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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Coastal Management - Spring07

Coastal Management

CAMAgram - Spring 2007

DCM director Charles Jones to retire June 1

Division Director Charles S. Jones has announced plans to retire effective June 1, 2007.  He has served at the helm of the N.C. Division of Coastal Management since March 2004.

“Charles’ dedication to protecting our coastal resources and his leadership of the Division of Coastal Management have been invaluable,” said Secretary Bill Ross of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. “Charles’ 29-year career with the division has been marked by his love for the North Carolina coast; his expertise in planning, regulatory and resource management matters; his superb people skills; and his rock-solid commitment to the mission of the division and the department. We will miss him greatly.”

Jones joined the division in 1978 as a field consultant, and was promoted to chief of the division’s Field Services Section in 1984. In 1986, Jones became the district manager for the division’s Morehead City office, where he served until 1997. At that time, he was promoted to assistant director for permitting and enforcement.

In March 2004, Jones was appointed division director, giving him responsibility for the entire North Carolina coastal management program.

During his 29-year career, North Carolina’s coastal population has increased tremendously. That population growth has resulted in additional pressures on coastal development, beach and estuarine access, and other coastal management issues. Since 1978, more than 42,000 Coastal Area Management Act permits have been issued in the 20 coastal counties for piers, subdivisions and other development. Balancing economic development and environmental protection is at the heart of the state’s Coastal Area Management Act, or CAMA.

Since the very early days of CAMA, Jones has been instrumental in developing and enforcing the rules that govern coastal development in North Carolina’s 20 coastal counties. During his tenure, he has been part of many significant advances in coastal development, including a state law banning hardened structures on the oceanfront; urban waterfront rules; limits on development in dynamic inlet areas that have reduced the risks of frequent property damage; and buffer requirements for coastal waterfront property.

A native of Beaufort and lifelong resident of the North Carolina coast, Jones earned a bachelor’s degree in geography and planning from East Carolina University. He and his wife, Janie, the director of the Crystal Coast Civic Center, live near Smyrna in Carteret County.

DENR leadership has begun a comprehensive search for Jones’ replacement.
 

CRC passes resolution opposing Outlying Landing Field in Eastern N.C.

The members of the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission have joined numerous groups and political dignitaries in opposing the U.S. Navy’s preferred alternative for its outlying landing field in North Carolina.

Already, Gov. Mike Easley, Senators Richard Burr and Elizabeth Dole,Rep. Walter B. Jones andthe N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission have stated their opposition to the Navy’s preferred alternative, known as site C, for the landing field.

The resolution from the Coastal Resources Commission states that the OLF plans “will result in destruction of environmentally sensitive lands, removal of prime farm land, and will be hazardous to Navy pilots and wildlife,” and characterizes the Navy’s draft supplemental impact statement as inadequate to address these issues.
 

Coastal Resources Advisory Council changes

Ginger Webster, the Currituck County representative for the Coastal Resources Advisory Council, has resigned from her position on the CRAC after nine years of service. She began her stint on the CRAC in January 1998.

Two new members have been appointed to other vacant CRAC positions. Tim Tabak is the new member from Craven County, replacing Harold Blizzard, and Emerald Isle Town Manager Frank Rush has been appointed to the vacant Coastal Cities seat.

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

Legislative Update

Bills of interest introduced during the current session of the General Assembly:

In the Senate:
Senate Bill 599 (Soles, D-Columbus) provides for Ocean Isle beach shore protection, via a variance from the CRC.

SB 646 (Albertson, D-Duplin) would continue the study of waterfront access issues.

SB 679 (Hoyle, D-Gaston) proposes to consolidate the Environmental Regulatory Commissions. This act would abolish the existing Environmental Management Commission and replace it with a new EMC modeled after the North Carolina Utilities Commission. The new EMC would also consolidate other existing environmental commissions, including the Coastal Resources Commission, the commissions on Marine Fisheries, Radiation Protection, Sedimentation Control, and Soil and Water Conservation.

SB1103 (Boseman, D-New Hanover) would allocate $16.3 million to jump-start a statewide oyster hatchery program. The initiative aims to raise up to five billion larvae a year to help rebuild the state's battered oyster population.

In the House:

House Bill 1117, Topsail Beach/Beach Renourishment Funds (Justice, R-New Hanover), proposes to appropriate $2 million to Topsail Beach for beach nourishment.

HB 1154, Oak Island/Erosion Setback Line (Stiller, R-Brunswick), is an act relating to the erosion setback line as a result of certain soil deposition in the Town of Oak Island.

