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Natural Resources

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 Many of the floodplain areas along our estuarine shoreline include wetland areas. Wetlands are important components of the Outer Banks natural environment and floodplain. They serve to filter to stormwater runoff and serve as habitats for fish and wildlife. 

Floodplains are vital components of our natural ecosystem and provide economic and environmental benefits to their surrounding communities. They help reduce floodplain losses by allowing for the storage and conveyance of flood waters, by recharging groundwater resources, and protection of surface water areas. 

Floodplains provide recreational opportunities and contribute to the scenic and aesthetic quality of life of Dare County. The following information taken from the FEMA publication lists the various functions of floodplains. 

Water Resources

Natural Flood & Erosion Control
  • Provide flood storage and conveyance
  • Reduce flood velocities
  • Reduce flood peaks
  • Reduce sedimentation
Water Quality Maintenance
  • Filter nutrients and impurities from runoff
  • Process organic wastes
  • Moderate temperature fluctuations
Groundwater Recharge
  • Promote infiltration and aquifer recharge
  • Reduce frequency and duration of low surface flows


Biological Resources 

Biological Productivity

  • Support high rate of plant growth
  • Maintain biodiversity
  • Maintain integrity of ecosystems
Fish and Wildlife Habitats
  • Provide breeding and feeding grounds
  • Create and enhance waterfowl habitat
  • Protect habitats for rare and endangered species


Societal Resources

Harvest of Wild and Cultivated Products
  • Enhance agricultural lands
  • Provide open space
  • Provide aesthetic pleasure
Recreational Opportunities 
  • Provide areas for active and passive uses
  • Provide open space
  • Provide aesthetic pleasure
Areas for Scientific Study and Outdoor Education
  • Contain cultural resources (historic and archaeological sites)
  • Provide opportunities for environmental and other studies

Dune Systems

Respect the dunes, always use a crosswalk. The dune system of the barrier island offer protection from flood hazards and storm surge. Preservation of the dune system is managed by the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management (CAMA) program. 

Access to the oceanfront over the dune system is permitted through the CAMA permitting program and certain activities such as the installation of sand fencing, beach bull dozing, and the planting of sea grass also addressed by the CAMA permit program. 

Ditches and Streams

Don’t dump in the local ditches or streams. Local regulations prohibit dumping or blocking of any ditch or stream.