Outer Banks Coastal Ecosystem

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In the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the waterway between the mainland and the barrier island provides an important estuary ecosystem for many types of wildlife.

I spend most of my time in North Carolina up in the Appalachian Mountains. I haven’t been to the Outer Banks on the coast many times, only a couple recreational visits with friends. Even so, in addition to visiting the landmarks, I also tried to get a feel for the nature. It was very reminiscent to that of South Florida, but with slightly different flora and fauna. As the barrier island breaks up the ocean waves, the sound between the island and the mainland is much calmer. This makes it an important estuary and nursery ecosystem, for many types of young animals. In South Florida, a landscape like this would be full of mangroves. But up further north, in the Outer Banks, the winters are too cold for mangroves, so instead the coastal estuary is full of reeds and grasses. However, the feeling of wading in the warm shallow water, with minnows and crabs swarming around your feet, was similar.

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