Sea level on the shores of Narragansett Bay has risen nearly a foot since 1930. The rate of rise is accelerating as the planet warms. Rhode Island's Coastal Resources Marine Council (RI CRMC) predicts that in Jamestown in 2050, the water rushing onto the shore from a nuisance storm, such as last October's nor'easter, will reach more than halfway up the lower Shoreby Hill Green, overwhelm North Road at Zeek's Creek, and submerge Mackerel Cove Beach. Wrack Line 2050 seeks to alert the community to this imminent reality.
A wrack line is the debris left on shore when high tide departs: shells, rocks, seaweed, and some remnants of human presence. We have introduced a wrack line of stones and shells on the Shoreby Hill Green, at the location where RI CRMC predicts a nuisance storm will deposit its wrack line in 2050. We have placed a storm fence above it, as if to protect the upland area.
Jamestown is extremely vulnerable to sea level rise. We must prepare strategically, practically, and immediately for the environmental, economic and practical realities of living with sea level rise on our island. We created Wrack Line 2050 to draw community-wide attention to the urgent need to plan for and prepare for the rising tides. It is a call to action.