Wildlife sanctuary upgrades expected to promote research

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 Upgrades to a wildlife sanctuary on North Carolina’s Outer Banks are expected to attract groups of scientists to carry out long-term research.

The Virginian-Pilot reports state officials gathered Friday to announce the $8.4 million project at the Donal C. O’Brien, Jr. Sanctuary and Audubon Center in Corolla.

Scientists say recent environmental changes are affecting the landscape near Corolla’s beach homes. Visiting researchers are expected to collect information and perform experiments to understand how the sanctuary can withstand those changes.

The renovation plan includes lifting several buildings to sit above the marshy grounds. The sanctuary will also get a new meeting hall and new boardwalks.

The land is home to 170 species of birds and 350 different types of plants. Audubon North Carolina has managed the sanctuary since 2009.

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