Coastal Resilience

For years, North Carolina Sea Grant has supported community and ecosystem resilience through a variety of projects and initiatives. As policymakers and planners begin to reconceive resilience as “bouncing forward,” Coastwatch offers articles at the forefront of the discussion. See also our related content on Hurricanes and Climate Change and Sea Level Rise.

in the Winter 2024 issue
Living shorelines along North Carolina’s waters offer the promise of more resilient coastal habitats and communities.

DEGREES OF CHANGE: Why Water Temperatures Matter
in the Winter 2024 issue
New research looks at long-term trends in NC estuaries — changes that could bring new species to our coast.

Bridging the Digital Divide: Free Mapping Helps Small NC Towns Meet Water Quality Requirements
in the Winter 2024 issue
“The collaborative and adaptive approach used in this project resulted in a tool that can immediately benefit small water utilities.”

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AND DISASTER RECOVERY: Pioneering Research in a Burgeoning Field
in the Fall 2023 issue
An interview with Olivia Vilá, climate resilience planner, discussing the needs of theLatina and Latino community in Wilmington following Hurricane Florence.

THE UNTAPPED RESOURCE: How Students Can Help Build Community Resiliency
in the Fall 2023 issue
As children learn through environmental education — and pass along what they discover to adults — the process equips young and old to take informed action.

From Portsmouth to Aurora
Bouncing Forward: New Resilience Programs for Coastal North Carolina
in the Summer 2023 issue
East Coast sea levels are rising much faster than during the 20th century.

A River of Plastics
in the Summer 2023 issue
New research finds that the Neuse River Basin annually delivers an estimated 230 billion particles of plastic to the Pamlico Sound.

Climate Resilience
Natural Landscapes and Flood Mitigation in New Bern, NC
in the Summer 2023 issue
“Accelerated sea level rise will reshape flood hazards.”

Emerging Contaminants
PFAS in the Tidal Creeks of Southeastern North Carolina
in the Summer 2023 issue
PFAS were present at all sampling sites on all dates.

Resilience and Redevelopment in Duffyfield:
Revisualizing the Future of an Underserved Neighborhood in New Bern, NC
in the Spring 2023 issue
After Hurricane Florence flooded an African American neighborhood with a long history of strength after adversity, a team of community leaders, researchers, and students has been working to restore housing and preserve community history.

Our Coast, Our Future:
The 2022 North Carolina Coastal Conference
videos, photos, resources
in the Winter 2022 issue
They came to Raleigh from across North Carolina, discussed urgent and emerging issues affecting our coast, forged new ties, and literally devoured new research for lunch — and you can watch it here.

Between a River and a Swamp:
All That Water Has to Go Somewhere

in the Winter 2022 issue
Project BRIDGE’s documentary shows how a transdisciplinary team built resilience in Robeson County through a North Carolina Sea Grant-supported initiative.

Climate Resilience:
NC’s State-of-the Art Warning System Strengthens Flood Planning
in the Autumn 2022 issue
NC’s new flood-warning system includes 400 river and stream gauges.

Natural Solutions and Clean Water Future for the Cape Fear
in the Autumn 2022 issue
A new project looks at wooded buffers to reduce pollution.

Troubled Waters:
Flooding, Contaminants, and Heightened Risks
in the Autumn 2022 issue
Underserved communities disproportionately experience the adverse effects of flooding and poor water quality. Why is this?

The Top 10 Most Common Types of Trash on the North Carolina Coast —
And How You Can Join the International Coastal Cleanup
in the Summer 2022 issue
Last year’s coastal trash included a garter belt and a windshield.

The New Pioneers:
Planning for Wastewater Treatment During Climate Change
in the Summer 2022 issue
Communities along the coast are taking steps to ensure homeowners have functioning septic systems and other types of onsite wastewater treatment — as groundwater rises and storms intensify.

Plan, Respond, Recover, Adapt
in the Winter 2020 issue
winner, Best Feature of the Year, from the NC Association of Government Information Officers
Sarah Spiegler, North Carolina Sea Grant’s coastal resilience specialist, tells why resilience means much more than “bouncing back.”

Coastal Change in North Carolina:
An Interview with Spencer Rogers, Coastal Construction and Erosion Specialist
in the Spring 2022 issue
“We were one of the first states to actually require sea level to be studied.”

Five Years Later: Lessons Learned From Matthew
in the Winter 2021 issue
Torrential inland flooding from the 2016 hurricane was a wakeup call, sparking state investment in coordinated resilience efforts.

Conserving a Culture: Land Development, Climate Change, and the Gullah/Geechee Nation
in the Winter 2021 issue
We teach our children the same traditional ways to go out in the water, and the same traditional ways to live from the land, only when things are in season.

My Passion for Environmental Engineering
in the Winter 2021 issue
“It’s one thing to lose your home. It’s another thing to be uprooted and never be able to come back to the place you know, the place you love, the place you live, the place your ancestors lived.”

N.C. Marine Debris by the Numbers
in the Winter 2021 issue
Reported trash in our state totals over one-half million items — and there’s reason to believe the actual total is much higher.

Mapping the Future
As seas rise and storms strengthen, new modeling will help communities assess heightened flood risks.
in the Summer 2021 issue

Above and Below: The Impact of Weather Events on Water Quality and Quantity
Two projects explore very different effects of weather on surface water and groundwater in coastal North Carolina.
in the Summer 2021 issue

Against Wind and Water 
in the Summer 2021 issue
As climate change brings more intense hurricanes, and higher seas that threaten the shape and survival of coastal communities, homeowners still have options that can help to reduce the risk of property damage.

In the Wake of Storms
in the Spring 2021 issue
Even as our state’s capacity for seafood processing declines, wholesalers and distributors have built a network that rapidly deploys initial aid to coastal communities after hurricanes.

Life on a Finger Between Two Bays
in the Winter 2020 issue
As North Carolina’s shellfish aquaculture industry booms, new and established growers alike turn to Jimmy Morris for sage advice.

The Road to Resilience
in the Summer 2020 issue
A large transportation study on flooding in Eastern North Carolina communities that thoughtful planning and targeted improvements are key. 

Don’t Cut Down That Tree! Preserving a Protective Buffer Against High-Speed Winds
in the Summer 2019 issue
Keeping certain strategic trees can reduce the risk of roof damage.

Into the Vortex with Frank López
in the Autumn 2018 issue
We’re in a metal boat in the middle of a lightning storm on a bay,” Frank Lopez says. “And then there was the waterspout.”

Coastal Connections: Adapting to Climate Change
in the Autumn 2018 issue
John Fear and Holly White received honors for their leadership on climate change adaptation.

The Long View
in the Summer 2018 issue
A pioneering effort in Nags Head makes sea level rise adaptation official town policy.

RISING: Perspectives of Change on the North Carolina Coast
in the Summer 2018 issue
A traveling exhibit weaves together science, oral history and fine art photography to tell a story of coastal change in North Carolina.

Resilience at the Coast: Conference Features Science and Policy
in the Summer 2017 issue
Katie Mosher shares highlights from North Carolina’s Coastal Conference.

Charting the Message on Water Resilience
in the Summer 2016 issue
Cathy Dobbins and Eric McDuffie highlight a new website — known as DRIP — to educate students and consumers about water resources in the state.