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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

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Coastal Management - winter03

Coastal Management

CAMAgram - Winter 2003

15 local governments receive nearly $1.3 million for access projects

The Division of Coastal Management has awarded nearly $1.3 million to 15 local governments to help them improve public access to coastal beaches and waters during fiscal year 2002-03.

The grants were awarded through the state’s Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access Program, which provides matching funds to local governments in the 20 coastal counties. Grants are awarded each fall. Governments that receive grants must match them by contributing at least 25 percent toward the project cost.

“We are extremely pleased that we can continue to help local governments acquire sites and build facilities to enhance public access to our state’s beaches and coastal waters,” said Kathy Vinson, Coastal Management’s planning and public access manager.

Grant recipients were Elizabeth City, Emerald Isle, Jacksonville, Kill Devil Hills, Kure Beach, Morehead City, Ocean Isle Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, Plymouth, Southport, Surf City, Swansboro, Washington County, Windsor and Wrightsville Beach. The grants will support 18 public access projects along the coast during the fiscal year.

Access projects may include walkways, dune crossovers, restrooms, parking areas, piers and related facilities. Funds also may be used for land acquisition or urban waterfront revitalization. Coastal Management staff selected the recipients based on criteria set by the state Coastal Resources Commission.

The grant program has funded more than 280 public waterfront access sites since it began in 1981. Funding for the grant program comes from the General Assembly through the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund. The fund receives its money from land-transfer fees.

Subcommittee will dive into swimming pool setback issue

The Coastal Resources Commission will take another dive into the issue of new oceanfront swimming pools built within the setback area.

The CRC voted 6-3 in October to refer the matter to its Subcommittee on Coastal Hazards for discussion.

In 2001, the CRC voted on a rule change that would have required new swimming pools, tennis courts and concrete-floored storage sheds to meet the same setback requirements as oceanfront houses. Setbacks are a minimum of 60 feet from the first line of stable natural vegetation.

Last summer, in response to objections raised by developers and realtors, the General Assembly passed a bill to disapprove the measure. The bill allowed the continued construction of swimming pools in the setback zone, but required new tennis courts and storage-shed foundations to meet setbacks.

The bill also gave counties and towns the authority to order the removal of a swimming pool or associated decking if they find that the structure is dangerous or poses a threat to public health or safety.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Bill Culpepper of Edenton, told fellow lawmakers that the CRC could work on a new version of the rule that would take into account a pool’s construction materials. Opponents of the CRC’s rule said it was unfair to make all types of swimming pools meet setbacks because those made of fiberglass pose less of a threat to other structures during a storm than concrete pools. They said any future CRC rules pertaining to swimming pools should reflect that difference.

CRC member Pricey Harrison of Beaufort stressed that point to her fellow commissioners during their October meeting in Wilmington. “I feel quite strongly that we were given the direction to fix (the rule),” Harrison said.

But CRC member Doug Langford of Nags Head said the legislature wanted local governments, not state regulators, to handle the issue. “(Legislators) feel that it’s a local zoning issue,” he said.

The subcommittee has not set a date to discuss the issue.

New wetland mapping tool will aid in road planning

The Department of Transportation will soon have a new tool that could help its staff avoid wetlands when planning roads.

The Division of Coastal Management and the state Center for Geographic Information and Analysis teamed up to develop the computer tool, which is intended for use by DOT road planners.

Coastal Management previously had mapped the types and functional significance of wetlands in 37 counties in the inner and outer coastal plains of the state. The division made that information available to DOT and local governments. But using the data required doing queries, putting in numbers and going through several steps to map the information. It wasn’t exactly user-friendly, said Kelly Williams, Coastal Management’s wetlands specialist.

“With this tool, you hit the button and it’s got it all there in an easily understood form,” she said. “This makes our data more user-friendly.”

Using a Windows 2000 computer and geographic-information software called ArcMap, DOT planners now can call up a variety of wetlands information with a few mouse clicks. The screen will show them a map of the county or region of interest. The planners can put a proposed road into the tool and see how many acres of wetlands would be affected. The program also will produce a table that breaks down the acreage by wetland type and significance rating, such as exceptional or high-quality.

“Planners could use it to avoid high-quality wetlands, or they could use it to minimize impacts to all wetlands,” Williams said.

