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N.C. Estuarine Research Reserve Seeks Input

MOREHEAD CITY – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is asking for feedback by Nov. 27 on the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve draft revised management plan, available on the state’s Department of Environmental Quality website.

Shorebirds roost at the Rachel Carson Reserve near Beaufort. Photo: NCDEQ

A program of DEQ’s Division of Coastal Management, the North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve protects natural areas for education, research and recreation. NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System requires periodic revision of management plans for sites in the system.

The Review 2020-2025 Draft Management Plan not only looks at priorities for the public including program visibility, visitor use, research awareness, and partnerships but also threats and stressors of concern to reserve sites, including invasive species, water quality, sea level rise and storms, and outlines the following:

  • A strategic plan.
  • Administrative structure.
  • Research and monitoring, education, stewardship and training programs of the reserve.
  • Resource protection and manipulation plans.
  • Restoration management plan.
  • Public access and visitor use plan.
  • Consideration for future land acquisition.
  • Facility development to support reserve operations.

Meetings on the draft revised plan and to gather comments on behalf of DEQ are scheduled for Nov. 4 at the Donal C. O’Brien Jr.  Sanctuary and Audubon Center in Corolla, Nov. 5 in the NOAA Beaufort Lab auditorium on Pivers Island and Nov. 6 at the Center for Marine Science Auditorium at University of North Carolina Wilmington. All meetings begin at 5:30 p.m.

The federal register notice will be posted on the Federal Register website and written comments on the draft management plan can be sent to Stephanie Robinson, NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, 2234 South Hobson Ave., Charleston, S.C. 29405 or at Steph.Robinson@noaa.gov.

Created in 1989, the program has preserved more than 44,000 acres of unique coastal environments at 10 sites along the coast, four of which make up the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve: Currituck Banks on the Outer Banks, Rachel Carson in Beaufort, and Masonboro Island and Zeke’s Island near Wilmington. The N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve is managed through a federal-state partnership between NOAA and the Division of Coastal Management.

For additional information, contact Reserve manager Rebecca Ellin at 252-838-0880.

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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.