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Know Your Park: Dr. Stanley Riggs to Speak on Barrier Islands and Climate Change - Presentations to be held on Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands

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Date: February 2, 2007
Contact: Outer Banks Group, (252) 473-2111

For the third Know Your Park program of this season, the National Park Service will host two presentations by North Carolina geologist Dr. Stanley Riggs on "Climate Change and the North Carolina Coastal System – Past, Present and Future." Dr. Riggs will speak at the Ocracoke School on Wednesday, February 14 at 7:30 p.m. and at the Fessenden Center in Buxton on Thursday, February 15 at 7:30 p.m. "This is an important and relevant topic for all living on these barrier islands," announced Outer Banks Group Superintendent, Mike Murray. "I hope that many local residents, students as well as adults, are able to take advantage of this opportunity."

Dr. Riggs, of East Carolina University, is a coastal and marine geologist who has been conducting research on the North Carolina coast since 1964. His research extends from rivers, estuarine and barrier island systems to the inshore waters of the continental shelf. Dr. Riggs has been actively involved in numerous technical coastal resource issues at the federal, state, and local levels that include appointments to many commissions, task forces, panels, and committees. These appointments, as well as several of his many publications, have dealt directly with integrating scientific understanding with the management of coastal systems. He has been involved in such critical issues as climate change and sea-level rise, shoreline erosion, hazard zone delineation, inlet dynamics, water quality, and habitat preservation and beach nourishment.

The National Park Service is supporting an ongoing series of shoreline change studies by researchers at East Carolina University, the US Geological Survey and the North Carolina Geological Survey. The intent of these studies is to gain a better understanding of North Carolina’s barrier islands in the light of predicted shoreline changes due to sea level rise and storms.

Know Your Park is a new program designed to further connect the Outer Banks communities and residents with the rich natural world and cultural heritage of their neighboring National Park sites; Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Wright Brothers National Memorial and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. The National Park Service will be offering Know Your Park programs through April, 2007. "These presentations by recognized experts in their fields offer local residents an opportunity to both learn more about, and better enjoy, their National Parks" stated Murray. The two previous programs of this season covered the topics of Outer Banks reptiles and amphibians, and Reginald Fessenden’s pioneering work in wireless radio.

Did You Know?

Seasparkle, a tiny dinoflagellate that can be seen glowing in the surfline at night.

The beaches along Cape Hatteras National Seashore sparkle at night. When you kick the sand, you disturb tiny dinoflagellates like seasparkle, magnified in the picture to the left. A chemical reaction causes them to glow with a blue-green light.