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Atlantic's Slow, Steady Rise Around Chincoteague, Assateague & Ocean City Turning Marsh Into Ocean

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-03-09 08:12 PM
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Atlantic's Slow, Steady Rise Around Chincoteague, Assateague & Ocean City Turning Marsh Into Ocean
Ocean waters are slowly encroaching on the low-lying areas along the Chincoteague Bay, turning farmland into marsh and drowning delicate wildlife habitats.

And while Northern Worcester shares many of the same coastal characteristics, it's likely that the pressure to preserve properties where lots of people live will spare the area from the southern end's soggy fate. A report published this month in Environmental Research Letters -- a journal focused on environmental science and sustainable technology -- found that many Maryland communities will face tough decisions of whether to save quickly developing low-lying areas as sea level continues to rise. Based on their research, the future of coastal southern Worcester looks moist.


In Ocean City, keeping the town dry will be quite a challenge, said Dave Wilson, director of the Maryland Coastal Bays Program. "Ocean City will continue to be able to replenish their beach, but they can't replenish their bayside," Wilson said. "So as sea level rises, they are going to have inundation on the west side." The flooding that consumes the St. Louis Avenue area after rain falls or during a particularly high tide are early signs of this, he said.

On Assateague Island, the report found that the National Park Service that runs the facility is "generally committed to allowing natural shoreline retreat." Sea level rise is expected to have less of an effect on the barrier island, Wilson said. "That system will generally be allowed to behave naturally," he said. "You will have the island migrating west, and another island form in front of it."

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