HJR 1542 is a joint resolution authorizing the legislative research commission to study issues relating to the environmental review, permitting, and mitigation process used in the construction or expansion of state highways (Dollar, R-Wake, Cole, D-Rockingham).

HB 1628, Coastal Hazards Disclosure (Harrison, D-Guilford), is an act to provide for disclosure of coastal hazards to prospective purchasers of coastal properties. This bill was also introduced during the last session, but did not make it out of committee.

HB 1629, Agencies Retain Cost of Collecting Fines (Harrison), is an act to permit state agencies to retain their actual costs of collecting civil fines under some circumstances.

HB 1832, No Mining Sand from Tidal Inlet/Delta (Harrison), is an act to prohibit the mining of sand from tidal inlets or associated tidal deltas, except to maintain navigational channels.

HB 1759, Fund Workshops on Stormwater Requirements (Allen), is an act to authorize and fund public workshops to educate professional engineers and soil scientists regarding the interpretation and implementation of the new stormwater permit requirements.

HB 1821, DENR Permits for Siting Wind Energy Systems (Thomas, R-Buncombe), is an act to establish a system of permits to be issued by DENR for siting medium and large wind energy systems and to require operators of these systems to obtain a permit to site them.
 

Waterfront Access Study Committee releases recommendations

North Carolina’s Waterfront Access Study Committee presented 27 recommendations in its report submitted recently to the N.C. Joint Legislative Commission on Seafood and Aquaculture, the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission and the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission.

The committee “believes that the need to ensure existing waterfront-dependent uses, to ensure future diverse waterfront-dependent uses of the shoreline, and to retain and enhance public access to coastal public trust waters is an important and urgent issue confronting the people of North Carolina, and that there are grounds for an immediate, comprehensive, and creative response by the State,” the report’s executive summary explains.

“Skyrocketing market demand for this limited, finite shoreline resource, accelerating non-waterfront-dependent development of the shoreline, and steadily increasing real property taxes are among the factors contributing to this loss and strongly suggest that, without State intervention, this disturbing trend will continue to the detriment of the people of the State of North Carolina.”

The 21-member study committee, which was established by the N.C. General Assembly last year, has been meeting since September. In that time, the committee has hosted three public comment sessions. Members represent many interests, including state and local agencies and commissions, scholars, and business interests, including economic development, fisheries, marine trades and real estate.

“This was a special committee — not only due to its specific charge and focus, but also because the members contributed openly, held great respect for each other’s and the public’s viewpoints, and participated with a remarkable sense of mission and public service,” said Michael P. Voiland, who chaired the committee and serves as the executive director for North Carolina Sea Grant.

The complete report is available online at www.ncseagrant.org/waterfronts.

The recommendations fall into several major areas, including:

Retaining and Enhancing Working Waterfronts — The committee recommends establishment of a trust fund or some other distinct set-aside of state funds to assist in the retention and enhancement of working waterfronts along coastal public trust waters. Other recommendations include extending the present use value taxation option now used for farms and forestlands to ease the rising tax burden on working waterfront businesses.

Enhancing Public Access to Coastal Waters — The committee recommends increased funding for several existing state programs that promote access to coastal public trust waters, including programs within the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, the N.C. Division of Coastal Management and the N.C. Division of Water Resources, as well as programs expected to be supported by Coastal Recreational Fishing License fees.

Planning and Zoning Approaches to Waterfront and Access Issues — The committee recommends that local governments in the coastal region explore potential uses of special zoning techniques to retain or enhance working waterfronts and/or public access facility development, consistent with land-use plans as required by the Coastal Area Management Act. The committee also recommends that state guidelines and regulations be amended to provide grants to assist local government efforts.

Purchase or Transfer of Development Rights — The committee recommends that the General Assembly consider enacting legislation to expand purchase of development rights and transfer of development rights programs at the local level, for use in working waterfront and/or public access retention and enhancement programs.

Fishing Piers: A North Carolina Heritage — The committee recommends that the state include private fishing piers (those providing public access) within the working waterfronts definition as part of an expansion of present-use value tax eligibility. The committee suggests that the state provide a source of low-interest loans to cover storm damage to piers. Also, the committee recommends that the N.C. Aquariums be authorized and funded to pilot the development of three public piers to provide access and educational opportunities for anglers and others.

Fees for Public Trust of Submerged Lands Easements — The committee recommends that the General Assembly re-examine and possibly reformulate the public trust submerged lands easement fee structure. The committee also recommends that the state review the nature and legality of long-term or permanent sale of docks or “dockominiums” that occupy coastal public trust submerged lands.

Meeting Environmental Compliance Costs — The committee recommends that funding sources and mechanisms be made available to assist working waterfront and public access facility developers, pursuant to local government approval, in developing or redeveloping facilities along the waterfront in ways that fully comply with environmental regulations.

