Habitat Mapping

Habitats of North Inlet Winyah Bay

Marshes, forested wetlands, oyster reefs, beaches, tidal streams, and mud flats are vital estuarine habitats for fish, birds and other wildlife. These areas also protect against flooding, improve water quality, provide recreational opportunities, and support commercial fisheries and tourism. Land clearing for development and the filling of wetlands directly impact estuarine habitats. Indirect impacts, such as those caused by invasive species, climate change, and sea level rise are often more inconspicuous but can have equally significant adverse impacts. Mapping techniques display the distribution of habitats and species that live within them and help resource managers to better understand how and why habitats change, and to predict the impacts of habitat change on populations of species that rely on estuarine habitats.

Habitat Mapping Information

The NI-WB Reserve is currently producing habitat maps for North Inlet and the surrounding watershed. The maps are being developed using protocols and a classification scheme that have been standardized across the NERR system. System-wide standardized maps will allow for comparisons among reserves and will serve as baselines for temporal studies that examine trends in land use and habitat change. The North Inlet habitat map will also be used to examine habitat distribution and availability for key species in the reserve.

Major Habitats of North Inlet

Hover over a habitat thumbnail to learn the characteristics of that habitat.

NOAA National Estuarine Research Reserve System University of South Carolina Baruch Institute-USC Belle W. Baruch Foundation