Climate Change Impacts

In a joint essay published by NBC Washington and Climate Central (April 12, 2021), the authors laid out the scope of their findings regarding the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway: "Climate Central analyzed 45 sites along the byway, which stretches from Maryland to Delaware, and found 16 of the sites will experience significant flood risk by 2050; 25 of them face such threats by century's end. The report singles out 10 significant places around Dorchester County as likely to face occasional, frequent or chronic risk of flooding this century."[1]

"Saving Tubman Sites: Rising Seas Threaten Harriet Tubman By Way," NBC Washington Investigations, April 6, 2021, accessed July 12, 2022,

The Future Flood Risk: Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway report prsents the scientific impact of climate change on the region: "Since much of the Byway is situated only a few feet above sea level, coastal flooding already poses a significant risk to many of these sites. As the climate continues to warm and sea levels rise, the risk of flooding to these historic sites will increase dramatically."[2].

The ten sites on the Harriet Tubman Byway most impacted by climate change include Joseph Stewart's Canal, Malone's Church, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, Bucktown General Store, Brodess Farm, Scott's Chapel, Long Wharf, Moses Viney/Daniel Crouse Memorial Park, the town of Madison, and the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. What is striking about Climate Central analysis is just how extensive flooding will be in the region through a combination of sea level rise, tide, and storm surge during this century.[3] What we see today will seize to exist.

Climate change, including sea rise, should be a significant part of our discussions around historic preservation and monument building. Do we continue to build monuments and create/restore historic sites in areas that are/will be directly impacted by flooding and other related climate issues?


[1]Jodie Fleischer, Katie Leslie, Teneille Gibson, Steve Jones (NBC Washington) and John Upton, Kelly Van Baalen, Allison Kopicki (Climate Central), "Historic Harriet Tubman Sites at Risk of Rising Seas on Eastern Shore," Climate Central, Partnership Journalism, April 12, 2021, accessed July 12, 2022,

[2]Climate Central, Future Flood Risk: Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, April 2021, page 2. See the NBC Investigations Report video here:

[3]Climate Central, Future Flood Risk: Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, April 2021, pages 5-14. See also Monica Danielle, "Race Against Time as Historic Harriet Tubman Sites Are Threatened by Rising Sea Levels," AccuWeather, February 22, 2022, accessed July 12, 2022,

Climate Change Impacts