The Southern Environmental Law Center released its Top 10 Most Endangered Places today, and three are in North Carolina — Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, Snowbird Mountains, and the Cape Fear Basin.
Each face "immediate, potentially irreversible" damage in 2011 from a variety of threats, ranging from energy exploration to road and bridge construction.
Here are the findings reported by SELC:
The Pea Island National Refuge, regarded as a birder's paradise, is threatened by the Bonner Bridge replacement proposal, which will require constant maintenance and rebuilding due to storm overwash and could fail to provide a safe and reliable evacuation route.
The Snowbird Mountains, a section of the Nantahala National Forest that is a magnet for hikers, anglers and other outdoorsy types, is threatened by an outdated highway expansion plan that would necessitate the excavation of 3 million cubic yards of rock in the national forest and require cutting nearly 3,000 feet of tunnel under the mountains.
The Cape Fear Basin, a coastal ecosystem that provides habitat for wildlife and is a recreation destination for birders, fisherman and paddlers, is threatened by a massive cement plant that would destroy 1,000 acres of wetlands and habitat and further pollute the river with levels of mercury harmful to people and wildlife.