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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program - Conference Proceedings

Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program

 APNEP Conference Proceedings

2013 2011 | 2004

2013 Agenda

 

Title Author(s) Abstract
Jockey's Ridge Living Shoreline: A Community-based Restoration & Education Project

Sara Hallas 

Coastal Education Coordinator
NC Coastal Federation

The North Carolina Coastal Federation along with Jockey's Ridge State Park, NC Division of Marine Fisheries and the Nature Conservancy have worked to restore over 750 feet of shoreline, totaling more than 1.5 acres of coastal marsh and riparian habitat, at Jockey's Ridge State Park. The shoreline is now protected by an oyster shell bag sill and was hand-planted with native marsh grasses. Thousands of volunteers worked to bag oyster shell, build the sill, and plant marsh grasses. One key component of this project's success was implementing the federation's student wetland nursery program. This program engages local middle school students in a yearlong classroom curriculum about the coast and coastal habitats. The classroom learning is complimented through hands-on field experience and restoration. Sara will talk about the living shoreline project at Jockey's Ridge, specifically highlighting the components of successful community involvement and restoration. She will also highlight how the project continues to be used as an outdoor classroom for students and teachers alike.
Tidal Creeks & Migrating Reefs

Dr. Niels Lindquist

Professor
UNC Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences

Oyster communities populate many tidal creeks and their filtration activity improves the quality of water flowing through the creeks by reducing levels of suspended particulates and nutrients. Intertidal oyster communities are common in the higher salinity areas near the mouths of tidal creeks, but typically only sparse intertidal and subtidal communities occur in the creeks' upper regions. Although the lower salinities of upper creek areas should enhance oyster communities, less hard substrate and lower numbers of oyster larvae reaching these areas are thought to limit upper creek oyster reef development. Our project (1) demonstrated substrate and larval limitation in the upper regions of multiple tidal creeks and (2) is enhancing oyster populations in tidal creeks by deploying concrete-coated crab pots as oyster substrate in the lower portions of creeks and then subsequently migrating the oyster-coated crab pots to up-creek areas where salinity regimes are favorable for subtidal reef development. Results to date support the generality of our findings; however, we are observing a wide range of reef development trajectories among creeks after 18 months. "Migrating reefs" could help sustain North Carolina oyster populations imperiled by increasing saltwater intrusion into coastal regions caused by human coastline engineering and rising sea levels.
Landscape Scale Watershed Restoration in Hyde County: Good for Farmers, Good for Fishermen

Erin Fleckenstein

Coastal Scientist & Northeast Regional Manager
NC Coastal Federation

The N.C. Coastal Federation joined farmers, landowners, fishermen, government agencies and business owners to design a set of projects that replicate, as much as practical, natural hydrology on almost 42,500 acres of farmland in Hyde County adjacent to the Pamlico Sound. Ten projects were identified as priorities and together comprise a holistic watershed restoration plan. Six hundred acres have been restored to date and 3,000 more acres of restoration are underway. These restoration projects make use of agricultural runoff that would otherwise be directed to sensitive coastal waterways. The plan improves agricultural water management and water quality for oysters by: creating wetlands that filter agricultural runoff; restoring more natural water flows; and managing the wetlands to maximize wildlife, fisheries and water quality benefits. Erin will present on the federation's latest restoration efforts funded and in partnership with the landowners, Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership, N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund, N.C. Division of Water Quality, N.C. State University, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Fate of Restored Oyster Reefs Governed by Principles Learned from Rocky Shores & Saltmarsh Wetlands

Dr. Joel Fodrie

Assistant Professor
UNC Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences

Thirty-two oyster shell piles were constructed across an aerial exposure gradient (shallow subtidal to mid-intertidal) to explore how oyster recruitment, growth and interspecific interactions affected the trajectory of restored oyster reefs. We recorded nearly an order-of-magnitude higher spat settlement on the deepest (subtidal) reefs. Within a year, however, abundance patterns reversed, and oyster densities were ultimately highest on the shallowest (mid-intertidal) reefs by over an order-of-magnitude. This reversal was due to: 1) greatest individual oyster growth at mid depths; and 2) significantly elevated survivorship on intertidal reefs over subtidal reefs. Likely, these patterns followed from the restriction of oyster predators (e.g., stone crabs, gastropods) and heavy biofouling to deeper reefs where aerial exposure was <5% of the tidal cycle. These results demonstrate that the siting of new reefs can be guided by paradigms learned from the rocky intertidal and saltmarshes. As with rocky shores, the lower vertical limit of adult oyster distribution in euhaline systems was controlled by predatory and competitive (i.e., smothering) interactions. As with Spartina saltmarsh, oyster growth was greatest at an intermediate vertical position relative to mean sea level. Our developing model proscribes a vertical "hotspot" for restoration efforts to maximize reef fitness and production. This restoration work was funded by APNEP.
Oyster Rehabilitation, Restoration, & Management in North Carolina

Craig Hardy

Habitat & Environment Section Chief
NC Division of Marine Fisheries

The health of the oyster population in North Carolina is affected by factors from the effects of hurricanes, water quality, predators, habitat loss, and harvest pressure. The NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources through the Division of Marine Fisheries incorporates various strategies to enhance and create oyster habitat, map and monitor oyster resources, manage the oyster harvest, and administer shellfish culture in the state. Collaboration with state and federal agencies, non-government organizations, researchers, oyster restoration practitioners, fishermen, and the public are keys to the success of projects and overall oyster resource management.
Strategic Habitat Areas within the APNEP Region

Christine Jensen

Marine Fisheries Biologist
NC Division of Marine Fisheries

Identification and designation of Strategic Habitat Areas (SHAs) for marine and coastal fishery species is a critical component in the implementation of North Carolina's Coastal Habitat Protection Plan. Strategic Habitat Areas are defined as, "specific locations of individual fish habitat or systems of habitats that have been identified to provide exceptional habitat functions or that are particularly at risk due to imminent threats, vulnerability, or rarity". These areas are determined through a scientifically-based process that considers existing habitats, human alteration factors, biological data, and input from regional experts. Strategic Habitat Areas have been identified for most of the APNEP region and nominations for the remaining portion of the APNEP region are currently under way. Once SHAs are designated, resource managers may address gaps in existing conservation and management efforts and take steps to prevent further alteration of the system as a whole. The nomination of SHAs can provide guidance for conservation projects focused on conservation/land acquisition, enhancement, or restoration. A network of designated SHAs providing habitat connections throughout North Carolina's coastal waters will help maintain a healthy ecosystem and ensure that the complex life history needs of all fishery species are met.
Status of the North Carolina Nutrient Criteria Development Plan

Dianne Reid

Environmental Sciences Section Chief
NC Division of Water Resources

North Carolina has established itself as a leader in site-specific, flexible nutrient control strategies through the implementation of a comprehensive nutrient management program for its surface waters. Existing programs include numeric nutrient response criteria, ambient monitoring programs, assessment methodologies, nutrient TMDLs, regulatory control of nonpoint sources, nitrogen and phosphorus permit limits, and an innovation supplemental classification of Nutrient Sensitive Waters (NSW) for certain waters of the state. In 2004, the division began implementing a plan for updating and expanding nutrient control criteria for the state to address some areas such as biological response parameters that were not included in the current management strategies. That plan was the NC Nutrient Criteria Implementation Plan that is now being totally revised and has been renamed the NC Nutrient Criteria Development Plan (NC NCDP). This presentation will provide a brief background on the NC NCDP, current status and the timeline for revisions to the plan.
Albemarle-Pamlico Peatland Enhancement Project: Water Management Implementation

Chuck Peoples

Scientist
The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has long worked to conserve the lands and waters of the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system. Recently, in concert with land conservation, TNC is focused on restoring wetland hydrology to help resource managers mitigate the impacts of climate change. The region is vulnerable to salt water intrusion and catastrophic wildfires given its geography, organic soils, and increasingly powerful storms. Human-based alterations such as drainage ditches are often present on conservation lands as remnants of past land use and exacerbate the landscape's vulnerability to climate and other impacts. Currently, over 280 miles of ditches at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge (ARNWR) contribute to the release of acidic freshwater, low in dissolved oxygen, into contiguous waters. Ditches are also conduits for saltwater intrusion into forested swamps and pocosin, degrading organic soils. Three ditch plugs were installed and evaluated at ARNWR to demonstrate a water management approach for ditches. Measurements and observations indicate that plugs prevent saltwater intrusion, but vary in ability to prevent the release of low dissolved oxygen water towards the sound. In addition, four water control structures at Great Dismal Swamp NWR were installed to raise water level and prevent peat soil oxidation. These structures will support a larger water management effort at the refuge.
Introducing the North Carolina Coastal Atlas

Dr. Tom Allen

Associate Professor
East Carolina University

The North Carolina Coastal Atlas is an online mapping system that provides static and interactive maps and related data and information for exploration, analysis and learning about coastal issues and resources for students, Aimed at managers, scientists, teachers, and the public, the atlas combines physical, ecological and human use data to support education, management and decision-making. http://www.nccoastalatlas.org/.
Insights into How Atmospheric Deposition & Wetlands Influence Nutrient Transport to Estuaries in the Southeastern U.S.

Dr. Ana Maria Garcia

Research Hydrologist
U.S. Geological Survey

Agricultural activities, including intensive animal production and urbanization, are important anthropogenic sources of nutrients transported to streams that can lead to increased algal production and eutrophication of coastal waters in the southeastern United States. Effective management of controlling nutrient delivery to streams requires a systematic understanding of nutrient sources and pathways at watershed and regional scales. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has developed a modeling tool, SPARROW (SPAtially Referenced Regression On Watershed Attributes), that statistically relates landscape attributes to monitored nutrient loads. Existing SPARROW models for sources and transport of nitrogen and phosphorus for the northeastern and southeastern regions of the United States were modified to investigate specific management questions: (1) what are the sources of atmospheric deposition?, (2) what is the regional-scale impact of coastal wetlands on water quality? Refinements to the nitrogen SPARROW models have improved estimates of individual atmospheric inputs, including emissions from agricultural livestock and manures, vehicles, power plants, other industry, and background sources. The recalibrated nitrogen and phosphorus models account explicitly for the influence of wetlands on regional-scale land-to-water and in-stream transport of nutrients and therefore allow comparison of the water-quality functions of different wetland systems over large spatial scales.
Using Positive Interactions Between Bivalves & Seagrass as a Community-based Approach for Habitat Management.

Abigail Poray

Researcher & Lab Manager
UNC Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences

This project investigated the potential use of hard clams (Mercenaria mercenaria) as a restoration technique for the recovery and growth of eelgrass (Zostera marina) habitat. Hard clams were introduced into eelgrass meadows at Oscar Shoal (Back Sound) and Lighthouse Bay (Roanoke Sound) in March of 2010 and 2013 (with paired control sites). Following clam deployment, we made seasonal measurements of sediment and seagrass nutrient content, seagrass aboveground biomass, seagrass growth, and seagass reproductive output. We recorded evidence of sediment nutrient enrichment via decreased C:N ratios in clam-addition plots, although changes in nutrient content were not observed in seagrass tissues themselves (above or below ground). Despite dramatic seasonal cycles in eelgrass production, we also observed a significant response in aboveground biomass and individual plant growth following the addition of clams in the summers of 2010 and 2013. As measured in 2011, reproductive effort was higher in plots that received clam subsidies relative to plots that were used as controls. Collectively, these data suggest that positive bivalve-seagrass interactions may be an effective tool for strengthening the function and resiliency of North Carolina seagrass meadows.
The North Carolina Division of Coastal Management's Estuarine Shoreline Mapping Project

Matt Slagel

Shoreline Management Specialist
NC Division of Coastal Management

The goal of the project was to classify North Carolina's estuarine shoreline by type and delineate all shoreline armoring structures and access structures. The final product is a geospatial representation of the complete estuarine shoreline and structures for the state's 20 coastal counties. These shoreline characterizations allow the NC Division of Coastal Management to generate county-level and municipal statistics and analyze data for the purpose of understanding the nature of shoreline types and frequency of shoreline structures. Structures along the estuarine shoreline may affect ecosystem function, water quality, fisheries, wetland habitats and other natural resources. Completed shoreline data has been made available on DCM's website for other DENR agencies, local governments, academic institutions, and interested stakeholders. DCM is in the process of updating this information using 2012 aerial imagery. Updating the data will help DCM keep pace with changes along the estuarine shoreline and monitor future development trends. DCM intends for the Estuarine Shoreline Mapping Project to provide interested stakeholders with updated shoreline information and the ability to modify management policies to mitigate risk to estuarine environments and provide for resource conservation into the future. Interactive Shoreline Mapping Site: http://ims.ncdenr.org/Website/ncshore/viewer.htm Data Download Page: http://dcm2.enr.state.nc.us/Maps/chdownload.htm.
A Natural Heritage Inventory of the Lower Roanoke Floodplain

