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Museum leaders defy the norm with plan to share dangers threatening historic site: 'It's novel in that aspect'

This forward-thinking approach has drawn significant attention and praise.

This forward-thinking approach has drawn significant attention and praise.

Photo Credit: iStock

A recent flooding event at the Battleship North Carolina has garnered widespread attention, showcasing the bold and unconventional approach taken by the museum's leaders to combat rising sea levels and chronic flooding. 

Anchored in Wilmington, North Carolina, this historic ship serves as both a popular museum and 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 flooding event, retired Navy Capt. Terry Bragg, the executive director of the museum, waded through the inundated parking lot. "This is climate change," Bragg said, standing ankle-deep in the floodwaters that crept 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 it opened to the public in 1961. 

Recent research and data point to a significant rise in both the frequency and intensity of flooding events. One of the primary reasons for this upsurge is the overheating of our planet, which is largely caused by harmful carbon pollution from burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas. As our planet heats up, the air can hold more moisture, leading to more intense and frequent downpours, which, in turn, can cause flash flooding and other water-related disasters.

In response to the flooding challenges, the museum's leaders have decided to defy conventional methods and embrace a novel approach to the problem. 

Instead of attempting to hold back the rising waters, they are opting to accommodate the changing landscape. This strategy involves creating a "living shoreline" with earthen berms and native vegetation to lessen wave and tidal erosion. Additionally, large portions of the parking lot will be restored to a natural tidal creek and wetland, helping to capture and direct floodwaters back to the Cape Fear River.

"They are not fighting to hold the water back. It's not the approach that's taken most of the time, so it's novel in that aspect," said Jenny Davis, an ecologist. 

This forward-thinking approach has drawn significant attention and praise. 

"It's beautiful to see people dealing with climate change in a realistic and positive fashion," one commenter said.

Some expressed concern about the long-term effectiveness of the project, with one user commenting, "This is a win, let's hope it's sufficient."

The Battleship North Carolina's response to climate change is not just a temporary fix but a pioneering effort to adapt to and coexist with nature. By choosing to work with the environment rather than against it, the museum leaders are setting a compelling example of how historical preservation and environmental sustainability can go hand in hand.

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