Coastal Program in North Carolina
Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Dale Suiter/USFWS.
North Carolina has a vast and rich coastal ecosystem that many people depend on to make their living whether it is through fishing, farming or the support of recreational activities. The coastal program is not just limited to the sandy beaches of North Carolina’s coast, but also its extensive river system that empties into the Pamlico Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. The coastal program focuses on collaboration and objective science to solve environmental problems in very tangible ways, on a scale meaningful to the general public.
With the large and continuing population shift to the South and to the coast along with climate change there is a real threat of loss of natural habitat. The coastal program in North Carolina has restored, protected or enhanced more than 36,000 acres of habitat important for rare plants and animals. Together with its partners it has restored fish access to more than 1,500 miles of river and streams through the removal of dams or the building of fish ladders. The Coastal Program in North Carolina along with its partners has been instrumental in the development of techniques that restore habitat such as new seedling technology for the Atlantic White cedar, a globally threatened ecosystem.
Habitats of Special Concern
Atlantic White Cedar Stand.
Rare Plants, Animals and Natural Communities: There are many land and aquatic habitats in the North Carolina Coastal region that are vital to the survival of rare plant and animal species including 22 endangered species, six threatened species, and 65 state-designated rare plants animal and natural communities.
Wetlands: Wetland habitats in the North Carolina Coastal region include freshwater marshes, bottomland hardwoods forests, salt marshes, pocosin, pine savannahs, nonalluvial wetland forests, and wet pine flats.
Spawning areas: The rivers of North Carolina Coastal region provide spawning habitat for migratory fish such as striped bass, shad, and herring that live in the ocean but must migrate up freshwater rivers to spawn.
What we are doing to help
Atlantic Short-nosed Sturgeon. Drawing by Duane Raver.
The Coastal program along with it partners are working together to secure essential habitat for:
The reproduction and rearing of important migratory fish such as striped bass, American shad, herring and sturgeon;
Threatened and endangered species to include the red wolf, sea turtles that nest on the North Carolina coast, tar spiny mussel, rough-leaved loosestrife, wood stork and many others;
Habitat for migratory birds that call North Carolina home during the winter months;
And the globally threatened Atlantic White Cedar Ecosystem.
What do we need to continue our mission?
Continued support from local, state, governmental and nongovernmental officials and agencies for ongoing efforts to protect North Carolina’s coastal habitat
Continued cooperation with the scientific community so sound judgments can be made
Support for expansion into newly formed partnerships locally and nationally
View Reports, Information and References generated by the North Carolina Coastal Program.
Mike Wicker, Coastal Program Coordinator, Raleigh Field Office.