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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Coastal Management - winter06

Coastal Management

CAMAgram - Winter 2006

NOAA Reviews N.C. Coastal Program

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration conducted its periodic review of the North Carolina Coastal Management Program during the week of February 6. A team of three federal reviewers from NOAA and one reviewer from the state of Texas spent the week traveling the North Carolina coast from Wilmington to the Outer Banks.

The reviewers conducted three public meetings – in Wilmington, Beaufort and Manteo – and met with stakeholders, state and federal partners, and Division of Coastal Management staff to gain input on management and operation of the program.

At the end of the week, the team provided informal feedback on how the program is being managed. DCM should receive a formal report from NOAA in the next few months.
 

Division of Coastal Management Accomplishments 2005

North Carolina’s CAMA program realized the following accomplishments in 2005:

· Coastal Resources Commission Chairman Gene Tomlinson signed the state’s Coastal Habitat Protection Plan at a ceremony on February 11.

· At its June meeting, the CRC approved the Coastal Resources Commission/Division of Coastal Management Coastal Habitat Protection Plan implementation plan.

· Enhanced public access to public beaches and coastal waters through $1.4 million in grants for 21 projects in 15 local communities.  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 $420,000 in grants to 30 local communities. Projects that are eligible for funds include new or updated CAMA land-use plans.

· With the CRC Science Panel, developed draft guidelines for sand compatibility for beach nourishment projects.

· Provided assistance to coastal residents recovering from Hurricane Ophelia by issuing CAMA emergency permits for rebuilding docks, piers, boathouses, sand dunes and other development activities and authorizing hundreds of more structures to be repaired under the statutory provisions of CAMA.

· Reached thousands of students, teachers, local government officials, coastal decision makers, and other members of the coastal community through workshops (Clean Marina, Coastal Explorations, Docks and Piers, etc.), reserve site field trips, Estuary Live broadcasts, and other educational activities conducted by the staff of the North Carolina Coastal Reserves. The Spring 2005 Estuary Live broadcast alone reached more than 1,100 participants.

· Successfully carried out the eleventh year of the N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve System-Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP) at Masonboro and Zeke’s Island. SWMP is part of a national program to provide baseline data for water quality, chlorophyll a, nutrients, and weather for 26 estuaries across the country. These data track short-term variability and long-term change in estuarine waters.

· Successfully completed the transition of DCM's headquarters to a new office building in Morehead City. Staffing vacancies throughout the Division have been filled for the first time in many years.
 

DCM and DMF team up to find environmental infractions

Coastal Management and Marine Fisheries are working together more closely than ever to spot CAMA infractions along the coast as DMF’s Marine Patrol officers begin more extensive cross training with DCM staff.

“Marine Patrol is out there every day on the water," said Ted Tyndall, DCM’s assistant director for permits and enforcement. “So it only makes sense that they know what CAMA violations look like so that they can report them.”

The cross training also helps fulfill one of the Coastal Habitat Protection Plan’s key goals: to improve coordination of the enforcement monitoring done by different DENR divisions.

DCM also will give DMF’s law enforcement officers an overview of CAMA during their annual classroom training. New training will provide more specific information on what to look for regarding CAMA violations. Marine Patrol officers will not enforce CAMA rules, but will report violations to DCM staff.
 

DCM awards $1.4 million in local government grants for access projects

The Division of Coastal Management has awarded $1.4 million to 21 projects in 15 local communities for projects to improve public access to coastal beaches and waters for the 2004-05 fiscal year.

The program provides matching funds to local governments in the 20 coastal counties. Grants are awarded each fall. Governments receiving grants must match them by contributing at least 25 percent toward the project cost.

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.

“We are pleased to continue helping local governments acquire sites and build facilities to enhance public access to our state’s beaches and coastal waters,” said John Thayer, Coastal Management’s planning and public access manager.

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 N.C. Coastal Resources Commission.

The grant program has funded more than 300 public waterfront access sites since it began in 1981.
 

New CRAC chair, vice chair elected at Jan. meeting

Bill Morrison of Pender County was elected chair of the Coastal Resources Advisory Committee at the committee’s quarterly meeting in January. A member of the CRAC since 2001, Morrison formerly served as vice chair of the committee.

Morrison replaces Bob Shupe of Brunswick County, who has served as chair since his election in Jan. 2005.

At the same meeting, Dara Royal of Brunswick County was elected as CRAC vice chair. Royal has been a member of the CRAC since 2003.

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.
 

Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve Hosts Earth Day 8K

 

On April 22, the Carolina Estuarine Reserve Foundation will host the inaugural Kitty Hawk Woods Earth Day 8k Race. The Town of Kitty Hawk and the Kitty Hawk Fire Fighters Association have partnered with CERF to help make this event a success. The purpose of the event is to increase awareness and appreciation for Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve, introduce the community to CERF, and bring the Outer Banks community together for a worthwhile cause.

