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Showing posts from 2017

Tourism and Power in the OBX

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Hayley Grabner is a candidate of the Masters of Coastal & Ocean Policy program at UNCW. She earned a B.S. in Environmental Biology from Appalachian State University in 2013 and has since worked in wilderness guiding, environmental education, and adventure recreation. She is currently the Education & Outreach intern for City of Wilmington Stormwater Services.

The cooler is packed, the gas tank is full, the GPS is programmed and the countdown has begun. The boogie boards are in-between the bicycles, the umbrellas are in-between the boogie boards, and it’s not even light outside yet. You’re caffeinated and ready to go – you’ll buy the rest when you get there. 
For thousands of families nationwide, packing up and heading off to the beach for a week of sun, sand and surf is a familiar summer ritual. Particularly for families from New England to the Midwest, there is a good chance that North Carolina beaches are the annual destination. In fact, 54.6 million people visited North Caroli…

Public Beach Access in New Jersey

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Christopher Yoda is a student in the Coastal and Ocean Policy Master’s program and is graduating this spring. He graduated from Gettysburg College in 2014 with a BA in Organizational Management Studies and a Minor in Business. Chris became interested in public access and related coastal management issues during his summer internship with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

There is a long history of some towns and private beach clubs in New Jersey attempting to restrict access to the beach to residents or members only. The most recent iteration of this can be seen in Deal, New Jersey, where the town has attempted to limit parking near the beach to residents only. Within the State’s Coastal Management Plan, under Enforceable Coastal Policies the government is required to provide “visual and physical access” to the waterfront. In some cases, the state falls short of its goal of physical and visual access because some municipalities, private organizations and private pr…

The 1997 NC Fisheries Reform Act: An Oral History Perspective

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In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the NC Fisheries reform Act of 1997, several scientists and commercial fishing representatives joined together to provide an oral history of the act including, its passage and locals' experiences.  

The research team conducted 13 oral history interviews, created 3 podcasts, and developed a discussion guide suitable for use in classrooms and public forums.  

During the Spring 2017 term, the MCOP capstone class participated in the researchers' introduction of their podcast to elicit feedback and students had the opportunity to discuss the material with project leads.  

The podcast was very cool and very well done!  Definitely worth a listen.

You can find more information on the project and the full podcast at Raising the Story.com

Where have all the wetlands gone?... To Mitigation Banks!

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Brooks Surgan is a candidate for a Masters in Coastal and Ocean Policy, and is set to graduate from the program this spring. He performed his undergrad at the Stony Brook University, earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Marine Science in 2012. Prior to his graduate career, he was an environmental consultant in New York for three years. He is now working for the North Carolina State Division of Coastal Management and continuing his passion for coastal environmental regulation.

The passage of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act in 1972 redefined the historical role the Army Corps of Engineers from civil and military development to environmental protection and restoration. This created a reliance on compensatory mitigation through mitigation banks to protect the environment, while still allowing for development and growth.

Mitigation banks are the preferred method by the Army Corps of Engineers to offset wetland impacts from development because they are a convenient way for developers to …

Marine Mammal Protection Against Human Noise Pollution Under the MMPA

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Jackie Meyle is a student in Coastal and Ocean Master's program. She graduated from Drury University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Public Relations. She has developed interests in the environment and conservation through her education in the Coastal and Ocean Master's program. 


Throughout the centuries, humans have traveled over the ocean for trade, employment, and more. Technological improvements have increased the speed of travel and have developed the use sonar and seismic testing to map the seafloor. Although we are now able search for oil and gas reservoirs, collect valuable data about the ocean, and many other things, but these activities have polluted our oceans with noise.