Dr. Stephen Hall

Landscape Ecologist
NC Natural Heritage Program

The floodplain of Lower Roanoke River in North Carolina contains one of the largest, least fragmented blocks of riparian forest along the Atlantic Coast. This area has been a major focus of Natural Heritage Program inventories since the 1970s, which helped guide the conservation of over 170 square miles of its natural habitats. It is also, however, an area subject to strong environmental change. In 2012, the Natural Heritage Program conducted a new inventory of the floodplain to monitor changes to native species and natural communities, giving particular attention to the biologically rich alluvial forest and slope habitats as well as areas important for maintaining the landscape integrity of the floodplain. Some of the rarest species previously identified within the floodplain, such as the Cerulean Warbler and Atlantic Isopyrum, appear to be declining. Mississippi Kites and Swainson's Warblers, on the other hand, appear to be increasing while still others, such as the Cocoa Clubtail Dragonfly, Limestone Wild Petunia, and Squatty Ambersnail, were documented within the floodplain for the first time. High priority conservation recommendations include the protection of a newly identified Significant Natural Heritage Area and the protection/restoration of areas where movement of native species has become strongly constricted.
Searching for Sensitive Jointvetch – A Species in Decline

Misty Buchanan

Natural Areas Inventory Manager
NC Natural Heritage Program

Sensitive Joint-vetch (Aeschynomene virginica), a federally Threatened plant, is currently known from Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, and North Carolina. In Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia, its habitat is tidal freshwater marshes of river systems. Sensitive Joint-vetch seems to grow best in marsh edges at an elevation near the upper limit of tidal fluctuation. In early 2013, none of the historical populations in North Carolina were thought to persist. The occurrences most recently observed in NC (last seen in 2011), were in wet roadside ditches, not high quality habitat. Most of the surveys in NC for this species have focused on previously known locations at roadside ditches, rather than high quality estuarine habitat. In 2012, NC botanists from state Heritage Programs and USFWS surveyed populations in Virginia and Maryland to learn successful survey techniques, and in 2013, these survey methods were applied in North Carolina. Despite training in habitat identification, in 2013 surveys, no new Sensitive Joint-vetch populations were found in high quality habitat along the Trent River, Pamlico River, or in Swan Quarter National Wildlife Refuge, or in any new sites within roadside ditches surveyed. Only one small population was found in North Carolina (at a location previously believed extirpated).
Integrating an Estuarine Research & Monitoring Program (DCERP) into Coastal Decision Making

Dr. Michael Piehler

Associate Professor
UNC Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences

The Defense Coastal/Estuarine Research Program (DCERP) has conducted research and monitoring on the New River Estuary and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune (MCBCL) since 2006. MCBCL provides an ideal platform for DCERP because it includes barrier, aquatic, estuarine, wetland, and terrestrial ecosystems. The second phase of DCERP (DCERP2) is focused three major themes: climate change, the carbon cycle, and translating science into practice. These three themes span the four ecosystem modules and 12 research projects that are part of DCERP2. Managing infrastructure and natural assets in coastal regions requires significant research and monitoring to inform decisions. DCERP and DCERP2 have generated tremendous amounts of data and have made significant effort to convey those data to coastal decision makers beyond MCBCL. Coordination with estuarine resource groups such as APNEP has and will be a priority for DCERP.
Integrating Stakeholder Engagement, Scenario Analysis, & Ecosystem-Service Mapping for Conservation Planning in the Albemarle-Pamlico Basin

Dr. Paul Angermeier

Research Scientist & Professor
Virginia Tech, U.S. Geological Survey

Assessing the capacity of landscapes to provide ecosystem services (ES), demand for services, flow of benefits, and ecological pressures reducing services, can enhance our understand of how land/water use decisions impact ES delivery and human wellbeing (HWB). We developed spatially explicit methods for assessing watershed-derived ES and mapping elements of ES delivery. To advance the utility of these methods, we engaged with conservation stakeholders from 27 groups working in the Albemarle-Pamlico basin (APB). We conducted workshops to a) discuss how an (ES) framework might be useful, b) co–develop plausible future scenarios for the APB, and c) share spatially-explicit, basin-wide maps of components of ES delivery and HWB. When used together, stakeholder engagement, scenario analysis, and ES mapping exposes trade-offs in resource-use decisions, thereby informing environmental choices. Our future scenarios included changes in human population, economics, and land use, as well as management responses to those changes. Our resulting maps of ES capacity, ecological pressures on ES, and potential impacts on HWB sparked additional discussion. Overall, our 3-year project produced an innovative process for mapping ES and HWB, better understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of scenario analysis, and new insights into how an ES framework can inform conservation planning.
Blue Crabs As Education Tools: Oh My!

Amy Sauls

Science Teacher
Jones County Senior High School

In the US, blue crabs (C. sapidus) live along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. North Carolina is rich in blue crabs throughout all of its estuaries. Blue crabs are the largest commercial seafood harvested in the state. In Texas, blue crabs are the major dietary item for the last natural migratory population of Whooping Cranes (Grus Americana), an endangered species. We are working in NC and TX to better understand migration and population dynamics of blue crabs. Cranes starve when crab populations are low. Understanding crab movements, the coupling of crabs and cranes could inform restoration efforts in other areas like Florida and North Carolina. Historically, Lake Mattamuskeet was the center of crane overwintering on the east coast. Our studies include place-based education components in Texas and NC. Our team includes a 6th grade teacher and science educator who identifies components of blue crab biology to meet STEM education efforts. This includes crabbing activities in Texas and NC, lessons, and short informational videos generated by high school students for use by teachers. The researchers are learning the nuances of providing useful information to educators in rural communities with plans for use by educators wherever there are blue crabs.
Communicating at the Edge: North Carolina Sea Grant Initiatives for Tidal Creeks Collaboration & Climate Change/Sea Level Rise Outreach

Gloria Putnam

Coastal Resources & Communities Specialist
NC Sea Grant

North Carolina Sea Grant is collaborating with multiple partners on two initiatives to engage local, state, and regional communities on topics of importance to the APNEP Region. The first is a regional effort focused on tidal creeks. Although naturally resilient to fluctuating water and salinity levels, tidal creeks can be stressed by significant changes in local landscapes and lose many of their ecological services. To better understand and improve coordination on tidal creek research, management, restoration and education, we are coordinating regional summits and a planning group for organizations from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The second initiative involves collaboration with local, state, and federal partners to improve how community assistance is provided in coastal North Carolina for adapting to climate change. Effective materials and strategies are needed to communicate to the public, decision-makers, and other target audiences about sea level rise and climate change. Equally important, is the need for processes and tools that increase the ability of communities to discuss the topics and identify and adopt adaptation strategies. Our approaches, partners, progress, and plans related to these two initiatives will be highlighted.
Shad in the Classroom

Melissa Dowland

Coordinator of Teacher Education
NC Museum of Natural Sciences

The Shad in the Classroom program connects teachers and students with North Carolina river basins through active participation in American Shad restoration efforts in the Neuse and Roanoke Rivers. Teachers receive materials and training, and raise American Shad from egg to releasable fry for one week in their classrooms. Students become stewards of their Shad through observation, water quality monitoring, and a field trip to release fry into the river. Teachers have the opportunity to be immersed in American Shad habitat through an overnight field experience on the Roanoke River. The Shad in the Classroom program allows teachers and students to become active participants in fisheries management and research, exposing students to careers in the natural sciences and fostering a connection with the natural environment. In the spring of 2014, a new outreach component will provide programming on American Shad to Roanoke River communities, featuring an inspiring production about the Roanoke River to be shown the Museum's inflatable Geodome theater and supplemented by educational activities.
Landscaping for Water Quality in Currituck County, NC

Barbara Doll

Water Protection and Restoration Specialist
NC Sea Grant

In 2008, Currituck County began a Goes Green Initiative to operate in a manner to conserve, sustain and enhance the environment and natural resources. The initiative has provided sustainability leadership, education and opportunities for county employees, citizens and businesses As an initiative partner, NC Sea Grant and Cooperative Extension worked with the county to develop a sustainability mission statement, create a sustainability resolution; launch a website for businesses and citizens; conduct design charettes for county properties; and secure APNEP funds for a stormwater retrofit demonstration project. The demonstration was intended to educate target audiences about the methods and value of incorporating wetlands and native plants into the developed landscape. In 2010, wetland features were added to existing stormwater ponds at the County's Cooperative Extension Facility to improve stormwater treatment. Perennial buffers were added to improve water quality, deter geese and improve aesthetics. Additional funding was obtained to install monitoring equipment to assess improvements in water treatment from the modifications. A small wildlife garden of native plants was also installed adjacent to the largest pond. The design process and end product helped the county to visualize and understand what adopting "green" practices can do for a site and the environment.
Student Data Collection: The Basic Observation Buoy (BOB)

David Sybert

K-12 Education Specialist
UNC Coastal Studies Institute

The Basic Observation Buoy (BOB) program provides students the opportunity to collect water quality data from the Albemarle, Pamlico and Currituck Sounds. UNC Coastal Studies Institute has worked alongside partners at North Carolina Sea Grant and NOAA Monitor National Marine Sanctuary to implement this project among seven schools in northeastern North Carolina. The students construct a basic buoy that supports water quality and atmospheric sensors and records data for five to seven days. The students retrieve the buoy at the end of each week to recharge batteries, recalibrate sensors, download the data from the on-board computer and upload it to the Internet. The data is shared in a large network of BOB buoys along the East Coast.
Engaging Teachers in Water Quality Education to Connect the Environment & Human Health

Sarah Yelton

Environmental Education Coordinator
UNC Institute for the Environment/UNC Superfund Research Program

Since 2007, the UNC Superfund Research Program, UNC Institute for the Environment and APNEP have partnered to provide North Carolina middle and high school science teachers with hands-on, investigative professional development about the diverse environmental science, health and civics issues related to water quality in NC. Learn how project coordinators work with multiple partners to design an authentic experience that allows participants to explore watersheds and aquatic ecosystems, develop skills in watershed monitoring, examine methods for addressing hazardous chemicals that threaten water quality and discover the effects of contaminated water sources on wildlife, ecosystems and human health. Strategies for including scientists and incorporating cutting-edge research on the health effects of toxic contaminants and water quality monitoring techniques into programming will also be addressed. Post- institute evaluations revealed that 100% of participants increased both their content knowledge and confidence in teaching about water quality and hazardous waste issues as a result of programming. 100% of teachers reported that they planned to incorporate activities featured during the institute into instruction and 70% reported an increased comfort level in teaching outdoors as a result of participation. Agenda, sample activities and evaluation results will be shared during the session.
Saving North Carolina's Reefs

Rachel Gittman

PhD Candidate
UNC CH Institute of Marine Sciences

This presentation will provide an overview of the education and outreach activities currently being led by graduate students at UNC Chapel Hill's Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS).
Fostering Public Engagement at the North Carolina Coastal Reserve

Kate Brogan

Communications Specialist
NC Coastal Reserve

The North Carolina Coastal Reserve is a partnership between NOAA and the N.C. Division of Coastal Management that manages ten protected sites along the North Carolina coast, including several in the Albemarle-Pamlico region. The Reserve promotes informed management and stewardship of North Carolina's estuarine and coastal habitats through research, education, and by example. The Reserve uses a variety of outreach and communications strategies to engage stakeholders about the value of estuarine ecosystems and the interaction between human activities and coastal systems. Educational opportunities for both students and professionals, outreach activities at festivals and events, online interactions, and advisory committees comprised of local community leaders all target specific audiences with relevant information about the Reserve program and mission. Examples of the Reserve's current engagement efforts will be presented, and discuss strategies for communications planning and evaluation.
Albemarle Sound Demonstration Study of the National Monitoring Network for U.S. Coastal Waters & Their Tributaries

Dr. Michelle Moorman

Biologist
US Geological Survey

The U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) North Carolina Water Science Center is implementing a demonstration project in the Albemarle Sound for the National Monitoring Network for U.S. coastal waters and their tributaries. The goal of the National Monitoring Network is to provide information about the health of our oceans and coastal ecosystems and inland influences on coastal waters for improved resource management. The network integrates biological, chemical, and physical features and links uplands to the coastal ocean. The purpose of the Albemarle Sound pilot study is to: 1) Inventory current monitoring programs in the Albemarle Sound, 2) Conduct a gap analysis to determine current monitoring needs, 3) Implement a monitoring program to address data gaps, and 4) Create a web-based map portal of monitoring activities. As part of the project, the USGS worked with stakeholders to inventory current programs and design a monitoring program. This presentation will provide more information about the project including a demonstration of the shapefile and database compiled as part of the monitoring inventory, and results from the first year of data collection.
Remote Sensing of Chlorophyll a in Support of Nutrient Management-Neuse &Tar-Pamlico River Estuaries

