MOREHEAD CITY — The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality is accepting public comment on the draft Coastal Habitat Protection Plan 2021 amendment and appendix.
The CHPP is a longterm strategy to improve coastal fisheries through habitat protection and enhancement efforts. The plan, which must be approved by the Environmental Management Commission, the Marine Fisheries Commission and the Coastal Resources Commission, provides information on habitat distribution and abundance, ecological functions and importance to fish production, status and trends and threats to the habitats. It includes recommendations to address those threats.
The draft CHPP amendment focuses on recommendations to address five priority issues:
- Submerged aquatic vegetation protection and restoration through water quality improvements.
- Wetlands protection and restoration through nature-based solutions.
- Environmental rule compliance to protect coastal habitats.
- Wastewater infrastructure solutions for water quality improvement.
- Coastal habitat mapping and monitoring to assess status and trends.
The public may comment on the draft amendment in three ways:
- Public comments will be accepted through an online survey until 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21. Comments may be submitted at the website forms.office.com/pages/responsepage.aspx?id=3IF2etC5mkSFw-zCbNftGbIddJbsnP5JiLPxXiv9mkFUN0FEVFIwOFU5VlBDWEVQQTBVODNDSE5SRy4u.
- Written comments may be mailed to CHPP 2021 Amendment Comments, P.O Box 769, Morehead City, NC 28557. Comments must be received by the division by 5 p.m. Oct. 21.
- Public comment will be accepted at the five MFC advisory committee meetings listed below. Those who wish to speak at the meetings must register by 5 p.m. the day before the meeting. Each meeting will begin at 6 p.m. on the given meeting date.
Committee meeting dates are as follows:
- Southern Regional Advisory Committee – Tuesday, Oct. 12.
- Northern Regional Advisory Committee – Wednesday, Oct. 13.
- Finfish Advisory Committee – Thursday, Oct. 14.
- Shellfish/Crustacean Advisory Committee – Tuesday, Oct. 19.
- Habitat & Water Quality Advisory Committee – Wednesday, Oct. 20.
Meeting agendas, materials and registration links are available at the website deq.nc.gov/news/events/coastal-habitat-protection-plan-public-comment-period.