Raleigh Magazine Tackles North Carolina Coastal Quandry

Raleigh, NC, May 22, 2009 --(PR.com)-- Gale-force winds and pounding waves aren’t the only elements lashing at North Carolina’s 326 miles of critical coastline. A political and economic storm is brewing that that could prove a greater threat to the health and prosperity of NC beaches than severe erosion if a consensus isn’t reached soon, according to Dr. James Leutze, former chancellor of UNC-Wilmington and regular contributor to Raleigh Metro Magazine (www.metronc.com).

In his May 2009 column, Leutze reviews recent developments in the on-going initiatives to maintain the coastline and notes that since his first column for Metro in 2004, many problems facing coastal preservation have been addressed – by the government, scientists and coastal managers – but none has been solved.

“To be specific, I’m talking about issues such as: who builds their house where; who pays for the risks they assume; who pays for dredging the Intracoastal Waterway and inlets; and who does beach renourishment work and at what cost,” he writes. Then there are the problems of the rising sea level and whether or not the state needs new laws to address that reality.”

Leutze does believe the state has been moving in the right direction since the Fisheries Reform Act of 1997 created the Coastal Habitat Protection Plan “which would involve the various state agencies working on coastal issues to cooperate in developing a plan to protect the environment.”

He’s also pleased that these groups have finally recognized that North Carolina’s miles of coastline and 19 inlets are not all the same and require different management strategies.

But erosion control issues are still so controversial, he writes, that they pit environmentalists against economic developers, homeowners and fishing interests. The result is a quagmire of facts, opinions and special interests that the NC General Assembly has to wade through to reach a consensus on the next move to preserve the coast.

Jim Leutze hosted two public television documentaries on coastal and waterway issues. His monthly column in Metro Magazine regularly addresses critical issues facing the coastal region.

In June, Leutze’s column will discuss the pros and cons of offshore drilling.

To read Leutze’s current column, go to www.metronc.com and click on “Future of NC Coast.”

Metro Magazine
Kim Weiss
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