Dr. Darryl Keith

Research Oceanographer
US EPA

The NC Environmental Management Commission (EMC) has adopted, as a water quality standard, that chlorophyll a concentration should not exceed 40 ug/L in sounds, estuaries, and other slow-moving waters (NC Administrative Code Section 15A NCAC 2B.0212) in response to eutrophic events in the lower Neuse River basin. The North Carolina Division of Water Resources (NCDWR) concluded that algal growth was being stimulated by excess nutrients from agricultural and urban expansion upstream of the estuary. In 2009, a workshop was held to discuss incorporating satellite data into the NC decision process. It was agreed that the high spatial resolution of Chl a data obtained from the Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) could be beneficial during any future development of water quality regulations based on "phytoplankton density" and to support retrospective analysis for the potential development of new nutrient regulations or revisions of current regulations. In this study, MERIS data were used to retrospectively analyze (2006 – 2009) compliance of the chl a standard in the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico River estuaries. This study is important because for the first time, remotely sensed data were used to directly address issues associated with the management of total nitrogen in the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico River estuaries.
Saltwater Incursion Alters Nitrogen & Carbon Export From a Restored Coastal Plain Wetland

Dr. Marcelo Ardón

Assistant Professor
East Carolina University

Sea-level rise and decreased precipitation will increase the probability of saltwater incursion into formerly freshwater wetlands. Saltwater incursion can alter the availability and chemical species of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) in water through various mechanisms. Over five years, we examined carbon (DOC) and nitrogen (NO3-, NH4+, and TDN) export from the Timberlake Observatory for Wetland Restoration (TOWeR), a large (440 ha) restored wetland that drains into the Albemarle Sound. In three out of the five years we documented drought-induced saltwater incursion during fall and winter. Increased salinity decreased DOC export by half and doubled NH4+ export. Decreases in DOC export were driven both by changes in the concentration of DOC in surface water and decreased water export. Salinity also changed the composition of dissolved organic matter exported from the site as evidenced by changes in fluorescence. Laboratory assays indicated that flocculation could partially explain decreases in DOC concentrations observed in the field. Increased NH4+ concentrations during periods of increased salinity were due to salt-cation exchange with sediments. Understanding the response of coastal plain wetlands to saltwater incursion is necessary to forecast the potential negative impacts on water quality of the Albemarle-Pamlico sound in response to land-use and climate change.
FerryMon & ModMon: Keeping a Watchful Eye on Water & Habitat Quality in the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound System

Dr. Hans Paerl

Kenan Professor of Marine & Environmental Sciences
UNC CH Institute of Marine Sciences

The Albemarle-Pamlico Estuarine System (APES) is North Carolina's most important aquatic resource. It is also the Nation's second largest estuary and supports a large fraction of the Southeastern U.S. fishery, and is the mainstay of North Carolina's coastal economy (>4 billion dollars annually). Maintaining a high standard of water quality is critical for supporting the vital ecological and socio-economic roles the APES plays for North Carolina and the Nation. Despite its importance as essential fish habitat, and its tourism, recreational and residential value, the much of the APES is not monitored for water quality by State or Federal agencies, in stark contrast to its sister estuary to the north, the Chesapeake Bay. Keeping a watchful eye on and maintaining acceptable water quality of this invaluable resource has become a critical need in light of rapid residential growth, agricultural and industrial expansion in the APES watershed, AND the impacts of climatic changes facing the system; including a period (since the mid 1990's) of elevated tropical cyclones and extra-tropical storms, floods, record droughts and the continuing threat of sea-level rise impacting North Carolina's fragile coastal zone. It is essential that we develop a continuous data-base that will enable researchers, educators, water quality and fisheries managers, and decision makers to examine and evaluate the relative effects and importance of human nutrient enrichment and climatic events on APES. Fortunately, North Carolina has existing infrastructure in place to support this vital need in the form of N.C. Dept. of Transportation ferries as "ships of opportunity" which, since 2000 have served as platforms to automatically monitor and assess water quality and ecological health of APES, through a UNC-Duke-NC DENR collaborative program called FerryMon. In addition, the UNC-NC DENR Neuse River Modeling and Monitoring Program (ModMon) provides biweekly water quality information along the estuary and continuous vertical profile data to State, University researchers, educators and the public via an interactive website. ModMon and FerryMon have been instrumental in linking human nutrient enrichment and climatic events to water quality "events" of concern, including algal blooms, low oxygen events, and fish kills. ModMon and FerryMon are highly complementary to the State's monthly ambient water quality monitoring program in that they fill informational "gaps", enabling State and Federal water quality managers to more meaningfully connect human and climatic perturbations to estuarine water quality responses in this large system. FerryMon and ModMon are cost-effective tools that ensure optimal water quality in support of long-term sustainable use of the APES for fisheries, recreation, tourism, and environmentally-sound development. It also supports novel scientific research into the causes and consequences of man-induced and climatically-induced perturbations on the ecological integrity and overall value of APES. There is a critical need to predict ecosystem response to water quality change in the APES in order to provide management tools and guide future management action.
Novel Approaches to Decision Support & Stakeholder Engagement in Estuarine Systems

David Jasinski

Vice President
Chesapeake Environmental Communications

An informed and engaged public can be a tremendous ally in the management, preservation, and restoration of natural systems. We present two examples of information rich and visually engaging tools that represent the next level in decision support and stakeholder engagement. The James River Watch (JRW) – The JRW is a map-based web page developed for the James River Association (Richmond, VA) for the purpose of informing the general public on current health and safety conditions at multiple locations in the James River watershed. Data from USGS, the National Weather Service, and NOAA are accessed every fifteen minutes to update conditions on the map. Additionally, volunteer watershed monitors, managed by the James RiverKeepers, can upload the data that they collect weekly through the summer. This information is used to inform visitors to the JRW about current swimming and fishing conditions. The James River Association has indicated that the JRW has resulted in "record-breaking" traffic to their website indicating that it has been a stakeholder engagement success. This system is becoming a model for other organizations conducting volunteer monitoring with a desire to develop a framework for public access and information. The Chesapeake Bay Ecological Atlas (Atlas) – The Atlas is a custom iBook for the iPad developed for NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Service (NCCOS). It features interactive diagrams and maps based on the thirty-year data record in Chesapeake Bay. NCCOS research and several of their scientists are featured prominently throughout the product, creating broader awareness around the value of federal research. The Atlas has been developed as a highly visual, interactive, and data-rich learning tool for high school through college age students and as a desktop reference for environmental managers. NCCOS plans to make the Atlas available for free download from the iTunes bookstore.
Relation of Watershed Setting & Stream Nutrient Yields in Central & Eastern North Carolina

Steven Harden

Hydrologist
US Geological Survey

The U.S. Geological Survey conducted a cooperative study with the North Carolina Division of Water Quality to characterize relations between watershed settings and stream nutrient yields throughout central and eastern North Carolina. Stream yields of nitrate, total nitrogen (N), and total phosphorus (P) were compiled for 48 sites for 1997–2008. Environmental data also were compiled, including land cover, hydrologic soil groups, streamflows, wastewater treatment facilities, and confined animal feeding operations. The environmental data were used to characterize the watershed settings for the study sites. Data analyses indicated that grouping and examining stream nutrient yields based on land-use classifications developed for the study can be useful for characterizing relations between watershed settings and nutrient yields. The analysis of data with four regression tree models showed that some of the environmental variables, such as percentage of forested land and point-source flow contributions in the watersheds, were useful predictors of nitrate, total N, and total P yields in the streams. The regression tree models can serve as a tool for relating differences in select watershed attributes to differences in stream nutrient yields, which can provide beneficial information for improving nutrient management in streams throughout North Carolina.
Accuracy of Protocol to Monitor Submerged Aquatic Vegetation at Sentinel Sites in North Carolina

Dr. Joseph Luczkovich

Associate Professor
East Carolina University

Monitoring change in North Carolina's Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) coverage is a significant undertaking that is one of the goals of APNEP. High-resolution aerial digital photography being used at 5-year intervals to monitor inter-annual variability, but turbid water conditions make it difficult to reliably detect SAV from aerial surveys alone. Here, we test the accuracy of APNEP boat-based protocol established in 2012 using transects established sentinel sites (low-salinity sites at Currituck Sound, Blount's Bay in Pamlico River, and high-salinity site at Jarrett Bay in Core Sound). We collected continuous single-beam echosounder (BioSonics DTX in Sep 2012 and Lowrance HDS5 in April 2013) data along transects at each site and used a pole-mounted low-light video camera to get bottom images at 100 random locations to estimate % accuracy. Accuracy of SONAR relative to video was 77% in Fall 2012 at Currituck and 88 % at all three locations in Spring 2013. The boat-based methods can be done rapidly at a sentinel site (2 days per site) at low cost. We recommend that the sentinel sites expanded to include at least 25 such sites in low and high salinity regions surveyed at 5-year intervals along with concurrent aerial photography.
Estuarine Observing in North Carolina – Past, Present, & Future

Dr. Reide Corbett

Professor
East Carolina University, UNC Coastal Studies Institute

Regional observing systems generally depend on the cooperation of multiple local monitoring sites and the organizations responsible for them. The principle is that the benefits to the users from this cooperation exceed the sum of the individual activities. Although NC has made strides in establishing a robust monitoring network in the Albemarle Pamlico Estuarine System (APES), there are opportunities for improvement. Examples include a large observing platform built and equipped with funds provided by UNC-GA in 2008 (NC-EONS). Unfortunately, this platform was destroyed before the first data was collected. Previous partnerships between ECU, ECSU, and the Corps of Engineers constructed and established an observing site in the Albemarle Sound (AL-EON) that continues to collect data (albeit, with fewer instruments today). FerryMon, an innovative ferry-based water quality monitoring system first established in 2000 and coordinated by UNC-IMS, has been critical to the long-term environmental management of the APES. Based on these and other efforts, it is clear that NC has made a substantial commitment to create an estuarine observing system to establish baseline conditions, evaluate temporal change, and understand the coastal response to events. This presentation will provide a short overview of some observing efforts in the APES and discuss possible partnerships moving forward.
An Overview of the 2012 Ecosystem Assessment of the Albemarle-Pamlico Estuarine System

Dr. Dean Carpenter

Program Scientist
Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership

One of four major activities in APNEP's approach to adaptive management, the ability to assess regional ecosystem condition and vulnerability, should provide critical information that enables staff and partner decision makers to help ensure that the elements of the Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP) remain aligned with the partnership's mission. The 2012 APNEP ecosystem assessment was the first comprehensive ecological assessment in the region since the early 1990s. This presentation will provide an overview of the importance of the role of assessment in APNEP, features of the 2012 report, planned additions and improvements in the near term, and the importance of another adaptive management activity, the design and implementation of monitoring, to improvements APNEP assessments in the longer term.
APNEP's Comprehensive Conservation & Management Plan (2012-2022): Collaborative Actions for Protecting & Restoring the Albemarle-Pamlico Ecosystem

Lindsey Smart

Project Coordinator
Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership

The development of the 2012-2022 Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) has been a significant milestone for the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership. The current plan's integration of ecosystem-based management approach provides a landmark shift from the management methods presented in the previous CCMP (1994). While the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system is rich in natural resources, it is not without its unique challenges. The CCMP is aimed at helping to navigate those challenges. The objectives, actions, and intended outcomes within the current plan were carefully crafted through a systems-based analysis of the regional ecosystem. Initiatives within the plan include protection and restoration efforts to improve water quality and habitats, identification of knowledge gaps in system concepts, and public engagement to foster connections to the natural environment. Many of these initiatives are achieved through key collaborative partnerships and leveraged resources. The continued success of CCMP implementation, and of APNEP as a program, is highly dependent upon the success of these partnerships. This presentation will explore the objectives, actions, and expected outcomes that constitute the CCMP and will also explore how the systems-approach provides the foundation for this plan.
Implementing the 2012-2022 Comprehensive Conservation & Management Plan

Dr. Bill Crowell

Director
Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership

After more than four years of work, Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership (APNEP) released its new Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) in 2012. The 10-year strategic plan is based on the principles of Ecosystem-Based Management and incorporates collaborative approaches to implementation. The session will present APNEP's plan for a collaborative approach to implementation of the CCMP's actions.
Adaptive Management in an Ecosystem-based Management Program

Dr. Carl Hershner

Director
Center for Coastal Resources Management, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences

Dr. Kirk Havens

Director
Coastal Watersheds Program, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences

Ecosystem based management presumes an understanding of the managed system which typically does not exist. This places an emphasis on capacity to learn-while-doing. To accomplish this in a public program that needs a high degree of accountability, the program must incorporate very effective adaptive management strategies. Key to these are appropriate design of monitoring and planned utilization of monitoring information in program performance assessments. When undertaken correctly these assessments can help manage the inherent uncertainties in environmental restoration and incrementally improve the operative system model. Application of this framework to the new APNEP CCMP will be explained.
Using Social Network Analysis to Identify Communication Patterns Among Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership Partners

