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10 most endangered places in the South

North Carolina's Pea Island

Photo: Mike Halminski

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Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, N.C.

Regarded as a birder’s paradise, North Carolina's Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is a haven for migratory waterfowl, such as snow geese and tundra swans, not to mention nesting wildlife such as threatened and endangered sea turtles and shorebirds.

A new bridge to the nearby Hatteras Island is long overdue, but without proper safeguards, the plan for replacing the aging Bonner Bridge could turn this refuge into a permanent construction zone and leave islanders stranded when storms hit the Outer Banks.

The challenge in replacing Bonner Bridge will be to ensure safe, reliable access to the new bridge and to prevent ongoing roadwork from destroying habitat for rare shorebirds, nesting sea turtles, and hundreds of other species.