Southeastern Coastal Plain and Piedmont

Level III Ducks Unlimited conservation priority area, providing wintering habitat for at least half of Atlantic Flyway waterfowl

© Charles Parker

The Southeastern Coastal Plain is located between the Piedmont to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the east and covers a large portion of the southeastern United States. The South Atlantic coastal region encompasses the bays, sounds, and forested agricultural lowlands of North Carolina, which is the second largest estuarine system on the Atlantic coast. Overall, there has been a net loss of habitat throughout this conservation region with bottomland hardwood wetlands in North Carolina sustaining the greatest losses.

Importance to waterfowl

  • Provides winter habitat to at least 50 percent of the waterfowl in the Atlantic Flyway.
  • Seasonally flooded bottomland hardwood forests in the region are used by breeding wood ducks and a variety of wintering waterfowl.
  • The bays and sounds of North Carolina are important to a number of dabbling and diving ducks, Canada geese and tundra swans.
  • Offshore habitats are used by up to 100,000 scaup during most winters.
  • North Carolina now winters up to 75 percent of the Atlantic Flyway canvasbacks and large numbers of the Atlantic subpopulation of Canada geese.

Habitat issues

  • Southeastern Coastal Plain and Piedmont mapNorth Carolina has lost 50 percent of its original wetlands.
  • Large, privately owned plantations create an unparalleled opportunity to achieve significant land and water protection.
  • Decline in wintering waterfowl may be due in part to a loss of aquatic vegetation, particularly in the Chesapeake Bay system.

DU's conservation focus

  • DU's most notable conservation program in this region has been the Low Country Initiative in South Carolina.
  • Expand the conservation easement program to protect the existing waterfowl habitat base, focusing attention on important habitats and watersheds in North Carolina.
  • Quantify the relationships of waterfowl populations to available foraging habitat.

States in the Southeastern Coastal Plain region

Alabama | FloridaGeorgiaKentuckyLouisiana | Mississippi
North Carolina |  South CarolinaTennessee | Virginia

More information