Outdoors

Another report warns how climate change could harm Maine’s coast, this time at Acadia

Posted July 28, 2015, at 2:34 p.m.

A new analysis released today ranks Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island as one of the national parks most harmed by carbon emissions and other sources of pollution in the country.

The National Parks Conservation Association, an organization that is lobbying Congress to limit air pollution, rated 48 national parks, and 12 earned a “D” or lower in at least one of three categories: air quality, haze and climate change.

Acadia scored a “B” in the healthy air category — meaning the air isn’t really a threat to the public — and a “C” in how clearly one could see while visiting. But it scored an “F” in the climate change category. The score put Acadia as the sixth most-harmed park in the country.

Acadia, “is now wetter and warmer than almost any other time in the last century,” the association’s report states.

“The extreme weather is wearing away at Acadia’s famous granite bedrock, quite literally: The added rainfall has increased washouts of roads and trails. The new conditions are chasing off native plants and wildlife, including Maine’s state bird, the black-capped chickadee. Meanwhile, new species have made themselves more at home; deer ticks, which carry Lyme disease, have experienced a notable boom.”

Other reports have warned about how climate change could affect coastal property in Maine.

The Portland Society for Architecture, for instance, released a report estimating that a two-foot rise in sea level by 2050 would do $33 million in damage to current buildings along the city’s waterfront — and heavily traveled — Commercial Street, and that four feet in sea-level rise by 2100 would do $111 million in damage.

And the National Climate Assessment report, released in 2014, wrote that the Northeast should expect infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries and ecosystems to be comprised given that “[h]eat waves, heavy downpours, and sea level rise pose growing challenges.”

The federal report, which synthesizes earlier research, says global sea levels are projected to rise one to four feet by 2100, depending on how much ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica melt. But for the Northeast, even a sea level rise of two feet “would more than triple the frequency of dangerous coastal flooding.”

Acadia sees about 2.6 million visitors each year and was named “America’s Most Favorite Place” by Good Morning America viewers in 2014.

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