ECU Researchers Study How Sea Level Rise Changes Communities

Sep 9, 2019

Dr. Randall Etheridge, left, assistant professor in the Department of Engineering at East Carolina University, and a research student paddle kayaks as they measure water flow and survey the bottom of a canal near Lake Mattamuskeet. Etheridge and a team of researchers from ECU have received a nearly $300,000 grant to explore the impact of sea level rise on communities near the lake.
Credit Randall Etheridge

East Carolina University researchers received a $300,000 grant to study sea level rise and its effect on communities.  The two-year grant from the National Science Foundation will allow scientists to explore and design possible solutions to flooding in areas surrounding Lake Mattamuskeet and develop a process to help small coastal communities adjust to sea level rise.  As conditions change along the coast, it becomes harder for water that collects in Lake Mattamuskeet to drain through canals out to the Pamlico Sound.  As a result, major rain events cause flooding in low elevation areas of Hyde County.  During Hurricane Florence in 2016, 75% of the county's cotton, 50% of its soybean crop, and 95% of the snap bean crop were lost in the storm.  ECU will partner with the Coastal Studies Institute for the project.