coast

ENC Features
10:13 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Volunteers Plant Marsh Grass At The Rachel Carson Reserve

Credit North Carolina Coastal Reserve

On June 12th, volunteers and staff with the NC Coastal Reserve helped plant 4,500 marsh grass plugs which will help provide habitat and  stabilization to the shoreline of Carrot Island.

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ENC Features
9:03 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Study Finds Oyster Reefs Keep Pace With Rising Sea Levels

Credit E. Woodward/UNC Institute of Marine Sciences

Research by a team of coastal scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Institute of Marine Science is gaining national recognition.  The study looked at the rate at which oyster reefs grow and if they’ll be able to keep pace with rising sea levels.  After 10 years of study in coastal North Carolina, the results show that oyster reefs grow much faster than previously expected and can also be an effective way of slowing erosion.  Public Radio East's Jared Brumbaugh spoke with Dr.

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The Down East Journal
5:55 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

The Down East Journal (05/09/14)

  This week, local researchers embarked on a 10-day mission off the coast of North Carolina to map the ocean floor.  The new data may reveal areas where offshore wind energy development could occur with minimal impacts to sensitive fish habitats and ocean resources.  We’ll have more on the research project, this week on the Down East Journal, Friday at noon on all of the PRE stations, and Saturday at noon on News and Ideas.

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ENC Features
9:42 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Beneath The Waves Film Festival

Credit UNC Institute of Marine Sciences

On April 5th, the Beneath The Waves Film Festival takes place at the coast.  The festival includes a variety of films highlighting coastal issues, a panel discussion with local scientists, and booths showcasing marine science that happens in Carteret County.

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The Down East Journal
8:44 am
Thu March 27, 2014

The Down East Journal (03/21/14)

This week on the Down East Journal, coastal scientists are hoping to deploy two buoys later this month to explore wind energy potential off the North Carolina coast.  The Down East Journal airs Friday at noon on all of the PRE stations, and Saturday at noon on News and Ideas.

ENC Features
12:09 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Commercial Fishing License Fees Increase March 1st

Commercial fishing license fees are set to go up by 25 percent next month to fund the NC Division of Marine Fisheries' Observer Program. We explain the program and explore how the fee increase may affect local commercial fisherman.

To see an entire list of license increases and their effective dates, click:  http://portal.ncdenr.org/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=91cc5776-e30f-43e7-b2a5-11cdb8a8c5a5&groupId=38337

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The Down East Journal
1:39 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

The Down East Journal (02/07/14)

Commercial fishing license fees are set to go up by 25 percent next month to fund the NC Division of Marine Fisheries' Observer Program. This week on the Down East Journal, we explain the program and explore how the fee increase may affect local commercial fisherman.  And, we remember a forgotten community in New Bern that served as the social and cultural center of African American life in the early 1800’s.  The Down East Journal airs Friday at noon on all of the PRE stations, and Saturday at noon on News and Ideas.

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ENC Features
9:53 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Construction Begins This Spring On New Bridge In Beaufort

A rendering of the completed Gallants Channel bridge
Credit http://www.beaufortbridgefacts.org/

The bidding process to place a new high rise bridge linking Beaufort to Morehead City is underway.  Construction begins this Spring to replace the current Gallants Channel drawbridge.  We’ll talk about the project with the DOT and Beaufort Mayor Richard Stanley.

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ENC Features
9:47 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Snowy Owl Spotted In Eastern North Carolina

Credit birds.audubon.org

The snowy owl, native to the arctic tundra of Canada, Greenland and Eurasia, has being spotted in coastal areas of North Carolina. 

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The Down East Journal
12:23 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

The Down East Journal (01/24/14)

  The bidding process to place a new high rise bridge linking Beaufort to Morehead City is underway.  Construction begins this Spring to replace the current Gallants Channel drawbridge.  This week on the Down East Journal, we’ll talk about the project with the DOT and Beaufort Mayor Richard Stanley.  The Down East Journal airs Friday at noon on all of the PRE stations, and Saturday at noon on News and Ideas.

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The Down East Journal
12:23 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

The Down East Journal (01/24/14)

  The bidding process to place a new high rise bridge linking Beaufort to Morehead City is underway.  Construction begins this Spring to replace the current Gallants Channel drawbridge.  This week on the Down East Journal, we’ll talk about the project with the DOT and Beaufort Mayor Richard Stanley.  The Down East Journal airs Friday at noon on all of the PRE stations, and Saturday at noon on News and Ideas.