The tool will not replace on-site delineation of wetlands, she said, but it could help DOT planners choose road routes without having to delineate every possible path. That could speed up road planning.

Coastal Management will train DOT staff how to use the tool, which cost about $37,000 to develop. A federal grant to Coastal Management paid for the project.

Williams said the applications could go beyond roads. Developers and local governments also could use the tool for planning a variety of projects that might affect wetlands.

For more information, contact Williams at 919-733-2293, ext. 254, or

Software, training available to help local governments with land-suitability analysis

The Division of Coastal Management is making new tools available to local governments to help them determine which parts of their community are most suitable for development.

The division is planning workshops to train professional planners in the methodology and software for land-suitability analysis.

Land-suitability analysis is the process of determining the supply of developable land in a community. State guidelines for land-use planning require this important component.

The analysis is based on assigning values to different categories of land. Local governments can define the categories. Typically, areas that are more suitable for development have higher values than those that are less suitable. For example, an area with infrastructure such as utilities and roads might be considered highly suitable for development. An area adjacent to high-quality shellfish waters or cultural resources might be considered less suitable.

The software allows local governments to assign values to different areas and create a map that shows the various categories of land. Coastal Management developed the software in cooperation with the state Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (CGIA) and Bill Farris, a Wilmington-based planning consultant.

Land-suitability analysis has been part of the state’s coastal planning rules for many years, but new guidelines that took effect in August strengthened the requirements. “We recognized that local governments were struggling with the land-suitability analysis requirement,” said Kathy Vinson, Coastal Management’s planning and public access manager. “We realized that we needed to provide assistance, and this software and methodology should make the analysis easier.”

A grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration paid for the development of the software and methodology. A second NOAA grant will pay for the training workshops as well as continued technical support and further refinement of the land-suitability analysis model by CGIA and Farris.

Coastal Management plans to hold the workshops in January. Training will be offered to designated planners in charge of preparing or updating Coastal Area Management Act land-use plans for local governments this year.

CRC adopts temporary rules in response to legislation

The Coastal Resources Commission in October adopted two temporary rules in response to action by the General Assembly.

Last summer, the legislature adopted an amendment to the Coastal Area Management Act that clarified the criteria the CRC uses when deciding variance requests. The temporary rule conforms CRC standards to the new CAMA language.

Another legislative amendment to CAMA required that riprap groins be given the same consideration as wooden ones under the general permit provisions contained in the statute. Prior to the amendment, a CAMA major permit was needed for riprap groins, while wooden groins could be authorized under a general permit, which can be issued more quickly. The temporary rule conforms CRC standards to the legislation.

Both temporary rules will remain in effect until permanent versions become effective. Work on the permanent rules will begin this year, said Charles Jones, the Division of Coastal Management’s assistant director for permits and enforcement. Text of the temporary rules is available

State preserves undeveloped island in Hyde County

Land will become part of Emily and Richardson Preyer Buckridge Coastal Reserve

The Division of Coastal Management has completed a $1.95 million deal to preserve an undeveloped, 8,270-acre island in Hyde County.

Map of Roper IslandThe division has purchased a conservation easement for Roper Island, located along the Alligator River near the border of Hyde and Tyrrell counties. The easement will allow the island’s owners – a group headed by Ed Mabry Jr. of Spartanburg, S.C. – to continue to use the land for hunting while preserving it from development.

The property will become part of the Emily and Richardson Preyer Buckridge Coastal Reserve, an 18,000-acre nature preserve located across the Alligator River in southeastern Tyrrell County. Coastal Management officials say adding Roper Island to the state’s largest coastal reserve will provide additional protection to the headwaters of the Alligator River, which is regarded for its high water quality.

The preservation of Roper Island is an important step in achieving the goals of Gov. Mike Easley’s One North Carolina Naturally initiative, said Bill Ross, secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. “The continued vigor of our commercial and recreational fishing industry, tourism, education and other coastal activities depends on lively ecological systems such as those found on this island,” he said. “We must identify and conserve areas critical for their unique biological and landscape values.”

Funding for the preservation effort came from the state’s Natural Heritage and Clean Water Management trust funds, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The state chapter of The Nature Conservancy helped negotiate the easement.

