Flooded farms likely along Chesapeake Bay shores
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- Story Highlights
By the end of the century, rising sea levels of 2 to 5 feet in the Chesapeake will submerge farms that have been passed down within families for generations.
Meanwhile, climate change is associated with an increase in the number and strength of hurricanes, increasing the likelihood of particularly damaging storms like Isabel. In September 2003, Isabel brought 6 to 8 feet of storm surge into the upper regions of the Chesapeake Bay and caused an estimated $410 million in damage when it passed over Maryland.
When Chesapeake water floods a farm field, it kills crops like corn and soybeans by choking the supply of oxygen to the roots. But the brackish water which is more saline than fresh water, but less saline than seawater deposits salt and other chemicals that remain in the soil for years.
Rising Seas: Flooded farms likely
Steve Mason, whose Kent Island fields are on the edge of the Chesapeake Bay, says his land was spoiled by the floodwaters of Tropical Storm Isabel 10 years ago.
- 'That's what Isabel did'
"I planted strawberries the following year; they didn't grow at all, and I've been trying to plant things out there every year.
It's starting to come back a little bit, but I really don't get the production out of the ground that I should.
That's what Isabel did."
— Steve Mason
- 'your 100-year storms and your 500-year storms'
"I can't say I'm not concerned, but I don't know what I can do about it.
You know, it's going to happen from time to time. You've got your 100-year storms and your 500-year storms.
When they're due, they're due, I suppose.
But I don't know what any of us can really do about it."
— Tot Strong
Posted: Monday, July 1, 2013 11:16 pm
KENT ISLAND — Steve Mason had just planted a fresh crop of strawberries when Tropical Storm Isabel flooded his Kent Island farm in 2003. The storm wiped out $7,000 worth of crops and rendered the land unusable for years.
"I planted strawberries the following year; they didn't grow at all, and I've been trying to plant things out there every year," he said. "It's starting to come back a little bit, but I really don't get the production out of the ground that I should. That's what Isabel did."
Or, use your
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Monday, July 1, 2013 11:16 pm.