For the past four years scientists have been working in the Bronx, taking advantage of a unique opportunity to study and research the past and future of our coastal ecosystem.
A rare stretch of otherwise untouched wetland exists in the uptown enclave, which has allowed scientists to document sea levels in this region for over 1,500 years. The sediment in the marsh has so far not only confirmed the by well-known fact that sea levels are rising, but in particular reveals deep concern over the likelihood of disastrous flooding in the near future.
The study, “Relative Sea-Level Trends in New York City During the Past 1,500 Years,” led by scientist Andrew Kemp, has yielded fascinating results, such as providing evidence of nuclear testing that flourished in the area in the 1950s and 1960s. Most concerning is the devastation the projected flooding could have on New York City’s infrastructure, including hospitals, numerous hazardous waste sites, and the homes of over 100,000 citizens.
At least 80 per cent of New York City’s wetlands are already degraded, making the dirt in this marsh ever more valuable. The estimated costs of the expected flooding is $25 billion. It is expected that the results of this study will be useful to the city as the government still adjusts to a post-Hurricane Sandy reality, and fully evaluates the scale of flood-risk, possible prevention and responsive disaster management.