With the November election over, the North Carolina General Assembly returned to Raleigh after Thanksgiving for one, last lame duck session before the new legislature is seated in January.
Among other legislation, the General Assembly approved a new round of Hurricane Florence disaster recovery appropriations. Included in this legislation was $250,000 for the NC Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Coastal Management. The Coastal Federation brought the need for this funding to lawmakers’ attention. The state funds will be used to match federal watershed protection grant money administered by the Department of Agriculture for the removal of marine debris deposited along the shorelines of state-owned lands. The federation and NC DCM have partnered on applying for these funds, which could draw down as much as $2.25 million, depending on the match required by USDA.
Lawmakers also included a provision in the disaster bill to require the state’s Wildlife Resources Commission to study issues concerning debris clean up. Coastal legislators have been particularly concerned with the issue of derelict boats. The language in the bill specifically directs the Commission to work with the Coastal Federation and coordinate the study with the federation’s ongoing debris clean strategic planning process.
A big, end-of-the-year thank you to all our members who support the federation’s policy work. You help allows us to have the presence in Raleigh we need to protect – and clean up – our coast.