The benefits of restoring North Carolina’s coastline extend beyond the state’s environment, infusing millions of dollars into local economies, according to a recent report that will be unveiled in Raleigh on Tuesday.

Coastal Restoration and Community Economic Development in North Carolina, a study of RTI International, examined the economic effects on local economies of four N.C. Coastal Federation restoration projects.

The report, which was completed in January, reveals just how much these projects affected local communities by creating jobs, supporting local businesses and educating the public.

The restoration projects reviewed in the report totaled investments of a little more than $8 million. Through these projects, 116 full-time jobs were created, $13.8 million in revenue was generated to coastal county businesses and an estimated $4.1 million was injected into coastal household earnings, according to the report.

These projects also generated extensive engagement in local schools, community events and pulled together a large number of volunteers.

The four projects examined were: a living shoreline that created oyster and salt marsh habitat at Morris Landing in Onslow County, oyster restoration in Pamlico Sound, stormwater runoff reductions at Bradley Creek Elementary School in New Hanover County and wetlands restoration at North River Preserve in Carteret County.

According to the report an average of anywhere from 10 to 29 full-time jobs are created for every $1 million spent as a result of coastal restoration projects.

Occupations that gain benefits from the projects are wide-ranging. Everyone from barge operators, fishermen, scientists, technicians, biologists, construction workers, engineers, natural resources sources, site surveyors, archaeological consultants, graphic designers and nursery workers are employed to make these projects successful.

The Coastal Investments Program

In 2020, the Coastal Federation launched the Coastal Investments Program to support our efforts to pursue federal and state grants for on-the-ground coastal protection and restoration projects—projects that restore our coast and support our economy by employing local workers. Thanks to the support of people like you, this program secured over $14 million in grant funding in 2020. Most of these funds will pass through the federation to restore habitat and water quality over the following three to five years.

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