North Carolina’s estuarine system consists of approximately 23 inlets, about 12,000 miles of estuarine shoreline, and more than 3,000 square miles of brackish-water estuaries — areas where fresh and salt waters meet.

These areas include communities that are currently seeing rapid growth or are looking for economic development options. They also may be coping with related issues, including habitat degradation, water quality and quantity, erosion and land loss, aging infrastructure, and conflicts over access.

The Estuarine Policy Steering Committee was formed to study emerging management and policy issues in these coastal areas. Committee members included experts from state agencies, universities and nonprofit organizations, who provided scientific and technical expertise and worked with the Center to develop policy recommendations.

Their final report highlights four emerging resource issues for coastal counties and municipalities near North Carolina’s estuarine shorelines:

  1. Water availability
  2. Estuarine shoreline stabilization
  3. Monitoring and enforcement of environmental laws
  4. Sanitary sewer overflows

Final Recommendations

Schiavinato, Lisa and J. Kalo, eds., 2014. Management Strategies for North Carolina’s Estuarine Shoreline, UNC-SG-14-01, North Carolina Sea Grant, and N.C. Coastal Resources Law, Policy and Planning Center, Raleigh, NC.