Race proceeds will go to CERF, the North Carolina Coastal Reserve’s non-profit partner that strives to protect our coastal ecosystems by supporting coastal research, education and conservation and providing volunteer opportunities. The Kitty Hawk Fire Fighters Association, which helps the local fire department with medical emergencies, fire suppression, automobile accidents, and ocean rescue, will also receive a portion of the proceeds.

The course will take runners down Woods Road and Twiford Road, and through Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve in Kitty Hawk, N.C. Runners will encounter rare maritime deciduous forest and ancient dunes while running through the Reserve. This race promises to be more than just a road run by providing a variety of terrains. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy a scenic run for a worthy cause! Registration forms for the KHW Earth Day 8k are available at www.cerf.us

New Building to House NERR Program Staff in Beaufort

The NOAA lab and Coastal Center for Fisheries and Habitat Research broke ground December 7 for the construction of a new building in Beaufort, N.C.

The new building is the result of an Intergovernmental Cooperation Act Agreement between the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Coastal Management (DCM) and NCCOS Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research (CCFHR), for housing and administration of the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve / Coastal Reserve. The NCNERR is a NOAA-DCM partnership.

The purpose of this interrelationship is to house NOAA line offices in a joint facility to improve communication and collaboration.  The Reserve program will benefit from the diverse scientific expertise available from CCFHR staff, and CCFHR will benefit from the outreach and public education component of the Reserve Program.

CCFHR received $2.8 million for construction of the new building and the NCNERR received an additional $1.04 million.  The two-story, $4 million building will be the first major new facility at the Beaufort Laboratory in more than 40 years and will serve as the focal point of the campus.  The first floor will house shared space for government and public functions including an auditorium, live stream broadcast studio, library, and teaching laboratory.  The second floor provides a conference room and separate offices for NOS and NCNERR administration, education, and information technology staff.

Construction of the new building was contracted out to Joyce and Associates Construction Company and is expected to be completed by late 2006.

North Carolina Stormwater Survey Finds Most Unaware Stormwater Not Treated

What do you really know about stormwater? How about your neighbor? North Carolina’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources thinks the answers are very important for two reasons. First, stormwater runoff is the largest source of water pollution in North Carolina and the nation. Second, the number one source of stormwater pollution is people going about their daily business. Most people have no idea they are polluting their local water supply.

East Carolina University’s Survey center administered the survey in August and September. Staff placed more than 11,000 calls to get 1,000 completed surveys -- a large enough number that the findings have a 95 percent confidence level. The results were a mix of the expected and the unexpected.

· Most of us rate water quality as ‘good’ (42.4 percent), followed by ‘fair.’ (39.4 percent)

· Most of us do not know storm water receives no treatment before storm drains carry it directly to the nearest creek, stream or river. (Only 37.6 percent got this one right.)

· Most of us (54.2 percent) do not test our soil to determine its needs before applying fertilizer.

· Some of us (5.8 percent) apply fertilizer monthly. (which is way too much)

· Some 40 percent of us wash our own vehicles, but more than one-third wash in the driveway.

· Only one-fifth change their own oil, but 12 percent of them throw used oil in the grass.

· Most pet walkers do not ‘scoop the poop’ but women scoop more than men.

Survey results are fun to read and talk about, but DENR’s purpose is to produce and deliver educational materials to the groups that need them most. The survey data identifies groups and other demographic data such as income, age and education so messages can be tailored to different groups’ needs.

Protecting water quality through education is not just desirable; many N.C. communities are mandated to do so by the federal government. The U.S. EPA requires communities with certain sizes, growth rates and locations to receive stormwater permits. In addition to education, the permits require other activities like tracking illicit discharges (straight piping) and controlling runoff from construction sites. This survey’s focus was outreach and education.

It won’t take long to learn if the messages get through. The survey will be conducted again in 2006 and 2007. If scores improve, we’ll have a better-educated state. We may even have better water quality, but that’s not guaranteed. Knowing what’s right and actually doing it are two different things. Before state residents make changes, they need good reasons. Since most don’t know their actions can harm local water, that’s a good place to start.

To see the survey or read an analysis of its finding, please visit DENR's N.C. Stormwater website.


Hurricane expert says busy 2006 ahead

Colorado State University's William Gray, one of the nation's top hurricane forecasters, says another busy hurricane season is on the horizon, although it likely won’t be as severe as 2005.

Gray recently predicted an 80 percent chance that an intense hurricane -- Category 3 or above -- will hit somewhere on the U.S. coast this year. Typically, there's a 50 percent chance.

