Rising seas and housing demand threaten Maine’s biggest marsh


This story was produced through a partnership with Climate Central, a non-advocacy science and news group. John Upton and Kelly Van Baalen of Climate Central contributed reporting.

SCARBOROUGH, Maine — A little brown bird with orange facial markings led Andrew Mackie to travel hundreds of miles from his home state of New York to Scarborough Marsh 30 years ago.

The avid birder came to see the saltmarsh sparrow, a secretive creature about 5 inches long and weighing half an ounce. It breeds in salt marshes from Maine to the Chesapeake Bay, nesting in saltmeadow cordgrass just above the high tide line and the ocean waters that rise up twice a day. Its hardiness and elusiveness attracted Mackie.


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