State of the Beach/State Reports/NC/Beach Description

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North Carolina Ratings
Indicator Type Information Status
Beach Access108
Water Quality67
Beach Erosion10-
Erosion Response-7
Beach Fill7-
Shoreline Structures5 8
Beach Ecology5-
Surfing Areas38
Website9-


Description

The beaches of North Carolina are predominantly located on barrier islands (both present and former). Many of these islands are in a state of retreat with rising sea level. North Carolina has a 3,375-mile tidally influenced shoreline, consisting of a long chain of barrier islands, including the Outer Banks, and extensive salt marshes and tidal freshwater marshes that have formed behind these barrier islands.


Contact Info for the Lead Coastal Zone Management Agency

North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR)
Division of Coastal Management (DCM)
400 Commerce Ave.
Morehead City, NC 28557
Phone: 252-808-2808 or 1-888-472-6278
Fax: 252-247-3330
Staff Contacts

DCM Coastal & Ocean Policy Contacts:

Braxton Davis, Director
Morehead City Office / 252-808-2808 or 1-888-4RCOAST (1-888-472-6278), Ext. 201
E-mail: Braxton.Davis@ncdenr.gov

Mike Lopazanski, Policy & Planning Section Chief
Morehead City Office / 252-808-2808 or 1-888-4RCOAST (1-888-472-6278), Ext. 223
E-mail: Mike.Lopazanski@ncdenr.gov

Matt Slagel, Shoreline Management Specialist
Morehead City Office / 252-808-2808 or 1-888-4RCOAST (1-888-472-6278), Ext. 233
E-mail: Matthew.Slagel@ncdenr.gov

Coastal Zone Management Program

Coastal hazards and the impacts of population growth and development are among the pressures confronted by the North Carolina coastal management program. The state oversees coastal activities to ensure responsible development and use of the coast. Setback laws are designed to keep property out of harm's way during storms, and a prohibition on erosion structures helps keep the beaches, vital for tourism, from starving. Tourism, shipping, agriculture, forestry, and fishing are the state's dominant coastal industries.

The Division of Coastal Management (DCM) carries out the state's Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA), the Dredge and Fill Law, and the federal Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 in the 20 coastal counties, using rules and policies of the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission (CRC). The division serves as staff to the CRC. The DCM is responsible for several programs, including public beach and waterfront access. The DCM also collects and analyzes data for erosion rates, wetlands conservation and restoration, and assesses the impact of coastal development.

NOAA's latest evaluation of North Carolina's Coastal Management Program can be found here.

Footnotes

  1. Bernd-Cohen, T. and M. Gordon. "State Coastal Program Effectiveness in Protecting Natural Beaches, Dunes, Bluffs, and Rock Shores." Coastal Management 27:187-217. 1999.
  2. Bernd-Cohen, T. and M. Gordon. "State Coastal Program Effectiveness in Protecting Natural Beaches, Dunes, Bluffs, and Rock Shores." Coastal Management 27:187-217. 1999.



State of the Beach Report: North Carolina
North Carolina Home Beach Description Beach Access Water Quality Beach Erosion Erosion Response Beach Fill Shoreline Structures Beach Ecology Surfing Areas Website
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