ONSLOW COUNTY — Volunteers can help celebrate National Estuaries Week this week with the North Carolina Coastal Federation.
Federation staff will train volunteers to monitor and maintain the oyster and salt marsh restoration projects 9 a.m.-noon Friday at the Morris Landing Clean Water Preserve. Volunteers should register online.
Monitoring oyster and salt marsh restoration helps the federation evaluate the progress of the project and report these findings to the permitting agencies and funding sources.
Participants can park on the side of the road to meet federation staff at Morris Landing on Stump Sound. Work will be taking place along the shoreline in varying conditions including wet, dry, sandy and muddy areas. Hot and humid temperature are expected, so please dress appropriately. Expect to get wet and dirty.
The oyster reefs and wetlands, along with other estuarine habitats, provide critical fish nursery areas, buffers from storms and improve water quality, provide economic resources and are often the focal point of many coastal communities, according to the federation.
No previous experience is needed to join in the work. Volunteers will be trained upon arrival to monitor salt marsh, which will include estimating how much and what kind of vegetation is growing in the restored area and using survey equipment to measure the shoreline profile changes, and oyster monitoring, which entails opening up shell bags from the reef, measuring and counting oysters and identifying other organisms.
All project supplies and equipment, as well as snacks and refreshments, will be provided. There are no restrooms at the site, but a port-a-potty will be available. This event is suitable for ages 12 and older.
Volunteers should wear closed-toe shoes such as sneakers but boots will be available for those who do not wear appropriate footwear, such as Chacos, Tevas, Crocs or flip-flops. Participants should also dress for the weather in clothes that can get wet and muddy, including bringing a hat and sunglasses, and bring a reusable water bottle, no single-use plastic bottles, and any necessary medication.