Good news — the just approved state budget makes important new investments in oysters, coastal restoration and marine debris cleanup.

When combined with existing state funding, the $23 billion budget provides a total of $1.3 million next year to continue work on the Senator Jean Preston Oyster Sanctuary in Pamlico Sound, with $500,000 of the new funding now a permanent, recurring part of the budget. The state funding will likely be matched with a federal grant and double the state’s investment for a total of $2.6 million next year. Read more about oyster sanctuaries in the Pamlico Sound here.

Legislators also increased funding for cultch planting — the term for using shells and oyster shells to “seed” oyster reefs. Cultch sites provide a base for oyster larvae — spat — to attach to and grow. Recurring funds for cultch planting now total $1.1 million. In 2016, the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries planted more than double the amount of cultch than the previous year. Click here to learn more about cultch planting in North Carolina.

Another priority program of the North Carolina Coastal Federation — the Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project — received $100,000 for 2018, just as it did in 2017. The 2017 funding enabled the program to expand to the entire North Carolina coast, rather than just the northeast region. This effort puts commercial fishermen to work cleaning up lost crab pots during the no-potting season.

Here at the federation, we are deeply appreciative of the General Assembly’s continued funding for these programs, which help our coastal economy and protect our coastal waters. We also want to share a big thanks to all of you who contacted lawmakers in support of these programs. Grassroots support for the coast is an essential part of our policy work at the legislature.

Finally, we hope you’ll take a few moments to tweet, email or write a thank you to our legislative champions listed below.

Thanks again for helping make this legislative session such a good one for the future of our coast.

Senator Bill Cook

  • Email:
  • Twitter: @SenatorBillCook
  • Mail: 16 West Jones Street, Room 1026, Raleigh, NC 27601-1096

Senator Harry Brown

  • Email:
  • Twitter: @Sen_HarryBrown
  • Mail: 300 N Salisbury Street, Room 300-B, Raleigh, NC 27603-5925

Rep. Pat McElraft