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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - Natural Events

Marine Fisheries

Natural Events

Sea Level Rise

Habitats Affected: Wetlands

Common Sources: Natural event accelerated by global warming

Impacts:

  • 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

Storm Events

Habitats Affected: Wetlands, water column, shell bottom

Common Sources: Natural events, but negative effects are worse where pollutant sources occur on adjacent lands.

Impacts:

  • 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 1-800-682-2632

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