Which communities along the Bay
The entire coast of the Chesapeake Bay is vulnerable to sea level rise, but areas with low elevation or large amounts of exposed shoreline generally are most at risk. Communities that experienced coastal flooding or damaging shore erosion during Hurricane Isabel in 2003 are likely the same ones that will be impacted by sea level rise.
Along the western shore of the Bay, the communities of St. George Island, Point No Point, Cove Point, Chesapeake Beach and Shady Side are most at risk. On the Eastern Shore, Kent Narrows, Oxford, Bellevue and Tilghman Island will all be affected. Perhaps most susceptible is Smith Island, as well as coastal communities throughout Dorchester and Somerset Counties, including Taylor, Hooper, and Elliot Islands, Crisfield, Deale Island and Wenona. Sea level rise will threaten all of these communities and may result in major landscape changes, including the loss of large amounts of land.
Records show that sea levels have risen by more than one foot in the Bay over the past century. Now, with the Earthís surface levels falling and sea levels rising, scientists project that the sea level will rise approximately three feet in Maryland waters by 2100. The impact will vary across the State, and will depend largely on the actions and reactions of State and local governments.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) currently provides technical and financial assistance to coastal communities to help plan for sea level rise through its Coast-Smart Communities Initiative. Unveiled in April, this program aims to protect Marylandís 4,000 miles of coastline. For more information about how Maryland is preparing for sea level rise, visit www.dnr.state.md.us/dnrnews/infocus/climatechange.html.