Pushing the Boundaries of Life: Delaware Bay
High tide on Delaware Bay presses migrating shorebirds against storm sewer outfalls near Cape May. The sandpipers, red knots, and turnstones that migrate to the Arctic in numbers approaching one million, already face declines in horseshoe crab eggs, their principal food along these shores. Rising sea level now is reducing the area for foraging, and could affect the success of this annual flight thousands of miles from South America to the Arctic.
Even more drastic changes are occurring in Chesapeake Bay to the south, where sea level rise is more than twice the world average -- and predicted to rise about 8 inches in just 25 years. Crucial islands like Poplar and Smith, and wetlands like the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, are succumbing to the encroaching waters.