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 ATLANTA, Aug. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region IV, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE), Wilmington District, are beginning a joint environmental investigation of wetlands located in Carteret County, N.C., to identify ecologically sensitive areas.
 The state of North Carolina's Department of Environment, Health and Natural Resources, Division of Coastal Management (DCM) will represent the state as the sponsoring agency for the effort.
 The joint project, which is known as the Carteret County Advance Identification of Wetlands (ADID) project, will include all wetlands in Carteret County. Wetlands in the county include salt, brackish and freshwater marshes, swamp and bottomland hardwood forests, wet pine flatwoods, and pocosins. Data collected during the project will provide information on the location of county wetlands and their associated functions. This information will identify areas that warrant additional protection and areas that, if filled, will not degrade the environmental quality of Carteret County.
 The goals of the project are: 1) to map the location of different wetland types in the county, 2) to evaluate the functions and quality of the these wetlands and impacts that may be affecting them, 3) to make advisory designations regarding the suitability of wetlands for potential filling under the permit program of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, and 4) to provide public education on the functions of the wetlands and the federal Section 404 regulatory program.
 Several Factors contributed to the decision to launch the ADID project. These include the relative rarity of several wetland types found in the county, federal and state interest in providing wetlands information to local communities for promotion of environmentally sensitive development, and the importance of area wetlands to the local fishing industry. The DCM plans to use the information gained in Carteret County to develop methods useful in assessing wetlands in all coastal counties and to formulate the basis of a wetlands conservation plan for the coastal area.
 The study area includes wetland habitat for endangered plant and animal species, fish and shellfish harvesting, and timber harvesting. Nationwide, wetlands provide other important functions such as flood protection, wildlife habitat, water quality enhancement, and recharge to groundwaters. These functions will be considered in the scope of the ADID.
 -0- 8/17/93
 /CONTACT: Rosalind Moore, Wetlands Planning Unit, 404-347-2126, or Charlis Thompson, Press Office, 404-347-3004, both of the United States Environmental Protection Agency/

CO: United States Environmental Protection Agency; United States Army
 Corps of Engineers; State of North Carolina Department of
 Environment, Health and Natural Resources ST: North Carolina IN: ENV SU: EXE

RA-TG -- AT007 -- 3536 08/17/93 12:08 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 17, 1993

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