first signs of new, growing marsh could come in about two years.

The $500,000 project includes partnerships with the United States Geological Survey, The Conservation Fund, Sustainable Science LLC, and the Chesapeake Audobon Society.

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