North Carolina Coastal Habitat Protection
Plan Implementation Support
through Directed Research and Remote Sensing


Dr. Francisco C. San Juan,
Professor, Elizabeth City State University(left)

Ms. Elizabeth B. Noble,
Marine Fisheries Biologist II, North Carolina DMF
Funding Request: $299,642
Project Period: Starting Date: October 1, 2001 Ending Date: September 30, 2004
Objectives, Methodology and Rational:

The project supports the engagement of Elizabeth City State University faculty and students in a demonstration project to apply directed scientific research to the design of an implementation strategy for a major environmental restoration and ecosystem protection initiative of the State of North Carolina, known as the Coastal Habitat Protection Plans (CHPP). This initiative embraces a comprehensive evaluation of the river basin systems connected to North Carolina's coastal zone, and will provide detailed plans aimed at the enhancement and restoration of estuarine and coastal fisheries habitats, and the elimination or prevention of existing and potential pollution that has degraded and threatens the integrity of these habitats.

A key element for the success in the development of the CHPP is the ability to evaluate and apply the data available from remote sensing. A key element for this project proposal is to explore the potential applications of satellite imageries in support of North Carolina's CHPP. This element, along with others, will be pursued in partnership with the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries and the Division of Coastal management. The proposed effort will be directed at the manner in which river basins already altered by development, or under the pressure of new or continuing development, can be projected for the preservation or rehabilitation of essential marine/estuarine habitats, with a focus on providing supporting research for the design of a strategy for regulation, or other government action, that would achieve the intent of the Coastal Habitat Projection Plans. This strategy, along with the supporting scientific research, is needed by, and will be presented to the Coastal Resources Commission for consideration, and to the other two commissions, the Environmental Mangement Commission and the Marine Fisheries Commission, all of which are obligated under the CHPP implementating legislation to undertake appropriate rule-making actions to implement the Coastal Habitat Projection Plans.

There are many associated pressing issues that can affect the success of the CHPP implementation, such as beach re-nourishment, cumulative impacts of hardened erosion control structures in esuarine areas, and cumulative impacts of fill of freshwater wetlands, inter-alia. These issues are in need of scientific research to identify appropriate regulatory approaches that will balance environmental protection needs and societal growth within a sustainable development paradigm. The proposed project seeks to establish mechanisms for ongoing collaborative research in these areas; these research efforts will involve students.
Related Links
Return to NOAA