June 2018 - Sea Level Rise

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Coastal Aerial View of Broadkill, Delaware

Photo by Delaware Geological Survey

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Delaware is the lowest-lying state in the US, with much of the state’s coastal areas just above or even below sea level. This presents a challenge in the face of sea level rise, which is occurring faster around the Mid-Atlantic than anywhere else in the US because of the region’s geology and ocean currents.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and Delaware Geological Survey have been busy preparing for sea level rise by determining what areas of the state are most prone to future flooding. By using lasers to measure the distance from a plane to the ground, coastal managers have been able to quickly and accurately map Delaware’s topography.

The resulting maps can then be combined with models of how sea level is changing to inform coastal communities about where to build infrastructure and to inform ecologists about how Delaware’s wetlands might migrate inland. The Delaware Geological Survey released its new set of sea level rise maps last fall, updating the previous maps from 2009.

2 - National Trails Day - Delaware is home to more than 15 state parks whose trails offer a chance to catch wildlife like migratory birds, turtles, and foxes in action.

5 - World Environment Day - Being a good steward of the environment is especially important in Delaware, which has lost more than half of its wetlands in the past few centuries and is home to more than 50 endangered species of birds and animals.

6 - University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment Turns 48 - The college has come a long way since its inception as the Graduate College of Marine Studies in 1970 - it now boasts Geography and Geological Sciences departments as well as a thriving undergraduate program.

8 - World Oceans Day - This year’s international event is all about reducing plastic pollution. Do your part by heading to the coast to pick up a bag of trash or trying to forego plastic for the day.

17 - Father’s Day

20 - American Eagle Day - Celebrate America’s national raptor and Delaware native bird today. Thankfully, the population of bald eagles is rebounding throughout the US.

21 - First Day of Summer - Looking to keep up your education while school’s out this summer? Check out our library of 15 Second Science videos!

Michael Graw