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Study: Parts Of Conn. Coast To Be Underwater By 2080

The Nature Conservancy/nature.org

A new study finds rising sea levels will put thousands of acres of land in coastal Connecticut underwater at high tide by the year 2080.

The study, released Friday by the Nature Conservancy, says by 2080, about 24,000 acres of currently dry land in coastal Connecticut will be underwater twice a day at high tide.

Adam Whelchel, Director of Science at the Nature Conservancy, said nearly a third of that land is developed. That means during high tide, sea water will get into buildings like schools, churches and houses in the 29 Connecticut cities and towns that border Long Island Sound. It’ll also reach parts of Tweed New Haven Airport, the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant in Waterford, and sections of I-95.

“What the future will involve is a lot of water in a lot of different places, and learning to accommodate water and living with daily tides in places where they don’t exist now in these coastal municipalities,” he said.

Whelchel said to accommodate that water, Connecticut will need to raise roads and build stronger drainage systems. In places that haven’t been developed, he said cities and towns might have to reconsider whether to allow anything to be built there at all.

The study is based on projections from NASA climate scientists. It’s part of a series of coastal resiliency studies the Nature Conservancy started in 2007. Whelchel said a study showing the same information for Suffolk County on Long Island is planned to be released early next year.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.