By purchasing a conservation easement, the state saved $900,000 versus the price it would have cost to buy the island outright, said Mike Lopazanski, a Coastal Management policy analyst who worked on the preservation effort.

The triangular island is bordered by the Alligator River on its northern and western sides and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway to the east. It contains a large area of swamp forest, pond pine pocosin, peatland Atlantic white cedar forest and tidal cypress-gum swamp. The southwestern portion of the island contains low-salinity and freshwater marshes. The island plays a role in maintaining the high water quality of the Alligator River. The waters surrounding Roper Island are some of the most pristine in the area, according to sampling done by the Fish and Wildlife Service and DENR.

Roper Island provides habitat suitable for several rare, threatened or endangered species, including the red wolf, red-cockaded woodpecker, short-nose sturgeon and Atlantic sturgeon. The area also supports rare bird species, such as the American bittern, northern harrier and cerulean warbler.

The General Assembly created the N.C. Coastal Reserve Program in 1989 to preserve natural areas for education, research and recreation. Coastal Management administers the program. The addition of Roper Island boosts the total amount of land and marsh preserved by the program to 40,000 acres at 10 sites along the coast.

Bird Island becomes state's 10th coastal reserve

Gov. Mike Easley and other state officials gathered in Sunset Beach in October to dedicate Bird Island as a N.C. Coastal Reserve.

Gov. Mike EasleyGov. Mike Easley speaks at the dedication of the Bird Island Coastal Reserve. Looking on is Bill Ducker, chairman of the Bird Island Preservation Society. Photo courtesy NCDOT

The undeveloped spit of land in southern Brunswick County becomes the 10th site in the N.C. Coastal Reserve Program, which is administered by the Division of Coastal Management. The designation will protect habitat used by several threatened or endangered species, including Kemp’s ridley and loggerhead sea turtles, the piping plover, wood stork and black skimmer.

Last May, the state completed the second and final phase of the $4.2 million purchase of Bird Island, which was owned by the Price family of Greensboro. Coastal Management received funding for the acquisition from the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund, N.C. Natural Heritage Trust Fund and state Department of Transportation.

“The Bird Island acquisition is another step forward in our on-going efforts to protect our most special areas of open space,” Easley said.  “It is a great example of the preservation efforts we will be pursuing through our One North Carolina Naturally initiative. Through that effort, we will identify and conserve areas critical for their unique biological and landscape values. And we will make sure the farms, the forests and other features of North Carolina’s rural landscape remain for generations to come.”

“It’s a great deal now, but I think it will mean even more in the future,” said Sunset Beach resident Bill Ducker, who led a 10-year effort to preserve the island. The dedication ceremony was held on the lawn at his house.

The preservation effort involved support by grass-roots organizations, state agencies and legislators. The Bird Island Preservation Society, which Ducker chairs, enlisted the help of the N.C. Coastal Land Trust and N.C. Coastal Federation. State Rep. David Redwine of Brunswick County lent his support to the effort, as did the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

“We didn’t know what we could do, but we knew we had to try,” Redwine said.

Though technically no longer an island since Mad Inlet closed a few years ago, Bird Island has long been a spot where beachcombers sought to relax. The acquisition protects 1.2 miles of ocean beach and 1.5 miles of shoreline on the sound side of the island. Of the nearly 1,300 acres protected, 147 are upland and 1,150 are marsh and wetlands.

Over the years, countless visitors to Bird Island have written their thoughts in journals kept inside a mailbox that was put up on the island several years ago. Many have expressed hope that the island would be protected from development, said DENR Secretary Bill Ross. “These journals show the connection people have with this place,” he told the audience. “And now Bird Island will be here forever, for you and your children.”

The Coastal Reserve staff has begun work on a management plan for the island, and will seek input from local citizens and leaders. Staff also will establish a local advisory committee to assist them with management decisions.

The Bird Island Preservation Society has announced that it will fund a position for a Bird Island naturalist. This position will help monitor natural resources, educate the public and assist the state in managing the island. “With ownership comes stewardship, and all of us are stewards,” Ducker said.

Policy Q&A: The North Carolina Environmental Policy Act

What is the North Carolina Environmental Policy Act?

