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PNS Daily Newscast - December 14, 2018 


The Senate votes to withdraw funding for the Saudi war in Yemen. Also on the Friday rundown: the Global Climate Conference reinforces the need for grassroots movements; and could this be the most wasteful time of year?

Daily Newscasts

Oysters Could Help Protect NC from Hurricane Season

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts believe that if oyster beds once in place in the coastal waters of New York had been there during Hurricane Sandy, much of the damage could have been reduced. (The Nature Conservancy)
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts believe that if oyster beds once in place in the coastal waters of New York had been there during Hurricane Sandy, much of the damage could have been reduced. (The Nature Conservancy)
July 16, 2018

WANCHESE, N.C. – North Carolina's coastal residents are breathing a sigh of relief after Hurricane Chris took a turn away from the Atlantic Coast – but there undoubtedly will be additional threats from extreme weather and sea-level rise this season.

The answer to those problems could lie with a favorite delicacy – the oyster.

The University of North Carolina Coastal Studies Institute is joining The Nature Conservancy to install a shoreline oyster reef on the Institute’s campus in Wanchese.

Reide Corbett, the Institute’s program head, says oyster reefs placed next to salt marshes could provide a natural barrier.

"Oysters and oyster beds today are actually being used a lot for shoreline protection, sort of a greener way of protecting shorelines because they can reduce the wave energy prior to it impacting the shoreline,” he explains. “And so, as you have increased waves, they can actually reduce the impact on the coast. "

When waves break over oyster reefs, they deposit sediment that reduces erosion.

The project in Wanchese will serve as a hands-on laboratory for students to study the possible solution, and a demonstration site for other communities to replicate the model.

Corbett adds that the oyster reefs provide a better alternative to man-made structures that often are looked at as solutions.

"Property owners, often when they have an eroding shoreline, a solution to that is often to put a vertical structure, a sea wall, or some sort of breakwater right along the shoreline itself,” he states. “When you do that, you lose sort of that critical interface between land and water."

In addition to reducing erosion, and protecting shoreline, oyster reefs also serve to filter the water and provide nutrients for other sea life.

A 2017 report from the Union of Concerned Scientists released last year predicts that 13 coastal communities in North Carolina will be more than 10 percent flooded at least 26 times per year by 2035.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC