This is the second blog post as part of our Dibblers’ Diaries blog, which offers first-person stories from our interns. Summer Rich is a coastal policy and restoration intern. 

By Summer Rich

As it has just been over a month into our summer internship, the coastal restoration and policy interns have dived into their individual projects. Since the last post, we’ve had a second living shoreline planting in Pine Knoll Shores. While several members of the surrounding community looked on during our last restoration, this time we had a tons of little fiddler crabs to keep us company. Our next restoration project was a cleanup at Jones Island, where there were seven volunteers in addition to the five interns. It was an awesome opportunity to learn about another large restoration project the federation has undertaken. Later, the interns attended a presentation from Shellfish Sanitation about the reasoning behind, and processes for, recreational and shellfish closures. The interns have also attended organizational meetings to catch a glimpse of the inner workings of a nonprofit, including a communications meeting and an advisory board meeting. We learned about the partnership between the North Carolina Coastal Federation, the Croatan National Forest and East Carolina University (ECU) to construct stormwater runoff reduction measures. The federation and Dr. Charles Humphrey, associate professor at ECU, gave a tour of the measures while interns manned a stormwater runoff demonstration table. Bill Kirby Smith, a professor emeritus at Duke University Marine Lab, led a guided tour of North River Wetlands Preserve, a 6,000-acre wetlands restoration project in Otway.

Mackenzie and Morgan traveled to the Wanchese office to attend a meeting with the core partner team for the Lake Mattamuskeet Watershed Restoration Plan. They were able to visit the lake to get an idea of the resource the project aims to protect. Morgan has been working on a literature review to analyze the potential environmental impacts of Phragmites invasion and eradication in coastal North Carolina. She has been reviewing the literature to determine which topics are most relevant to North Carolina’s coast and generating a potential outline of material to present at the Phragmites workshop at the end of July.

Jackie is continuing to research a number of topics on living shorelines. This week she presented the results from a focus group she conducted in the spring with waterfront property owners. She is using her findings to help craft an outreach campaign to promote natural shoreline stabilization techniques among homeowners in North Carolina.

Interns have also been helping with a Shellfish Mariculture Plan that the University of North Carolina Policy Collaboratory has been tasked with by the General Assembly. On June 14, Marygrace presented information she gathered on other states’ shellfish mariculture plans.

Summer has been researching the potential key components of a North Carolina Oyster Trail, which she presented to interested stakeholders at a meeting on June 9. She has since been tasked with additional research related to the possible oyster trail.

Lakshya is working on coming up with the estimation of operation and maintenance costs for traditional stormwater control measures, also referred to as best management practices. Last week, the interns visited the Jacksonville stormwater facilities to learn about how they function, which will be particularly useful for Lakshya’s project.