A New Alliance Addresses the Health of Currituck Sound

Please welcome Audubon North Carolina’s Donal C. O’Brien Jr. Sanctuary Director Robbie Fearn. Robbie will direct Audubon’s restoration and revitalization efforts for the Audubon Sanctuary and the adjacent Currituck Sound.

On September 22, Individuals gathered in the Cooperative Extension Auditorium in Barco, NC with the expressed goal of forming an alliance to ensure a brighter future for Currituck Sound.

Wood Duck by Donald Mullaney.

Conservation Needs at Currituck Sound

A look back at the history of barrier island migration, sea levels and inlet formation started our day as a diverse group of nearly 40 citizens, government officials and nonprofit leaders gathered to discuss and plan for the improvement of Currituck Sound.

The meeting was hosted by Audubon North Carolina, the UNC Coastal Studies Institute, the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuarine Partnership, Mackay’s Island and Currituck National Wildlife Refuges, and the Currituck site of the National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Currituck Sound has long held a special place in the hearts of those that have experienced it. Abundant waterfowl lead to the establishment of major duck hunting lodges here in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Fishing also became a major draw. The beauty of the sunlight on the water inspired artists and took their breath away.


Northern Shoveler by Donald Mullaney.

Today the sound has too high a sediment load from marsh loss due to erosion and a reduction in submerged aquatic vegetation resulting in less abundant birds and fish. The Currituck Alliance will work to reduce erosion and restore marshes resulting in clearer water and a more productive ecosystem – ultimately supporting more fish and more waterfowl.

What Was Accomplished

Participants at the meeting worked to identify ways to engage community members in the dialogue, discussed the current status of various elements of the ecosystem, debated to what level we would seek to restore the sound, and explored what changes might be wrought by sea level rise. But most importantly we began a dialogue to identify what we could do together to benefit our local environment and our local economy.

Life in northeastern North Carolina is often a life on the edge. The wind can howl, storms rage, some years the ducks are plentiful, some years not, but by protecting the sound we are together focused on the infrastructure of our community; that which binds us all and propels us forward, and that which will continue to bring not only ducks, but tourists - flocking to a wonderland that still takes one’s breath way.

Citizen involvement is critical to protecting wildlife. Working together for the health of Currituck Sound, we will ensure a bright future for the life of our region.

Tundra Swan by Will Stuart.

Check back to learn more about the Currituck Alliance and the conservation efforts at the Audubon Sanctuary in Corolla.

How you can help, right now