Climate Change Threatens Livelihood of MD Residents

  • By Lorelei Schumer

Rising sea levels have brought attention to the Chesapeake Bay

Over 10 to 20 years, the Chesapeake Bay and its surrounding states have faced increased rates of rising sea levels/climate change that have brought about new issues for residents.

Increased sea levels have impacted the Annapolis, MD area, especially areas near downtown Annapolis and Broadneck that have experienced higher rates of flooding. Ongoing climate change has made sea temperatures warmer, sea levels rise at a faster rate, and has also disturbed many ecosystems through the years. 

A constant reminder of the negative impact of rising sea levels is the flooding of downtown Annapolis. Newspapers, such as The Capital Gazette, have published numerous articles focused around the increased flooding over several years. As recently as December 21, 2020, The Capital Gazette published the article “Sink or Swim,”  detailing the struggles businesses and homeowners face as sea levels continue to rise. 

These changes will affect Maryland residents in the near future as Heather Brewster, a manager at an Environmental Protection Firm, points out: “Rising sea levels would definitely impact people’s homes, especially [those] who live near the water. [Rising sea levels] would also erode shorelines, which would create bigger problems for residents in the future.”

Due to climate change and its impact on rising sea levels, Annapolis/MD residents’ daily lives and activities have been largely affected. Additionally, many seafood and fishing businesses operating in Maryland have been negatively affected by the rising sea level rates in the Chesapeake Bay. “Many people are already aware that climate change has impacted the crabbing industry,” states Brewster, “However, climate change and rising sea levels have made the number of crabs decrease over [time], as water temperatures rise. In the future, this could really put a strain on crabbing industries/companies and could potentially ruin them.”

While many people are aware that climate change has been occurring for decades, only recently have people brought greater attention to its harmful effects in the Chesapeake Bay. Although the Chesapeake Bay has seen its improvements over time, there are still large issues being dealt with today. Bryan Gomes, Education Coordinator at Clearshark H2O, explains the problems still plaguing the Bay. “Our Chesapeake has changed over the last decade for the positive – [think] large scale oyster restoration and promising follow up data – and the negative [with] increased human population in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, that, in turn has led to increased nutrient, sediment, and plastic pollution.”

Climate change has impacted people’s lives around the world, but Maryland residents have been hit especially hard by rising sea levels in the Chesapeake Bay. In order to help prevent further damage caused by climate change/rising sea levels, Maryland residents should become more involved, whether they live near the Bay or not.

As Bryan Gomes states, “[The] best advice of how to help the Bay’s health is the old adage ‘think globally, but act locally.” Bay health starts with the ‘local environment’ of your yard and personal consumer behavior, which includes eliminating single use plastic.” By starting small, the Chesapeake Bay could improve drastically in the future with the help of local residents. In order to do your part in helping prevent further damage caused by climate change/sea level rise, feel free to check out the Southern Maryland Chronicle’s “Local Government Leaders Highlight Collaboration on Climate Change Resilience Plans” at https://southernmarylandchronicle.com/2020/01/15/local-government-leaders-highlight-collaboration-on-climate-resilience-plans/  to learn more about the Maryland State Government’s plans on preventing rising sea levels and protecting MD residents.

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