Programs & Events

Science Cafe: The Battle for North Carolina’s Coast

Program Number: 
Program Type: 
Science Talks
Jun. 19, 2012 | Tuesday, 6:30pm
Multiple Times: 
6:30-8:30 pm with discussion beginning at 7pm followed by Q&A
Location: Nature Research Center - The Daily Planet Café, Museum of Natural Sciences - 121 West Jones Street, Raleigh

Science Cafe: The Battle for North Carolina's CoastThe North Carolina barrier islands, a 325-mile-long string of narrow sand islands that forms the coast of North Carolina, are one of the most beloved areas to live and visit in the United States. However, extensive barrier island segments and their associated wetlands are in jeopardy.

Our North Carolina barrier islands are not permanent. Rather, they are highly mobile piles of sand that are impacted by sea-level rise and major storms and hurricanes. Our present development and management policies for these changing islands are in direct conflict with their natural dynamics.

Stan Riggs will talk about some of the environmental and economic problems facing coastal North Carolina, and offer a hopeful vision for the coast's future if we are willing to adapt to the barriers' ongoing and natural processes. This will require a radical change in our thinking about development and new approaches to the way we visit and use the coast. Ultimately, we cannot afford to lose these unique and valuable islands of opportunity.

Stan Riggs is one of four experts on barrier islands who co-authored The Battle for North Carolina's Coast: Evolutionary History, Present Crisis, and Vision for the Future (University of North Carolina Press, Fall, 2011). This book is an urgent call to protect our coastal resources and preserve our coastal economy. A book signing will take place following the discussion.

About our Speaker:

Dr. Stanley R. Riggs, Distinguished Research Professor East Carolina University, Distinguished Professor of Geology, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Riggs is a coastal and marine geologist who has been doing research on modern coastal systems since 1964 and has been on the faculty at East Carolina University since 1967. His research extends from inland river, lake, and pocosin environments, to estuarine and barrier island systems, and seaward across the continental shelf.  Dr. Riggs has been actively involved in numerous technical coastal and mineral resource issues at the Federal, State, and local levels that included appointments to many commissions, task forces, panels, and committees. These appointments, as well as many of his publications, have dealt directly with integrating scientific understanding and utilization and management of various coastal systems including such critical issues as climate change and sea-level rise, shoreline erosion and land loss, hazard zone delineation, inlet dynamics, water quality, and habitat preservation (i.e., hardbottom reefs, salt marshes, maritime forests, etc.), and natural resources (i.e., water, beach nourishment sand, as well as resources critical for energy, food production, building, etc.).

This Café was made possible through a partnership with the NC Coastal Federation.

RSVP:, 919.733.7450 x531