The Battle for North Carolina's Coast: Evolutionary History, Present Crisis, and Vision for the Future

Overview

The North Carolina barrier islands, a 325-mile-long string of narrow sand islands that forms the coast of North Carolina, are one of the most beloved areas to live and visit in the United States. However, extensive barrier island segments and their associated wetlands are in jeopardy. In The Battle for North Carolina's Coast, four experts on coastal dynamics examine issues that threaten this national treasure.

According to the authors, the North Carolina barrier islands are not ...

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The Battle for North Carolina's Coast: Evolutionary History, Present Crisis, and Vision for the Future

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Overview

The North Carolina barrier islands, a 325-mile-long string of narrow sand islands that forms the coast of North Carolina, are one of the most beloved areas to live and visit in the United States. However, extensive barrier island segments and their associated wetlands are in jeopardy. In The Battle for North Carolina's Coast, four experts on coastal dynamics examine issues that threaten this national treasure.

According to the authors, the North Carolina barrier islands are not permanent. Rather, they are highly mobile piles of sand that are impacted by sea-level rise and major storms and hurricanes. Our present development and management policies for these changing islands are in direct conflict with their natural dynamics. Revealing the urgency of the environmental and economic problems facing coastal North Carolina, this essential book offers a hopeful vision for the coast's future if we are willing to adapt to the barriers' ongoing and natural processes. This will require a radical change in our thinking about development and new approaches to the way we visit and use the coast. Ultimately, we cannot afford to lose these unique and valuable islands of opportunity. This book is an urgent call to protect our coastal resources and preserve our coastal economy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The authors make you feel being physically on the North Carolina barrier islands, and they make you see how both gradual processes and events shape the barriers, erode inlets, close inlets again, etc.—Geologos
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807834862
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 9/4/2011
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 577,139
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Stanley R. Riggs is Distinguished Research Professor and Harriot College Distinguished Professor of geology at East Carolina University.

Dorothea V. Ames is a research instructor in geology at East Carolina University.

Stephen J. Culver is Harriot College Distinguished Professor and chair of geology at East Carolina University.

David J. Mallinson is associate professor of geology at East Carolina University.

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Table of Contents

Preface vii

1 Why is there a Coastal Conflict? 1

2 North Carolina's Coastal System 6

Regional Setting 6

The Modern Coastal System 10

3 The Ice Ages and Postglacial Sea-Level Rise 14

A Time of Climate Change and Sea-Level Fluctuation 14

Sea-Level Rise in North Carolina 18

4 Storms and Coastal Systems 24

History of North Carolina Storms 24

Tropical Cyclones and Extratropical Nor'easters 26

Effects of Storms on Coastal Dynamics 31

5 The Modern Ocean Shoreline System 33

Types of North Carolina Beaches 33

Sediment Supply for Coastal Beaches 34

Simple Barrier Islands-Inlet and Overwash Dynamics 38

Complex Barrier Islands-Accreting Beach Ridges and Dune Fields 46

Perched Headland Beaches-Erosional Scarped Uplands 48

6 Formation of the Modern Coastal System 51

Regional Differences 51

Evolution of the Northern Coastal Zone 52

Evolution of the Southern Coastal Zone 62

7 What is at Risk? 66

8 Human Modification of Barrier Island Dynamics 71

Roads and Bridges 71

Beach and Inlet Management 78

Constructed Barrier Dune-Ridges 78

Shoreline Hardening 80

Sandbag Hardening 84

Beach Nourishment 86

Inlet Openings and Closings 89

Urban Development and Relocation 91

9 Adaptation to Coastal Change 99

The Questions We Face 99

Vision for the Future 100

"A String of Pearls": North Carolina's Sparsely Developed Barriers 103

"Islands of Opportunity": North Carolina's Developed Barriers 108

"Land of Water": A Coastal Trail Program for North Carolina 114

10 Concluding Thoughts 118

Notes 121

Bibliography 125

Acknowledgments 133

Figure Credits 135

Index 139

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