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ENC Features
11:09 am
Fri October 25, 2013

NC Coastal Federation Receives Federal Grant For Coastal Project

This week, NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Services awarded North Carolina, three other states and two Caribbean nations 8 million dollars for coastal projects.  The North Carolina Coastal Federation received $35,000 to work with fisherman to create new oyster reefs from recycled crab pots.  Public Radio East’s Mac McKee has this.

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ENC Features
9:50 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Cycling For The Coast Fundraiser

Credit Photo by Christy Sutton Rouse

As we head into a cooler weekend, cyclists of all stamina levels are hoping the great weather holds out for the 2013 Cycling for the Coast fundraiser. Public Radio East is a proud media sponsor for the North Carolina Coastal Federation's latest fundraiser.  Today, Public Radio East's Mac McKee speaks with Federation spokesperson Sarah Phillips about the many ways you can take part in helping promote education and issues important to eastern North Carolina's delicate coastal habitat.

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ENC Features
11:26 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Fees From NC Recreational Fishing Licenses Fund Fisheries Projects

Credit UNC Institute of Marine Sciences

The sales of recreational fishing licenses pay for more than you think.  Jared Brumbaugh reports.

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ENC Features
11:24 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Two Cannons Recovered from Queen Anne's Revenge

Credit Uprooted Photographer

We travel to the wreck site of the pirate Blackbeard’s flagship “The Queen Anne’s Revenge.”  It’s an audio postcard from Beaufort Inlet as we witness five thousand pounds of weaponry being raised from its watery grave.  Plus, we  speak with experts about the recovery project, which is 16 years in the making.

The treacherous waters along coast of North Carolina are known around the world as the graveyard of the Atlantic.  Thousands of ships have run around on the shifting shoals, from sixteenth century exploration vessels to German U-boats that sank during World War II.  One of the most famous wrecks is that of the infamous pirate Blackbeard.  His flagship the “Queen Anne’s Revenge” sank in 1718 near Beaufort inlet.  Since its discovery in 1996, artifacts from the site have been recovered and preserved.  Last Thursday, divers with the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources Underwater Archeology Division brought up a pair of 300 year old cannons from the site, about a mile off Fort Macon. 

It is a clear, sunny day by the docks at The Boathouse at Front Street Village in Beaufort as the crew of the “Crystal Coast Lady” prepare for our trip to the wreck site.  We won’t be involved in the recovery, but we’d be watching from a safe distance.  An attempt to raise the cannons was made June 12th, but was called off because of low water visibility and unfavorable weather conditions.  But today’s forecast looks promising.  After a briefing on the history of Blackbeard, approximately 80 people, including Department of Cultural Resources staff, Queen Anne’s Revenge experts, members of the Friends of Queen Anne’s Revenge and guests start boarding the waiting vessel.

We make our way down Taylor’s Creek along the Beaufort waterfront, past Radio Island, before making a left and heading through Beaufort inlet.  Along the way, retired underwater archeologist and our guide for today’s trip Mark Wilde Ramsing points out a dredging platform just a couple hundred yards off the port side.

“here they are dredging as hard as they can, continuing to dredge and keep this channel open, back in the old days they didn’t have any of that marked channels, no buoys, no nothing. We are heading straight out the inlet, we’ll go straight out a ways, ahead of us is the Dan Moore. You’ll see it about 1 o clock, 2 o clock on the vessel’s starboard side here.”

The Dan Moore is assisting in the cannon recovery.  The 85 foot ocean going research vessel belongs to Cape Fear Community College.  It’s almost 50 years old and has made over 400 research trips. 

“Alright everyone, we are getting close to the site. You can see the recovery vessel, the Dan Moore, it’s the trawler. This is its last voyage before it’s going to be mothballed. And this will actually be the biggest most ambitious lift trying to raise three cannons.”

Since the site of the Queen Anne’s Revenge is only about a mile off the coast, the shoreline can be easily seen.  As we move into position, parallel to the vessel Dan Moore, the American flag flying above Fort Macon is just barely visible off our bow.  Directly above the wreck site, another smaller, barge like vessel named “Jones Bay” is anchored.

“The James Bay, they got up at 4 in the morning and came out at the first sign of light and started excavating.  The problem with the way the weather’s been, every time they get it ready to go, another good storm from the southwest comes along and covers up what they’ve done.  So they had to excavate these cannons.  They’re already strapped up, they’re strapped up with big canvas straps or ropes. And you’ll see that.”

 “ Jones Bay, this is Crystal Coast Lady. Over.” “This is Jones Bay, go ahead.” “How’s it going over there?” “They’re about to lift the cannons, they’re inflating the bags now.”

To bring the cannon to the surface, divers attach a “lift bag” to the canvas strap secured around the cannon.  The water is only about 25 feet deep at the wreck site so it doesn’t take long for the cannon to float to the surface.

