COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Sea levels are rising worldwide, but they’re rising two to three times faster in the Chesapeake Bay. A new semester-long investigative project coordinated by the Philip Merrill College of Journalism’s Capital News Service (CNS) shows that sea level rise is putting major coastal areas of the state of Maryland at risk – including some of the state’s most iconic places — Fells Point in Baltimore, Harriet Tubman’s birthplace, and Fort McHenry, home of the national anthem.

“What’s at Risk: Sea Level Rise in Maryland” is a collaborative, multiplatform investigation by a number of Merrill College classes that includes a website featuring a wealth of multimedia content and an innovative map that shows the neighborhoods that could be affected. Nearly one million Maryland residents live in the affected areas.

The website, with its innovative mapping, is the work of CNS Multimedia Bureau Director Sean Mussenden’s online classes and Haralamb Brainalu, a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Engineering.  CNS students spent the semester crunching numbers and moving that data into interactive maps.

Senior Lecturer Deborah Nelson’s investigative reporting class looked at the effects of rising seas around the state, while students in Able Professor in Baltimore Journalism Sandy Banisky’s urban affairs reporting class covered how Baltimore is dealing with climate change.  Finally, Lecturer and Photojournalist Bethany Swain’s video journalism students captured the stories of Marylanders confronting the problems of higher water and more intense storms. The result is a multiplatform story package that lets readers see how dramatically sea level rise will affect the state — and how their governments are responding.

The package of multimedia stories released this week are available online and has also been distributed to CNS affiliates throughout the state of Maryland and Washington, D.C.

What’s At Risk:

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 3.58.31 PMCoastal Communities

  • Crisfield Risk
  • Coastal Farming
  • Sea Farm (Video)
  • Flood Insurance


  • Tubman Flood
  • Measuring Marsh (Video)
  • Historic Home

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 4.00.16 PMBaltimore

  • Baltimore Floods
  • Baltimore Barriers
  • Baltimore History
  • Real Estate
  • Aquarium Risk
  • Port Risk
  • BARCS Risk

Addressing the Risk:

  • Risk Map
  • Island Erosion
  • Claiborne PreparesScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 4.02.15 PM
  • Chesapeake Beach
  • Calvert Cliffs
  • Calvert Flooding (Video)
  • The Architect (Video)
  • Fishing Creek
  • Waterman Crab (Video)
  • Pastor Hudson
  • Storms Book
  • Emergency Planning

For more information contact:

Sean Mussenden
C: 202-590-2190