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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Coastal Management - Summer 08

Coastal Management

CAMAgram - Summer 2008

Six members reappointed, Webster appointed to CRC

Gov. Easley has reappointed six of the seven CRC members whose terms expired June 30. Charles Bissette, Charles Elam, James Leutze, Jerry Old, William Peele and Melvin Shepard were all reappointed to serve another four years on the Coastal Resources Commission.

Dr. David Webster of UNC-Wilmington was appointed to replace Dr. Courtney Hackney, who resigned from the Commission last year. Dr. Webster is the university’sAssociate Dean for Graduate Studies, Research, and Infrastructure, and Professor and Curator of Mammals.

Joan Weld elected vice chair of CRC

Joan L. Weld was elected vice chair of the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission at the commission’s July meeting. Gov. Mike Easley appointed Weld to the CRC in January 2003.

Weld retired from state government in 1999, having served as chief of staff and director of Intergovernmental Relations for Gov. Jim Hunt. She previously served as the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ assistant secretary for Natural Resources. Weld is also chair of the UNC Coastal Studies Institute Board of Directors. She has previously served on the board of trustees for the Nature Conservancy of North Carolina and the North Carolina branch of the National Audubon Society. Weld received her bachelor’s degree in biological science education from Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
 

Legislative update

A number of bills related to coastal resources were considered during this year’s legislative session:

Senate Bill 599, which, if ratified, would have authorized the CRC to permit a terminal groin pilot project at a North Carolina inlet, did not come up for a vote in the House before the Legislature adjourned. The bill had previously passed the Senate.

The 2008-09 budget bill included a section which directs the University of North Carolina to study the feasibility of building wind turbines in Pamlico and Albemarle sounds, and to consider the feasibility of co-siting wind turbines with artificial oyster reefs.

The General Assembly also passed a bill to begin studying the possible financial effects of a major hurricane on North Carolina’s Beach Plan, a state-created coastal insurance plan for those who can't get standard coverage. Insurance companies say a major hurricane could result in billions of dollars in charges to their industry that could be passed along to homeowners throughout the state because the Beach Plan is underfunded.

A compromise coastal stormwater rule was also passed. Senate Bill 1967 disapproves the rules adopted by the Environmental Management Commission on January 10, 2008 and supersedes the existing rules that became effective on September 1, 1995.  Some key changes under the legislation are as follows: 

  • Under the new rules, nonresidential developments that will add more than 10,000 square feet of built upon area, or require a Sedimentation and Erosion Control Plan or a CAMA Major Development Permit and all residential development that requires a Sedimentation and Erosion Control Plan or a CAMA Major Permit will be required to manage stormwater runoff as specified in the ratified bill. 
  • Development within 575 feet of Outstanding Resource Waters shall be permitted if it has a built upon area of 12 percent or less under the low density option.  The development must contain a 50-foot-wide vegetative buffer for new development and a 30-foot-wide vegetated buffer for redevelopment activities. The buffer is measured from the mean high water line of tidal waters and from the bank of non-tidal streams and rivers. Under the High density option development shall be permitted if it has a built upon area of between 12 perent and 25 percent, has no direct stormwater outlet pipes or channels to Class SA Waters and utilizes stormwater control systems that are any combination of infiltration systems, bioretention systems, cisterns, rain gardens or alternative low impact development systems that will treat the stormwater runoff from one and one-half inches of rainfall or the difference in the stormwater runoff from the predevelopment and post development conditions for a one-year, 24-hour storm event, whichever is greater.  The same buffer conditions as in the low-density option apply. 
  • Development within one-half mile and draining to Class SA but not Outstanding Resource Waters would have meet the same requirements for ORW Waters with the exception of the 25 percent limit for the high density option.  The new rules would also allow the use of wet detention ponds to control and treat the runoff near SA Waters if used in series with other best management practices. Stormwater controls and best management practices, with the exception of wet detention ponds may be located within the buffer area. 
  • In non-SA or ORW areas, development would be limited to 24 percent or less under the low-density option and greater than 24% for the high-density option.  Under the high-density option control systems would be designed to store, control, and treat the runoff from all surfaces generated by one and one-half inches of rainfall. The same buffer requirements in ORW and SA areas would apply. 
  • Coastal Wetlands, as defined in CRC rules and located above mean high water, could not be included in the overall project area for the purposes of density calculation. Non-coastal wetlands could be used. 
  • Limited Residential Development with the 20 coastal counties that is located within one-half mile and draining to Class SA Waters, has a built upon area greater than 12 percent and would not otherwise require a Stormwater Management permit (i.e., less than one acre of disturbance or no CAMA Major Permit) would be required to obtain a one time non-renewable stormwater permit if it will add more than 10,000 square feet of built upon area.  The permit will require recorded deed restrictions or protective covenants requiring the installation of best management practices to control stormwater runoff. 
  • The rules contain six exclusions from the storwmater permitting requirements.  (Certain DOT activities, prior permitted projects, redevelopment with no net increase in built upon area, already accepted applications, minor modifications to existing permits, municipalities with Phase 2 NPDES Permits.) 
  • The rules contain four activities that are exempt from the vegetative buffer requirements (urban waterfronts, new urban waterfronts, CRC buffer exceptions, and development of upland marinas).
  • The rules will become effective on October 1, 2008.

