Coastal Mapping was performed with the Geographic Information System (GIS) program ArcMap 10.0. Modeling was used to evaluate Dare and Hyde counties for oyster and seagrass habitats. Within these suitable habitats, natural shoreline stabilization (or living shorelines) can be developed to address erosion concerns.
Four species were identified as potential natural stabilization elements:
- Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica)
- Widgeon grass (Ruppia maritima)
- Shoal grass (Halodule wrightii)
- Eelgrass (Zostera marina)
Habitat characteristics were identified for each oyster and seagrass species. Then, spatial analysis was used to map areas with suitable habitat conditions.
Habitat suitability indices were developed for each characteristic. Indices ranged from 0 to 1, with 1 representing the most suitable habitat condition and 0 representing an unsuitable habitat condition.
Indices were combined to determine suitable habitat for oyster and/or seagrass restoration. If an area was found unsuitable for any 1 habitat characteristic, then it was not considered suitable for natural stabilization. US Fish and Wildlife Service models were used in this analysis [1, 2] and add to the body of terrestrial and marine modeling studies [3, 4].
Data for this analysis were collected from the following sources: