Chesapeake Bay and Global Warming - Virginia's Eastern Shore

Virginia's Eastern Shore faces a dramatic loss of estuarine and ocean beaches.

  • By 2025, estuarine beach is projected to decline by 52 percent and ocean beach by 26 percent.
  • By 2100, more than 80 percent of these beaches could disappear and be converted to open water.

Like other regions around the bay, the peninsula is projected to lose more than half of its brackish marsh by 2050, with a nearly complete loss by 2100.

The extremely rare sea-level fens are also at risk. Located upland of wide, ocean-side tidal marshes on the upper east side of the peninsula, these habitats are comprised entirely of open, freshwater wetlands whose primary water source is groundwater.

Only certain types of plants and animals can thrive in the fens, including:

  • Tenangled pipewort
  • Carnivorous sundew
  • Bladderwort
  • Nanothemis bella dragonfly
  • Eastern mud turtle

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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