MOREHEAD CITY — Anyone with an interest in how estuarine research reserves, including the local Rachel Carson reserve, are managed has an opportunity to provide input.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is asking for feedback by Wednesday, Nov. 27 on the N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve draft revised management plan, available on the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality website deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/coastal-management/nc-coastal-reserve/about-reserve/management-plans/review-2020.
A program of DEQ’s Division of Coastal Management, the N.C. 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 Monday through Wednesday. In Carteret County, a meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Nov. 5 in the NOAA Beaufort Lab auditorium on Pivers Island.
The federal register notice will be posted on the Federal Register website www.federalregister.gov. Written comments on the draft management plan can be sent by regular mail to Stephanie Robinson, NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, 2234 South Hobson Ave., Charleston, S.C. 29405 or by email 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 DCM.