Investment in coastal restoration is critical to improve and protect the long-term success of North Carolina’s coastal economy.

On March 22-23 in Raleigh, the North Carolina Coastal Federation will host a summit titled Sound Economic Development: Creating a Rising Tide for the North Carolina Coast. The summit will convene elected and appointed officials, academia, businesses, developers and other stakeholders who are interested in learning more about how effective environmental restoration is at improving economic development.

“This summit is an important step forward to get more people involved and interested in coastal restoration as a means of economic development,” said Todd Miller, executive director of the federation. “We all care about the well-being of our coast, and if you can protect and restore habitat while boosting the economy, everyone wins.”

The packed summit agenda features diverse speakers, including scientists, business owners and commercial fishermen from North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland.

Coastal habitat preservation, restoration and oyster mariculture will be the main topics of the two-day summit, but the economic benefits of low-impact development techniques and stormwater retrofits will also be heavily featured, as will the importance of the fishing and tourism industries.

Panel topics and presentations include: an overview of North Carolina’s coastal economy; Virginia’s successful shellfish aquaculture industry; North Carolina’s potential in shellfish aquaculture and the barriers that are preventing the state’s success; shellfish management; Maryland’s success with stormwater retrofits; and the development of economic solutions that protect and improve water quality.

Each panel discussion includes panelists from a variety of backgrounds in order to create nuanced and balanced conversation. Coastal restoration and economic development require people from all kinds of professional backgrounds to work together, so presenting and incorporating as many of these viewpoints as possible in this summit is important.

Miller will be presenting the recently-developed Strategic Plan for Creating a Robust Coastal Economy with Coastal Restoration at the event. This blueprint, created by a diverse group of stakeholders, has the potential to guide economic growth and protect the coastal environment for years to come.

Registration is $99 until Feb. 22, when it will go up to $149. The Legislative Oyster Reception is on March 22 at 6 p.m., and it features North Carolina oysters and dishes prepared by local restaurants. Tickets just for the Legislative Oyster Reception are $50. Complete details on registration, lodging and travel and registration scholarships are available at

See the agenda for a complete list of speakers.