 

Sandbag inventory and prioritization nearly complete

Over the last two months, DCM staff have conducted a detailed inventory of sandbag structures protecting oceanfront property in North Carolina, concentrating on those sandbags located in communities that were actively seeking beach nourishment as of Oct. 1, 2001. These structures are most likely to be subject to a May 1, 2008 deadline for removal.

Inventory efforts began after May 1 and included documenting existing site conditions, taking multiple photographs from different views, and locating each structure with GPS.

The inventory will be used to prioritize the removal of those sandbag structures that are subject to the May 2008 deadline. The Coastal Area Management Act permit authorizing the sandbag structure for a given property specifies the date when the sandbags must be removed.

Each structure will be assigned a “sandbag removal index” based on factors that include the condition of the bags, how long they have been in place, and whether they block public beach access. The highest-rated structures will be the first to receive removal notices, which will likely be mailed by the end of August. Property owners will have 30 days from the notification date to remove sandbags from their property.

Sandbags that are covered with both sand and stable, natural vegetation will be allowed to remain in place until such time as they are uncovered by a storm or other event.

The Division is also developing a Google base map that shows all sandbag locations on the coast, with “popup” abilities that can show individual photographs and recorded site conditions. Once complete, the map will be available on DCM’s web site.
 

State Preserves Additional Land on Masonboro Island Coastal Reserve

The state Division of Coastal Management has completed an $89,150 deal to purchase the largest of 13 remaining privately owned parcels on Masonboro Island in New Hanover County. Acquisition of this tract will add 23.3 acres to the Masonboro Island component of the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve.

“The preservation of these additional acres is an important part of achieving the goals of the N.C. NERR program,” said Jim Gregson, director of the N.C. Division of Coastal Management. “Our Reserve program is dedicated to preserving coastal natural areas for education, research and compatible recreation,” Gregson said. “It has long been a goal of DCM to add the privately owned parcels on Masonboro Island to our Reserve system as we are able to do so.”

Funding for the preservation effort came from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System.

The 5,000-acre Masonboro Island component of the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve has been protected and managed by DCM since its designation as a reserve in 1991. It is the largest undisturbed barrier island along the southern coast of North Carolina and is also part of the N.C. Coastal Reserve, created by the General Assembly in 1989.

 

Rachel Carson Reserve dedicates new boardwalk on Carrot Island

DENR secretary Bill Ross recently dedicated the new “green” boardwalk on Carrot Island during a ceremony at the Rachel Carson Coastal Reserve in Beaufort.

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.

