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Cooperative Work in North Carolina

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On June 3, a group of 19 scientists and managers representing 8 organizations (including USGS) met in Raleigh, NC, to discuss developing a cooperative coastal geology program between USGS and North Carolina. Jeff Williams, USGS Program Coordinator for Coastal and Marine Geology, and Charles Gardner, State Geologist for North Carolina, hosted the meeting. Individual presentations in the morning followed by an open discussion in the afternoon identified numerous coastal issues worthy of joint study: erosion, storm impact, the riverine-estuarine-barrier island-coastal ocean system, sea-level change, sand resources, freshwater availability, and habitat mapping. Some of the discussion focused around issues identified by the Science Panel of the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission, a group which provides science guidance for the management of coastal resources in North Carolina. The timing of the meeting was excellent, since the North Carolina General Assembly has a bill pending that tasks the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to develop a beach management strategy within the next 12-18 months.

As a result of this meeting, Jeff Williams and Bill Hoffman (NCGS) are going to develop a plan over the next few months for a cooperative coastal geology program that extends from the Virginia state line to Cape Lookout. The program will include studies of the inner shelf and adjacent estuarine, mainland, and barrier-island components. First year activities in FY 2000 might include data compilation, a modest field program, and a North Carolina Coastal Geology Conference. A goal is to fully implement a major research project by the start of FY 2001.

USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program participants at the meeting were Jeff Williams (Reston), Debbie Hutchinson, Rob Thieler, Bill Schwab, Jeff List (WHFC), and Abby Sallenger (St Pete). Gerry Ryan, USGS WRD District Chief for North Carolina, also attended. Other participants represented the North Carolina Geological Survey, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, North Carolina State University, East Carolina University, and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

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