National seashores are cherished public lands with rich environmental, cultural, and historic resources. The Cape Hatteras National Seashore is one such coastal asset that is both bountiful yet vulnerable, with historic lighthouses, critical habitats, and recreational amenities alike facing threats of sea-level rise and continual storm and climate change impacts. Over 3 million visitors to the Seashore in 2021 set an annual visitation record. Historic resources such as the Bodie Island Lighthouse and Ocracoke Lighthouse are among the most visited sites, yet these assets are also among those most vulnerable to flooding, compromised structural integrity, and reduced accessibility. Future challenges to the protection and management of such resources are already being felt in the form of storms, extreme rainfall, and recurrent compound flooding. Such threats are also coincident with increasing visitation and recreational demand. This paper examines the science-based data that are being collected and management efforts underway to inform future planning, intervention, or adaptation to sea-level rise and barrier island evolution. The paper identifies the opportunities for mitigation and adaptation as well as potential environmental tipping points and limits to resilience by assessing the frequency and magnitude of flooding events and shoreline change.
© 2023 Southeastern Division of the American Association of Geographers.
Included with the kind written permission of the publisher.
Original Publication Citation
Flynn, M. J., Allen, T. R., Johnson, M. E., & Hallac, D. E. (2023). Coastal science for resilience and management at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC, USA. Southeastern Geographer, 63(1), 54-77. https://doi.org/10.1353/sgo.2023.0005
Flynn, Michael J.; Allen, Thomas R.; Johnson, Meaghan E.; and Hallac, David E., "Coastal Science for Resilience and Management at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC, USA" (2023). Political Science & Geography Faculty Publications. 57.