Report Identifies Eastern Shore Counties At Risk for Sea Level R - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Report Identifies Eastern Shore Counties at Risk for Sea Level Rise; Calls for Action

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EASTON, Md.- A new report released by the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy in Easton says new modeling reveals sea level rise in the Chesapeake Bay is twice as fast as the global rate. By the year 2050, the report estimates some areas could see as much as two feet of water rise and six feet by 2100.

If action is not taken soon, the report warns a severe storm could cause flooding and as much as $750 million in damage to existing buildings across the Eastern Shore and Maryland.

Coastal Resilience Specialist Jim Bass says Dorchester County is especially at risk. The report identifies the county as the "most vulnerable" to flooding along the entire Eastern seaboard due to sea level rise. It's a phenomenon Bass calls inevitable.

"I don't mean to be alarmist about it and say that the world is ending but this is a very serious problem," Bass said. "I don't think we're going to be able to stop what's coming. The wisest use of our time going into the future is how do we adapt and how do we approach our relationship with the water?"

Models in the study show pools of water that will cover Dorchester County in just a few decades whenever a major storm hits, leaving some buildings in the county exposed to damage at a price of as much as $66 million.

Horn Point Lab Oceanographer Ming Li says more data shows other parts of the peninsula are also at risk.

"There are certain parts of Dorchester County, part of Wicomico County and Somerset County. They will be affected by flooding by high tides in 35 years," Li said.

Like Bass, Li worries what that means for communities like Crisfield where flooding events already commonly occur.

Bass says solutions could include policies that address planning and zoning as well as capital improvement plans that maintain county infrastructure.

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