Kate Brogan

Communications Specialist
NC Coastal Reserve

In order to accomplish its mission of conservation and restoration with a limited budget, the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership (APNEP) engages in cooperative projects with a variety of partner organizations. As APNEP implements the 2012 Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan, communicating with existing partners, identifying potential collaborators, and encouraging information sharing is crucial to efficiently accomplishing management plan objectives. In order to assess how APNEP interacts with its partners and the larger environmental community, a social network analysis was developed to map individuals and organizations that regularly communicate about environmental issues in the Southeast. Using snowball survey methodology to identify relevant individuals and organizations, regional social network maps were created using the statistics program R. The social network maps include representations of communication links between sectors, the relative importance of specific individuals within the network, and a geographic representation of the connections between environmental professionals in the region. Analysis of the network maps identified geographical and organizational gaps in APNEP's outreach efforts, as well as key individuals whose network position could be leveraged to improve information transfer among the regional network. The network map structures provided implicit recommendations for improving outreach efforts and targeting APNEP's limited resources to increase collaboration and share information efficiently with stakeholders.
Integrating Implementation of APNEP's CCMP with NC's Coastal Habitat Protection Plan & Other Partners

Jimmy Johnson

Watershed Field Coordinator
Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership

The Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership (APNEP) has multiple partners who also utilize conservation plans and conservation strategies within their own organizations. One such plan is NC's Department of Environment and Natural Resources' Coastal Habitat Protection Plan (CHPP). This presentation will look at how the CCMP integrates these plans and how the CCMP is a complimentary document to a number of partner organization's plans and strategies.
Conservation Planning Tool

Allison Schwarz Weakley

Conservation Planner
NC Natural Heritage Program

The North Carolina Conservation Planning Tool (CPT) provides a valuable means for synthesizing and sharing the priorities of the state's conservation agencies and organizations with planners in government and the private sector to inform decisions and guide conservation efforts statewide. The CPT includes assessments and maps that integrate the best available, most current data and information from multiple sources, and can assist users in identifying lands that provide multiple resource priorities at different landscape scales for Biodiversity and Wildlife Habitat, Open Space and Conservation Lands, Agricultural Lands, and Forestry Lands. This comprehensive planning tool is used by local and state governments, regional planning organizations, and non-profit organizations to inform decisions about conservation and other land use planning efforts in North Carolina. By showing a relative order of conservation significance, these data can assist with conservation funding decisions and support cost-effective investments. The assessments are also used to promote a greater understanding of the importance and location of natural resources in the state, and to develop strategies to manage and protect these important resources at the local, regional, and state levels.

 

 APNEP Conference Proceedings

2011 | 2004

State of the Sounds

2011 Agenda | Speaker Bios

Title Author(s) Abstract
Loads of Nutrients in Selected Streams of the Albemarle-Pamlico Basin: Description, Trends, and Comparisons

Tim Spruill 

Hydrologist

Nutrients are known to be an important factor in the health of both freshwater and estuarine ecosystems, particularly when too much nitrogen or phosphorus is released into these systems. Publically available streamflow and nutrient data from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources and from the U.S. Geological Survey were analyzed for selected streams draining portions of the Albemarle-Pamlico Basin (primarily the Neuse River Watershed). These data are compared with previous world-wide and U.S. East and Gulf Coast estimates from the 1970s-1990s. Long-term (1973-2005) and recent (1997-2008) trends in total nitrogen and phosphorus are examined in the context of complexities of interpreting such data and evaluating their utility in water-quality management. The need for continued long-term monitoring is discussed.
Strategic Habitat Areas in the APNEP Region of North Carolina

Christine Jensen

Marine Fisheries Biologist
NC Division of Marine Fisheries

Anne Deaton
Habitat Protection Section Chief
NC Division of Marine Fisheries

The identification and designation of Strategic Habitat Areas (SHAs) for marine and coastal fishery species is a critical component in the implementation of North Carolina’s Coastal Habitat Protection Plan. Strategic Habitat Areas are defined as “specific locations of individual fish habitat or systems of habitats that have been identified to provide exceptional habitat functions or that are particularly at risk due to imminent threats, vulnerability, or rarity.” Strategic Habitat Areas have been identified for most of the APNEP region through a scientifically-based process that considered existing habitats, human alteration factors, biological data, and input from regional experts. Strategic Habitat Area nominations include areas that have already been protected by other designations, as well as areas not currently recognized in any way. Once SHAs are designated, resource managers may address gaps in existing conservation and management efforts and take steps to prevent further alteration of the system as a whole. The nomination of SHAs can provide guidance for conservation projects focused on conservation/land acquisition, enhancement, or restoration. A network of designated SHAs providing habitat connections throughout North Carolina’s coastal waters will help maintain a healthy ecosystem and ensure that the complex life history needs of all fishery species are met.
Coastal Carbon Sequestration by Shellfish Reefs

Dr. Joel Fodrie

Assistant Professor
UNC Institute of Marine Sciences

There is increasing appreciation for the role of natural ecosystems in sequestering anthropogenically released CO2. In particular, coastal habitats can be hot-spots of CO2 removal due to the combination of high primary production and deposition rates. While recent attention has focused on vegetated marine habitats as carbon sinks (e.g. saltmarsh, mangrove), shellfish reef environments may also contribute significantly to the sequestration of carbon. Over these biogenic reefs, phytoplankton, particulate/dissolved carbon are filtered (concentrated), repackaged and deposited as carbon-rich shells, feces, and pseudofeces in an accreting reef matrix. New oyster-reef data within North Carolina indicate that > 25 Mg (tonne) C ha-1 yr-1 can be sequestered within this biogenic habitat. These data compare favorably with other notable estuarine ‘blue carbon’ sinks (mean: 1.2 Mg C ha-1 yr-1; max record: 17.3 Mg C ha-1 yr-1), although our preliminary data also suggest that oyster-reef sequestration rates are mitigated by landscape setting and water depth. Because shellfish reefs are among the most imperiled habitats on the planet (> 85% losses), there is extra incentive for gathering entirely novel data on emergent reef properties such as accretion rates (vis-à-vis sea-level rise) and carbon storage as we continue to face global climate change.
Using Ecosystem Restoration to Build Climate Change Resilience into a Coastal Habitat Complex

Dr. Brian Boutin

Climate Adaptation Project Director
The Nature Conservancy

Located between the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, the Albemarle Peninsula is a low-lying landscape containing more than 540,000 acres of coastal conservation lands. However, extensive ditching and draining of wetlands in concert with it’s extremely low elevation has left the peninsula vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, particularly sea level rise, threatening these conservation investments. Many impacts of sea level rise – increased shoreline erosion, rapid habitat transitions, saltwater intrusion, and a rising water table – have already become visible. Recognizing the urgency to build the resilience of the landscape to future change, The Nature Conservancy partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure that, as the ecosystems of the region are altered by climate change, they are transformed into ones that remain complex and provide a suite of ecosystem services. This partnership aims to address climate stressors through implementing long-term adaptive management strategies that contribute most to the resilience of both the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems on the peninsula, including reestablishing a natural hydrologic regime in drained wetlands, managing the transition of habitats through strategic plantings of salt – and flood-tolerant vegetation, and using oyster reefs, submerged aquatic vegetation, and marsh grasses to abate shoreline wave energy.
Basic Observation Buoy Workshop, Construction, and Deployment for Schools in the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound Region

David Sybert

Education Associate
UNC Coastal Studies Institute

The UNC Coastal Studies Institute, along with partners from NC Sea Grant and NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, have implemented an estuarine observing project that utilizes Basic Observation Buoys (BOB) constructed, deployed and maintained by six schools in northeastern North Carolina. Students from these schools learn important scientific concepts and experience real world challenges while learning about the area where they live. Curriculum created in conjunction with the project engage students in a manner that highlights STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education and encourages career paths in related fields. The BOB units carry a suite of environmental sensors that collect meteorological and water quality data for up to a week at a time before required maintenance. The six schools are located in five different counties along the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, and the data collected from their buoys will be shared with the SECOORA BOB network. This is the first year of a legacy project that will increase the amount of water quality data available for one of the largest estuarine systems in the United States and allow students and teachers to identify trends in local systems while relating them to national and global trends in water quality issues.
Virginia Healthy Waters Initiative

Dr. Todd Janeski

Manager
Virginia Healthy Waters Initiative
VA Commonwealth University & Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

The Virginia’s Healthy Waters initiative is designed to raise awareness about the need to protect high-function stream resources before they become impacted by changes in land use. Traditional water quality programs have focused on costly methods of rehabilitating degraded waters. In contrast, the Healthy Waters Initiative focuses on taking a systems approach to identify and protect the resources with highest ecological integrity and diversity. Virginia Healthy Waters Initiative data helps prioritize protection efforts and can be integrated into land-use decision making and voluntary conservation efforts. This program seeks to reduce the number of streams that will become degraded and have an overall positive, long-term impact on the interconnected health of Virginia’s waters from the mountains to the ocean. Virginia’s Healthy Waters Initiative works collaboratively with state, federal, regional agencies as well as local stakeholders to identify opportunities to implement the healthy waters initiative. Virginia and North Carolina are cooperating to identify Healthy Water Resources in our shared resources, including the Chowan basin. Specifically, we are working with the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program and the Nature Conservancy to develop a pilot Healthy Waters planning effort that will identify and prioritize healthy waters for regional, state and local conservation efforts.
Water Science at Work: A Sampling of USGS Activities in Eastern North Carolina

Mary Giorgino

Water Quality Specialist
U.S. Geological Survey North Carolina Water Science Center

Water—the estuaries, coastal rivers, wetlands, and groundwater—defines the Albemarle-Pamlico region and is an invaluable resource to its human and non-human inhabitants. As the second largest estuary in the United States, the Albemarle-Pamlico Estuary is nationally significant. However, its waters are subject to multiple pressures including landscape and climate change, competing uses, pollution, and natural but catastrophic events like hurricanes. For more than 100 years, the U.S. Geological Survey has worked in collaboration with local, State, and other Federal agencies to provide the data and science needed to promote wise management of the region’s water resources. This overview of recent activities will include: documenting storm tide from Hurricane Irene; monitoring and modeling dissolved-oxygen dynamics in the Roanoke River; investigating nutrient loadings, trends, and sources; and evaluating the quality and sustainability of drinking-water supplies.
Linking Landuse to Patterns in Coastal Stream Discharge and Loading of Nutrients and Suspended Solids

Dr. Michael Piehler

Associate Professor
UNC Institute of Marine Sciences

Coastal streams transport landscape-derived materials to estuarine receiving waters. Their high level of connectivity to surrounding watersheds makes them indicators of impacts resulting from changing land uses. Coastal streams in the New River Estuary, NC, USA have been monitored for three years, during which water samples were collected during base – and throughout storm-flow. Samples were analyzed for nutrient and total suspended solid (TSS) concentrations, and flow was measured continuously. This research determined that in developed watersheds, loading of some constituents (nitrate, ammonium, TSS) and stream discharge increased, as did the relative importance of storm flow delivery, when compared to reference watersheds. Determining the impacts of land use and precipitation patterns on material delivery by coastal streams is requisite for quantifying and mitigating degradation resulting from watershed development.
Ecosystem Assessment of the Albemarle Pamlico Estuarine System

Dr. Lindsay Dubbs

Postdoctoral researcher
UNC Institute of Marine Sciences

“The State of Sounds 2011: An Assessment of the Albemarle Pamlico Ecosystem” is the first assessment of the condition of the Albemarle Pamlico Estuarine System (APES) to be completed in 20 years. This presentation will provide insights on the process of completing the assessment, highlight important information about the condition of the APES revealed by the assessment, and present guidance on how to use the assessment as a resource.
Human Population Distribution in the Albemarle-Pamlico Basin, 1990-2010

Dr. Tom Crawford

Associate Professor of Geography
East Carolina University

Indicator results presented here report geographical patterns of total human population amounts and change summarized at the basin and sub-basin levels for 1990-2010. Human populations alter the environment in myriad ways. Selected impacts associated with human population and their behaviors include: loss of natural land covers (e.g. wetlands and forests), natural habitat fragmentation, increased impervious surface, point and non-point source water pollution, water withdrawal, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and reduced health of terrestrial and aquatic species populations. Historical evolution of settlement patterns is driven by multiple factors such as demographic processes (i.e. human fertility, mortality, and migration), geographical accessibility, land economics, natural landscape environmental opportunities and constraints, and institutional land policies governing where settlement may occur. The spatially varying nature of these factors causes an uneven distribution of human population such that it is important to report human population patterns at multiple geographical scales of increasing spatial resolution that range from the entire Albemarle-Pamlico basin to individual sub-basins.
Successes of the Coastal Habitat Protection Plan

