Importance of estuaries
North Carolina estuaries is threatened by changes to the land bordering and surrounding the estuaries and by contamination of river and ocean water and increases sediment deposition in the estuary. Global warming is causing sea levels to rise. Rising sea levels threaten the swamp forests, which can withstand only temporary flooding. Sea level rise and storms cause North Carolina wetlands to erode at a rate of about 800 acres per year. Excess of nutrients and toxins can cause an overgrowth of plants in an estuary that can suffocate the environment by taking out too much oxygen.