Humans Doing More Harm Than Good In Protecting Wetlands From Rising Water | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Humans Doing More Harm Than Good In Protecting Wetlands From Rising Water

Play associated audio

Rising oceans are a big threat to wetlands around the Chesapeake Bay, but scientists at the Smithsonian say wetlands can protect themselves — as long as humans stay out of the way.

A review paper from the Smithsonian concludes that rising waters simply aren't the biggest factor in wetland demise. Instead, it's human efforts to control those rising ocean waters that are more damaging to wetland survival, mostly in the form of hardened shoreline structures like dams and seawalls.

Review co-author Patrick Megonigal says hardened shorelines disrupt wetlands' amazing ability raise themselves by building up soil to outpace sea-level rise. Groundwater withdrawal and artificial drainage are also big factors, especially here in the Chesapeake region.

Megonigal says most scientists, engineers and city planners understand this.

"We're a long way from that trickling into the imagination of politicians, residents, people who have a big stake in the outcome of these kinds of decisions," he says.

Megonigal says the Chesapeake region has some of the strongest laws in the world protecting its wetlands, but also has some of highest relative sea-level rise on the planet, making this an issue that isn't likely to go away.

NPR

Jenner: 'For All Intents And Purposes, I Am A Woman'

In an interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC's "20/20", the former gold-medal-winning Olympic decathlete described a struggle with gender identity that began in childhood.
NPR

PepsiCo Swaps Diet Drink's Aspartame For Other Artificial Sweeteners

The company says Diet Pepsi consumers are concerned about aspartame. But the Food and Drug Administration has long affirmed that the sweetener is safe in amounts commonly used by beverage companies.
NPR

Week In Politics: Clinton Foundation, Drone Strikes

NPR's Melissa Block talks with E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post and Brookings Institution and David Brooks of The New York Times about the Clinton Foundation financial news and drone strikes.
NPR

At The Heart Of A Watch, Tested By Time

Watchmakers have long thrived by selling timepieces that will be cherished as family heirlooms. But, if pragmatism rendered the pocket watch obsolete, what happens when watches become computers?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.