Discover Living Shorelines: Protection of North Carolina’s Coast for Years to Come

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Example of a shoreline with man-made erosion control structures

Erosion control structures using materials like oyster shells and limestone at Camp Caroline shoreline

North Carolina is home to 12,000 miles of estuarine shoreline. These areas provide some of the most productive habitats for wildlife in our state. Blue crabs, shrimp, mussels, snails, barnacles, herons, ospreys, skimmers, terns, and a wide variety of fish. Take a stroll along a North Carolina shoreline and you’ll quickly realize that the list of wildlife is seemingly endless.

Unfortunately, North Carolina shorelines are at risk due to factors such as sea level rise, concentrated waves from boats, extreme storms and ineffective development practices. 

Benefits of Living Shorelines

Living shorelines are an effective and natural solution. A living shoreline is a protected, stabilized coastal edge made of natural elements including oyster shells, limestone, and native marsh grasses. Natural infrastructure solutions like living shorelines provide wildlife habitat, as well as natural resilience to communities near the waterfront.

example of a living shoreline with natural erosion control

Camp Caroline shoreline with native grass

North Carolina Wildlife Federation recently partnered with the North Carolina Coastal Federation to restore 305 feet of shoreline at Camp Caroline in Arapahoe, NC. What was once an area containing insufficient erosion control structures like bulkheads and rip rap is now a living shoreline reinforced with over three thousand native salt meadow hay (Spartina patens) plugs. 

This project exemplifies NCWF’s commitment to habitat restoration backed by science and rooted in effective wildlife conservation!

Find out how you can contribute to habitat restoration projects and events like this one!

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