The N.C. Coastal Federation formed in 1982 to fight strip miners who
wanted to lay open 120,000 acres of peat bogs along our northern coastal
plain to extract the peat for fuel. We rallied the support of
fishermen, environmentalists and ordinary North Carolinians, and
together we fought off the miners. Much of the land they wanted to
despoil is now protected in national wildlife refuges.
Ever since, the federation has been a strong advocate for the
protection of our coastal waters, lands and culture. We have pushed
tirelessly for better environmental rules and regulations and for
tougher enforcement of existing ones. We have been at the forefront of
every major coastal policy debate or regulatory fight for more than 30
years now. We fought for better land-use planning and tougher stormwater
rules. We lobbied legislators to keep seawalls off our beaches and
mega-landfills out of our marshes. Our advocacy led to a moratorium on
hog farms, tighter restrictions on discharges from phosphate mines and
tougher marina rules. We have gone to court to keep bulldozers from
chewing up our marshes and polluters from fouling our air and water.
Through it all, we learned that we can't get far without the support
of people who cherish our coast. Marshaling the good sense of such
people has been the secret behind our successful advocacy program.
Advocate for compatible land and water uses that protect coastal water quality and critical habitats.
The federation’s advocacy work takes many forms and avenues. Our
basic strategy is to equip people to be advocates
and to hold decision-makers accountable for their actions. As
illustrated with the Stop Titan and low-impact development coalitions, most federation advocacy campaigns include the following elements:
- Recruit all possible partners including non-traditional stakeholders that don’t normally join environmental causes
- Provide internal leadership, technical assistance and management
- Obtain money to support critical needs and activities
- Disseminate information necessary for informed decision-making
- Evaluate successes and failures
- Applaud significant accomplishments by stakeholders
Left to right: People gather in the streets of
Wilmington to protest Titan cement; Lena Ritter, a shellfisher from
Onslow County and a former federation president, welcomes the late
Walter Cronkite at a rally to protect Stump Sound; and people pack a
gymnasium to urge better land-use controls in eastern Carteret County.
The federation has grown and matured over the years and we now have
very effective restoration and education programs and an active program
to preserve sensitive coastal lands. Environmental advocacy remains a
core mission. The federation employs three full-time Coastal Advocates, one in each of our regions, whose main jobs are to help enforce regulations and promote better rules and laws.
The federation helped stopped a sulfur smelter, is leading the
opposition against a polluting cement plant, worked with towns and
schools to control the flow of poisoned runoff and lobbied legislators
to promote wise use of our coastal natural resources. Those are just
some of our major accomplishments during the last three years.
This program offers an opportunity to learn valuable skills in
grassroots organizing, media relations, political lobbying, habitat
restoration, environmental education and in a wide range of other fields
necessary for successful non-profit environmental advocacy, such as
public relations, information management, event planning and volunteer
You will be able to gain a hands-on experience on a variety of
conservation, restoration and education issues that encompass the work
of the N.C. Coastal Federation. You will work as a policy associate
side-by-side with staff professionals. You could help organize
opposition to a polluting cement plant near Wilmington, get your
hands dirty building oyster reefs and planting salt marshes, develop a
blueprint to restore 2,000 acres of freshwater wetlands and salt
marshes, plan events and meetings and take part in political strategy
meetings. You will also go on field trips and attend talks with
nationally renowned scientists and coastal policy experts. Learn more.