Jessi Baker

Habitat Alteration Permit Reviewer
NC Division of Marine Fisheries

Kevin Hart
Habitat Alteration Permit Reviewer
NC Division of Marine Fisheries

The 1997 Fisheries Reform Act required the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources develop a Coastal Habitat Protection Plan (CHPP) with a goal of long-term enhancement of coastal fisheries (N.C.G.S. 143B-279.8). The CHPP was adopted in 2004 and updated in 2010. The plan describes NC’s coastal fisheries habitats (water column, soft bottom, hard bottom, submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), wetlands, and shell bottom), the latest scientific information on habitat needs, ecosystem and fisheries benefits, threats, and status. Management and research recommendations are provided for the associated state agencies, commissions and interested parties to implement. The plan has fostered interagency cooperation between the states resource commissions (Marine Fisheries Commission, Coastal Resource Commission, Environmental Management Commission, and Wildlife Resource Commission). CHPP successes include coordinated rulemaking, increased compliance monitoring, changes to the coastal stormwater rules, identification of Strategic Habitat Areas, coastwide SAV mapping, designation of anadromous fish spawning areas, and expanded oyster reef restoration. The 2010 CHPP provided updated explanations of new threats, including sea level rise, invasive species, energy development, and endocrine disrupting chemicals. CHPP and APNEP staff work closely on common habitat protection and restoration goals, in a beneficial manner for North Carolina’s coast.
Seasonal Variation of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation in Currituck Sound

Dr. Maurice Crawford

Associate Professor of Marine and Environmental Science
Elizabeth City State University

I collected core samples over a ten month period from a bed of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) near Bells Island in Currituck Sound, NC. Plant samples were sorted by species, divided into leaves and roots/rhizomes, weighed and then dried at 60°C for three days. Biomass (g/m2) was calculated based on the dried weights. The three species that dominated the samples were wild celery (Vallisneria americana), widgeon grass (Ruppia maritima) and redhead grass (Potamogeton perfoliatus). Total biomass in the SAV bed peaked in September and October. I found that the species that accounted for more than half of the biomass varied by month. Wild celery was the dominant species during August and September; widgeon grass during April and May while redhead grass was the dominant in July. The overall patterns of peak biomass are similar to the SAV communities studied by Moore et al (1998) in the Chesapeake although the values for mean SAV biomass were generally lower in the Currituck Sound. I plan to expand this work to other sites in the Currituck Sound to see if this pattern is consistent and to better understand the life history of oligohaline SAV in North Carolina.
Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Map for North Carolina and Southern Virginia Coastal Waters

Scott Gentry

Project Manager
Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program

A map of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) for North Carolina and southern Virginia estuarine coastlines was completed in August 2011. SAV serves multiple habitat functions for fish, shellfish, and crustaceans, including providing dissolved oxygen, filtering pollutants out of the water, and providing shelter for protection and spawning. Knowing the location of SAV is important for assessing habitat condition and determining where to direct resources for conservation efforts. The map classifies SAV based on density, with waterfowl impoundments and aquaculture vegetation classified as such. Led by the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program with many state and federal partners, this effort is the first to detail the location of submerged aquatic vegetation in the region.
The First Complete Mapping of North Carolina’s Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Resources

Dr. Donald Field

Fishery Biologist (Research)
NOAA/NOS – Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research

A cooperative effort involving federal, state, local and academic personnel has recently finished the first ever complete mapping of North Carolina’s Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) resources (Including Back Bay, VA). The mapping effort was conducted using state-of-the-art digital aerial imagery supported by a concerted field verification effort that collected more than 1000 points throughtout the state. The imagery and final SAV map will serve a broad spectrum of needs for the NC coastal management community and will also provide a valuable baseline for future monitoring efforts. The GIS data for the final map product are presently available on-line at the APNEP website. The imagery, mapping, and field verification procedures are described.
Short-term erosion of Wetland Shorelines in the Albemarle-Pamlico Estuarine System

Dr. D. Reide Corbett

Professor
Dept. of Geological Sciences/Institute for Coastal Science & Policy
East Carolina University

Dr. J.P. Walsh

Associate Professor
Dept. of Geological Sciences/Institute for Coastal Science & Policy
East Carolina University

Shoreline erosion has been recognized as a problem with important human and ecological ramifications (e.g., property and marsh loss) in coastal zones. Previous studies have typically focused on oceanfront shorelines; however the rate of shoreline erosion along protected mainland shorelines can exceed that of oceanfront areas. In the Albemarle-Pamlico Estuarine System (APES), prior research has focused on long-term changes in the estuarine shoreline. For example, work has shown the highest rates of shoreline erosion (from 1 m yr-1 to as high as 3 m yr1) occur along the exposed sound areas and at the mouths of major sub-estuaries (e.g., Pamlico River mouth), and elsewhere rates are commonly 0.25 m yr-1. The goal of this research was to quantify changes in estuarine wetland shorelines over telescoping time periods (weeks to months to decades) and associated with individual storm events. Although accretion was locally measured at several of the study sites during bi-monthly surveys, generally net erosion is dominating the change throughout the system and slow stay erosion from regular wave action appears to be controlling change based on this preliminary dataset.
Landscape-Scale Hydrologic and Wetlands Restoration in Coastal North Carolina: Benefitting Coastal Water Quality and Water Management Needs

Erin Fleckenstein

Coastal Scientist
NC Coastal Federation

In an effort to restore water quality and oyster habitat in the Pamlico Sound, the North Carolina Coastal Federation is spearheading the development of a landscape-scale hydrologic restoration plan that will redirect agricultural drainage water within a 42,000-acre Hyde County Drainage District. Hydrologic modifications within the district and water management techniques that include pumping agricultural drainage waters into coastal waterways exacerbate water quality and oyster habitat declines in Pamlico Sound. Led by NCCF, a group of landowners, farmers, fishermen, researchers, resource agencies and others have identified, planned, and begun implementing several projects that will revolutionize water management within the drainage district. By modeling historic flows, the group has developed a plan that redirects drainage water into impoundments using the land to retain, filter and treat the runoff. This restoration design lends itself to provide other unique benefits and opportunities; marrying the needs of the farmers for water management with water quality improvements and needed migrating shorebird habitat. This work represents the advancement and integration of agricultural drainage practices with environmentally sound objectives. The lessons learned and methods used have potentially wide spread application.
Integrating and Enhancing Strategic Landscape Conservation in Eastern North Carolina and Southeastern Virginia

Peter Campbell

Wildlife Biologist
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

In 2009, the Department of Interior (DOI) adopted a new business model that relies on the Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC) framework and a national network of Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) to more effectively fulfill its mission of protecting and managing priority natural. The SHC framework is founded on the principles of Adaptive Management and includes five elements; biological planning, conservation design, conservation delivery, monitoring and research. LCCs are large geographic areas designed to encourage the development and implementation of science-based conservation actions by engaging multiple interests across a broad conservation community. The boundary of the DOI Eastern NC/Southeastern VA SHC Team comprises the northern third of the South Atlantic LCC. The Team, which has over twenty years of experience working together and in collaboration with partners to accomplish its conservation goals, is now engaging stakeholders to develop a new plan to apply the SHC framework within the Coastal Plain and Piedmont of southern Virginia and eastern North Carolina. The plan will identify our conservation targets, threats to those targets, and the objectives and strategies that must be implemented in order to achieve target goals. Our vision is to establish a viable network of public and private lands and waters that will sustain resilient populations of priority fish, wildlife, and plants, and the habitats on which they depend. While the Team is primarily focused on protecting and managing important natural resources, to realistically achieve its vision we acknowledge that we must engage both traditional and non-traditional partners to create objectives and strategies that balance natural resource, cultural, social and economic interests. We intend to fully cross-walk and integrate strategies from our SHC Strategic Plan with that of the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program’s (APNEP) new Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP). The Team’s can provide APNEP with further information in the areas of biological planning and conservation design while APNEP can provide the Team with important data and expertise in the areas of monitoring and community engagement.
Shad in the Classroom

Liz Baird

Director of Education
NC Museum of Natural Sciences

Melissa Dowland

Teacher Education Specialist
NC Museum of Natural Sciences

“Shad in the Classroom” is a collaborative project that provides students with an understanding of the science process, inspiration for careers in science, and a desire to protect our waterways, particularly in the APNEP region, through hands-on experience raising American Shad from egg to releasable fry. The objective of this project is to build an understanding of the life history of shad and an appreciation for our natural world. The project has two primary components: 1. Classroom project: Equipping classrooms to raise the shad, providing the shad eggs, assisting with the release. 2. Teacher training: one day training on the process of raising shad, overnight canoe workshop on the Roanoke to learn about the ecosystem.
Engaging APNEP Communities on Climate Change

Dr. Jessica Whitehead

Regional Climate Extension Specialist
NC Sea Grant and SC Sea Grant Consortium

For APNEP’s vision of identifying and monitoring climate risks and protecting the region by enhancing climate change resilience, it will need to obtain local support by engaging the public on the need for such work. Local level knowledge is vital to determining the factors that influence community and ecosystem resilience to climate impacts and the appropriate actions for communities to prevent damage from or take advantage of those impacts. One way of gaining such knowledge and trust is to engage communities through locally based climate extension. In the Town of Plymouth, North Carolina Sea Grant is using interviews and structured diagramming based on current flooding infrastructure vulnerabilities to facilitate a discussion of climate adaptation needs in a community where climate change alone is not sufficient motivation for adaptation planning. Vulnerability and Consequences Adaptation Planning Scenario (VCAPS) process allows local decision-makers to synthesize their concerns about climate impacts, consequences, and decisions in a structured diagram that help town decision-makers understand the potential impacts and decisions they will need to make as sea level rises. Lessons learned from the ongoing Plymouth case study will be valuable and applicable as APNEP continues to expand its work on building a climate ready estuary.
Ferrymon: Highlights from a Decade of Intensive Ferry-Based Monitoring of the Pamlico Sound System

Dr. Nathan Hall

Postdoctoral Research Associate
UNC Institute of Marine Sciences

Dr. Benjamin Peierls

Postdoctoral Research Associate
UNC Institute of Marine Sciences

For over a decade FerryMon has used NC-DOT ferries as platforms to monitor Pamlico Sound and a key tributary estuary, the Neuse River. Before FerryMon, very little water quality data existed for much of Pamlico Sound despite its tremendous economic, social, fisheries and recreational value and the increasing impacts of multiple natural and anthropogenic stressors. FerryMon measures key indicators of water quality (temperature, salinity, chlorophyll a, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, pH and dissolved nutrient concentrations) with the temporal and spatial resolution necessary to determine the ecological integrity and understand the complex dynamics of these systems. For example, FerryMon data are used to assess compliance of the chlorophyll a standard for the Neuse River estuary TMDL and have documented water quality impacts to Pamlico Sound from hurricanes. FerryMon provides critical ground-truthing measurements for satellite-based remote sensing enabling researchers and managers to “scale-up” to an unprecedented regional view of water quality conditions. FerryMon has been used to test newly developed instrumentation that provides class-level characterization of the phytoplankton assemblage, information critical to the early detection of harmful algal blooms. Additionally, FerryMon is currently equipped to measure dissolved CO2 to help fill the knowledge gap surrounding global C fluxes at the land-sea margin.
Estuarine Shoreline Mapping Project: Preliminary Results

Lisa Cowart

Environmental Specialist
NC Division of Coastal Management

The goal of the ESMP is to create a continuous estuarine shoreline and to quantify the mileage of shoreline types and number of shoreline structures, with the intention of further understanding the effects of development along the shoreline and the effects of permitted activities on coastal residents and the environment. A detailed methodology was created and the estuarine shorelines were digitized using the most recent available aerial photography for each county. To date, 17 of the 20 CAMA counties have been digitized. Of the 17 counties digitized, five have been QA/QC’ed by DCM staff and are considered complete. There are three counties that have yet to be digitized and the digitization process is expected to be completed by December 2011. A basic statistics and summary analysis has been performed on the five completed counties. The analysis includes calculations of length of five distinct shoreline types, length of the types of modified shoreline, and the number of modified structures. In order to highlight the potential use of the data, an expanded analysis was performed for Washington County, which will be applied to the other counties as they are completed.
Charting the Course: An Overview of APNEP’s Ecosystem-Based Approach to Regional Planning and Environmental Management

Dr. Bill Crowell

Director
Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program

Dr. Dean Carpenter

Program Scientist
Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program

Recognizing the need to incorporate advanced scientific principles into its environmental management efforts, APNEP adopted an ecosystem-based management (EBM) approach in late 2009. As a first step to realizing this approach, APNEP has incorporated EBM principles into its Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. This presentation will provide an overview of ecosystem-based management, discuss the ecosystem-based planning process behind APNEP’s new plan, and propose near-term action steps to facilitate the transition to ecosystem- based management in the region.
The State of Central Coast North Carolina Marshes

Dr. Christine Voss

Postdoctoral Research Associate
UNC-CH Institute of Marine Sciences

The in situ persistence of coastal marsh habitat as sea level rises depends on the ecophysiologically based responses of the dominant macrophytes to inundation. Establishing plugs of dominant marsh macrophytes in experimental planters placed at six elevations in two contrasting North Carolina marshes served to expose plants to a range of differing inundation periods, thereby creating conditions that anticipate responses to varying sea level. Both Spartina alterniflora and Juncus roemerianus exhibited significant trends of decreasing growth with increasing inundation and their growth response patterns to inundation period were strikingly similar. J. roemerianus response differed little between inundation regime whether exposed to regular semi-diurnal tides or via irregular, meteorologically driven flooding. Currently, central coast North Carolina marsh elevations already induce sub- optimally long inundation, producing less vigorous growth of live plants and failing to achieve maximal levels of production of above – and below-ground biomass to contribute indirectly (above) and directly (below) to elevating the marsh surface and thereby providing resilience to sea-level rise. Since in situ persistence of coastal marshes is unlikely in this region, transgression landward remains a mechanism that could allow these marshes to continue to provide their valuable ecosystem services indefinitely into the future.
Capacities and Flows of Aquatic Ecosystem Services in the Albemarle-Pamlico Basin

