East Coast residents have ‘false sense of security’ about threats from invading saltwater

Around the country, scientists are sounding the alarm about saltwater intrusion. But the responses on the ground are sometimes inadequate and may not be sustainable because they run up against economic pressures from development, farming or tourism.

Coastal farmers being driven off their land as salt poisons the soil

With seas rising, farmers along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts increasingly suffer from one of the initial impacts of climate change: saltwater intrusion. Often, the damage is compounded by farming methods ingrained over the years.

As saltwater resculpts the East Coast, researchers say it can’t be stopped but we can adapt

From the mid-Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico, salt is killing groves of trees from the roots up. Advancing water is pressing landowners and farmers into wrenching decisions and is challenging conservationists to find corridors for marshes to survive.

Driven by rising seas, the threats to drinking water, crops from saltwater are growing in U.S.

The cascading consequences of saltwater intrusion were starkly revealed in interviews with more than 100 researchers, planners and coastal residents, along with soil testing and analyses of well-sample data conducted by the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism.

Salt levels in Florida’s groundwater rising at alarming rates; nuke plant is one cause

South Florida’s flooding streets get the attention, but what is happening beneath the surface presents clear — and in some cases eye-popping — evidence of another threat: saltwater intrusion.

ABOUT THIS HOWARD CENTER PROJECT

These stories were produced by the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism, part of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. The mission of the multidisciplinary center is to teach the next generation of investigative journalists through hands-on investigative projects, working with experienced journalists on Merrill’s faculty or with visiting professionals. The Howard Center is generously funded by $3 million from the Scripps Howard Foundation. It honors Roy W. Howard, one of the newspaper world’s pioneers. He became president of the United Press when he was 29 and 10 years later was named chairman of the board of Scripps Howard.

CREDITS: Reporting: Bill Lambrecht, Howard Center visiting professional, and Gracie Todd, one of the center’s inaugural Howard Fellows. Photos: Hannah Fields and Sarah Sopher, University of Maryland; Hunter Musi, Stanford University. Photo editing: Timothy Jacobsen. Fact checking: Molly Work, Natalie Drum and Callan Tansill-Suddath. Copy editing: Alexander Pyles and Joshua Land. Digital design: Adam Marton. Audience engagement: Alexander Pyles. Editor: Kathy Best



Univeristy of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism Logo