Coastal Habitat Protection Plan 2010 revision available for public comment
As part of the Fisheries Reform Act of 1997, the N.C. General Assembly required the Coastal Resources, Marine Fisheries and Environmental Management commissions to approve plans to help protect and restore resources critical to North Carolina's commercial and recreational fisheries. The three commissions officially approved the CHPP in December 2004.
CHPP recommendations fall under four broad goals:
• Improve the effectiveness of existing rules and programs protecting coastal fish habitats.
• Identify, designate and protect Strategic Habitat Areas.
• Enhance and protect habitats from physical impacts.
• Enhance and protect water quality.
As part of the five-year review of the CHPP, the CHPP Steering Committee has met over the past several months to update and revise the plan. These revisions reflect changes in the CHPP recommendations as the result of accomplishments, new information based on scientific studies as well as additional emphasis on issues such as sea level rise, climate change, invasive species and endocrine-disrupting chemicals. The goals and revisions are designed to achieve the CHPP’s goal of “long-term enhancement of coastal fisheries associated with each coastal habitat.” The six fish habitats identified in the CHPP are: Water Column, Wetlands, Submerged Aquatic Vegetation, SAV, Shell Bottom, Hard Bottom and Soft Bottom.
In addition, the CHPP Steering Committee revises Implementation Plans every two years, containing action items for the participating state commissions: Environmental Management Commission, Coastal Resources Commission, Marine Fisheries Commission, the Wildlife Resources Commission, and their supporting agencies.
The revised “draft” Coastal Habitat Protection Plan can be accessed on the One NC Naturally website.
Public Meetings in June
As part of the review process, a series of public meetings will be held in order to review the new information as well as to receive public comment on the proposed changes and updates. The meetings will be held from 7-9 p.m. in the following locations:
June 8, 2010 – Morehead City
Morehead City Central District Office
5285 U.S. Hwy. 70 West
Morehead City, N.C. 28557
June 14, 2010 – Wilmington
DENR Wilmington Regional Office (WiRO) – June 14
127 Cardinal Drive Extension
Wilmington, N.C. 28405
June 17, 2010 - Manteo
U.S. Highway 64 and Burnside Road
Manteo, N.C. 27954