Updated Jan. 3 to include video on the federation’s 40th anniversary.
The North Carolina Coastal Federation, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2022, is wrapping up another successful year of working to protect the state’s coast.
Through a variety of programs and partnerships, the nonprofit conservation organization focuses on clean coastal waters and habitats, advocating to protect the coast, and teaches and informs people about the coast and what they can do to protect it. The federation publishes Coastal Review.
The organization provided the following glance of its 2021 accomplishments:
- Collected and removed nearly 420 tons — about 838,820 pounds — of marine debris.
- Joined with other organizations to remove 3,009 crab pots and 74 abandoned or derelict vessels from coastal waterways.
- Received more than 4,000 bushels of recycled oyster shells that the federation and its partners will use to restore coastline.
- Built 0.9 miles of living shorelines.
- Built around 5 acres of oyster sanctuary reefs in Pamlico Sound that support millions of new oysters and help to repopulate the sound with oyster spat.
- Reduced the volume of polluted urban stormwater runoff by 3.18 million gallons per year.
- Restored almost 3,000 acres of wetlands in Bladen, Hyde and Tyrrell counties.
- Reached more than 1 million readers with the award-winning online news service Coastal Review.
- Obtained millions of dollars in legislative appropriations for the federation and partners to support the organization’s work on oysters, living shorelines, reducing flooding, marine debris removal and water quality protection.
“From installing rain gardens in subdivisions and shopping centers to restoring thousands of acres of wetlands across the countryside, investing in nature-based solutions reduces pollution and flooding,” said Todd Miller, Coastal Federation executive director, in a statement. “This is being acknowledged across North Carolina in an unprecedented way.”
Coastal Scientist Erin Fleckenstein, based in the federation’s Wanchese office on the Outer Banks, helped oversee this year the completion of 5 acres of new oyster sanctuaries, more than four and a half football fields.
“I’m proud of our continued partnership with DMF (Division of Marine Fisheries) to restore oysters to North Carolina,” Fleckenstein said in a statement. “Through our partnership, we built 5 acres in Pamlico Sound and are on track to double that coastwide in 2022. These reefs provide homes for new oysters and other important fish such as shrimp, crabs and red drum. Furthermore, the new oysters help to filter the water, improving its clarity.”
In addition, this year the federation not only saw the completion of nearly a mile of living shorelines but also a growing interest in people wanting to install them.
“We are so excited for the significantly increased interest and momentum in living shorelines and look forward to the building as many living shorelines in 2022 as we can,” said Dr. Lexia Weaver, a coastal scientist based in the Federation’s western Carteret County office.
As part of the federation’s work, coastal educators met with 1,300 students across 13 coastal schools and 11 community groups, many from underserved communities.
The federation filed a rule-making petition before the Environmental Management Commission to cap and reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector. The commission approved the petition and the rulemaking process has begun. The rule will allow the state to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative resulting in a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions over time.
To learn more, visit nccoast.org or call 252-393-8185.