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Rare maritime forest at Gateway NRA at risk from sea level rise: USGS

MIDDLETOWN - A rare forest on the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area, as well as the park's historic structures and natural lands, are at risk of being destroyed or damaged by climate change and sea level rise, according to a new report released Tuesday by the U.S. Geological Survey.

"The Bayside Holly Forest, one of only two known old-growth American holly maritime forests, the other is in the Sunken Forest in the Fire Island National Seashore (in New York), is particularly vulnerable to SLR (sea-level rise) because of the proximity of the water table to land surface in low-lying areas and the potential for saltwater intrusion and inundation," the USGS scientists wrote in the report, which was prepared for the National Park Service. "About 70% of the Bayside Holly Forest was inundated during Hurricane Sandy in 2012."

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