Dr. Paul Angermeier

Research Scientist and Professor
USGS Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit
Virginia Tech

Dr. Amy Villamagna

Lecturer
Sustainable Development & Conservation Biology Program
University of Maryland

Ecosystem services (ES) provide a crucial management nexus among ecological function, socioeconomic value, and biological conservation. However, ES are not commonly incorporated into resource-planning decisions in private or public sectors. ES assessments often focus on the flow of societal benefits but ignore spatio-temporal variation in the biophysical capacity of ecosystems to provide services. We have developed a new framework to quantify and map ES, which we are applying to the Albemarle-Pamlico basin (APB) of NC and VA. Our framework distinguishes among the capacity of an ecosystem to provide services, the flow of benefits to humans, and the ecological and social demands on ES. Collectively, these features enable us to more clearly assess landscape-level sustainability. We will present current findings on spatial variation in the capacity and flow of selected aquatic ES; our maps illustrate that ES capacity and flow vary greatly and independently across landscapes. We will also examine the extent to which lands managed by federal, state, county, and municipal entities within the NC portion of the APB can protect regulating and cultural services.
Ecosystem Services: History and Significance with an Application to Oyster Restoration

Dr. Andy Keeler

Professor
East Carolina University
Program Head, UNC Coastal Studies Institute

The concept of ecosystem services has been widely adopted as an appropriate paradigm for modeling and measuring the interaction between the natural and economic systems. This presentation discusses the history and importance of ecosystem services from the standpoint of environmental economics. It identifies the strengths and weaknesses of ecosystem services as an organizing principle for multidisciplinary research, and discusses the ways that ecosystem services can affect environmental policy decisions. Illustrative examples are drawn from oyster restoration in estuarine environments.
Identifying and Prioritizing Important Natural Resources in North Carolina: The Conservation Planning Tool

Allison Schwarz Weakley

Conservation Planner
NC Natural Heritage Program

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources has developed a Conservation Planning Tool to identify, evaluate, and prioritize an interconnected network of important natural resources required to maintain healthy and sustainable ecosystems statewide. Through the One NC Naturally initiative, this tool is used to inform planning and funding decisions, and to coordinate and guide conservation efforts. The tool consists of a series of assessments conducted using the best available, most current data and information on biodiversity and wildlife habitat, forestry and farmland, water resources, and open space and conservation lands in the state. These assessments are used by state and local governments, regional councils of governments, conservation organizations, and the state’s trust funds to inform planning and decision- making for land use, conservation, watershed, parks and recreation, and transportation projects; to identify preservation and restoration sites for mitigation; and to support grant applications for land acquisition. The assessments are also used to promote a greater understanding of the importance and location of natural resources in the state, and to develop strategies to manage and protect these important resources at the local, regional, and state levels.
Strategies for Managing North Carolina’s Estuarine Shoreline

Lisa Schiavinato

Law, Policy and Community Development Specialist
North Carolina Sea Grant

Joseph Kalo, J.D.

Graham Kenan Professor of Law
University of North Carolina School of Law

The NC Coastal Resources Law, Planning and Policy Center and its partners are currently conducting a study on emerging issues that will impact the state’s estuarine shoreline. The objectives of this study are to: (1) identify the emerging natural resource issues that will impact North Carolina’s estuarine shoreline for the next 15-20 years; (2) provide technical information on the factors associated with them; and (3) recommend management strategies on how to address these issues. Research on these emerging issues and the development of recommendations on how to address them would benefit not only state agencies and local governments, but also those that live in coastal communities. A statewide advisory committee has been convened to provide technical support to assist the Center and develop recommendations for a final report. This session will present the work accomplished to date on the study.
Promoting Awareness and Stewardship of APNEP’s Estuarine Shorelines and Habitats

Whitney Jenkins

Coastal Training Program Coordinator
NC Coastal Reserve/National Estuarine Research Reserve

The Albemarle Pamlico National Estuary Program (APNEP) region has an estimated 8,100 miles of estuarine shoreline. These shorelines along the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds have been identified as one of the top three most threatened areas from sea level rise in the United States. To combat declining environmental quality along our estuarine shorelines, the N.C. Coastal Reserve/National Estuarine Research Reserve (Reserve), which is part of the N.C. Division of Coastal Management, received funding from APNEP to conduct an education campaign on estuarine shorelines in the Summer of 2011. This campaign was complementary across multiple target audiences that the Reserve is experienced in working with: K-12 teachers and students, coastal decision-makers, and the public (including estuarine-front property owners). The goal of this campaign was to teach the value and function of estuarine habitats, how these habitats may be affected by sea level rise, and alternative methods (other than bulkheads) of estuarine shoreline stabilization. The presentation will detail all aspects of the campaign: curricula for 3rd-5th graders, teacher workshop, coastal decision-maker workshop, public field experiences, and social media campaign on Twitter and Facebook.
An Online Environmental Dashboard for Albemarle-Pamlico Sound

David Jasinski

Vice President
Chesapeake Environmental Communications

Dr. Kirk Havens

Director
Coastal Watersheds Program
Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Natural resource protection agencies need information on ecosystem health in a format that is timely, actionable and easily accessible by a wide audience. To address this need, we have developed a prototype interactive online “dashboard” for displaying graphs and maps of indicators of ecosystem health for the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine complex. The dashboard was developed using open source solutions such as MySQL database, Google Maps API and Google Charts API and is viewable on all popular web browsers. Because the dashboard is database driven, updating content is as simple as updating tables in the database. Users can view indices of water quality, nutrient loads, habitat and fisheries status and trends at geographic scales ranging from Sound-wide to station specific. Information on basin specific land use and 303(d) impairments is also viewable. The target audience of the dashboard ranges from an interested public to environmental managers. The current version of the dashboard is a prototype and meant to showcase what will be possible in a final version. Funding from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program supported this work.
Development of Protocols to Monitor Changes in Submerged Aquatic Vegetation in North Carolina’s Estuaries

Dr. Joseph Luczkovich

Associate Professor
East Carolina University

The first-ever aerial survey of North Carolina revealed the third largest extent of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) in U.S. coastal waters. But is SAV coverage stable, declining, or increasing? Both intra-annual variability and turbid water conditions make it difficult to reliably detect SAV with aerial remote sensing tools alone. Here, we present data evaluating two boat-based detection methods using a single-beam echosounder and low-light video camera to classify SAV percent cover at four sites (2 low-salinity and 2 high-salinity). Both video and echosounder methods will require high sampling effort (statistical power) to detect a 10% change in the SAV percent cover. Echosounder surveys were quicker to collect and analyze than video surveys, so these were repeated monthly at the test sites. SAV changed more than 10% within a single year at all sites; thus, time of year for inter-annual aerial and boat-based surveys is critical. Peak period of SAV cover was May and June for high salinity sites and August and September for low salinity sites. Detecting SAV changes of more than 10% cover will be possible, if sentinel sites are surveyed at peak periods. Cost estimates for various power levels and SAV change with each method will be presented.
Charting the Course: The 2012-2022 Draft CCMP

Scott Gentry, P.E.

Project Manager
Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program

Dr. Bill Crowell

Director
Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program

Elements of the new draft APNEP Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) will be presented and discussed. The CCMP is based on the incorporation of ecosystem-based management principles and a simple ecosystem model. The proposed plan has goal and ecosystem outcomes and is presented in 5 components: Indentify, Restore, Protect, Engage, and Monitor.
Implementation of Ecosystem Based Management in APNEP: Assessing Progress and Accomplishments

Dr. Carl Hershner

Director
Center for Coastal Resources Management
Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Ecosystem Based Management is not easy, but it is supposed to improve the effectiveness of large scale environmental management programs like APNEP. This talk will review the progress made in applying EBM principals to the new APNEP Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. Theoretical advantages will be assessed against observable accomplishments as an early assessment of the value of the program’s year-long implementation effort. Remaining challenges and key steps in sustaining the approach will be identified.

 

2004 Agenda | Speaker Bios

 

Title Author(s) Abstract
EstuaryLive

Doug Coker

NC National Estuarine Research Reserve

EstuaryLive is a live, interactive Internet-based field trip allowing teachers and students from all over the world the opportunity to experience a field trip and other experiences in the estuary. Participating classes have the opportunity to ask questions and have them answered while watching the broadcast. Please join us to learn more about EstuaryLive, as well as the technology and partnerships behind the program.
Teacher Institute

Judy Pope

NC Office of Environmental Education

Twenty-five North Carolina teachers and media coordinators participated in the June 2004 Environmental Education Institute "Environmental Education in the Albemarle-Pamlico Sounds Region" that was held at Trinity Center in Salter Path. Participants enjoyed a wide range of curriculum-related experiences presented by environmental educators from various divisions of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources and other partnering agencies. Learn more about what can happen when various government agencies, non-profits, environmental education centers, and universities work together to bring environmental education skills and resources to our teachers.
Citizens' Monitoring Network

Allen Clark

Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program

The Citizens' Monitoring Network (CMN) is a monitoring and outreach program of the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program (APNEP). This network of private citizens monitors ambient surface water quality in the Albemarle-Pamlico Estuary and its tributaries. The CMN focuses upon three areas of activity: 1) baseline monitoring, 2) targeted monitoring and surveys, and 3) water quality education. Program participants receive support in many forms: water quality education and training, equipment and supplies, data management and analysis, and network opportunities. Participants in the CMN primarily monitor "vital signs" of the estuary. Specifically, volunteers monitor dissolved oxygen, pH, salinity, air and water temperatures, and turbidity to gauge the general health or quality of water in the estuary. Using basic, but accurate water quality test kits, citizen volunteers analyze water samples, observe qualitative factors such as weather conditions and other visual indicators, and record their results. Occasionally, program volunteers gather water samples for specific pollutants such as bacteria and nutrients. All data collected are forwarded to the program office where staff compiles the information and enters the data into report form for citizen and government agency use. Often, these monitoring efforts serve as useful supplements to existing governmental activities.
Partnership for the Sounds

Tom Stroud

Partnership for the Sounds

Partnership for the Sounds (PfS) is a non-profit organization that was formed in the waning years of the Albemarle-Pamlico Estuarine Study. In large part because of the public education generated by APES, several regional communities saw potential in developing ecotourism facilities centered on the rich natural environment of the estuary. These communities combined their efforts to create PfS, which has since opened several facilities that provide environmental education about the A-P and promote sustainable development in economically-challenged areas.
One NC Naturally Program Update

Bill Ross

Secretary, NC DENR

Richard Rogers

NC Office of Conservation & Community Affairs

Currently, there are 14 local and regional open space planning efforts encompassing 92 counties across North Carolina. These local and regional efforts will provide invaluable information to be used in the development of the One North Carolina Naturally statewide conservation plan. Consistent data from each of these Regional Plans is being incorporated into the One North Carolina Naturally decision support tool, and the data will be continually updated.
Supporting Land Conservation in North Carolina

Kate Dixon

Land for Tomorrow Coalition

The Land for Tomorrow Coalition, a group of 8 nonprofit organizations across our state, is working to address the conservation needs of North Carolina. LFT has two major goals: 1) to increase public awareness of the importance of land conservation to NC's future, and 2) obtain increased funding from state and local governments and private sources. LFT has spent the last year researching public opinion and investigating funding options. Kate will share information from a report with different recommendations for 9 critical property types being prepared for the upcoming legislative session.
North Carolina Conservation Mapper

Jeff Brown

NC Center for Geographic Information and Analysis

A description and demonstration of the forthcoming One North Carolina Naturally Conservation Lands Mapper, an Internet mapping application that features an updated inventory of lands managed for conservation purposes in North Carolina. The presentation will include descriptions of the data and functions and other tools under development that will support conservation efforts.
Northern Coastal Plain – Open Space Planning

Brandon Shoaf

Albemarle Commission

Gene Foxworth

Mid. East Commission

Chris Lukasina

Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments

Planners in 3 eastern regions share their progress and experiences in their open space planning efforts. Panel discussion moderated by NC DENR Secretary Bill Ross
Southern Coastal Plain – Open Space Planning

Judy Hills

East Carolina Council of Governments

Scott Pohlman

NC Natural Heritage Program

Planners for the Southern Coastal Plain will share progress and experiences in their open space planning efforts.
Facilitating Local and Regional Open Space Planning Goals and Needs

Bill Ross

Secretary, NC DENR

Richard Rogers

NC Office of Conservation & Community Affairs

Discussion on the challenges to implementation of the One NC Naturally Plan and coordination of conservation
Southern Watershed Area Management Program

