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Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership - 2017-11-15

Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership

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Soundings Archive

2017

November 15, 2017
The 2017 Albemarle-Pamlico Ecosystem Symposium: Eyes on the Horizon

October 16, 2017
From Dust Came Soil Conservation

September 11, 2017
Taking Nature's Pulse

August 18th, 2017
Teaching Teachers to ExPLORE NC

July 13, 2017
Protecting North Carolina's Coastal Habitats with Jimmy Johnson

May 19, 2017
Cypress Trees as Sentinels of the Sounds

April 5, 2017
Becoming the Napa Valley of Oysters

February 28, 2017
Sound Science Guiding Conservation of the Albemarle-Pamlico Region

February 6, 2017
Celebrating Five Years of SciREN Coast

Jul-Dec 2016

December 12, 2016 
Proud Shaddys and Shamommas! A "Shad in the Classroom" Tale

November 2, 2016 
Cape Hatteras National Seashore Provides Opportunity for Scientific Discovery

September 19, 2016 
Restoring Estuaries, One Bag of Recycled Oyster Shells at a Time

July 15, 2016
Landscapes Standing Sentinel in Eastern North Carolina

Jan-June 2016

Jul-Dec 2015

Jan-Jun 2015

Jul-Dec 2014

Jan-Jun 2014

Jul-Dec 2013

Jan-Jun 2013

Jul-Dec 2012

Jan-Jun 2012

 

 

 

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Soundings

A fresh take on the Albemarle-Pamlico region's salty affairs

The 2017 Albemarle-Pamlico Ecosystem Symposium: Eyes on the Horizon

By: Kelsey Ellis, APNEP Program Associate

Published on November 15th, 2017

  Symposium attendees listen to the day's Opening Plenary. Photo credit: Larry Goodwin.

It’s been a few weeks since the 2017 Albemarle-Pamlico Ecosystem Symposium on November 1st. The leftover program booklets have been neatly stacked, we’ve folded and put away our APNEP shirts, and we’re all caught up on emails (or at least getting close)! Our Symposium Proceedings are now online as well – presentation abstracts and slides can be found on our website.

We would like to extend a sincere thank you to all our partners who presented, exhibited, volunteered, or attended the Symposium – the event truly would not have been possible without you. We hope the Symposium gave attendees and presenters alike the opportunity to connect with the people and initiatives of the Albemarle-Pamlico region. It has given the staff here at APNEP the chance to learn from the current priorities of our partner organizations – since our organization is stakeholder-driven, our direction and focus are formed by that of our partners. We hope to take some of these lessons forward with us into the new year and beyond.
 
While Human Communities, Natural Systems, and Water Quality & Quantity were the Symposium’s session categories, one theme we saw threaded throughout the day’s presentations was how much important work is being done where these categories intersect. Talks such as Mikki Sager’s panel presentation on accomplishing conservation goals through engaging with underserved communities, Matthew Jurjonas’ talk about using interdisciplinary research to assist coastal resilience planning, and Dr. Sid Mitra’s presentation on understanding the risk from emerging contaminants to coastal and estuarine waters demonstrated how a more holistic vision of the Albemarle-Pamlico region can help both human communities and natural systems.
 
  APNEP's Coastal Habitats Coordinator Jimmy Johnson talks about North Carolina's Coastal Habitat Protection Plan. Photo credit: Larry Goodwin.
 
The afternoon’s panel discussion, titled “Eyes on the Horizon: Utilizing Partnerships to Address Regional & Community Issues,” similarly focused on how environmental conservation should not be disassociated from the needs and issues of local communities. APNEP Policy Board Co-Chair Holly White discussed the Town of Nags Head local comprehensive planning process and showed how long-term plans that include environmental policy and stakeholder engagement can result in a more robust plan with greater community buy-in. Carol Shields of the Roanoke River Partners demonstrated how healthy ecosystems can bolster local economies, and how community belief in the economic value of natural resources can help preserve those ecosystems. Anne-Marie Knighton discussed how the Town of Edenton is utilizing Community Action Plans to conserve the town’s waterways, which they consider to be their most important asset.
 
  APNEP Policy and Engagement Manager Stacey Feken introduces the panelists for the day's panel discussion. From left to right: Stacey Feken, Michelle Covi, Jackie Woolard, Carol Shields, Anne Marie Knighton, and Mikki Sager. Photo credit: Larry Goodwin.
 
Interwoven among discussions of economic data, emerging partnerships, and water quality issues was the theme of resilience. Increasing resilience and preparedness of coastal communities and ecosystems to the threat of sea level rise, saltwater intrusion, and increasing populations is a pressing issue in the Albemarle-Pamlico region. Talks such as Lora Eddy’s about the Nature Conservancy’s new Living Shorelines application, Monica Gregory’s regarding the Division of Coastal Management’s Resilience Evaluations & Needs Assessments (RENA) Project, and Sarah Spiegler’s about the NC Sentinel Site Cooperative’s research into the effect of sea level rise all showcased efforts to assist communities with increasing their resilience to future threats. From these talks and many others, it is clear that creating resilient estuaries and coasts is a critical issue that these and many other great organizations are working to address in the Albemarle-Pamlico region.
 
During lunch, the value of collaboration was front and center as North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Secretary Michael Regan provided the final signature for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) facilitated by APNEP between NC DEQ, North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR), and Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources. The MOU will foster interstate collaboration throughout the Albemarle-Pamlico region to manage for healthy ecosystems and communities. In addition, Secretary Regan stated that his hope was that this MOU could also serve as a model for future interstate collaborations.
 
  NCDNCR Chief Deputy Secretary Wilson, VA Deputy of Natural Resources for the Chesapeake Bay Baxter, and NCDEQ Secretary Regan speak about the MOU during lunch. Photo credit: Larry Goodwin.
 
Secretary Regan was joined by NC DNCR Chief Deputy Secretary D. Reid Wilson and VA Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources for the Chesapeake Bay Russell Baxter in giving remarks about the importance of working together to improve water quality and ecological health of the two states’ shared river basins. NC DNCR Chief Deputy Secretary Wilson concluded that because air and water quality issues do not respect political boundaries, the collaboration represented by the MOU is extremely important.
 
We look forward to capitalizing on the signed MOU to increase our NC-VA interstate partnerships and to work both upstream and downstream within the shared Roanoke, Chowan, and Pasquotank river basins of the Albemarle-Pamlico region. The MOU will assist NCDEQ, NCDNCR, and VADNR in coordinating with APNEP to tackle regional issues such as nonpoint source pollution, restoring fish passage and spawning habitat, and controlling invasive species. Agencies will also explore opportunities to assist state, regional, and local governments in incorporating climate change and sea level rise considerations into their planning processes. Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources for the Chesapeake Bay, Baxter summarized, “this MOU is about the future.”
 
  NC Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael Regan holds up the signed MOU. Photo credit: Larry Goodwin.
 
While November’s Symposium was focused on looking towards APNEP’s future, throughout 2017 we’ve also been looking back to reflect on our organization’s 30th anniversary. Through our Fall 2017 story in Coastwatch magazine about APNEP’s history, as well as our Sound Reflections interview series with past and present partners, we’ve sought to collect the perspective of the great people who have contributed time and effort to APNEP over the years. With their insights, as well as those from our current partners, we are ready to charge forward with our “eyes on the horizon.”
 
  Symposium attendees visit the poster and exhibitor displays. Photo credit: Larry Goodwin.
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