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About the Coastal Carolinas DEWS

Image displays the extent of the Coastal Carolinas DEWS region along the coastal plain of North and South CarolinaThe Coastal Carolinas Drought Early Warning System was launched in August 2012 in Wilmington, NC where a diverse group of stakeholders convened to identify drought issues of concern for the coastal region, and establish priorities for DEWS activities moving forward.  The Carolinas DEWS is a collaborative federal, state, and local interagency effort to improve early warning capacity and resilience to drought in the Carolinas with an emphasis on coastal areas.  Many of the DEWS activities focus on improving the understanding of drought’s effects on coastal environmental resources and developing information to enhance drought monitoring and planning processes.

Key drought and coastal ecosystems concerns relate to water quality and quantity, habitats, species, and estuarine processes.

  • Drought contributes to increased salinity and saltwater intrusion, reduced flushing and assimilation of pollutants, and overall water quality changes.
  • Ecosystem impact concerns center on habitat loss or conversion and consequent effects on recruitment, distribution, and migration patterns as well as on primary and secondary production.
  • Saltwater intrusion, low stream flows, and low water levels contribute to impacts and are attributed to both drought and human actions (e.g. changes in dam releases due to drought).