Chesapeake Bay and Global Warming - Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is a crown jewel among Chesapeake Bay's treasured places. Unfortunately, it could be largely underwater by 2100. Dramatic habitat losses are predicted for the refuge and surrounding areas, where global sea-level rise is compounded by high rates of land subsidence due to groundwater withdrawal for agriculture and relatively lower rates of natural accretion in marshes.

The site is predicted to lose over 90 percent of its tidal fresh marsh, tidal swamp and brackish marsh, which are converted to saltmarsh and--ultimately--open water.

The loss of brackish marsh could be particularly harmful to species that have adapted to these habitats, including rockfish and white perch, as well as anadromous species such as herring and shad, which use brackish marsh habitat as they transition between their freshwater and saltwater life cycles.

Similarly, the loss of tidal fresh marshes could affect minnows, carp, sunfish, crappie and bass, which depend on these habitats for shelter, food, and spawning.

For more in-depth information about how the Chesapeake Bay is being impacted by global warming, check out the following reports:

Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Habitats of the Chesapeake Bay: A Summary - May, 2008
NWF commissioned a modeling analysis of how Chesapeake Bay habitats will be affected by sea-level rise in the coming century.

The Chesapeake Bay and Global Warming: A Paradise Lost for Hunters, Anglers, and Outdoor Enthusiasts? - September 2007
NWF analyzed the many global warming impacts on the Chesapeake Bay.

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