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Eastern Coast of the United States

The RADOST partner regions in the United States which exhibit similar conditions and challenges are the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia/Maryland and the Albermarle-Pamlico Sound and Outer Banks in North Carolina.

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States and one of the most important natural landscapes in North America. The Albermarle-Pamlico Sound and Outer Banks are located further to the south in North Carolina and make up the second largest estuary system in the United States. The area boasts a rich diversity of forests, dunes, wetlands and rivers generating an extraordinarily rich ecosystem within the world’s largest enclosed lagoons. Climate change poses significant threats to the region. More than half of the area subject to flooding is a protected habitat for numerous animal and plant species. Degradation of peat soils and the retreat of biotic communities due to saltwater intrusion are the first impacts visible.

The region hosts first-class research and development facilities, including Duke University in North Carolina, the only Ivy League university located in the Southern US. Researchers at Duke University are cooperating with the Nature Conservancy (TNC) to develop strategies for the protection of the Albemarle peninsula from the rising sea level. Albemarle has been designated as a pilot model region for the research on adaptation to climate change. Various approaches will be applied to slow down the flooding of the peninsula and changes in the ecosystems. These include targeted management of the former drainage ditches in order to protect the peat soils, planting of vegetation in the coastal area and the mounting of artificial reefs that provide habitat for the native oyster. Innovative methods will be tested in pilot projects to examine their potential for broader application.

The partner institution for both regions is the Duke University Marine Laboratory. The Ecologic Institute maintains close contact with this partner.