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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Coastal Management - Fall07

Coastal Management

CAMAgram - Fall 2007

CRC approves CAMA penalties increase

At its November meeting, the Coastal Resources Commission voted to adopt a rule change that will allow the Division of Coastal Management to increase the maximum amount it can assess for civil penalties for violations of the Coastal Area Management Act. This is the first increase in CAMA penalties since 1983.

The N.C. General Assembly passed legislation in 2006 allowing the increase in CAMA penalties. The legislation also allows DCM to weigh how much money the violator saved by noncompliance as a factor in determining the amount of the fine.

Currently, the division can assess fines up to $250 for minor development violations and up to $2,500 for major development violations. The rule change increases the maximum penalties to $1,000 for minor permit violations and $10,000 for major permit violations. It also allows DCM to recoup some of the investigative costs associated with violations.

The increase is scheduled to go into effect Feb. 1, 2008.
 

Bob Emory named Coastal Resources Commission Chair

Bob Emory, of New Bern, has been appointed chair of the Coastal Resources Commission by Gov. Mike Easley. Emory, who fills the membership slot designated for a forestry expert, was appointed to the CRC in June 1994.

Outgoing chairman Courtney Hackney announced Emory’s appointment at the conclusion of the commission’s November meeting.

Emory is Environmental Affairs Manager for Weyerhaeuser Company’s timberlands and raw materials operations in the southern United States. He has been with Weyerhaeuser since receiving a bachelor’s degree in Forestry from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1972.

“It is an honor to serve as Chairman of the CRC,” Emory said. “The coastal area of North Carolina is a treasure. At a time when so many people are moving here, I look forward to working with the Commission and the Division to continue protecting the things that make the coastal counties such a special place.”
 

Hackney Receives Eure-Gardner Award for Significant Contributions to Protection of the N.C. Coast

The N.C. Coastal Resources Commission has bestowed its highest honor, the Eure-Gardner award, on outgoing Coastal Resources Commission Chairman Courtney Hackney.

CRC Vice Chairman Doug Langford presented the award to Hackney at a Nov. 29 commission meeting in Greenville.

A professor of biology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Dr. Hackney has served on the CRC continuously since 1994, and earlier served from 1989-1992. He was elected vice chair of the commission in 2001, and was appointed by Gov. Mike Easley as chairman in 2005.

Robin W. Smith, assistant secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, presented Hackney with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, recognizing his many years of service to the state of North Carolina.

The Eure-Gardner award is bestowed on those individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to protecting the natural, cultural and economic resources of the coastal area. It is named for Thomas Eure, the first chairman of the CRC, and William Gardner, a long-time member and former chairman of the Coastal Resources Advisory Council.
 

New CRAC chair, vice chair elected at Nov. meeting

Dara Royal of Brunswick County was elected chair of the Coastal Resources Advisory Committee at the committee’s quarterly meeting in January. A member of the CRAC since 2003, Royal formerly served as vice chair of the committee.

Royal replaces Bill Morrison of Pender County, who has served as chair since his election in Jan. 2006.

At the same meeting, Penny Tysinger of New Hanover County was elected as CRAC vice chair. Tysinger represents the Cape Fear Council of Governments, and has been a member of the CRAC since 2002.

Other CRAC news
Bert Banks was appointed to the CRAC by the Albemarle Commission in July. Banks is the executive director of the Albemarle Commission. Adrian Cox was also appointed as an alternate CRAC representative. Mr. Cox is the planner and regional planning organization coordinator for the commission. 

Washington County representative Frank Alexander has resigned from the committee.

The CRAC is a 45-member group that provides the Coastal Resources Commission with local government perspectives and technical advice. Members represent coastal counties and cities, regional councils of government and state agencies.
 

N.C. Begins Development of Beach and Inlet Management Plan

The state divisions of Coastal Management and Water Resources are developing the state’s first comprehensive Beach and Inlet Management Plan, or BIMP. 

Creation of the BIMP was a recommendation of the Coastal Habitat Protection Plan that was adopted in 2004, as well as a directive of the General Assembly’s 2000 Appropriations Bill. Until recently, limited resources limited progress on the BIMP.

Currently, $750,000 has been appropriated for the initial phase of BIMP development.  The engineering firm Moffatt & Nichol signed a contract in September 2007 to assist the state with data acquisition and analysis for the first phase of this project, which is scheduled to extend through March 2009. 

The underlying goal of the BIMP is to assist stakeholders, the public and state, local and federal agencies in taking a more holistic, systematic approach to managing North Carolina’s beaches and inlets. Rather than dealing with management decisions and policies on an inlet-by-inlet or beach-by-beach basis, the BIMP will be designed to take a more regional approach to sediment management.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is trying to integrate a similar concept, referred to as regional sediment management, to develop a similar approach. Numerous collaborative efforts between DCM and the USACE will contribute to the success of the BIMP and regional sediment management.