Noise pollution from human activities has a negative impact on marine life. Marine animals rely on their own acoustics to navigate, hunt, reproduce, and communicate. Noise pollution disrupts these behaviors by interfering with their acoustics which can reduce communication ranges …

CAMA Protection of Coastal Resources: Shellfish Closures and Water Quality

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Jennifer Ryan is a student in the Coastal and Ocean Policy Master's program, and is set to graduate this spring. She graduated from the University of Scranton in 2015 with a BS in Political Science with a minor in Biology and a concentration in Environmental Studies. She has developed interests in water quality issues and conservation through her education and internships in Wilmington.
When vacationing on the coast of North Carolina, many tourists frequent restaurants hoping to indulge in fresh seafood, including shellfish like scallops, crabs, clams, and mussels. The occasional interested patron will ask the server where the restaurant gets their shellfish.

While many hope or assume their food comes from the local area or from within the state’s coast, it is common that the actual answer is usually, Louisiana, Maine, Washington, or even China.

This may come as a surprise to many because North Carolina’s coast is host to abundant shellfish habitats and harvesting areas. Shellfish a…

North Carolina’s CAMA: Exacerbating erosion along its estuarine shoreline

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Betsy Baldwin is a student in the Masters in Coastal and Ocean Policy program and graduates this spring. She graduated from the University of Alabama in 2013 with a B.S. in Marine Science and Biology. Before starting her graduate career, she worked for SeaWorld Orlando, where she gained her interest in marine policy. 
As coastal communities experience population growth, development has shifted away from oceanfront properties to estuarine properties. North Carolina has over 12,000 miles of estuarine shoreline or sheltered coast. Sheltered estuaries are becoming a more popular building location since they offer water accessibility and provide protection from coastal storms. These estuarine areas are the most biologically productive and ecologically valuable habitats in the coastal region, providing many ecosystem services.


Estuarine shorelines experience erosion by both short-term processes as well as long-term processes, such as sea level rise. Most North Carolina estuarine shorelines a…

The Dirty Myrtle: More than meets the eye

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Genevieve Guerry is a student in the Masters in Coastal and Ocean Policy program. She graduated from the University of South Carolina at Columbia in 2015 with a B.S in Marine Science with an emphasis in Biology. As the daughter of South Carolina natives, she spent several summers in the low country inspiring an interest in water quality and conservation. 



A hot summer’s day in July and once again the Grand Strand of Myrtle Beach is packed from the parking lots to the water line. As one of America’s top beaches, Myrtle Beach attracts everyone and everything. 

The area has a nickname, "Dirty Myrtle"  which refers to anything between a type of drink to a mud run.  But over the last decade, the nickname's meaning has slipped away from local leaders control over marketing towards the numerous swimming advisories that warn visitors of the poor water quality along the beach. 

South Carolina is the 3rd worst state for beach water quality in the country. Over the last few years  the…

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary and the Red Snapper

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Kathy Cyr is a Masters of Coastal and Ocean Policy student and will graduate from UNC Wilmington this spring. She is also a 2006 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy where she earned a BS in Operations Research and Computer Analysis. She is currently an active duty Officer in the U.S. Coast Guard. She has six years of sea time on three ships conducting fisheries law enforcement, drug interdiction, migrant interdiction, search and rescue, and security escorts for the U.S. Navy.
In 1992, the United States designated Flower Garden Banks as a National Marine Sanctuary. The designation of “marine sanctuary” legally afforded the reef protection from commercial fishing and other potentially destructive human activities. The Flower Garden Banks is located one hundred miles off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana. It includes three reefs, two of which are 15 miles apart. The area between the reefs is not part of the marine sanctuary. 
One reason the US decided to protect Flower Garden Banks …

American Aquaculture: A Failing System

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Caitlin Lashbrook is completing her Masters Degree in Coastal Ocean Policy at the University of North Carolina Wilmington where she also received her Bachelors of Science in Marine Biology. Throughout her collegiate studies, she has always taken interest in issues dealing with fisheries and wildlife management. Her research focuses on the regulatory nature of aquaculture operations and find solutions for future growth in sustainable aquaculture.