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As seagrasses expand, state considers new rules to protect them

WILMINGTON (AP) -- Coastal researchers say underwater seagrasses are moving into areas where they haven't been seen in years. That has the potential to impact development along the North Carolina coast. State regulators are currently working on a new definition of so-called submerged aquatic vegetation that could expand the shallow waters protected from human disturbance. Discussions are ongoing about expanding that protection into areas where seagrasses have historically lived, or could potentially live. Seagrasses are found in North Carolina from the Cape Fear River north into Virginia, usually in clear water no deeper than six feet. In such areas, there are limits on dredging, dock building and other development. (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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