Need for a Socioeconomic Study — The committee recommends that the General Assembly provide funding for a socioeconomic study of working waterfronts and access to coastal public trust waters to examine the issues comprehensively and in detail.

Cooperative State-Local Partnerships and Approaches — The committee recommends that the General Assembly encourage coastal counties and waterfront municipalities to establish working waterfront and public access advisory bodies, with ex-officio representation from state agencies, to seek cooperative inter-governmental solutions to waterfront and access issues.

Educational Outreach — The committee recommends that the General Assembly fund educational outreach programs to improve retention and enhancement of working waterfronts and public access to coastal waters.

Further Study and Oversight— The committee recommends that the General Assembly establish a formal joint legislative commission to continue the work of the Waterfront Access Study Committee, and to guide any programs or actions implemented from the study committee’s work or related deliberations.

“Despite the tight deadline and complexity of waterfront land-use issues, the committee has offered the state a good starting point — an early action plan, if you will — for redressing the loss of waterfront diversity and public access along the state’s shorelines,” Voiland said.

N.C. Coastal Management Conducts Training for 71 Local Permit Officers

The N.C. Division of Coastal Management recently conducted two training workshops for Local Permit Officers in the 20 coastal counties. Seventy-one LPOs attended the workshops in Morehead City and Kill Devil Hills. These cooperative State and local government programs were an important component of the original Coastal Area Management Act.  Locally adopted Implementation and Enforcement Plans allow local governments to process CAMA Minor Permits in-house, giving them an active role in the management of the coastal resources within their jurisdictions, as well as providing an additional public service to their citizens.

“These joint training sessions are an important way for us to work directly with local governments to provide guidance on coastal management issues,” said Ted Tyndall, DCM’s assistant director for permits and enforcement. “It is a testament to how valuable these sessions are that so many LPOs take time out of their busy schedules to attend each year.”

The agenda for the two-day workshops included updates on recent changes to Coastal Resources Commission rules and training in the processing CAMA Minor Permit applications. DCM staff also gave presentations on enforcement investigation and Permeable Pavement Systems and their application in stormwater control. Local Permit Officers received interactive field training in staking Normal High Water and Normal Water Levels and identifying coastal wetland plants on the estuarine shoreline; as well as, identifying frontal and primary dunes and locating the first line of stable, natural vegetation on the oceanfront.
 

N.C. Coastal Reserves celebrate Rachel Carson’s 100th birthday

May 27 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Rachel Carson,a world-renowned marine biologist, author and environmentalist.Born in 1907 in Springdale, Pennsylvania, Carson was the youngest of three children. Early in her life, Carson’s family spent lots of time outdoors and Rachel learned to love nature.

She attended Pennsylvania College for Women, and even though she loved English, because of a wonderful biology teacher, Carson eventually decided to major in science.

Carson eventually got a job working as a writer for the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries (now known as the Fish and Wildlife Service). She worked on everything from pamphlets on conservation to scientific journals. During her time with the Bureau of Fisheries, she published two books, “Under the Sea-Wind,” about ocean life, and “The Sea Around Us,” a study of the processes that formed our oceans. Followed by “The Edge of the Sea” in 1955, these books made her famous as a naturalist and science writer for the public.

Her most famous book, “Silent Spring,” was written to warn the public about the long-term effects of using pesticides such as DDT, and called for a change in the way humans view the natural world. This book is often regarded as the beginning of the modern environmental movement.

In 1964, Carson died of cancer in Silver Spring, Md. Just before her death, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The beaches and marshes of Beaufort, N.C., were one of Carson’s favorite places to escape and to study. She spent time researching in the area that is now designated as the Rachel Carson component of the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve in Beaufort. The reserve  are celebrating her 100th birthday with a series of special events, including field trips in April and an EstuaryLive session on May 10 discussing Carson and community perception of the reserve. EstuaryLive is a free, interactive field trip on the Internet. To view the session, please log onto www.estuarylive.org

For more information about the Reserve, please visit www.nccoastalreserve.net or call (252) 728-2170.

 

North Carolina students to visit estuarine reserve online in May

The online education program EstuaryLIVE will bring North Carolina’s Rachel Carson Estuarine Research Reserve to classroom computers across the state as students participate in virtual field trips from May 9-11. 

The program uses the Internet to transmit live images and sound from the estuary to elementary, middle and high school classrooms. Participating teachers can connect to the trips using an Internet-ready computer and free software. Registration is required. See the EstuaryLIVE Web site at www.estuarylive.org to register or view the schedule. 