The state Environmental Policy Act, or SEPA, is a law that encourages the wise, productive and beneficial use of the state’s natural resources without damaging the environment. The act set up a process for state agencies to review projects for potential environmental impacts. It also provided a mechanism for preparing a document to aid state agencies in making decisions about projects that affect North Carolina’s natural resources. SEPA can apply to projects throughout the state, not just the coastal region.

SEPA is not a regulatory process, a punitive measure or a mechanism for delaying a project or dissuading it from being undertaken.

When is a SEPA document required?

A project must meet three criteria to trigger SEPA:

  1. State action, such as certifications, licenses, permits, lending of credit or expenditures of state money;
  2. Use of public lands, including publicly owned submerged lands. SEPA does not apply to public trust waters located over privately owned submerged lands; and
  3. A potential environmental effect upon either natural resources, public health and safety, natural beauty, or historical or cultural elements of the state’s common inheritance.

Is SEPA always required for projects that meet these criteria?

Not always. State agencies may choose to establish specific minimum criteria for designating minimum levels of environmental impact. Generally, once these criteria have been approved, no filing of environmental documents is required for projects whose impacts do not exceed the criteria threshold.

What types of CAMA projects require a SEPA document?

Generally, three types of projects that require a Coastal Area Management Act permit are subject to SEPA review:

  1. New marinas;
  2. New navigation channels; and
  3. Excavation of materials from aquatic environments for use for beach nourishment or other purposes not directly related to approved navigational projects.

Projects requiring a CAMA permit may not be exempt from SEPA if they would require a SEPA environmental document under provisions of another state approval, or local or state governmental agency requirement. An example is a Department of Transportation road project that needs approval from the Division of Water Quality.

In addition, the secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources may determine that an environmental document under SEPA is required on a case-by-case basis, provided that the three trigger criteria are present.

If you think your coastal project might be subject to a SEPA review,contact your nearest Division of Coastal Management office.

How does a SEPA review work?

There are two main paths for a SEPA review: Environmental Assessment/Finding of No Significant Impact (EA/FONSI) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

What’s the difference?

The purpose of the EA is to provide the state agency with a decision-making tool to determine if a planned project is of such significance or scope and impact on the environment as to require preparation of an EIS. An EA typically contains information about projected environmental impacts, mitigative measures, references, exhibits, and state and federal permit requirements. If after reviewing the EA, the lead agency determines that significant impacts are not likely, it may attach a Finding of No Significant Impact to the document and the project can proceed to the permit process.

When the potential environmental impacts are significant, or when additional information is needed for the agency to conclude that there will not be significant impacts, resource agencies will ask the applicant to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS.

An EIS is a more complete description of the affected environment and the potential consequences of the project. Its purpose is to provide a more detailed discussion of the significant environmental impacts as well as inform decision makers and the public of the reasonable alternatives that would avoid or minimize adverse impacts.

An EIS should:

  • Provide a more thorough alternatives analysis;
  • Describe social, economic and environmental impacts of each alternative;
  • Identify any irreversible significant environmental impacts;
  • Identify any conflicts with local, state or federal regulations.

If an EIS is required for my project, does that mean I will not be able to get a CAMA permit?

No. Requirement of an EIS does not automatically prevent issuance of a CAMA permit. It simply means that the potential environmental impacts are significant, or that additional information is needed for the Division of Coastal Management or other review agencies to conclude that there will not be significant impacts. However, a CAMA permit cannot be issued until the SEPA process is complete.

Success of Coastal Habitat Protection Plan will require cooperation,
members of three environmental commissions say

The success of efforts to protect fisheries habitat in North Carolina will depend on cooperation among three rulemaking commissions, members of the groups said during a meeting in October.

Pricey HarrisonPricey Harrison

Members of the Coastal Resources, Environmental Management and Marine Fisheries commissions met at the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher to discuss the development of the state’s Coastal Habitat Protection Plan (CHPP).

The Fisheries Reform Act of 1997 required the three commissions to approve and implement a plan to help protect and restore resources critical to North Carolina's commercial and recreational fisheries.

The law also directed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to develop the plan, which must protect wetlands, spawning areas, threatened and endangered species habitat, primary and secondary nursery areas, shellfish beds, submerged aquatic vegetation and Outstanding Resource Waters.

