MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WITN) – Local officials, marine scientists, and the Department of Environmental Quality toured restoration projects in one part of the east.
The NC Coastal Federation gave local government officials, D-E-Q representatives, and several scientists from UNC, NC State a tour of upcoming restoration projects for parts of Sugar Loaf Island, and the Newport River.
The ferry tour was designed to highlight the damages, areas at risk, and some of the work that is already underway with shoreline preservation projects along the Crystal Coast. Sugar Loaf Island serves as a buffer against severe storms for the Crystal Coast.
The Newport River is saturated with harmful sediment.
“Seagrasses are really important habitat, they require a lot of light though. Right now our coastal waters have too much sediment and algae in the water that are blocking light and preventing sea grasses from having enough light to grow; in broad areas of our estuarine waters,” said UNC Institute of Marine Science professor Dr. Nathan Hall.
And with significant deterioration over the years, local officials and environmentalists say its restoration will be essential in preserving the coastline.
“So what you’re seeing today is going to be a compiled effort over the next several years to clean up and maintain this waterway as a clean waterway,” said Beaufort Mayor, Sharon Harker.
“These waters are basically the foundation to our economy here on the coast we can sit in a room all day and look at pictures but it’s feeling and tasting it and you know touching it first hand that’s really critical you really have to be part of the resource to understand what’s going on with it,” added NC Coastal Federation executive director Todd Miller.
The Coastal Federation and “Sea & Shoreline” have agreed to partner on a roughly 8 million dollar project to place Wave Attenuator Devices around Sugar Loaf Island. The concrete pyramids create breaks in storm swells to help prevent further shoreline erosion.