Restoration/Preservation: Northeast Coast

Durant's Point: Protecting the Culture and the Environment

Durant’s Point is a narrow strip of privately owned land protecting Hatteras Harbor and a culturally and economically valuable working waterfront. The federation partnered with the landowners, Dare County officials and volunteers to restore the most threatened portion of the Point with a living shoreline. This innovative approach to shoreline stabilization controls erosion while creating estuarine habitat.

Durant’s Point plays a valuable role in the life of Hatteras Harbor and the area ecosystem. It serves as a natural storm buffer for the working waterfront and has long been a place for local children and residents to explore and learn to fish and swim. Before the restoration work began in March 2011, the shoreline was being lost to erosion at a rate of 5 to 10 feet per year. A 320-foot, low-profile granite sill was built to stabilize the shoreline, slow down waves and protect existing and newly restored marsh. As part of the project, Sara Hallas, the federation's regional educator, taught numerous lessons about the importance of estuaries to Cape Hatteras Middle School students. At the end of the school year, students and volunteers helped plant marsh grass seedlings. As the grasses spread, this restored marsh will be a valuable resource for a variety of wildlife.

The NOAA Community-based Restoration Program, Restore America’s Estuaries and the Carlson Family Foundation provided grants for the project.

Currituck Land Parcel Prioritization

Concerned about development pressures and the resultant stress on coastal waters in Currituck County, the federation partnered with the N.C. Coastal Land Trust to identify and prioritize parcels of land that could protect or improve water quality. Based on criteria established by the project team over 230 parcels of land were identified and ranked throughout the county. Of the 230 properties, 20 were rated as having the highest potential for water quality enhancement. Since the plan was developed the land trust has been successful in acquiring several key properties along the Indiantown Creek.

Improved Drainage Plan to Protect Swimming Hole

The federation’s regional coastal advocate and coastal scientist worked collaboratively on a plan with the Dare County Airport Authority engineer and board to install LID techniques at the airport in Manteo property to deal with excess runoff. The engineer had originally designed a drainage swale that would have dumped stormwater through existing pipes into Croatan Sound. The extra runoff would likely have polluted open shellfish waters and potentially caused public health advisories to be posted at the Old Swimming Hole, a nearby and popular park.

Constrained by Federal Aviation Administration guidelines for airport improvements, the federation worked with the engineer to redesign the swale so that it was widened along the entire length to provide more storage and surface area for treatment. In addition, two weirs were installed at key points along the swale that would slow water and minimize discharge to the sound. 

The Airport Authority board approved construction of the swale in late August 2011. The $80,000 cost will be paid by an FAA grant.

From Strip Mall to Wetland

Manteo, spurred by concerns about its outdated stormwater system and a desire to clean up the waters of Shallowbag Bay, partnered with the federation to identify and design stormwater retrofits throughout the town. Todd Miller, the federation's executive director, presented the town with an idea to design and install an innovative saltwater stormwater treatment system. Because saltwater is more toxic to fecal coliform bacteria found in stormwater, a saltwater wetland would be more effective at treating bacteria than conventional freshwater wetlands.

Willing to try the approach, the town in 2007 bought and a placed a conservation easement on the property known as Buck’s Seafood, with grant support from the Dare County Tourism Bureau.

Using a grant from the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund, the town, the federation and engineers from Withers and Ravenel and N.C. State University developed plans for the dilapidated strip mall. The building and parking lot were demolished in 2008 while the team finished the design.

“This project provided the opportunity to test the effectiveness of an innovative stormwater wetland design. It will likely have wide applications for other coastal communities currently battling stormwater problems near existing tidal marshes,” said Dr. Mike Burchell of N.C. State’s Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering.

In 2009 funding was made available to install the wetland which treats polluted stormwater that flows into Shallowbag Bay from a 41-acre watershed within Manteo. This watershed is approximately 64 percent impervious surface and consists primarily of commercial and office-type properties, as well as U.S. 64. The wetland now supports a thriving saltmarsh and treats stormwater that would otherwise flow untreated into Shallowbag Bay.

Jockey’s Ridge Shoreline, Oyster Reef Project

The federation partnered with NOAA Fisheries Services, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, The Nature ConservancyFriends of Jockey’s Ridge and the Southeast Aquatics Resources Partnership to protect the tallest active sand dune system on the east coast at Jockey's Ridge State Park. As a part of this multi-year conservation project, partners worked to build a low-profile breakwater sill, oyster reefs and planted native grasses to reduce shoreline erosion and enhance the habitat for seabirds, fish, crustaceans, oysters and other mollusks.

NCCAT Shoreline Restoration Project

With one campus in the mountains and one on the coast, the N.C. Center for the Advancement of Teaching supports teaching as an art and a profession by offering week-long seminars on a variety of topics. Situated prominently on the shoreline of Pamlico Sound, sections of the Ocracoke campus’ harbor were rapidly eroding due to large waves and boat wake. The center partnered with the federation to stabilize the property with a living shoreline. Volunteer teachers and students planted marsh grasses and other upland vegetation, allowing a beautiful and healthy place to continue learning.

Scuppernong River Easement

The federation holds conservation easements on two large parcels along on the Scuppernong River, plus a parcel just off the river. These properties have extensive stands of pine and mixed hardwood bottomland forest, plus scattered cypress and Atlantic white cedar. One property is adjacent to state-owned land where a public park is planned. The federation’s hope is to establish a corridor of protected land along the river and elsewhere in Tyrrell County to safeguard water quality, while keeping intact all the components of a healthy natural system.

LID in the Community
  • Festival Park, Dare County; rain garden created in 2009
  • Front Porch Café, Dare County; rain garden created in 2008
  • Grenville Street, Dare County; rain garden created in 2010
  • Manteo Town Hall, Dare County; rain garden created in 2009
  • NCCF Office, Dare County; rain gardens created in 2008
  • Ocean Hill Subdivision, Currituck County; rain garden created in 2008