The North Carolina Coastal Federation celebrated the end of National Estuaries Week with a shoreline cleanup today.
The cleanup was held at Carolina Beach State Park. In addition to the shoreline cleanup, volunteers were able to participate in a variety of activities to help protect and appreciate North Carolina's estuaries. Other activities included monitoring the oyster reef and salt marsh vegetation restoration project. Ted Wilgis with the NCCF said the oyster reefs are especially important for this ecosystem.
"Looking at property damage, water quality, fish and habitats, if you are worried about coastal erosion, living shorelines are very important," said Wilgis.
Some volunteers spent most of the morning rebuilding oyster reefs that have been in place for several years. Wilgis said he felt encouraged about the future of the park's environment after seeing a large turnout.
"The more people we have who are informed about the coastal environment, who enjoy it, who love it and want to take care of it, then the better the coast will be," added Wilgis.
Vance Lanier, a freshman at UNCW, fulfilled class credit by volunteering at the park. But he said the experience goes beyond a letter grade.
"We hear a lot about how the shorelines are filled with trash but coming out here and witnessing it really opens up an eye," added Lanier. "I want to give back."
Wilgis said Wilmington is high-risk area if the shoreline isn't kept in good shape due to the large amounts of coastal flooding the area has seen as well as rises in sea level.
To learn more about the North Carolina Coastal Federation and protecting our coast, visit www.nccoast.org
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