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MOREHEAD CITY – N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Director Louis Daniel is seeking public input on possible Waterfront Access and Marine Industry Fund projects.

The General Assembly created the $20 million fund this summer to provide, improve and/or develop public and commercial waterfront access. Since then, Daniel has adopted a strategic plan on which to base funding decisions.

The strategic plan sets out four general program areas for funding: public docking facilities, public boat ramps, fishing access and other marine industry facilities. Funding priority will be given to multi-use facilities that incorporate multiple program areas while maintaining environmental responsibility.

Special consideration also will be given to projects that partner with local governments or other state agencies, and to projects that encourage development of working waterfronts in areas where access has been lost.

For the purposes of this fund, working waterfronts are commercial facilities that require direct access to or a location on, over or adjacent to coastal public trust waters and submerged lands. The term includes water-dependent facilities that may be open to the public, offer access by vessels to state waters and lands or that support facilities for recreational, commercial, research or government vessels.

Daniel has created a citizen advisory committee to help consider projects. Members include:

n Barbara Garrity-Blake, a Marine Fisheries Commission member and social scientist from the Carteret County community of Gloucester, who sat on a legislative Waterfront Access Study Committee
n Bill Rixey, owner of Bogue Sound Boat Company in Morehead City
n Willy Phillips, owner of Full Circle Crab Company in Columbia
n Travis Elliott, owner of Capt’n Pete’s Seafood Market in Holden Beach
n Brian Shepard, of New River Nets in Sneads Ferry
n a commercial fisherman nominated by the North Carolina Fisheries Association (not yet named)
n Mark Ledermann, a recreational fisherman from Wrightsville Beach nominated by the Coastal Conservation Association of North Carolina
n Tom Potter, a recreational fisherman from Pikeville and president of the North Carolina Paddle Trails Association
n Gary Oliver, owner of Nags Head Pier
n Hardy Plyler, a coop fish house owner from Ocracoke Seafood Company.

Priority projects recommended by the citizen advisory committee will undergo a final review by an Advisory Committee for the Coordination of Waterfront Access, established by Senate Bill 646 and housed within the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The Waterfront Access and Marine Industry Fund will be financed through Certificate of Participation bonds to be repaid by the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund. The state must take ownership of any land or facility purchased or upgraded with this money, so the state will be looking for funding proposals with long-term maintenance agreements.

Ideas for projects may be specific or general. Interested parties should send ideas in writing to WAMI Projects, c/o Patricia Smith, P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557 or to [email protected], or call Patricia Smith or Jennifer Floyd at 1-800-682-2632 or 252-726-7021.

They should provide their name, phone number, e-mail address or other alternative means of contact. They should also provide the location, address and other pertinent information about the property, such as the water body on which it lies, number of acres, waterfront footage, water depth, existing facilities and any other funding sources involved.

The deadline for receipt of comments and proposals is Nov. 1.
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