Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Impact of Climate Change on the Delaware Watershed

Climate change won't just affect ice caps and polar bears. As the News Journal reports, the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary has released a report detailing some of the impacts of global warming on the Delaware watershed:
The levees and dikes that hold in fresh water to create waterfowl habitat and protect communities like historic Old New Castle from flooding wouldn't stand up to a 3-feet rise in sea level, according to a scientist who worked on a climate change report issued Wednesday by the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.

For New Castle, an estimated 25 percent of the city's populated areas would be flooded if all four of its dikes -- Buttonwood and Broad dikes in the northern part of the city, Gambacorta Marsh on the south side of Battery Park and Army Creek, which is partially outside the southern city limits -- failed, according to a recent engineering report.
The report, which can be found here, focuses on the impacts on tidal wetlands, drinking water and bivalve shellfish. It does not attempt to measure all of the most significant impacts on the watershed.

Water and sewer facilities, including Wilmington’s wastewater treatment plant, which serves most of New Castle County, will be inundated. If I-95, I-495 and Amtrak’s northeast corridor are flooded, the major transportation links serving Wilmington and linking Washington and New York will be lost.

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