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NC - NC's Updated Coastal Habitat Plan Focuses on Seagrass, Local Solutions

Leda Cunningham, officer for conserving marine life in the United States at The Pew Charitable Trusts, explained the plan includes new guidelines aimed at protecting seagrass, which filter out pollutants, improve water quality and help communities withstand increasing flood and sea-level rise from climate change by strengthening shorelines.

MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. -- North Carolina's Marine Fisheries Commission has approved an updated version of the state's Coastal Habitat Protection Plan, which experts say will improve the health of the state's wetlands and estuaries, and increase communities' resilience to climate change.

Leda Cunningham, officer for conserving marine life in the United States at The Pew Charitable Trusts, explained the plan includes new guidelines aimed at protecting seagrass, which filter out pollutants, improve water quality and help communities withstand increasing flood and sea-level rise from climate change by strengthening shorelines.

"I think it's really important for the public to understand that a healthy coastal environment can contribute to healthier coastal communities," Cunningham asserted.

The updated plan also includes information on how residents can design local projects and solutions to protect their estuaries.

Cunningham pointed to the Neuse River Basin as an example, and said communities could identify where additional vegetation could be planted along stream beds to help absorb and slow stormwater runoff and reduce algae blooms.

The plan also is in line with Gov. Roy Cooper's 2020 Climate Risk Assessment and Resilience Plan, which addressed the need to increase the resiliency of regions devastated by hurricanes.

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