High Tide in Dorchester
and needlerush, tidewater sparkling up through them, offer a boundless canvas for the romp of light, rippling to the wind’s passages beneath a horizon-spanning dome of sky. But Dorchester’s hundreds of thousands of acres of land, ranking fourth largest among Maryland’s 23 counties, will shrink to 14th by century’s end as nearly half the county turns to open water. A l r e a d y s c i e nt i s t s w i t h t h e Chesapeake Audubon Society are documenting severe declines in the county’s black rails and salt marsh sparrows, species that depend on t he highest and dr iest par ts of wetlands that are now growing soggier. Proliferating are red-headed woodpeckers, which enjoy the rapid expansion of dead forests.
peake’s nearly 200-mile length. So we’ve focused our cameras on my old stomping grounds, Dorchester C ou nt y on Ma r yla nd’s E a ster n Shore, a place where the future is well underway. “Water moves us” is the county’s tourism slogan, both apt and ironic. “Maryland’s Everglades,” a noted birder, Harry Armistead, dubbed Dorchester. It is a wonderland of water and wetlands, tidal creeks and wooded swamps and islands, nurturing an abundance of seafood and wildlife, home to historic fishing communities and the internationally known Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Vast sweeps of spartina grasses
Tidewater Times April 2018