New paper by CCS researchers and partners on sustaining coastal wetlands and oyster reefs in the southeastern U.S.

In a new paper in the Journal of Environmental Management, CCS affiliates Drs. John Jaeger, Mark Clark, Director Christine Angelini, and partners from across sectors in the entire region identify the greatest contemporary threats to coastal wetlands and oyster reefs across the southeastern United States (Mississippi to North Carolina), by summarizing recent population growth and land-cover change, and surveying estuarine management and science experts.


  • Between 1996 and 2019, coastal counties in the southeastern US grew by -17% – 171%.
  • 2.6% of undeveloped lands were developed between 1996 and 2016 across the region.
  • Coastal experts cite development as the greatest local threat to wetlands and oyster reefs
  • Experts also cite sea level rise as greatest global threat to coastal wetlands and acidification and changing rainfall as the most important global threats to oysters in the region.

Due to the profound role of humans in shaping estuarine health, this work highlights that engaging property owners, recreators, and municipalities to implement strategies to improve estuarine health will be vital for sustaining coastal systems in the face of global change.

Full paper is available at

Authors: Tricia Kyzar, Ilgar Safak, Just Cebrian, Mark W. Clark, Nicole Dix, Kaitlyn Dietz, Rachel K. Gittman, John Jaeger, Kara R. Radabaugh, Annie Roddenberry, Carter S. Smith, Eric L. Sparks, Benjamin Stone, Gary Sundin, Michelle Taubler, Christine Angelini