As of yesterday, the North Carolina House and Senate passed the Farm Act which included language detrimental to our state’s wetlands. This wetland provision will tie NC’s definition of protected wetlands to that of the US, which recently removed protections for about half of the county’s wetlands.
Up until now, NC had our own state protected wetlands that buffered storm damage, absorbed flood waters, provided habitat for important fish species, and processed pollutants throughout the state. Now, one million acres of wetlands are able to be filled and used as dumping grounds for developments and industry.
This reduction of protected wetlands will be devastating to our coastal communities. We already see sunny day flooding, ditches that never dry, and prolonged flooding from storms. If these important natural resources are removed we are losing the most cost effective and efficient buffer that any land or engineering could provide.
Wetlands are also critical to the coast’s economy. Millions of people benefit from the tourism and fishing industries that are dependent on our wetlands for fish habitat and recreation. The state’s complete disregard for industries outside of development is impacting the livelihood of everyone who lives at and visits our coast.
Once these wetlands are gone they cannot be replaced. Please reach out to your state representatives to share your concerns about flooding, fishing, and quality of life if wetlands are lost. Find your representatives here: https://www.ncleg.gov/FindYourLegislators
When reaching out by phone or email: mention your name, your county, why you are worried about wetlands and ask that they restore protections for the state’s wetlands.
-Riley Lewis, White Oak Waterkeeper