‘It’s new in that respect’

A recent flooding event on the Battleship North Carolina has attracted widespread attention, demonstrating the museum’s leaders’ bold and unconventional approach to combating rising sea levels and chronic flooding.

Anchored in Wilmington, North Carolina, this historic ship serves as both a popular museum and a poignant memorial to World War II veterans. However, as reported by The Washington Post, its location makes it vulnerable to the encroaching waters of the Cape Fear River.

During the flood, retired Navy Capt. Terry Bragg, the museum’s executive director, waded through the flooded parking lot. “This is climate change,” Bragg said, standing ankle-deep in water that was creeping higher by the minute.

This event highlighted the severity of the situation: the battleship has recorded a more than 7,000% increase in tidal flooding since opening to the public in 1961.

Recent research and data indicate a significant increase in both the frequency and intensity of flooding. One of the main reasons for this uptick is the overheating of our planet, which is largely caused by harmful carbon pollution from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas. As our planet warms, the air can hold more moisture, leading to more intense and frequent rainstorms, which in turn can cause flash floods and other water-related disasters.

In response to the flooding, museum leaders decided to defy conventional methods and embrace a new approach to the problem.

Instead of trying to stop the rising waters, they choose to adapt to the changing landscape. This strategy involves creating a “living coastline” with earthen berms and native vegetation to reduce wave and tidal erosion. In addition, large portions of the parking lot will be restored to a natural tidal creek and wetland, capturing floodwaters and returning them to the Cape Fear River.

“They’re not fighting to hold back the water. It’s not the approach that’s taken most of the time, so it’s new in that respect,” said Jenny Davis, an ecologist.

This progressive approach has attracted a lot of attention and praise.

“It’s wonderful to see people dealing with climate change in a realistic and positive way,” said one commenter.

Some expressed concerns about the long-term effectiveness of the project, with one user commenting: “This is a win, let’s hope it’s enough.”

Battleship North Carolina’s response to climate change is not just a temporary solution, but a groundbreaking effort to adapt and coexist with nature. By choosing to work with the environment rather than against it, museum leaders provide a compelling example of how historic preservation and environmental sustainability can go hand in hand.

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