The 2005 season was the busiest in more than 150 years of record-keeping, with 26 named storms – five more than the previous record – thirteen of which became hurricanes.

Gray’s December report predicted 17 named storms in 2006, with nine becoming hurricanes and five strengthening to Category 3 or above.
 

CRC Rule Amendments approved

The Rules Review Commission has approved the following CRC rule amendments:

7B .0801 Public Hearing and Local Adoption Requirements
The CRC amended its land use planning rule 7B.0801, Public Hearing and Local Adoption Requirements.  The amendment is necessary to clarify when local governments must provide DCM with copies of their locally adopted land use plans and statements of adoption action.

7B .0901 CAMA Land Use Plan Amendments
The CRC amended land use planning rule 7B.0901, CAMA Land Use Plan Amendments, in order to clarify the procedures that local governments must comply with when amending their land use plans.  Further, the rule amendment clarifies when amendments to an existing land use plan are extensive enough to trigger a complete update of the local land use plan, and stipulates that amendments must contain a local resolution of adoption that makes certain findings.

7H .0207 Public Trust Areas
The CRC amended its rules to use the normal high water mark or normal water level, instead of the mean high water mark or mean water level for the purpose of administering its rules on non-oceanfront shorelines. The CRC made this change in order to allow DCM staff to use a consistent implementation standard and to provide clarity the public.

7H .0304 AECs Within Ocean Hazard Areas
The Coastal Resources Commission (CRC) removed from the rules the unvegetated beach designation from portions of New Hanover, Pender, Onslow and Carteret Counties.  The designation was applied to these areas in 1996 following widespread vegetation loss after Hurricane Fran. The Division of Coastal Management has determined that there has been sufficient recovery in these areas that the unvegetated designation is no longer appropriate.

7H .0308 Specific Use Standards for Ocean Hazard Areas
7H.0308 sets out the specific use standards for the ocean hazard area of environmental concern (AEC), and references the Coastal and Flood Plain Construction Standards contained within the North Carolina Building Code.  Due to revisions to the building code, the reference contained within 07H.0308 is no longer accurate.  The CRC amended 07H.0308 to remove the incorrect reference.

7H .0309 Use Standards for Ocean Hazard Areas: Exceptions
The CRC amended its rules to allow the use of concrete, asphalt, or turfstone for residential driveways as long as the properties do not directly abut the ocean and are located landward of a paved public street or highway currently in use.  The amendment would not allow these paving materials to be used along private roadways, paved or unpaved, nor on oceanfront properties.  The Commission is seeking to minimize the use of hardened driveways in the ocean hazard area while resolving the conflict between Commission rules and local ordinances.

This action is expected to rationalize the permitting process for property owners, local governments whose ordinances are in conflict with the Commission’s rules, and DCM staff.  Property owners to whom this amendment applies are expected to use hard paving materials if required by local ordinance.

7O .0105 Reserve Components
Rule  7O.0105 had identified only eight of the ten sites that have been acquired for inclusion in the NC Coastal Reserve system since its inception.  The proposed amendment added the other two sites to the rule.  The sites added were (1) Bird Island in Brunswick County, acquired in 2002, and (2) Emily and Richardson Preyer Buckridge in Tyrrell County, acquired in 1998.
 

Joint Ocean Commission Report gives U.S. Ocean Policy Reform a D+

 

The need still exists for fundamental changes to protect and restore our nation’s oceans  and coasts, according to the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative’s Feb. 6 U.S. Ocean Policy Report Card, which gives the nation a D+ on ocean policy reform.

“It’s no secret our nation’s oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes are in serious trouble,” said Admiral James D. Watkins, co-chair of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative. “This Report Card highlights our concerns about the slow rate of progress toward implementing the necessary reforms and very limited funding support, which jeopardizes the rare opportunity our nation has to make fundamental changes in ocean policy before it is too late.”

One year after the release of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy’s historic report and more than two years after the release of the Pew Oceans Commission report, some progress on ocean policy reform has been made. However, hundreds of recommendations suggested by the two Commissions have not been addressed.

“We greatly appreciate the efforts to date of the Administration, the Congress, and a growing number of coastal states, but we feel strongly these actions are proceeding at a pace that does not reflect the urgency of the situation,” said the Honorable Leon E. Panetta, co-chair of the Initiative. “Our goal is to inform policymakers and the public of critical challenges facing our oceans, while identifying the many opportunities that are ripe for action.”

