Pandemic Presents No Obstacle to North Carolina’s Achievements

The Takeaway: In a year complicated by quarantine, the state’s research reserve personnel rack up awards and accomplishments.

The challenges of 2020 seem to have brought out the best in the North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserves. Two research reserve employees received coveted Pelican Awards from the North Carolina Coastal Federation. What’s more, the reserves’ work with the federation has helped bring about big cuts in marine debris and protection of wetlands and green infrastructure.

The North Carolina Coastal Federation collaborates with people from all walks of life to protect and restore coastal water quality and habitats.

One Pelican Award recipient, a coastal training program coordinator with North Carolina’s Coastal Reserve and the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve, displayed “exemplary commitment,” building a robust collaboration between reserves and the federation to educate, train, and engage coastal communities. In addition, during quarantine she rapidly transformed in-person meetings with oyster-resource stakeholders into virtual meetings, garnering more than 200 participants.

The second Pelican Award recipient was honored for her “exceptional leadership and facilitation of coastal stewardship.” This central sites manager for the Rachel Carson and Permuda Island Reserves facilitates meetings, protects research and education sites, and helped develop 2020’s North Carolina Marine Debris Action Plan. In addition, she worked with NOAA and the Town of Beaufort to remove nearly 127,000 pounds of debris, including 11 abandoned vessels.

In just the first six months of 2020, the federation’s collaboration with the reserves, and other organizations and volunteers, logged the following achievements:

  • Removed 118 tons of marine debris
  • Built more than one-half mile of living shorelines
  • Installed retrofits that cut 163,000 gallons of polluted stormwater
  • Supported green infrastructure projects that will lessen flooding and marine debris
  • Aided two studies on growing the shellfish mariculture industry
  • Trained marine contractors on living shoreline business opportunities


More Information: Awards and Accomplishments

Partners: North Carolina Coastal Reserve and North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserves (both are part of the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management) and the North Carolina Coastal Federation