As teachers facilitate the trip, classes identify questions and submit them on the question submit page to the estuary, where naturalists and scientists in the field answer them. Class sessions are divided into grade levels and topics to provide the appropriate level of general estuarine education.

In addition to online field trips to the Rachel Carson reserve site, the program will feature sessions on the 100th birthday of Carson, the well-known naturalist, along with topics such as estuaries, sea turtles and rip currents.

To prepare for the EstuaryLIVE electronic field trips, teachers and students can use the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Estuary Discovery Kit for high schools. The kit may be downloaded from NOAA’s Web site..

For more information about the program, visit the EstuaryLIVE Web site, or contact Amy Sauls, coastal education specialist at amy.sauls@ncmail.net.
 

Two Crystal Coast marinas latest to be named N.C. Clean Marinas

The Duke University Marine Lab marina in Beaufort and the Northwest Creek marina in New Bern are the most recent facilities to be certified as North Carolina Clean Marinas. To earn the certification, the marinas’ owners have prepared spill prevention plans, safety and emergency planning and strongly limit boat maintenance activities.

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.

If a marina meets criteria developed by N.C. Marine Trades Services and the Division of Coastal Management, it will be designated as a Clean Marina. Such marinas are eligible to fly the Clean Marina flag and use the logo in their advertising. The flags signal to boaters that a marina cares about the cleanliness of area waterways.

Clean Marina is a nationwide program developed by the National Marine Environmental Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to clean up waterways for better recreational boating. The foundation encourages states to adapt Clean Marina principles to fit their own needs.

The N.C. Clean Marina program is a partnership between Marine Trades Services, the N.C. Marine Trade Association, the N.C. Division of Coastal Management, N.C. Sea Grant, the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program and N.C. Big Sweep.

For information about the program, contact Clean Marina coordinator Jenny Webber at 252-728-2170.
 

News Briefs

N.C. coastal managers input shapes NCCOS sea level rise research priorities
More than 50 coastal zone managers and stakeholders recently participated in a workshop to identify potential scientific tools that will help coastal zone governing agencies and businesses in mitigating the regional impacts of sea level rise and extreme events. Participants provided guidance that will ultimately help create mapping and modeling tools that forecast the effects of proposed management activities under various long-term sea level rise and storm surge scenarios. The workshop was developed in partnership with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Coastal Services Center and the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve. It was sponsored by the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science.

Federal funds for boat slips
More than $300,000 in federal money will be used to build 10 slips for visiting boaters in Morehead City, according to the office of U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, a Farmville Republican. The grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will expand docking in downtown Morehead City under a program to enhance the waterfront of coastal areas.

Expect more Atlantic hurricanes this year, say researchers at NCSU
Dr. Lian Xie, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at N.C. State University, is forecasting that between 12 and 14 named storms will form in the Atlantic Basin this year. Of the named storms, he thinks that either eight or nine may become hurricanes, and four or five storms could become Category 3 storms or stronger. Unlike most studies, N.C. State's hurricane model breaks out three geographic regions: the Gulf of Mexico, the Southeast and the Northeast. N.C. State researchers correctly predicted last year’s mild hurricane season when other predictions forecast more hurricanes.

Colorado State University hurricane prognosticator William Gray also forecasts an above-average 2007 hurricane season, with 14 named storms and three Category 3 hurricanes or stronger.

2007 storm names:

Andrea
Barry
Chantal
Dean
Erin
Felix
Gabrielle
Humberto
Ingrid
Jerry
Karen

Lorenzo
Melissa
Noel
Olga
Pablo
Rebekah
Sebastien
Tanya
Van
Wendy


Staff news

Melissa Carle, wetlands specialist in the Raleigh office, left the division at the end of March.

Mike Christenbury, DCM’s Wilmington Region Planner, has been awarded the Region O Planner of the Year for 2006 by the Cape Fear Council of Governments.

Brad Connell is a new field representative in the Morehead City Office. Brad comes to us from the N.C. Division of Water Quality and has also worked for the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries.

Scott Geis is our new ocean and coastal policy analyst in the Raleigh Office. Scott received a master’s degree in Environmental Management from Duke University in September 2006. He also has extensive experience as a field researcher, including working with the N.C. Coastal Federation on a marine pump-out station assessment involving policy comparisons with other states.

Kim Hedrick is the new compliance and enforcement representative for the Washington office. Kim has been a field representative in DCM’s Elizabeth City office since 2004.

Shery Keel, major permits clerk in the Morehead City office, has left DCM to take a job with the N.C. Department of Corrections in Davidson County. 

DCM’s budget officer,Dale Schmidt, has left the division for a position in the private sector.

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