On Oct. 8, the North Carolina General Assembly took less than a day to earmark close to $400 million in Hurricane Florence disaster recovery funding. Lawmakers also shifted another $450 million into a disaster recovery fund with a promise to use it in the near future for additional Florence recovery efforts.

The North Carolina Coastal Federation worked with lawmakers to include two additions to this legislation to help the recovery effort – and the coast.

The first was an appropriation of $400,000 in state funding that the federation will use to hire North Carolina commercial fisherman to clean up coastal storm debris. This effort is modeled after the federation’s Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project, which employs commercial fishermen to collect lost crab pots.

The second addition was a provision in the bill that streamlines the permit process for living shorelines, which use oysters, coastal marsh grasses and other natural systems to control erosion and improve habitat. Approval of this provision means that property owners who want to protect their property from future storms will see the waiting time for a living shorelines permit reduced from a few months to a few days.

A big thanks to all the legislators who supported these changes — and to all of you who support the federation. Your help makes our advocacy work in Raleigh possible.