The decking materials are manufactured from reclaimed wood and plastic and provide a surface that is splinter-free, 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 boardwalk is accessible from the Taylor’s Creek side (north side) of the Reserve directly across from the Front Street boat ramp at Lenoxville Road, and traverses both wetland and upland habitats, providing an opportunity for the public to experience the Reserve’s diverse array of wildlife species and habitats with minimal impact to the site. Visitors should be aware that a docking facility will not be available; boaters should anchor along the shoreline. 
 

Workshop to help local leaders learn about coastal community planning and development

Many coastal resource managers involved in planning and development have a general idea of what better coastal growth decision making entails, but they desire a deeper understanding to implement the principles associated with alternative coastal development. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and state coastal resource management agencies have developed an introductory, two-day course that will actively engage participants in learning about alternatives to how and where growth will occur in their communities. It will provide them with the background, examples, and strategies to support alternative development efforts in coastal communities.

The workshop will be held Oct. 21-22, atUNCW’s Executive Development Center in Wilmington.

The two-day course will help participants to . . .

• Understand current coastal development patterns and trends;

• Understand the primary drivers (e.g., codes, regulations) that influence growth and development patterns;

• Understand the social, environmental, and economic impacts and benefits of various development patterns;

• Understand the principles of integrated and comprehensive growth strategies;

• Assess the current state of growth and development in their communities;

• Increase their ability to effectively communicate with stakeholders on this topic; and

• Understand the purpose and process of creating a collective vision for how and where coastal communities grow.

Registration and coffee begins at 8:30 a.m. both mornings, with the program starting at 9 a.m. The training will adjourn at 4:30 p.m. on both days.

The fee for this workshop is $30 and includes lunch on both days. Registrations must be received by Tuesday, October 14. To register, contact Whitney Jenkins at whitney.jenkins@ncmail.net or 252-838-0882.

Briefly …

Forecasters increase Atlantic hurricane outlook
Federal forecasters recently upgraded their outlook for the 2008 hurricane season to include two more named storms than previously predicted. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration projects an 85 percent probability of an above-normal season - up from 65 percent in May. NOAA said there was a better than average chance of 14 to 18 named storms, seven to 10 hurricanes and three to six hurricanes of at least Category 3 strength.

WAMI projects
The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has announced 13 sites selected for funding from the Waterfront Access and Marine Industry Fund. The sites were selected to provide waterfront access to a variety of user groups, including commercial and recreational fishermen, pier fishermen, recreational boaters and marine industry. In addition, several sites are in strategic locations for important state research and habitat enhancement efforts. The available funding was $20 million. A total of 24 projects were submitted to DMF for the WAMI funds, requesting $85 million. 

Clean Beaches Week
The week of June 30-July 6 was Clean Beaches Week in North Carolina. Clean Beaches Week is a national effort sponsored by the Clean Beaches Council as part of Great Outdoors Month.The week emphasizesfour main themes important to beachgoers: healthy seafood, a clean coastal environment, safe and enjoyable recreation, and easy travel to beaches.

Staff news

James Barry Guthrie joined the Morehead City office as a field representative on Aug. 1. James has been a NOAA Fisheries Specialist on Piver’s Island for the past four years.

Alice Johnson is DCM’s new Human Resources manager, located in the Morehead City office. Alice comes to us from the Dept. of Corrections.

Policy ManagerMike Lopazanski has moved from the Raleigh office to the Morehead City office.

The DCM baby boom just keeps getting bigger:

DCM’s attorneyChristy Goebel and her husband Jeff welcomed their son Thomas Jeffrey on May 30.

Wilmington Field RepresentativeJon Giles and wife Angela have a new baby girl, Eden Clementine, born June 20.

Coastal EngineerBonnie Bendell and her husband Jay welcomed twins Jake and Lily on June 20.

Coastal Reserve Research CoordinatorJohn Fear and his wife Holly welcomed twins Leigh and William on July 16.

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