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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Gov. Whitmer endorses Kamala Harris for president, says she's not leaving Michigan; Grilled by lawmakers on the Trump assassination attempt, Secret Service director says, 'We failed;' Teachers rally at national convention in Houston; Opioid settlement fund fuels anti-addiction battle in Indiana; Nonprofit agency says corporate donations keep programs going.

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Democrats consolidate support behind Vice President Harris, Republicans threaten legal action over changes to the presidential ticket, and a possible bipartisan consensus forms on the failure of the Secret Service to protect former President Trump.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

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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