SEA LEVEL RISE
Natural event accelerated by global warming
- As sea level rises, wetlands erode and “drown”, especially along steeply sloping shorelines or where inland migration of wetlands is restricted.
- Rising sea level increases salinity upstream and alters distribution and composition of fish populations
Wetlands, water column, shell bottom
Natural events, but negative effects are worse where pollutant sources occur on adjacent lands.
- The combination of storm events and sea level rise causes erosion of wetlands at a rate of about 800 acres/yr in North Carolina.
- Non-point runoff from storms can result in excessive loading of sediment and nutrients into the water column.
- Sediment runoff can silt over oyster beds.
- High nutrient loading from storm runoff can lower oxygen levels in the water, killing oysters and benthic organisms.
Go back to Threats to Coastal Fish Habitat (Overview Chart)…