News & Events for Chesapeake Bay

Sinking island passes fundraising goal after POTUS says it’s not sinking

Date Posted: 2017-06-19
Source: HuffPost

Editor's Note: For an in-depth and insightful look at Tangier please see our Waterway Guide feature.

The small island of Tangier, Virginia, which is vanishing due to rising waters, has surpassed an important community fundraising goal after Donald Trump told the mayor not to worry about increasing sea levels.

“He said, ‘Your island has been there for hundreds of years, and I believe your island will be there for hundreds more,” Tangier Mayor James “Ooker” Eskridge said Trump told him in a surprise phone call on Tuesday. The president said “not to worry about sea-level rise,” Eskridge added.

Tangier has lost nearly 70 percent of its land mass since 1850, losing up to nine acres each year. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers predicts rising waters and erosion will be so dire in 20 years— even fewer in the event of a major storm — that the remaining residents will be forced to abandon the Chesapeake Bay island. The population has already shrunk from 1,500 to 450.

The president reached out to Eskridge after a CNN report last week on the island’s threatened future and its charm. The local residents, deep in Trump country, were thrilled with the White House phone call and have used it and the media attention to build support for the one thing they believe can save them: a sea wall.

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