Restoration/Preservation: Central Coast

Beacon Island: Saving a Pelican Rookery

In North Carolina’s Pamlico Sound, the remote 7.5-acre Beacon Island hosts a sanctuary that is one of only nine nesting sites for brown pelicans in the state. In 2011, the island supported 423 nesting pairs of pelicans or 9 percent of the N.C. population. The birds, whose available habitat has been rapidly disappearing in recent years, depend on the island’s shore. Unfortunately, the shoreline is diminishing annually due to erosion. To address this issue, the federation and Audubon North Carolina received a $45,000 grant from TogetherGreen, an Audubon-Toyota alliance, to help restore the eroding nesting habitat. NOAA, Restore America’s Estuaries and the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership also provided grants.With this funding, federation staff and its partners will use inventive coastal restoration techniques to create a series of living shorelines around the island that will slow erosion and rebuild land in the face of climate change and sea level rise.

North River Farm: 800 Acres Returned to Wetlands

The 6,000-acre North River Farm in eastern Carteret County is the site of the largest wetland restoration project in North Carolina and among the largest project of its kind in the nation. The primary goal of this restoration project is to discontinue farming operations and re-create forested, freshwater and tidal wetlands to retain, filter and provide natural treatment of agricultural runoff from remaining upstream farmland. The restored wetlands will effectively trap sediment, convert nutrients and prevent other agricultural pollutants from reaching the nearby North River estuary.

Through federal, state and community partnerships, the wetland restoration projects at North River Farm are helping to improve water quality in North River. More than 800 acres of farmland have been restored back to wetlands through several phases of restoration. Additional wetland restoration of 2,168 acres of farmland will occur in 2013.

Living Shoreline Projects
  • Cape Lookout National Seashore Visitor’s Center, Carteret County
  • Carteret Community College, Carteret County
  • Hammocks Beach State Park, Carteret County
  • Harker’s Point, Carteret County
  • Lennoxville Point, Carteret County
  • N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, Carteret County
  • Piver’s Island, Carteret County