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Parts Of Maryland May Be In Danger From Rising Sea Level

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Annapolis flooding
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Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland has been labeled one of the most vulnerable states to a rise in sea level, and a new report says several of our historic monuments are in particular danger.

Derek Valcourt explains the dire warnings for parts of historic Annapolis and the Eastern Shore.

When Hurricane Isabel struck in 2003, the huge tidal surge left all of the historical area of Annapolis near the City Docks under water. Now, a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists finds within the next few decades, the bustling historical area could eventually be underwater more often than not–and you can blame it all on climate change.

“When you think about the impact on businesses that are in this area and the impact on the taxes, the impact on the local economy as it relates to tourism and the other cultural institutions, it’s a big deal,” said Lisa Craig, Annapolis Historical Preservation.

The report highlights more than 30 national landmarks at risk due to rising seas, floods and wildfires. Maryland, with its more than 3,000 miles of shorelines, is one of the states most vulnerable to a rise in sea level.

“Sea level is rising worldwide, but it is rising nearly two to three times faster in the Chesapeake Bay,” said Meteorologist Chelsea Ingram.

WJZ obtained maps of Maryland showing how much land would be lost with a four-foot rise in sea level. While Ocean City and the town of Crisfield could take a major hit, it’s all of Dorchester County that could lose the most acres, including the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, not far from the site of the national Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Monument currently in the works–a site the report says could be largely underwater by 2050.

“We will lose a lot of farmland and gain a lot of marshland and that’s not necessarily good for the farmers who are there,” said Annapolis Ward 1 Alderman Joe Budge.

The report calls on cities in the affected areas like Annapolis to take actions to protect themselves and their historic landmarks. It also calls on lawmakers to take actions to reduce the threats of climate change.

The report also examines the climate change flooding risks for low-lying historic areas of Boston, Jamestown and Charleston, S.C.

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