MNN Galleries

14 islands threatened by climate change

By: Katherine Butler on Jan. 10, 2018, 11:44 a.m.
houses near the water on Tangier Island, Virginia

Photo: J. Albert Bowden II/flickr

9 of 16

Tangier Island, Virginia

Located in Chesapeake Bay, Tangier Island is about 12 miles from mainland Virginia. A study led by marine biologist David Schulte with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers found that the island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850, according to the New York Times. In addition to problems caused by sea level rise, Tangier faces issues because of its location in the center of the bay, as well as its crumbly surface, which is made primarily of sand and silt. The combination leaves the island fragile and unprotected. "They're just in a very untenable position," Schulte tells the Times. "And they don't have any options right now other than something big to turn them around." Schulte outlined a $30 million engineering plan that might preserve the island. If not, he estimates residents have about 50 years before they will have to vacate Tangier.