In summer 2017, the North Carolina Coastal Federation began the construction of a 300-linear foot living shoreline at Camp Albemarle on Bogue Sound. The project is now only a few workdays from being completed.
Camp Albemarle is one of the public living shoreline locations chosen for funding through the federation’s three-year National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grant Program.
The camp was experiencing deterioration of salt marsh from storms, boat wakes and sea level rise. This loss of salt marsh was leading to a decline in oysters and fish habitat. The living shoreline, which is being built with bags of recycled oyster shells, will reduce wave energy and protect the shoreline from further erosion.
Since construction began, volunteers from the camp, Kreek Kids from Broad Creek United Methodist Church, Duke University Marine Laboratory, UNC Institute for the Environment, Croatan High School, Leadership Carteret, East Carolina University and students participating in the 2018 Youth Ocean Conservation Summit have placed 3,775 bags of recycled oyster shells along the eroding shoreline to restore the salt marsh and oyster habitat.
Most recently, the Leadership Carteret, ECU and Youth Ocean Conservation Summit groups placed 708 of those bags in March and April.
”It was a great learning experience,” said Kristy Baldwin, a volunteer with Leadership Carteret. “Learning how the oysters can help save our coastline made the hard work that much more rewarding.”
The six volunteers from Leadership Carteret also helped prepare the materials for the shoreline — during two bagging events in January, they assembled 422 bags of recycled oyster shells that they eventually placed along the shoreline.
“I will never eat another oyster without thinking about all the positive ways they benefit our shoreline,” said Dana Starling, another volunteer with Leadership Carteret.
The work at Camp Albemarle wouldn’t be possible without the help of the tree planting contractors from Carolina Silvics that the federation hired in summer 2017 to help with living shoreline projects. The NOAA funding enabled the federation to hire and train the contractors to assemble and deploy oyster shell bags. Since then, they have visited the federation every few weeks to bag oyster shells and help with living shoreline construction workdays. They now offer living shoreline construction as one of their services.
There will be workdays at the Camp Albemarle living shoreline this summer. Stay tuned at nccoast.org/events.