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What’s up with all those dead-looking trees along the Cape Fear River?

Ben Steelman
StarNews

You see them on River Road and Eagles Island. Charred-looking and stripped of their leaves, these decaying trees that line the Cape Fear River are a reminder of how human acts can shape, and often destroy, nature.

Kemp Burdette, resource development coordinator for Cape Fear River Watch, said those trees were most likely killed by saltwater intrusion in the Cape Fear River. Salt water from the ocean is reaching farther into the Cape Fear than it did in historical times for a variety of reasons, Burdette said, including the opening of Snow’s Cut between 1929 and 1934 and the artificial deepening of the river channel so larger vessels could reach the State Port of Wilmington. This is turning what was once cypress swamps, which should look like what you see at Greenfield Lake, into salt marshes.

User-contributed question by:
Donna Bridges

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One Response to “ What’s up with all those dead-looking trees along the Cape Fear River?”

  1. On July 1, 2009 at 3:14 pm Gray Sneeden wrote:

    Another reason that the salinity is high in the river around downtown is because every municipality from Raleigh to Wilmington sucks fresh water from the river to provide fresh drinking water.



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