Chesapeake Bay and Global Warming - Upper Tidewater Region

The extensive tidal swamp, brackish marsh, and tidal flat habitats of the Upper Tidewater Region could undergo major shifts due to global warming.

If sea level rises 27.2 inches this century, the region would face:

  • 30 percent decline in tidal swamp
  • 85 percent decline in the area of brackish marsh
  • 76 percent decline in tidal flats
  • Plum Tree Island National Wildlife Refuge, home to many species of migratory waterfowl, largely disappears.

At the same time, that amount of sea-level rise is projected to cause a 33 percent expansion of freshwater swamp area, which includes both forested and scrub-shrub habitat, with notable expansion into the undeveloped dry land along Mobjack Bay.

Overall, the area of undeveloped dry land across this site declines by 17 percent, or 45,611 acres.

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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