Two groups have been established to guide BIMP development: a BIMP Advisory Committee and a technical work group within the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The advisory committee is comprised of representatives from federal and state agencies, local governments, academic institutions and non-profit organizations.  The technical work group is comprised of DENR agency representatives.  The two groups will meet periodically to review our progress and provide feedback.

During the 18 months, DCM and DWR are focusing on three primary tasks: compiling and analyzing existing data, identifying sediment management regions, and developing management strategies for each region. The first two tasks will be conducted primarily by engineering and geology experts within the next seven months.

As management strategies are developed, DCM and DWR will be looking to incorporate the multitude of ecological, economic and sociopolitical factors affecting beach and inlet management. Stakeholder input will be critical throughout the BIMP process.

DCM and DWR are excited about this exciting and aggressive strategy and look forward to providing regular updates on its development.
 

Rachel Carson Reserve celebrates construction of “green” boardwalk on Carrot Island

From across Taylor’s Creek, it looks like a wooden boardwalk. Take a boat over for a closer look at the Rachel Carson Reserve’s only permanent structure and you will realize it’s not your typical wooden walkway, but an earth-friendly effort to make the island more accessible to visitors. 

The decking materials are manufactured from reclaimed wood and plastic and provide a surface that is splinter-free (and barefoot friendly!), highly durable, and more environmentally sustainable than 100 percent wood decking. 

The boardwalk traverses both marsh and successional dredge spoil habitats, providing an opportunity for visitors to experience the reserve’s diverse array of plant and wildlife species with minimal impact to the site. Informational displays along the way will highlight interesting facts about the surrounding flora and fauna. 

The most spectacular views can be enjoyed from a large observation platform at the end of the boardwalk, situated atop a white sand upland habitat. The deck is ideal for birding and enjoying the scenic views of marshes, mudflats and the nearby Cape Lookout National Seashore. In fact, on clear days, the Cape Lookout Lighthouse can be seen to the south. Visitors may even see feral horses grazing alongside the water. Visitors can access the boardwalk by boat from the Taylor’s Creek side (north side) of the reserve across from the Front Street boat ramp and old fish factory. 

The boardwalk is a cooperative effort between the town of Beaufort and the reserve.  Funding for this project comes from the N.C. Division of Coastal Management’s Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access Program, the town of Beaufort and a private donor.
 

Rachel Carson Reserve welcomes new foal

The Rachel Carson component of the National Estuarine Research Reserve – best known locally as Carrot Island – has announced the birth of a new foal. The female foal was born at the end of September and has been named “Fiddler” after the native fiddler crab.

There are currently 42 feral horses that roam the marshes and islands of the Rachel Carson Reserve. Since 1999, remotely delivered contraceptive vaccines have been used to manage the herd. The general goal of the birth control program is to regulate the herd size at a healthy levelfor  the island environment and the animals. 

The mission of the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve is to promote, through research, education and example, informed management and stewardship of the nation’s estuarine and coastal habitats. The 2,675-acre Rachel Carson Reserve is one of 10 sites in the North Carolina Coastal Reserve. For further information about the horses or the Rachel Carson Reserve, contact Paula Gillikin, Rachel Carson site manager, at (252) 838-0886.
 

Joint NOAA/Reserve facility in Beaufort dedicated

The opening ceremony included remarks by Jack Dunnigan, assistant administrator for NOAA's National Ocean Service, and N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary William Ross.
The state Division of Coastal Management, along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research, recently dedicated their new joint facility on Pivers Island in Beaufort.

Following the ceremony, guests were treated to tours featuring the environmentally friendly aspects of the new building, which provides office space for the staff of both programs, a teaching laboratory and a 120-seat auditorium.

The 2,675-acre Rachel Carson Reserve is one of 10 sites in the N.C. Coastal Reserve, which preserves coastal lands and marshes for research, education and recreation. The site is a component of the N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve.

The Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research, an office of NOAA’s Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, conducts laboratory and field research on estuarine processes, marine biological productivity, harmful algal blooms, fishery resource dynamics and human impacts on resource productivity to help commercial and recreational fishery resource managers.
 