While recognizing that efforts are being made at many levels, the lack of progress in implementing new measures is reflected in the Initiative’s U.S. Ocean Policy Report Card, which assesses the initial reaction to the Commissions’ report and also assigns grades for actions in 2005. The results were a GPA a little over 1.6, or a letter grade D+. The following were the grades given in each subject area:

• Initial Response to Commission Reports A-
• National Ocean Governance Reform D+
• Regional and State Ocean Governance Reform B-
• International Leadership F
• Research, Science, and Education D
• Fisheries Management Reform C+
• New Funding for Ocean Policy and Programs F

The Report Card also highlights where additional efforts by Congress, the Administration, states, and nongovernmental stakeholders are necessary and where opportunities for improvements exist in each of the subject areas.

Under national ocean governance reform, the Initiative encourages Congress and the Administration to improve decision-making, promote more effective coordination and integration of ocean programs, and enable implementation of an ecosystem-based management approach. This needs to incorporate improved leadership at the national level, as well as a strong role for regional, state, and local decision-makers.

The Initiative calls new and sustained investments key to the success of ocean policy reform. The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy identified the costs associated with each of its 212 recommendations, which would require new funding on the order of $3.9 billion per year to be shared among the states, tribes, and federal government. Key among those costs is the doubling of the federal ocean and coastal research budget ($650+ million) over the next five years, building an integrated ocean observing system, and the establishment of an Ocean Policy Trust Fund.

“The health and wealth of our oceans and coasts are key to our country’s competitiveness,” said Watkins. “We must unify our nation with a common goal of protecting and restoring our ocean and coastal ecosystems so that they will continue to be healthy and resilient and able to provide the goods and services that people want and need.”

The Joint Ocean Commission Initiative is a collaborative effort of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and Pew Oceans Commission to catalyze ocean policy reform. The Initiative is guided by a ten-member Task Force, five from each Commission, and led by Admiral James D. Watkins and the Honorable Leon E. Panetta, chairs of the U.S. Commission and Pew Commission, respectively. The primary goal of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative is to accelerate the pace of change that results in meaningful ocean policy reform. For more information about the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative, visitwww.jointoceancommission.org.
 

Test your coastal I.Q.

Passengers traveling aboard one of the N.C. Department of Transportation Ferry Division’s 23 vessels now have the opportunity to test their knowledge and learn about the state’s coastal environment, thanks to a new publication available at each North Carolina ferry terminal.

“Test Your Coastal I.Q.” was developed by NCDOT in partnership with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources to help increase awareness of the state’s valuable coastal resources. The free, full-color booklet includes 30 questions covering topics ranging from coastal geography and water quality to coastal wildlife and pollution prevention.

Question topics include coastal geography, habitats, wildlife and pollution prevention. The booklet also includes detailed answers to each question with additional facts to help residents and visitors gain a deeper understanding of the state’s coastal environment.  This project was developed as part of the Ferry Division’s environmental mitigation efforts.

To locate a ferry terminal, visitwww.ncferry.org or call 1-800-BY-FERRY.
 

Briefly:

Buoys to detect tsunamis will be placed off coast
Federal officials say they will place the first tsunami-detecting buoys in the Atlantic Ocean this spring to give residents more time to escape the giant waves. NOAA said it will place two buoys about 1,000 miles off the coast, one of them east of North Carolina. Another three will be in the Caribbean. The work will take place in April. The buoys will be able to better detect the monster waves than the tide gauges and seismometers currently used on land or close to the shoreline.

$125,000 In Grants Available from APNEP

The Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program (APNEP), a partnership between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, is requesting proposals for schoolyard environmental demonstration projects.

APNEP grants are for locations in the 36-county APNEP region, which includes five major river basins: the Chowan, Pasquotank, Roanoke, Tar-Pamlico and Neuse. For the complete Request for Proposal and application materials, go to:
http://www.apnep.org/pages/RFP2005.html

The following agencies and organizations are eligible to apply for and receive funds:
1) Educational Institutions (public, private, and charter schools) –including K-12, community colleges and universities
2) State and local governments
3) Interstate and intrastate agencies
4) Nonprofit organizations and institutions

The projects must comply with the following five criteria:
1) must occur on or adjacent to school property,
2) must be physical in-ground projects,
3) must have a public outreach/education element,
4) must allow public access, and
5) must have transferable methods.

For more information contact Kelly Williams at (919) 715-4074.
 

Staff News

Congratulations to Tim and Melissa Carle, wetlands specialist in the Raleigh Office, on the birth of their son, Jacob Alexander, on Dec. 29.

Doug Coker, education coordinator at the Rachel Carson National Estuarine Research Reserve, has left Coastal Management to join his family's business in Beaufort.

John Vine-Hodge, community planner in the Raleigh Office, has left Coastal Management for another planning position.

Jaye Poole, DCM's administrative officer, has left Coastal Management for a position in DENR's budget office.

Our deepest sympathy to the family of Wilmington field representative Gale Stenburg, who passed away unexpectedly on Jan. 24.

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