Home » Climate change threatens the coastal Gullah Geechee

Climate change threatens the coastal Gullah Geechee

by NBC News

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, is administering millions of dollars to help traditionally underserved coastal communities combat climate change. That includes the almost 12,000-square-mile stretch of land spanning from North Carolina to Florida known as the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. This land, designated by Congress in 2006, protects and preserves the Gullah Geechee’s rich history and culture by allowing areas along the corridor to leverage federal funds for programs and projects and receive technical and financial assistance from the National Park Service. In April 2023, NOAA also announced more than $265 million in funding for 38 new projects to strengthen the climate resilience of coastal ecosystems and communities. That included $6.2 million for programs in South Carolina to speed up living shoreline projects in underserved communities and have the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort team up with the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor to support a community ambassador program for living shorelines. 

Projects recommended by the NOAA include $536,000 to hire new staff to help build relationships between restoration organizations and Gullah Geechee communities, identify the resilience priorities of community members, and form local advisory committees to support future restoration efforts. 

A Gullah woman weaves a sweetgrass basket circa 1930.H. Armstrong Roberts / ClassicStock / Getty Images

Tia Clark runs Casual Crabbing with Tia, a business in Charleston, South Carolina, focused on catching blue crabs, a key ingredient in Gullah Geechee cuisine. She is part of conservation efforts to build oyster reefs and create a habitat for sea creatures to survive. She said warmer temperatures have resulted in habitat loss for crabs. In addition, blue crabs are not retreating to deeper waters to shelter from colder weather as often, so crabbers are putting more pressure on the blue crab population. South Carolina…

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