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A Vanished Island tons of soil downstream and into the Bay. It’s one reason why the Bay is so shallow, a mere nineteen feet on average, or so I’m told. The shoreline of the Chesapeake consequently is in a constant state of f lux because our shorelines are gradually melting, even if the sea level weren’t rising, which it is. W hat i s i mpor t a nt to shore dwellers is not the sea level itself or the rise and fall of the land, but the combined effect of the two upon the waterline ~ the point where the water meets the land. If the land is going up as the sea level rises, the waterline may not change it all; ditto if both are dropping. But if the land

subsides as the water rises, the effect upon the waterline is additive. And that, unfortunately, is what is happening around here. There is some debate about how fast the waterline is rising in the Chesapeake, and why, but it is rising, though the rate varies somewhat f rom location to location. The impact on our shorelines can be dramatic. If all our shores were great high earthen banks like Calvert Cliffs, that would be one thing. But the gradient of the Eastern Shore ~ the slope of the land ~ is very shallow. Raise the waterline by just a few inches, the Delmarva shoreline may move inland by a hundred yards or more. All Chesapeake shores are sub-

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July 2015 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times july 2015