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Habitat inventories offer new perspective on North Carolina’s coast

A feature story in Coastal Review Online -- a news service covering the North Carolina coastline -- highlights a recently completed project to inventory modifications to beach and tidal inlet habitats from Maine to North Carolina that is providing new information to managers in the coastal zone.
Habitat inventories offer new perspective on North Carolina’s coast

Ophelia Inlet is one of just a few inlets in North Carolina that have not been dredged, according to Tracy Rice's inventory. Credit: Google Earth

A new feature story in the Coastal Review Online highlights an LCC-supported project to inventory modifications to beach and tidal inlet habitats from Maine to North Carolina during three time periods: before Hurricane Sandy, immediately after the storm, and three years after post-storm recovery efforts, 

Developed by coastal geologist Tracy Monegan Rice of Terwiliger Consulting using imagery from Google Earth, state agencies, private organizations, and municipalities, the inventory covers the entire breeding range of the federally endangered piping plover (Charadrius melodus), providing a birds-eye view of the coastline that offers new perspective for local, state, and federal resource mangers working to increase resilience. 

Noting the extent of modifications to inlets along the North- and Mid-Atlantic coastline, the author points out several examples of armoring, dredging, and mining in North Carolina alone. 

Considering the role each state plays in supporting habitat for piping plover, and other species that depend on beach and tidal inlet habitat, the inventory brings the collective implications of past, present, and future modifications to these features into focus. 

The final products -- including habitat assessment reports, Microsoft Excel databases, Google Earth data layers, and Data Basin shapefiles -- were designed to provide a baseline to help managers anticipate future changes that could affect human and natural coastal communities. All of the products are available on the Beach and Tidal Habitat Inventories product page on the North Atlantic LCC's website. 

Read the entire feature story on Coastal News Online. 

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