“Maybe the (habitat-protection) effort will get the commissions working together more cooperatively,” said CRC member Pricey Harrison, who chairs an inter-commission committee that is reviewing components of the plan before it goes to the individual commissions for adoption.

The CHPP will identify statewide issues associated with six critical habitats: water column, shell bottom, submerged aquatic vegetation, wetlands, soft bottoms such as sand, and hard bottoms such as reefs. DENR will present a draft plan, including recommended statewide management options, to the three commissions for adoption in spring 2004.

After the commissions adopt the plan, DENR will develop management plans for 11 regional units based on the Division of Water Quality’s eight coastal river basins. Those plans will address threats to critical fisheries habitat at the local level.

The three commissions seem to agree on one thing already: The CHPP should not focus on new regulations. Education and incentive-based recommendations are more favorable, Harrison said.

Another member of the review committee, MFC member B.J. Copeland, agreed. “Let us not create a document that is going to turn people off,” he said.

DENR will present the commissions with a series of draft sections of the plan between now and August. Public meetings will be scheduled this fall.

Once the CHPP is adopted, the 11 regional management units will be developed in the following order:

  • The Chowan River basin and the coastal ocean;
  • The Southern estuaries, the Tar-Pamlico and Roanoke river basins;
  • The Albemarle River basin and the White Oak River basin (split into two plans between the New/White Oak rivers and Core/Bogue sounds;
  • The Neuse, Pamlico and Cape Fear river basins.

Coastal Management Program to get federal checkup

The N.C. Coastal Management Program (NCCMP) will undergo a periodic federal checkup this year.

A team of reviewers with the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) will come to North Carolina in March to meet with stakeholders, Coastal Resources Commission members and Division of Coastal Management staff. OCRM is based in Silver Spring, Md.

Reviewers also will conduct three public hearings: March 10 at Coastal Management’s Wilmington office, 127 Cardinal Drive Ext.; March 11 at the Carteret County Courthouse, Courthouse Square, Beaufort; and March 12 at Manteo Town Hall, 407 Budleigh St. The hearings will begin at 6 p.m.

The review is necessary because the NCCMP is a federally approved program that receives some of its funding from OCRM, which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA conducts periodic reviews of all federally approved state coastal programs.

The review will focus on various aspects of the NCCMP and how well it is meeting goals and objectives established in cooperation with OCRM.

Coastal Management, N.C. Shore & Beach Preservation Association
announce joint effort to fully map public beach and waterfront accessways

The Division of Coastal Management and the N.C. Shore & Beach Preservation Association (NCSBPA) are teaming up to fully map all of North Carolina’s public beach accessways in time for the summer beach season.

Coastal Management has already identified many public beach and waterfrontaccessways on its Web site,, focusing on those sites that have been funded at least partly through state Coastal Area Management Act grants over the past 20 years. Visitors to the Web site can click on a coastal town or county to find out where accessways are and obtain information about parking, restrooms and other facilities. The site currently identifies more than 200 public access facilities along the coast.

But that represents just a fraction of the beach and waterfront accessways. There are perhaps hundreds of accessways along the coast that were acquired and built entirely with local money, said Steve Underwood, Coastal Management’s assistant director for policy and planning. Coastal Management has not been able to map these sites, primarily because of understaffing and the large number of sites for which additional information and specific computer-pinpointed locations are needed.

The NCSBPA has stepped in with an offer to aid in gathering the remaining information using Coastal Management protocols and under the division’s supervision. Division staff and association officials are working on project details. The goal is to provide a seamless data set that will meet the needs of public access mapping as well as other planning and permitting functions of Coastal Management and coastal local governments.

“We are excited about teaming up with the N.C. Shore and Beach Preservation Association to enhance the mapping of public beach and waterfront accessways along the coast,” said Coastal Management Director Donna Moffitt. “This effort will help the Division of Coastal Management provide a more complete catalog of the many public access sites available for citizens and visitors to use.”

NCSBPA Chairman John Fisher said: “NCSBPA is pleased to have this opportunity to promote public beach access via the Web. Our beaches belong to all the citizens of our state, and we continue to explore the best ways to protect and preserve these treasures.”

The N.C. Shore & Beach Preservation Association is a statewide nonprofit organization whose mission is to conserve, restore and preserve North Carolina’s public beaches. Information about the association is available online

North Carolina will play host to regional meeting for coastal managers

North Carolina will be host of the Fifth Annual Southern and Caribbean Regional Meeting for coastal managers in February.

