"I think (these estuaries) are going to see some of the most severe impacts," said Amie Howell, the EPA's Delaware Estuary program coordinator for the mid-Atlantic region. Estuaries are freshwater sources - such as rivers and streams - that flow into open saltwater sources.
While the EPA's study means to determine where more attention is needed, researchers have already studied the effect of climate change on the estuary.
"We weren't starting completely from scratch," said Jennifer Adkins, executive director of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary. "We had an idea of what impacts we wanted to look at."…David Velinsky, senior scientist at the
One possible problem is increased salinity. If the global sea level rises, salt water from the ocean can migrate farther inland, affecting everything from the local drinking supply to farmers that use ground water to irrigate their crops. "This isn't going to happen overnight," Velinsky said. "But it's not the kind of thing you can easily treat."NASA image of Cape Henlopen, at the mouth of the Delaware Estuary, Wikimedia Commons