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Carteret County NC Marine Debris Action Plan And Waterways Cleanup Discussions

Our article on the NC Marine Debris Action Plan and efforts in the Carteret County communities of Beaufort, Morehead City, Newport, Atlantic Beach, and Emerald Isle is a forum for area residents and visitors to discuss efforts in the local area in which volunteers are mobilizing to help cleanup area waterways, rivers, sounds, estuaries, and beaches.

To learn more about the actual specifics, all objectives of this action plan, or to volunteer, please review the entire document at the NC Coastal Federation or contact Sara Hallas at 252-473-1607.

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We hope that readers will share this document on popular social media sites like Twitter and Facebook so that more residents and visitors to Carteret County can learn more about this important initiative.

Additionally, please subscribe to and use the discussion form below to send us important local information on marine debris cleanup efforts and to have ongoing discussions with other readers.

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February 24, 2020 – Mayor Rett Newton of Beaufort NC official endorsed the NC Marine Debris Action Plan.

Any persistent solid material that is manufactured or processed and directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, disposed of or abandoned into the marine environment. – The Marine Debris Act (33 U.S.C. §1951 et seq.; P.L. 109-449)


While marine debris pollution has always been a problem along Carteret County NC waterways, rivers, sounds, and beaches, this problem was effectively highlighted during Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Dorian when pollution was dislodged and became overwhelmingly visible. And, if local residents, businesses, and other organizations can support the many partners of this action plan, we can turn the tide on this type of marine pollution in the future.

The problem of pollution in local area waterways is going to need extra attention as the Interstate 42 project nears completion and we begin to see an increase in year-around population and visitors to our fixed area land mass that makes up the county.

There will be more people on the beaches, boating in our waters, walking along Shackleford Banks and Cape Lookout, and kayaking estuaries. Fishing will also likely increase. All of these human interactions brings the potential for pollution to proliferate and hurt local marine life.

More local residents and visitors to the area will have a huge impact on the environment requiring cleanup efforts to be a top priority for our unique marine ecosystem that supports commercial and recreational fishing, tourism, local restaurants, and the economy to name just a few.

As Carteret County NC communities see new development, construction, and other building efforts, there will be more of a potential for debris making it’s way in to local waters.

The potential for chemical spills and contamination will also be a threat.

Future hurricanes and tropical storms will continue to re-shape our shorelines requiring continued nourishment and abatement efforts to slow erosion and pollution.

Education efforts will play a huge role in keeping the environment clean. Prominent placement of trash bins and enforcement of littering laws will help.

Education by way of talking with family members, friends, and visitors about our fragile ecosystem will help.

Abandoned boats and sailboats along Taylors Creek was a huge problem during Florence and Dorian as these vessels ended up on Beaufort shorelines including the Rachel Carson Wildlife Reserve. Again, these visual cues helped people to understand how pollution and foreign debris can be a unconscious problem.

Thankfully, organizations like the NC Coastal Federation, NC Sea Grant, the N.C. Coastal Reserve, Coastal Carolina Riverwatch, and other partner organizations have nailed down a document that will serve as an action plan to educate and implement cleanup efforts that help to sustain our local environments.

I know that I, and this organization, will be getting involved in these efforts. Will you?

What are some other areas that are a concern for pollution, contamination, and debris in area waterways that we did not discuss in this article?

What are your unique insights on ways to combat this problem? Have you shared them with the agencies that are partnering on the NC Marine Debris Action Plan? Have you discussed them with the mayor of Beaufort, Morehead City, Newport, or Atlantic Beach and Emerald Isle?

How can we as residents and business owners compel Carteret County Commissioners and other agencies gearing up for population explosion and exponential construction, development, and growth to be mindful and understanding of our very unique marine ecosystems and waterways?

Using the discussion form below, let’s talk.

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Michael Sharp

Native of Carteret County NC, Father to Makayla and Savannah. You can add me on Facebook. Interest include web development, encryption, and other technologies.

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