The conference will take place Feb. 3-6 at the Holiday Inn Sunspree at Wrightsville Beach.

State and local coastal-program managers from across the Southeast and Caribbean will gather along with federal counterparts to discuss current issues facing them. Participants also will observe and discuss the results of several erosion-response projects at Wrightsville Beach, and visit Bald Head Island to hear about how the community balances development with environmental protection.

“This is an ideal opportunity for coastal-program managers and staff to exchange information and ideas, and for us to show off some of the state’s coastal gems,” said Donna Moffitt, director of the Division of Coastal Management.

The conference is sponsored by the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Lessons learned in N.C. could shape Indonesia's coastal program

Adapted with permission from an article by Katie Mosher in the winter 2003 issue of Coastwatch magazine

Lessons learned along the North Carolina coast will factor into discussions this year in Indonesia, where pivotal coastal legislation is being considered.

In November, N.C. Sea Grant played host to a pair of senior Indonesian officials who were gathering information to help them establish a coastal program in the South Pacific nation. They chose North Carolina because of its “robust and dynamic” coastal programs, said Soestrisno Sosroprajitno, vice chair of the National Parliament’s Environmental Commission.

Photo of Indonesian officialsDCM's Caroline Bellis, center, discusses coastal issues with Indonesian officials Widi Pratikto, second from left, and Soestrisno Sosroprajitno, second from right. Photo by Scott Taylor, N.C. Sea Grant

The trip halfway round the world was fruitful because the Indonesian government is trying to establish its own version of Sea Grant, said Widi Pratikto, Indonesia’s director general of coasts and small islands in the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries.

“Our visit to Hawaii, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., Rhode Island, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, strengthens our belief that through such a program, we will succeed in developing our nation’s coastal ocean programs in order to achieve economic development in sustainable ways,” he said.

Pratikto already was familiar with North Carolina, having received his doctorate in civil engineering from N.C. State University in 1992. His coastal research here focused on natural approaches for mitigating dune erosion.

For the past year, he has led a variety of efforts in his home country, including integrated coastal management, small islands management, coastal spatial planning, marine conservation, economic development and empowerment within coastal communities.

He is among Indonesian leaders working closely with the Indonesia Coastal Resources Management Project (CRMP). A joint project of the Indonesian Government and the U.S. Agency for International Development, CRMP is implemented by the University of Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Center.

“We have learned a lot about local coastal zone management in different places, such as Hawaii and North Carolina,” Pratikto said. The topics include how to manage beaches and use setbacks and retreat methods.

“We now are more convinced that through decentralization of control over coastal resources, our coastal beaches will be managed in better ways,” he said. “However, we can be successful only by increasing the capacity of our government staff, coastal residents and citizens and nongovernmental organizations, etc.”

Sosroprajitno, who received his doctorate in agricultural economics from the University of Hawaii, explained that he offers a dual perspective.

“I have two feet – one in science and one in politics,” he said. As vice chair of the commission in Parliament that includes marine affairs, he will lead much of the debate on new coastal legislation.

Blending science and policy is a challenge for Indonesia. After decades of authoritarian rule, the Indonesian Parliament is moving the country toward a decentralized government.

Indonesia has the second longest coastline in the world with 82,000 kilometers of coast. More than 60 percent of Indonesia's 220 million people live within 50 kilometers of the coast.

The country’s vast marine resources include more than 70 genera of hard corals – and the island chain is touted as the “bull’s eye” of highest marine biodiversity on earth. However, only about 7 percent of Indonesia’s coral reefs are considered in pristine condition.

Currently, about 24 percent of Indonesia’s gross domestic product comes from marine products and industries. As traditional forest resources are depleted, more emphasis is focused on generating income and livelihoods from marine and coastal resources.

On Topsail Island, the Indonesian group met with Surf City officials and representatives of the Division of Coastal Management. Topics included erosion rates, setbacks and storm-related emergency policies.

Public access is another focus, both on the oceanfront and along the sounds that are seeing increased development.

The Indonesian officials were interested in the “public trust” doctrine that supports many coastal management decisions here. The correlation between public trust and access could become a factor on Indonesian islands that increasingly are being eyed by outside investors looking to develop shrimp farms or to establish scuba diving and adventure travel outposts.

