Here are some of our major accomplishments during the last three years.
Low-impact development (LID) is an alternative method of land planning and stormwater engineering that protects or replicates natural watershed hydrology to reduce the amount of polluted runoff. It can be used when land is developed or to retrofit existing development. LID is the only practical way to protect and restore coastal shellfish and swimming waters from bacteria pollution. The federation has partnered with eight local governments, to secure federal, state and local government funding to devise LID ordinances for new development and to retrofit existing development through the installation of more than 50 demonstration retrofits at schools, government complexes, commercial businesses and homes. These retrofits have included large bio-retention areas, rain gardens, wetlands, large cisterns and rain barrels. [ > learn more ]
The federation worked with its partners to create more than 108 acres of new oyster reefs each year to provide valuable habitat area for oysters and other marine species and to improve water quality in our coastal environment. The program is guided by the N.C. Oyster Plan developed by a concerned group of regulators, researchers and restoration groups. Our economic recovery project hired more than 170 people to build oyster reefs all along the coast. [ > learn more ]
The federation is committed to improving water quality along our coast. One way to achieve this goal is through the restoration and protection of wetlands, from salt-water marsh to freshwater cypress swamps. We are currently restoring North River Farms in Carteret County in the largest wetlands restoration project in the state. In Hyde County we are working with farmers and landowners to tap into the potential to restore or replicate natural hydrology within a 42,500 acres drainage association in order to reduce direct pumped discharges of agricultural drainage into the estuaries. [ > learn more ]
The federation is advancing the scientific understanding of the role of wetlands restoration in carbon sequestration to mitigate climate change. It has fostered the establishment of a major study by U.S. Geological Survey and scientists at N.C. State University to study the amount of carbon sequestration that can be attributed to restored fresh and saltwater wetlands at North River Farms. The results of this multi-year study, now in its second year, will provide much needed scientific data to establish the contribution that restored wetlands make to slowing global warming. The federation completed a two-year project with EPA, N.C. Division of Water Quality, Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach to devise an innovative watershed restoration plan for Bradley and Hewletts creeks. This plan establishes stormwater volume reduction targets for each watershed, and provides GIS tools for measuring progress toward achieving watershed goals. The methods used in this project are now being transferred to other impaired coastal watersheds as an expedited way to establish pollution reduction targets for the coast’s impaired waters.
Promoting Living Shorelines
Over the past three years, the federation installed new living shorelines
made out of oyster shells in Dare and Onslow counties to demonstrate how natural materials can foster new oyster growth to protect eroding shorelines. This has enabled the federation to secure additional federal and state funds to continue to demonstrate living shoreline strategies, and to promote their wider use in the future. Initially developed as an alternative to bulkheads, living shorelines are erosion control measures that also provide stormwater buffers and threatened wetland and riparian habitat. [ > learn more
Restoration as a National Agenda
Joined 10 other conservation groups from around the country to form and direct Restore America’s Estuaries, which is dedicated to restoring a million acres of coastal habitat.