Audubon North Carolina and partners receive TogetherGreen grant to restore Beacon Island
Audubon North Carolina and the N.C. Coastal Federation (NCCF) have received a $45,000 grant from TogetherGreen, an Audubon/Toyota Alliance, to help restore nesting habitat for Brown Pelicans on Audubon’s Beacon Island Sanctuary. With Innovation Grant funding, Audubon North Carolina and its partners will use inventive coastal restoration techniques to create a series of living shorelines along the eastern portion of the island that will slow erosion and rebuild land in the face of climate change and sea level rise.
An Important Bird Area, Beacon Island is one of nine nesting sites for Brown Pelicans in North Carolina. In 2011, the island supported 423 nesting pairs of pelicans or 9% of the North Carolina population. This 7.5-acre natural estuarine island is located in southeastern Pamlico Sound, near Ocracoke Island. The island’s shoreline has eroded significantly and more of this valuable habitat continues to be lost each year.
Restoration specialists with the North Carolina Coastal Federation and Audubon North Carolina will partner with the local Ocracoke Island fishing community to build up the eroding shoreline using bags filled with recycled oyster shells and planting native marsh grasses. During the tourism season, tour boat operators will partner with Audubon North Carolina and the North Carolina Coastal Federation to engage and inform local visitors of the critical role the island plays for Brown Pelicans.
“This TogetherGreen grant not only gives us the ability to help buffer the Brown Pelican’s nesting area from the increased erosion it’s experiencing,” said Dr. Lexia Weaver of the North Carolina Coastal Federation who will be leading the restoration work, “it also provides us with a way to prevent sedimentation of the shallow waters in Pamlico Sound, which provide valuable habitat for many fish, crabs, oysters and many other aquatic species. We’re grateful for the opportunity to implement this project.”
“Beacon Island is the oldest nesting site for Brown Pelicans in North Carolina and supports nearly 10% of the state’s Brown Pelican population, said Walker Golder, Deputy Director of Audubon North Carolina." This project will use progressive and innovative techniques to protect nesting habitat for more than 400 nesting pairs of pelicans and it will raise awareness of pelicans and their habitats at the same time.”
Since 2008, the TogetherGreen Innovation Grants program has awarded over $4.7 million to more than 160 environmental projects nationwide. The 2011 awardees are receiving grants ranging from $5,000 - $50,000. Funds were awarded to partnerships, mostly between Audubon groups (local Chapters or programs of Audubon’s large national network) and organizations in their communities. This year’s grant projects involve more than 150 partner organizations nationwide. Many of the projects focus on engaging audiences that have traditionally been under-served by the conservation movement, from urban youth to rural ranchers.
For complete details about the 2011 TogetherGreen Innovation Grants projects, visit the TogetherGreen website.
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