Wednesday, June 24, 2009

NC Coast

The Outer Banks is fragile place. We live on what was once sea floor.

North Carolina’s coast is considered particularly vulnerable to climate change because it is so long and flat. A 2008 study by the University of Maryland identified North Carolina’s coast as one of the country’s most vulnerable areas to climate change.

I had a talk the other day with Brian Boutin from the Nature Conservancy. Apparently, Alligator River (where we were fishing yesterday) is in danger from rising sea levels.

He is currently involved in a research project whose final outcome is to stop the degradation and eventual loss of this ecosystem.

Rising sea levels have already changed the area, which is valuable habitat for an array of wildlife, including black bears, red wolves and migratory songbirds. Peat soils are degrading, and plants and trees have died as saltwater has pushed into the area. If nothing is done to adapt the area to rising sea levels, researchers estimate that one million acres could be lost within 100 years.

The Conservancy’s climate change adaptation project will make the fragile shoreline more resilient to encroaching seas.
Brian seems like a good guy who knows his way around wetlands. Hopefully, they'll be able to find ways to slow down the loss of this important ecosystem. For more information, check out the Nature conservancy.

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