Other stops on the Indonesians’ North Carolina tour included Morehead City and New Bern, where they learned about coastal economic development opportunities and challenges.

Each stop on the tour offered lessons not only for the Indonesian Parliament, but also for government agencies and universities. “To see the strong role of advisory boards and citizens councils and volunteerism makes a real impression of how stakeholders can be involved in governance,” said Stacey Tighe, CRMP senior technical adviser.

Staff news

Two staff members in the Elizabeth City office have been honored by the Albemarle Resources Conservation & Development Council for assisting the organization with reaching program objectives relating to the conservation of and access to coastal and aquatic areas of the region.Frank Jennings, a field representative, was recognized for his cooperative spirit and assistance with Coastal Area Management Act permit applications.John Thayer, district planner, was honored for his continuing assistance with water-access and boardwalk projects in the region. They were recognized during the commission’s awards banquet late last year.

Estuary Live, an Internet-based education program created by the N.C. Coastal Reserve Program, was honored at theTech Museum Awards in San Jose, Calif., in November. The program was one of five finalists for the Intel Environmental Award, presented to an innovator “protecting the environment today and for future generations.” Estuary Live lost out to the Florida-based International Seakeepers Society for the $50,000 cash prize. But the museum did pay forSusan Lovelace, education coordinator for the Coastal Reserve Program, andBill Lovin, owner of Estuary Live producer Marine Grafics, to attend the awards ceremony.Brian Williams of NBC News was master of ceremonies.

Jason Dail has joined the Wilmington office as a field representative. He previously worked for the Division of Water Quality. Dail replacesJerry Parker, who took a position with the Department of Transportation.

Ken Richardson has joined the Raleigh office as a Geographic Information Systems analyst. He will be working on mapping and data analysis associated with coastal hazards. Richardson previously worked for the Town of Mount Holly. He replacesGreg Meyer, who took a position at East Carolina University.

Linda Chavis has joined the Raleigh office as receptionist. She previously worked at N.C. State University.

Two members of the Raleigh staff have left the division.Jessica Gill, rulemaking coordinator, left in October to enter the private sector.Audra Luscher, a Sea Grant fellow, left in November to take a position with the Maryland Coastal Zone Management Program.

Congratulations toJim Meads, a Dare County CAMA local permit officer, who has been inducted into the ECU Sports Hall of Fame. Meads was a two-time All-America swimmer at ECU, leading the Pirates to NAIA national championships in 1957 and ‘59.

Briefly ...

U.S. Rep.Walter Jones Jr. (R-N.C.) says he does not agree with theBush administration’s proposal to change the cost-share formula for federal funding of beach nourishment projects. “I’m not as happy as I would like to be with the administration’s position on beach renourishment,” Jones told the audience at the N.C. Shore & Beach Preservation Association’s annual meeting in November. The congressman, whose district includes a large portion of coastal North Carolina, said he is working to convince the White House of the need to continue the current ratio, under which the federal government pays 65 percent of nourishment projects sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. State and local governments pay the remaining 35 percent. The administration wants to switch the ratio. …

Above-average rainfall over most of North Carolina last fall helped ease drought conditions in the state. The U.S. Drought Monitor indicated that some areas in the western Piedmont continue to experience long-term drought conditions. Along the coast, rainfall has eliminated short-term drought conditions. Despite the rain, state officials encourage people to continue to use water wisely. …

New Hanover County’s Tidal Creeks Program has purchased 16.4 acres in the Masonboro area of the county for $600,000. The city of Wilmington will use ponds and wetlands on the property as a treatment area to slow down and cleanse runoff headed toward Hewletts Creek. Funding for the purchase came from the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund. …

The Coastal Barrier Resources Act, which eliminated federal subsidies for development in sensitive coastal areas, has saved American taxpayers an estimated $1.3 billion since 1982, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a recent report to Congress. The report noted that the act is even more effective when state and local governments add their own layers of protection. For example, Texas prohibits state-backed windstorm insurance on designated coastal barriers. Besides the $1.3 billion in estimated federal savings, the report estimates that $200 million in disaster relief funds could be saved by 2050. For the complete report, go


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