|credit: M. Hendricks|
|marsh conversion, credit: W. Flanagan|
So far, the data shows the population is stable, but the effects of global warming on sea levels are worrisome for some conservationists. Due to rising sea levels, Blackwater's marshes are converting to open water. [see photo above, computer simulation right] Every year Maryland looses 380 acres of its shoreline to the sea. There is little chance of restoring disappearing marshes in Blackwater. Sea level rise is inevitable, outruns sedimentary deposition, and the flat topography is uncooperative. The cost to fill open water with dredge material from Baltimore harbor runs into the billions. So managers hope to facilitate the natural migration of marshes up slope. When marshes do migrate, less salt-water tolerant tree species die off. Hopefully, the beautiful fox squirrel will move too.