DCM Accomplishments 2007

  • NCAC 7H .0312, Technical Standards for Beach Fill Projects, which outlines new sediment criteria rules for beach nourishment projects, went into effect Feb. 1. It is the most comprehensive set of rules regarding beach nourishment for any coastal state.
  • With the CRC’s Science Panel, completed the Inlet Hazard Areas boundary project. The project identifies new boundaries for the state’s 12 developed ocean inlets.
  • Enhanced public access to public beaches and coastal waters through $2.9 million in grants for 23 projects in 19 local communities for public access projects. The grants help pay for a variety of projects to improve access to coastal beaches and waters, including walkways, dune crossovers, restrooms, parking areas and piers. Funds also may be used for land acquisition or urban waterfront revitalization.
  • Supported coastal land-use planning through $200,000 in grants to 13 local communities for land-use planning. Projects that are eligible for funds include new or updated CAMA land-use plans.
  • Revitalized the North Carolina Clean Marina Program by hiring the first dedicated staff member to implement the program. Thanks to her efforts, five new clean marinas were certified in 2007, and two workshops for marina owners were held in early December. The Clean Marina program is a voluntary program designed to show that marina operators can help safeguard the environment by using management and operations techniques that go above and beyond regulatory requirements.
  • Educated thousands of students, teachers, local government officials, coastal decision makers, and other members of the coastal community. To do this, we conducted workshops on Sea Level Rise, Coastal Development Rule Updates for Marine Contractors, Barrier Island Development Issues, Septic Systems for Realtors, Clean Marinas, and Coastal Explorations. People were also educated using reserve site field trips, Estuary Live broadcasts and other educational activities conducted by the staff of the North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve. The Spring 2007 Estuary Live broadcast alone reached more than 1,800 participants.
  • Constructed a “green” boardwalk at the Rachel Carson component of the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve to provide directed access to the Reserve’s unique habitats. Composite decking and railing, reclaimed from wood and plastic, was used in place of traditional treated lumber because it is durable and provides an excellent way to promote environmentally sustainable building practices. The boardwalk is a joint project with the town of Beaufort and was funded through a grant from the Division of Coastal Management’s Public Beach and Waterfront Access to the town and a private donation.
     

2007 Legislative summary

· HB 942 Oak Island Beach Nourishment Project  -  Authorizes Oak Island to levy special assessments prior to the construction of beach renourishment projects to meet the local match requirements. The funds would be returned to taxpayers if the projects are not contracted within four years.

· SB 646 Enact Waterfront Access Study Recommendations  -  Provides property tax relief for working waterfront property based on present use value. The bill establishes an advisory committee for the coordination of waterfront access, directs the state Department of Transportation to expand public access to coastal waters and waives fees for Coastal Area Management Act emergency permits. The legislature also appropriated $20 million for waterfront access projects. The state Division of Marine Fisheries is  responsible for establishing a program to solicit proposals and disburse the Waterfront Access and Marine Industry Fund, which will be set up using certificate of participation bonds. 

· SB 1453 Oyster Shell/Highway Beautification  -  Prohibits the state Department of Transportation and other governmental units from using oyster shells for landscaping or as ground cover along highways. The bill directs that oyster shells be provided to the Division of Marine Fisheries for oyster revitalization projects.


Briefly …

Offshore wind farms
A notice published earlier this month by the U.S. Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service is seeking proposals to test energy-generating technologies, including commercial wind farms, in offshore coastal waters.

Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne said that the Minerals Management Service is interested in the development of alternative energy projects within the 1.8 billion acres of the Outer Continental Shelf ranging from three to 200 nautical miles off the Pacific, Gulf and Atlantic coasts. Kempthorne estimated that the mid-Atlantic has 70 percent of U.S. offshore wind potential in water depths less than 60 meters.

Offshore wind farms located more than three miles offshore would not be subject to CAMA permitting, but would require consistency determinations.

Feral horse shot to death in Corrolla
A black stallion was found shot to death in an area off the Maritime Trail of the Currituck Banks National Estuarine Research Reserve. It is theseventh Corolla wild horse to have been shot to death in the past six years. An investigation by the Currituck County Sheriff’s office is underway.


Staff news

Hope Sutton is our new Coastal Reserve stewardship coordinator and Southern Sites manager in Wilmington. Hope comes to us from The Nature Conservancy.

Kelly Russell is a new field representative in the Elizabeth City office. Kelly is from Perquimans County and has been with the Albemarle Regional Health Service for the past eight years. 

Dr. Steve Everhart is the new district manager for our Wilmington division office.   Steve comes to us from the Wildlife Resources Commission, where he was a wildlife biologist serving as a permit coordinator. 

Dr. Debbie Savage has joined the Raleigh office as a GIS analyst. Debbie previously worked for N.C. State University's Center for Earth Observation.

Our new NOAA Coastal Studies fellow,Lauren Theodore, has joined the Raleigh office. Her project will focus on the development of the beach and inlet management plan. Lauren earned her bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College and her master’s degree from the University of Michigan. 

Ann Wunderly, the Reserve’s Northern Sites manager located in Kitty Hawk, has left DCM for a position as a park ranger with Jockey’s Ridge State Park. 

The DCM baby boom continues!
Coastal Training Program Coordinator Whitney Jenkins and her husband, Shannon, are the proud parents of a baby boy, Eli Leggett. Eli was born Sept. 10.

DCM attorney Merrie Jo Alcoke, and her husband Tom Wilson, welcomed a baby girl, Millie Kate, on Sept. 16. 

Paula Murray, research specialist at the Wilmington Reserve Office, and her husband, Johnny, welcomed Paisley Graham on Nov. 3.

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