Sea Level Rise
Habitats Affected: Wetlands
Common Sources: Natural event accelerated by global warming
- As sea level rises, wetlands erode and “drown”, especially along steeply sloping shorelines or where inland migration of wetlands is restricted.
- Rising sea level increases salinity upstream and alters distribution and composition of fish populations
Habitats Affected: Wetlands, water column, shell bottom
Common Sources: Natural events, but negative effects are worse where pollutant sources occur on adjacent lands.
- The combination of storm events and sea level rise causes erosion of wetlands at a rate of about 800 acres/yr in North Carolina.
- Non-point runoff from storms can result in excessive loading of sediment and nutrients into the water column.
- Sediment runoff can silt over oyster beds.
- High nutrient loading from storm runoff can lower oxygen levels in the water, killing oysters and benthic organisms.
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|N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632