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Sunday, July 14, 2024

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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

NC counts on salt marshes' role in hurricane protection

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Friday, June 14, 2024   

Hurricane season is here, and conservationists are shining a light on the role salt marshes play in protecting coastal North Carolina communities.

Studies find that salt marshes absorb flood waters and wave energy, reducing property damage in nearby areas by an average 20%.

Charlie Deaton, a habitat protection biologist at the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, explained what salt marshes do to help areas build climate resilience.

"They're good at helping us actually mitigate some of the carbon we've released into the atmosphere, and they are good for community resilience, too," he said. "They protect landward shorelines from erosion, and salt marshes' larger scales can actually reduce the impacts of storm surge and reduce flooding from that."

North Carolina has about 220,000 acres of salt marshes, but the protections they offer are dependent on their health and preservation. Coastal development, pollution and climate change all pose threats to these ecosystems. Deaton said plans are in place to help restore them. The South Atlantic Salt Marsh Initiative aims to save 1 million salt-marsh acres, from North Carolina to Florida.

As hurricane activity is projected to increase in frequency and intensity, the role of salt marshes in protecting coastal communities becomes even more critical. Deaton said the evidence is clear that restoring these landscapes is urgent if we want to keep them.

"And if we start to lose our salt marshes," he said, "we're going to start to lose our nursery areas, and that's going to have negative impacts on our fish stocks and our fishing communities that depend on them, not to mention the direct community resilience benefits of preventing erosion and reducing storm surge."

At the state level, North Carolina also has a Salt Marsh Action plan to enhance and rejuvenate salt marshes. Deaton emphasized the importance of coupling these efforts with others that reduce pollution to safeguard coastal communities.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.


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