Eric Walberg

Hampton Roads Planning District Commission

The Southern Watershed Area Management Program (SWAMP) was initiated as a joint project of the Cities of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and the Virginia Coastal Program. The program's purpose is the development of a coordinated management plan for the watersheds of Back Bay, the North Landing River and the Northwest River. The following are the goals for the project: • Protect and Enhance Water Quality and Conserve Natural Resources. • Preserve Open Lands for the Protection and Enhancement of Water Quality. • Ensure the Compatibility of Recreational Activities and Commerce with Natural Resource Protection. • Maintain Rural Character of the Southern Watershed Area while providing for Rural Residential Development. • Sustain and Encourage Agricultural and Forestry Activities. The project has resulted in the development of Memorandums of Agreement between the local, regional, state and federal agencies responsible for management of the Southern Watershed Area on wetlands mitigation, water quality protection, boater safety and general watershed management issues. In addition, the Cities of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach have included elements of SWAMP in their Comprehensive Plans. Funding was obtained in the current fiscal year through the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program to improve coordination with Currituck and Camden Counties.
NC OneMap

Jeff Brown

NC Center for Geographic Information and Analysis

NC OneMap, launched in June 2004, is a statewide framework for geographic information that is designed to serve the best available data from local, state, or federal government agencies for users to search, discover, view, and interactively create maps. The NC OneMap Internet map viewer uses OpenGIS protocols to find and integrate data from numerous on-line sources. Each participating data provider stores and controls the release of its own data. To assure data reliability, data will be adequately and uniformly documented with metadata.
Neuse/White Oak and Tar-Pamlico Basinwide Plans

Cam McNutt

NC Division of Water Quality

Basinwide water quality planning is a non-regulatory, watershed-based approach to restoring and protecting the quality of North Carolina's surface waters. The NC Division of Water Quality prepares Basinwide water quality plans for each of the 17 major river basins in the state. While the Division of Water Quality prepares these plans, their implementation and the protection of water quality entail the coordinated efforts of many agencies, local governments and stakeholder groups in the basins. Specific river basins to be discussed are the White Oak, Neuse, and Tar-Pamlico and their relevant water quality.
Roanoke, Chowan, and Pasquotank Basinwide Plans

Jennifer Everett

NC Division of Water Quality

Basinwide water quality planning is a non-regulatory, watershed-based approach to restoring and protecting the quality of North Carolina's surface waters. The NC Division of Water Quality prepares Basinwide water quality plans for each of the 17 major river basins in the state. While the Division of Water Quality prepares these plans, their implementation and the protection of water quality entail the coordinated efforts of many agencies, local governments and stakeholder groups in the basins. Specific river basins to be discussed are the Roanoke, Chowan and Pasquotank and their relevant water quality.
Bunn High School Stormwater Bio-Retention Project

Charles Bass

Franklin County, Soil & Water District

Highlights of a demonstration project in the Tar-Pamlico watershed. The project was completed in June 2004. The purpose of the retention area is to be an educational and teaching tool for students, faculty, and the community. The retention area also through its biological design helps to "clean" stormwater runoff from the heavily used Bunn High School parking areas and grounds. The partners for the project were Bunn High School faculty and students, Franklin County Cooperative Extension Service, Bill Lord with the Neuse Team, and Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District.
Pactolus Elementary School Stormwater Wetland

James Rhodes

Pitt County Planning Department

Over concerns of stormwater and impending NPDES Phase II requirements, Pitt County applied for grant funding from the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program for construction of a stormwater wetland adjacent to Pactolus Elementary School. The current site's runoff from the buildings and parking lots is routed offsite via a concrete channel to a nearby creek. Anticipated benefits of the stormwater wetland include improved water quality, fulfilling requirements of the recently enacted Tar-Pamlico Stormwater Rule, and availability of an outdoor classroom for the school.
NC Coastal Non-Point Source Pollution Program

Gloria Putnam

NC Division of Water Quality

An introduction to the federally mandated, fully approved NC Coastal Nonpoint Source Program. To accomplish its mission the program partners with many other agencies to implement water quality protection and improvement measures throughout the coastal region. The program addresses nonpoint source pollution from various sources, including agriculture, forestry, urban areas, and marinas. Current and past projects include those focused on education and outreach, interagency coordination, and "on the ground" projects. Some of these projects and the origins and purpose of the program will be discussed.
Marina Pump-out Grants

Mike Lopazanski

NC Division of Coastal Management

The Division of Coastal Management (DCM) believes boaters should be able to get a sewage pumpout for your boat as easily as they can get other common boating services, such as fuel. So DCM is working to make pumpout and dump stations readily available through the Marine Sewage Pumpout and Dump Station Grant Program. The program, established as a result of the federal Clean Vessel Act of 1992, provides financial assistance to marinas and other boat-docking facilities for the installation and renovation of pumpout and dump stations in North Carolina. Using funding from the US Fish & Wildlife Service, DCM has made grants of up to $10,000 available on a yearly basis to private and commercial marinas, gas/service docks, fish houses/seafood dealers and other boat docking facilities in the 20 coastal counties. A 25 percent match is required of the marinas. A 25 percent match also is required of local governments installing pumpouts at public docks.
Clean Marina Program

Mike Lopazanski

NC Division of Coastal Management

The Clean Marina program is designed to show that marina operators can help safeguard the environment by using management and operations techniques that go above and beyond regulatory requirements. Clean Marina is a voluntary program that began in the summer of 2000. Marina operators who choose to participate must complete an evaluation form about their use of specific best management practices. The N.C. Clean Marina program is a partnership between Marine Trades Services, the N.C. Marine Trade Association, the Division of Coastal Management, the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program, NC Coastal Nonpoint Source Pollution Program, NC Sea Grant and N.C. Big Sweep.
Total Maximum Daily Loads

Brian Jacobson

NC Division of Water Quality

An overview of the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Program. This Federal program is authorized under the Clean Water Act to address waters that are not meeting designated uses. The program has two parts, first, the development of a list of all waters not meeting uses or where standards are violated. This list is referred to as the Section 303(d) list, after the section of the Clean Water Act, which mandates its development. Secondly, the program is responsible for the development of TMDLs or management plans, which can be used as a guide to restore uses of the impaired water bodies. Public participation is a required and integral part of the TMDL process. As the Modeling & TMDL Unit develops the current North Carolina 303(d) List, the public is given a chance to review the report and provide comments. All TMDLs developed for the Division of Water Quality are available for comment for a period of 30 to 45 days. The Modeling & TMDL Unit typically schedules meetings toward the end of a TMDL project. These meetings are noticed on our web site, through legal advertisements and through email list-serves and are open to the public.
NC Nutrient Strategy

Rich Gannon

NC Division of Water Quality

In 1995, the NC Division of Water Quality completed a nutrient Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the Tar-Pamlico River Basin and implemented Phase II of the basin's nutrient strategy. The ensuing ten years have included a nationally recognized point-nonpoint source "trading" program and voluntary nonpoint source implementation, followed by rules for the major nonpoint sources addressing agriculture, urban stormwater, riparian buffer protection, and fertilizer management. This presentation will highlight progress made during the last ten years of implementation and describe objectives for the next ten years.
FerryMon

Joe Ramus

Duke University Marine Lab

Three NC ferries which cross the Pamlico Sound and the lower Neuse River have been equipped with automated water quality monitoring systems since late 2000. The program addresses the meager ration of water quality data for the Pamlico Sound which was realized following Hurricane Floyd flooding. The continuous flow, sonde-based systems monitor surface waters for temperature, salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity and chlorophyll biomass. Refrigerated discrete samplers take water samples for subsequent quantification of diagnostic photopigments, colored dissolved organic matter and total suspended solids. Data logged from the ferries is automatically downloaded to computers by cell telephone modem. The purpose of FerryMon is to fast track analysis of water quality status (including natural variability) and trends driven by land use practices, regulatory action and climate change. To demonstrate the efficacy of FerryMon, an analysis of logged salinity data shows the effects of the breach forced through Hatteras Island by Hurricane Isabel in September 2003, and the subsequent closure of that breach by November 2003.
NC Division of Water Quality's Ambient Monitoring Program

Garcy Ward and Jason Green

NC Division of Water Quality

Within the Albemarle Pamlico system there are 5 river basins; Pasquotank, Chowan, Roanoke, Tar/Pamlico, and Neuse. NC DWQ Response Team staff working from Washington and New Bern, along with Washington regional office staff are responsible for sample collection and data reporting for over 80 sites within these basins. The agency develops management strategies, based on this data. It is also available to the public for various other uses. Many stations are monitored in conjunction with others such as US Geological Survey, and local universities. These stations are part of DWQ's statewide ambient monitoring program, which originated over 25 years ago.
Neuse Estuary Monitoring and Research Program

Joann Burkholder

NCSU Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology

The Neuse Estuary Monitoring and Research Program (NEMReP) of NC State University's Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology (CAAE ) has been in operation since 1993. Frequent sampling of multiple stations (weekly to biweekly from April – October, monthly in November – March with more intensive sampling during fish kills, algal blooms, and major storms) for approximately 40 parameters makes NEMReP's data set the most detailed for the Neuse in the past decade. In 1999 we added a series of automated platform stations to provide real-time remote monitoring data, taken hourly, of meteorological and physical/chemical conditions (accessible at www.waterquality.ncsu.edu). Automated winch-driven continuous profilers are used at these sites to take physical/chemical casts of the entire water column upon command. We are working to quantify major non-point sources of nutrients and other pollutants in the Neuse watershed, and to evaluate potential drivers of trends in pollutant loadings such as changes in land use, waste inputs, and climatic factors (hurricanes, droughts). Our analyses through 2003 indicate that total nitrogen loading to the Neuse Estuary has not changed significantly over the past decade, except for the influence of a 100-year drought during 2000-2002. Algal biomass as chlorophyll a has not changed significantly overall, but has increased ~60% at some stations. In contrast, ammonium concentrations linked to certain non-point pollution sources have increased ~500% in the past decade. These trend analyses suggest that, as recently accomplished for major point sources in the watershed, additional reductions in non-point pollution will be needed to make more progress in improving water quality in the Neuse Estuary. Such progress requires an informed citizenry. Toward that goal, the CAAE is complementing other programs in water quality education outreach through use of the RV Humphries, in a program called "The Floating Classroom."
NC Ecosystem Enhancement Program

Bonnie Duncan, Jeff Schaffer, and Tracy Morris

NC Ecosystem Enhancement Program

In July 2003, a Memorandum of Agreement between the US Army Corps of Engineers, the NC Department of Transportation (DOT) and the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NC DENR) was signed establishing the Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP). The functions of the NC Wetlands Restoration Program, along with the compensatory mitigation resources of the NC DOT, have merged to become the EEP. NC DENR administers this non-regulatory program. The focus of the EEP is to restore, enhance and protect the state's wetlands, waterways and watershed functions through watershed planning and implementation of projects in advance of permitted impacts. Watershed planning works to identify watershed assets, as well as key factors contributing to degradation of watershed function, with a focus on water quality, hydrology and habitat. These planning efforts yield targeted watersheds and specific recommendations for stream and wetland restoration, enhancement and preservation and stormwater BMPs. EEP implements high quality projects of each of these types, according to forecasted future permitted impacts. For more information, please go to the NC Ecosystem Enhancement Program website at: http://www.nceep.net/.
Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Habitat Mapping Using Aerial Photography

Elizabeth B. Noble and Kyle M. Hall

Elizabeth City State University

Dean Carpenter

Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program

Elizabeth City State University (ECSU), as part of the SAV Habitat Cooperative Mapping Project, is presently mapping SAV in Albemarle and Currituck sounds, Kitty Hawk Bay, North Carolina and Back Bay, Virginia, using aerial photography. Color aerial photography was taken of Back Bay, Currituck Sound and Kitty Hawk Bay in October 2003, at 12,000' AMT (scale 1:24000). Specifications developed by NOAA (Finkbeiner et al. 2001) and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) (Orth et al. 2001) for best identifying SAV using remotely sensed data were followed. The ECSU Remote Sensing Lab has rectified and mosaiced the photographs, and begun to photo-interpret spectral signatures and digitize SAV habitat. Water clarity and atmospheric field studies were conducted prior to photographic missions. Field surveys of SAV distribution, abundance and species composition, and water chemistry were conducted prior to and after obtaining photography. ECSU is continuing to conduct field surveys for signature development and spatial accuracy assessments.
Phragmites australis Mapping and Removal

Michele Droszcz

NC National Estuarine Research Reserve

Phragmites australis, a large non-native reed, has the ability to out compete native species and create monospecific stands. The NC Coastal Reserve worked with multiple agencies to consolidate existing research and management practices on the removal of Phragmites australis from brackish marshes. Six removal methods were used in a side-by-side demonstration and the results were monitored throughout the year.
Aquatic Weed Removal Program

