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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - Threats to Habitat

Marine Fisheries

The condition of North Carolina's coastal habitats can be affected by a variety of natural and human induced alterations and stressors. Human activities can remove or alter the physical structure of habitats, degrade water quality, modify flows, or stress a habitat community. While much has been done to minimize adverse impacts, small but cumulatively significant impacts continue to threaten our coastal ecosystem. The table below provides a qualitative rating of the severity of various threats, with white being no known impact and red being the most severe.

Threat category

Source and/or impact

Physical threats/ hydrologic modifications Boating activity   yellow yellow orange   yellow
Channelization yellow     yellow    
Dredging
(navigation channels, marinas, basins)
yellow orange orange yellow orange yellow
Fishing gear impacts yellow orange orange   yellow orange
Infrastructure   yellow yellow yellow yellow yellow
Jetties and groins yellow       red  
Mining
yellow     yellow    
Obstructions (dams, culverts, locks) red     yellow    
Shoreline stabilization   orange orange red orange yellow
Upland development red     yellow    
Water withdrawls orange     yellow    
Water quality degradation-sources Land use and non-point sources red yellow red   yellow  
Water-dependent development (marinas and docks) red yellow yellow   orange  
Point sources orange yellow orange   yellow  
Water quality degradation-causes Marine debris yellow          
Microbial contamination orange yellow        
Nutrients and eutrophication
red yellow red   yellow yellow
Saline discharge yellow          
Suspended sedmiment and turbidity
yellow   red   yellow  
Toxic chemicals red yellow yellow yellow orange yellow
Disease and microbial stressors   yellow yellow      
Non-native, invasive or nuisance species yellow yellow yellow yellow yellow yellow
Weather Events orange orange orange red orange orange
N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

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