Rising Sea Level a Cause for Concern for the North Carolina Coast

COASTAL — A Duke geology professor and a geology researcher are calling the coast’s future into question.

Sharing their research at The University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Center of Marine Science, they say rising sea levels and over development could be dangerous.

Beach towns periodically do nourishment projects to build back eroding dunes, but these scholars say that’s just a short-term fix to a long-term problem.

“The main thing we can do is to move back, or to demolish or to raise. We can do those three things, but in an event, when the sea level is expected to rise by 4 feet by 2100, you know, we have to move back,” Professor Orrin Pilkey said.

These researchers say it would take local or federal government action to create real change on barrier islands. If not, decreasing property values on water front properties may force people out.