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NOAA Helps Rescue North Carolina’s “Living Dune”

Located on the Outer Banks, North Carolina, Jockey’s Ridge is the tallest active sand dune system in the eastern United States. Jockey’s Ridge is often referred to as “The Living Dune” because shifting winds are constantly reshaping it. However, damage to the dunes has allowed sand to blow directly on the fringing salt marsh, making it susceptible to wave and wind erosion.

NOAA Fisheries partnered with the North Carolina Coastal Federation (NCCF), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, The Nature Conservancy, Friends of Jockey’s Ridge and the Southeast Aquatics Resources Partnership under the National Fish Habitat Action Plan to participate in the Jockey’s Ridge Living Shoreline and Oyster Reef Restoration Project.

As a part of this multi-year conservation project, NOAA helped to construct a low-profile breakwater sill, oyster reefs and planted native grasses to reduce shoreline erosion and enhance the habitat for seabirds, fish, crustaceans, oysters and other mollusks.

The project area is the documented environment for more than 75 species, some of which are threatened or endangered.