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Published on Dec 10, 2013
Deadly Waters: Rising Seas Putting Wildlife at Risk
Sea levels worldwide are rising at increasing rates as temperatures warm due to climate change. If we don't reduce our greenhouse gas pollution, those levels will rise another 3 to 4 feet on average — and perhaps up to 6.5 feet or more — within this century. Some areas are particularly vulnerable. In the United States, sea levels at hotspots along the East Coast, Gulf of Mexico and northwestern Hawaiian Islands are rising three to four times faster than the global average.
Rising seas pose a major risk to our nation's wildlife. The United States is home to 1,383 federally protected threatened and endangered species, many of which depend on coastal and island habitats for survival. Rising seas and increasingly dangerous storm surges threaten to submerge and erode their habitat, and make the groundwater more saline — killing coastal plant communities and ruining drinking water.