Rob Emens

NC Division of Water Resources

The presence of invasive and noxious aquatic weeds negatively impacts the well being of North Carolina citizens and our environment. Aquatic weeds have proven to be costly, destructive, and an economic burden. Economic impacts of aquatic weed infestations can be far-reaching and include damage to agriculture, industrial and municipal water use, navigation, and recreation. Hydrilla arrived in 1981 and Eurasian watermilfoil, alligatorweed, creeping waterprimrose, giant salvinia, and parrotfeather have invaded North Carolina waters over the past 20 years. The growth patterns of some species seem to be cyclic while others spread steadily wherever conditions are suitable. In response to the onset of these noxious aquatic weeds, DENR implemented an Aquatic Weed Control Program within the Division of Water Resources. This program has thwarted the spread of these invasive plants and has been guided by the NC Aquatic Weed Control Council. The Council was appointed by the Secretary of DENR and is comprised of state & federal agencies, and public utilities. The continuation of water resource management efforts is essential to maintain a critical level of control over the current noxious aquatic weeds and the ones that are to come.
Riparian Corridor Conservation Plan for the Upper Tar River

Chuck Peoples

Tar River Land Conservancy

The Tar River Land Conservancy (TRLC), with funding from the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program (APNEP) developed a riparian corridor conservation design plan for the Upper Tar River headwaters in Person and Granville Counties. The Upper Tar River Basin is recognized as one of the most ecologically significant watersheds on the eastern seaboard due to its rich aquatic diversity. The project involved field reconnaissance and mapping of stream buffer condition; geographic information system (GIS) layer acquisition, development, and analysis; creation of buffer area classification criteria and categories; classification and prioritization of individual ownership parcels; and production of final planning maps. The resultant outputs coupled with recent state funding sources enable TRLC to strategically target our conservation work on the "best of the best" preservation class sites and to focus our restoration efforts on prioritized sites which are prime candidates for federal programs administered by the NRCS such as the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.
Assessment of Natural Areas of the Albemarle-Pamlico Region

Steve Hall and Mike Schafale

NC Natural Heritage Program

The NC Natural Heritage Program has previously conducted extensive surveys for natural areas in the APES project region. However, in some cases the information obtained from these surveys is now 10 to 20 years out of date. In 2003, we undertook a GIS-based analysis of both individual natural areas and their surrounding landscapes. Site boundaries were modified according to changes we could detect in recent aerial photos. Landscapes were analyzed for integrity with respect to individual ecosystems. One important goal was to target specific areas and species groups for new ground surveys.
Wetland Mapping and Functional Assessment

Melissa Carle

NC Division of Coastal Management

To improve management of freshwater wetlands in the Coastal Plain, the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management (DCM) developed GIS-based methods to map wetlands and assess wetland functions. Thirteen distinct wetland types are mapped using soils, hydrography, and two sets of classified satellite imagery (1988 and 1994) to update National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) data. Hydrogeomorphic (HGM) class is noted and modifiers are included to indicate if a wetland has been drained, cleared, or cutover. Overall accuracy for this method is 81%. This is an improvement over the NWI data, which tends to exclude moderately wet wetlands and wet pine plantations. The North Carolina Coastal Region Evaluation of Wetland Significance (NC-CREWS) is a GIS-based assessment model used to predict the relative ecological significance of wetlands based on the functions that they perform within their watersheds. NC-CREWS rates wetlands based on three major functions: hydrology, water quality, and habitat. Major functions are divided into subfunctions, which are assessed using parameters related to wetland and watershed characteristics. Ratings for the major functions are combined to generate an overall prediction of wetland significance. Wetland type and NC-CREWS data have been generated for 37 counties in the Coastal Plain. Datasets for the 20 Coastal Zone Management counties are available for download on DCM's website: http://www.nccoastalmanagement.net/Wetlands
US Army Corps of Engineers Restoration Projects

Charles R. Wilson

US Army Corps of Engineers

In the past, the Corps of Engineers conducted restoration to mitigate impacts from traditional flood control and navigation projects. Now ecosystem restoration is a major mission for the Corps and the Wilmington District, in partnership with the state of North Carolina, is applying expanded authorities to restore degraded ecosystems. Our restoration designs incorporate ecosystem concepts and consider site context to promote ecological functions and sustainable projects that fit into the matrix of the surrounding environment. Where earlier designs focused largely on marsh establishment, we now incorporate multiple habitat features such as trees, shrubs, marshes, SAV, and oysters to increase ecological value. Our successful ecosystem restoration projects at Wilmington Harbor Island 13, Roanoke Island Festival Park, and Newport River Army Reserve will be presented as case studies. Our General Investigation (GI) authority that was historically used to investigate basin-wide solutions for flood and navigation problems can now also address ecosystem restoration needs at the watershed scale. We are currently in the early planning phase of watershed studies in the Neuse River, Tar River Basin/Pamlico Sound, and Currituck Sound. These studies will investigate ecosystem restoration alternatives that may include large-scale SAV, oyster, wetland and stream restoration.
Clean Water Management Trust Fund Projects in the Albemarle-Pamlico Region

Leland Heath

Clean Water Management Trust Fund

Created in 1996, the Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF) makes grants to local governments, state agencies and conservation non-profits to help finance projects that specifically address water pollution problems. The presentation will focus on projects (acquisition, restoration/stormwater and wastewater) within the Albemarle - Pamlico region. Presentation will highlight projects from each funding category, funding criteria and statutory language. Questions such as match requirements and partners, scoring and targeting of projects will be discussed. The presentation will also describe the mini-grants program.
Fishery Management Plans

Louis Daniel

NC Division of Marine Fisheries

A brief introduction to the North Carolina Fisheries Reform Act of 1997 will be discussed, followed by a more detailed discussion on the requirement in the Act to develop Fishery Management Plans (FMP). Methods for determining priority species, FMP structure, and process will be presented along with recent legislative changes, progress, and plans for the future.
NC Coastal Habitat Protection Plans

Mike Street

NC Division of Marine Fisheries

The North Carolina General Assembly passed the Fisheries Reform Act in1997. The Act includes a provision to prepare Coastal Habitat Protection Plans (CHPPs) for the "long-term enhancement of coastal fisheries associated with each habitat…." The CHPP builds on several earlier high-level studies that recognize land use practices, stormwater runoff, habitat loss, and fishing gear effects as major issues affecting coastal fish habitats. The CHPP is a scientific document that describes and classifies the habitat systems; evaluates the functions, status, and trends of the habitats; identifies existing and potential threats; and recommends actions to protect and restore the habitats. The CHPP focuses on six basic fish habitats: the water column, wetlands, shell bottoms, submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), soft bottoms, and hard bottoms. The CHPP shows that the habitats are interconnected and the vast majority of important fisheries stocks utilize a variety of habitats at different times in their life cycle. Therefore, management must take a systems approach. The plan's 19 recommendations come under four goals: improve effectiveness of existing rules and programs, develop a system of Strategic Habitat Areas to protect the very best existing fish habitats, enhance habitat and protect it from physical impacts, and enhance and protect water quality. The draft plan has been presented to the North Carolina Coastal Resources, Environmental Management, and Marine Fisheries commissions for adoption by the end of 2004.
Fishing Gear and By-Catch Reductions

Blake Price

NC Division of Marine Fisheries

Fishery bycatch can be defined as the unwanted or unmarketable (i.e., spoiled, regulatory discard) catch that is discarded from commercial and recreational fishing operations. The quantification of these data remains a concern among fishery managers in North Carolina. There is currently no directed program to completely quantify fishery discards and associated discard mortality. However, there are numerous fishery-dependent, and fishery-independent studies, which offer valuable information and enable managers to make better decisions. In conjunction with these studies, the establishment of quotas, size limits, seasonal closures, gear restrictions, and gear modifications provide necessary management tools that assist in sustaining long-term fisheries and habitat. In this talk we explore past, present, and future bycatch research projects and provide examples of management tools that have been implemented in North Carolina fisheries to reduce incidental bycatch.
Mercury in Fish Tissue – NCDWQ/ESS Monitoring Efforts

Mark Hale

NC Division of Water Quality

The North Carolina Division of Water Quality Environmental Sciences Section (ESS) routinely monitors mercury in fish tissue as part its statewide fish tissue survey program. ESS first detected consistently elevated mercury levels in fish in 1992 during routine statewide sampling. ESS found elevated levels in most bass samples collected in the Waccamaw River drainage. ESS continued to sample outward from the Waccammaw River basin to determine the extent of elevated mercury levels and to confirm if other fish species contained elevated levels. A picture began to emerge of high levels of mercury in picsivorous fish associated with systems on the coastal plain of the state. These were namely low ph, low productivity blackwater systems mainly east of I-95. The DWQ will continue to monitor mercury in fish across NC and has several studies scheduled including monitoring 6 stations around a dismantled chlor-alkali plant, further monitoring of marine species, and monitoring for low-level ambient mercury levels.
Mercury in fish from relatively undisturbed water bodies in Virginia

Alex Barron

VA Department of Environmental Quality

In recent years, there has developed an increasing understanding that certain types of water bodies including swamps and blackwater rivers can have natural environmental conditions such as low pH, low dissolved oxygen levels and high concentrations of organic matter that promote the accumulation of mercury into the food chain. This often results in elevated levels of mercury in fish species in these environments. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has recently begun to monitor mercury levels in fish from water bodies such as swamps and blackwater rivers that do not have significant impact from industrial or municipal dischargers and which would normally be thought of as being unlikely to contain contaminated fish. These recent monitoring efforts have discovered several water bodies where certain species of fish do show elevated levels of mercury, high enough to warrant the issuance of a fish-consumption advisory. Virginia is investigating this issue further. One of the possibilities being considered is the potential for atmospheric deposition of mercury into these mercury sensitive waters to play a significant role in the bioaccumulation of mercury into fish.
Salt Water Fishing License and Fishing Data

Michael Buhl

NC Division of Marine Fisheries

Information critical to accurately characterizing and effectively managing our marine and estuarine fisheries includes harvest and fishing effort estimates. The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries has several data collection programs to help estimate commercial and recreational catch and effort including the commercial Trip Ticket Program and the National Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey (MRFSS). The passage of legislation in 2004 authorizing a Saltwater Fishing License in North Carolina will allow the Division for the first time to accurately measure the number of recreational fishermen angling in coastal waters instead of relying on census based estimates. This information will give fisheries managers more complete data with which to develop resource management policy and to make effective and timely fisheries management decisions.
North Carolina Oyster Restoration Efforts

Mike Street

NC Division of Marine Fisheries

The oyster population in N.C. is experiencing a 130-year decline due to harvest pressure, water quality, disease and climatic conditions. The Oyster Rehabilitation Program was initiated in 1947 to address the oyster harvest decline by enhancing depleted oyster beds. The Program has evolved over the past 50+ years improving techniques, materials and equipment. Research into the establishment of a network of no-take oyster sanctuaries is underway providing protected habitat for development of a robust native "brood stock". An oyster shell recycling project is underway based on volunteer efforts to recover post consumer oyster shells making them available for oyster habitat restoration. Public education on the status of the State's estuaries and the importance of oysters in nursery habitat creation, water quality and water clarity are associated benefits of the project.
Williston Creek Oyster Restoration Project

Rachael Wagaman

NC Coastal Federation

Polluted runoff is responsible for closing thousands of acres of once productive shell fishing grounds all along the North Carolina coast. It's a primary reason why the state's oyster population has declined by more than 90 percent in the last 100 years. Oysters filter pollutants from the water and help to restore water quality and marine habitat. Oyster habitat provides bottom habitat for economically important species and provides numerous ecological functions related to oyster production. The Williston Creek oyster restoration project was designed to increase the oyster population and ultimately enhance surrounding water quality as part of the ongoing restoration of ~5,100 acres of the 6,000 acre North River Farm, which began in 2002 and will continue over the next 5-10 years. Through volunteer support, 2 acres of new oyster habitat were created in Williston Creek and seeded with 300,000 juvenile oysters in July 2004. The reef will continue to be monitored by volunteers over the next 2 years to document reef establishment and changes. This project is the first oyster habitat project that is concurrent with the restoration of a 250 acres North River farmland parcel and will lay the groundwork for future projects that can take advantage of the renewed water quality in the river.
Citizen's Oyster Gardening Demonstration Project and CCC Oyster Hatchery

Skip Kemp

Carteret Community College, Aquaculture Technology Program

This demonstration project sponsored by the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico River Basin Councils of The Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program has gotten off to a great start with three training workshops, which attracted over 100 participants. The COGP website is live and online and includes all training materials from the workshops as well as project and partners' information. The first version of the training manual was produced and distributed to gardeners at the workshops and water-testing kits were also distributed to gardeners. The CCC Aquaculture Program was involved in a campus-wide building project that necessitated the demolition of the building, which formerly housed the oyster hatchery. The facility was moved onto the lawn of the campus in an attempt to continue the project however only two batches of eyed-larvae were produced. The oyster hatchery operations and the backyard remote setting system are described. The hatchery will gear up in a new facility for production of oyster eyed-larvae to supply gardeners and other oyster restoration projects during the summer. Look for the second round of oyster gardening training workshops to be held during the last week of March 2005.
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