CRISFIELD, Md. (WJZ) — The effects of sea-level rise can be hard to see at times, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

In fact, it’s about to claim an education program that has been around since the 70s.

Just off the coast of Crisfield, Maryland, sits a one of a kind learning experience.

“We’re out in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, one of the most productive ecosystems in the world,” Tom Ackerman said.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation Fox Island Education Center is used to fully immerse students and teachers into a lesson about the Chesapeake Bay.

“Less than 100 miles from Washington D.C., but one of the wildest places on the east coast of the United States,” Ackerman said.

But the center, which has been in operation since 1978, is about to be shut down. With sea-level rise, and erosion forcing the Foundation’s hand.

“You can see that water come up and hit the bottom of our building on a high tide,” Ackerman said.

The foundation estimates 70 percent of the island has washed away over the past 50 years.

“The Chesapeake Bay is a hot spot for sea-level rise across the globe,” Ackerman said. “Our ground is sinking while the water is rising.”

That’s not only bad news for tiny islands in the middle of the bay. Experts say towns and cities up and down the Chesapeake can, and in some cases already are, feeling an impact.

“Right here in Annapolis, we’ve had to re-outfit our city dock just to deal with the opening salvo of what’s happening with sea-level rise, and climate change,” Ackerman said.

But by switching to a greener economy, experts believe it could help curb the problem.

“Shifting to a greener economy is going to be difficult for people, but not nearly as difficult as facing the challenges that we do coming from sea level rise and climate change,” Ackerman said.

Sean Streicher

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