“momentarily, you should see a yellow lift bag come up. It’ll be much bigger than the little buoys you see there come up right behind the vessel Jones Bay, the smaller vessel.”

About five minutes pass, and then, the yellow lift bag breaks the surface of the water.

“Alright, there it is… so we passed the first stage, now the second is to get the bag and the divers over to the cannon over to the Dan Moore.” “Dan Moore, go ahead and haul in the cannon, haul in the lift bags, over, haul it in.”

On the deck of the Dan Moore, a team of students with Cape Fear Community College’s Marine Technology program begin tugging at a red rope connected to the cannon and the divers about 150 feet away.  Onlookers watch nervously as the divers are tossed around by the wind and waves.  Then, the red rope gets tangled around the Dan Moore’s mooring line.

“So, what it looks like to me is…” “RADIO: Dan Moore, it looks like they’re wrapped around that mooring. Over.”  “I don’t know if you heard that, but the Dan Moore can pull them in but we are doing it so the tides should pretty much….” “RADIO: We’ll stand by and hopefully they can free it.”  “what’s happened now is that the cannon is hooked around one of the mooring lines so as the Dan Moore is trying to pull it, it’s not pulling. So now the divers have gone back down to try to release that.  This is step two of the three critical steps.”

Another tense five minutes pass and finally the red rope is free from the mooring line.  The lift bag, cannon and divers continue to be hauled in until they are finally float beside the Dan Moore.  This is where the third phase of the lifting process begins.  The expert divers with the Department of Cultural Resource’s Underwater Archeology division work quickly to connect the vessel’s crane hook to the canvas strap around the cannon.  Then, the signal is given to lift the bag from the water.

“Alright, now they’re hooked to the cannon and the bladder bags have been moved off a bit.  And we should see Blackbeard’s big six pounder cannon come up.  They weigh about 2,500 pounds, over a ton of metal and concretion.”

We watch and wait several more minutes as the crane reels it in.  And for the first time in almost 300 years, the cannon breaks the surface of the water. 

“There it is… I love to see it come out of the water, but I don’t cheer until it gets down on the deck.”

Even though the three century old artifact is covered in concretion, it’s very easy to tell that it’s a cannon.  As it’s slowly lifted out of the water, the crew aboard the Dan Moore lean over the side of the boat to stabilize the cannon and keep it from swinging.  Other crew members set up a cinder block and two by four platform for the cannon to rest on.  Then the cannon is gently lowered as onlookers watch intently.

The Department of Cultural Resources Underwater Archeology Division had a goal of lifting three cannons during last Thursday’s offshore excursion.  However, they were only able to lift two.  As the divers and underwater archeology celebrate their successful lift, Queen Anne’s Revenge Conservation Lab Director and Chief Conservator Sarah Watkins-Kenney’s work is just beginning.  She says the cannons will be taken to the Queen Anne’s Revenge Lab at East Carolina University in Greenville, where they will remove the concretion and prepare them for exhibition.

"These objects have been in the ocean for 300 years, we want to do as little as possible to disturb that environment they’ve been in. If they dry out before we treat them, then that can get physical and chemical changes that could damage the object. So we want to prevent that from happening.  So we keep everything wet, get it into tanks, then it’s safe, and then we can take a deep breath and figure  out what we do next with it which will be eventually cleaning, getting all the salts out, drying them, surface finishing them, and then finally going to the museum for display.”

So far, about 280-thousand items, including the ship’s bell, straight pins, gold flakes, lead shot, bottles, and guns have been recovered from the wreck.  One of the three thousand pound anchors – more than 11 feet long and 7 feet across – was brought up in 2011.  It’s currently soaking in a huge vat at the Queen Anne’s Revenge Lab where it will stay for a few more years.  The conservation of artifacts from the wreck site has been ongoing for 16 years.  In order to keep the program going, Chief Deputy Secretary with the Department of Cultural Resources Karen Cochran says they’ve had to shift funding sources.

"years ago, when this was first discovered, the state was heavily involved in funding but over time, as you can imagine, funding to support something like this endeavor is going to need some private support. This is a partnership like we have in a lot of our areas within the Dept. of Cultural Resources that we have a partnership with private supporters and public funding to make something like this happen.

The Friends of the Queen Anne’s Revenge is a private, not-for-profit group that supports the work of the state of North Carolina on the recovery of the wreck of Blackbeard's flagship.  Richard Lawrence is President of the Friends of Queen Anne’s Revenge and the former Deputy State Underwater Archeologist for the Department of Cultural Resources.  He says the site and the artifacts are a part of North Carolina history and need to be preserved.

“if you were to ask a person to identify or name a pirate, the average person on the street probably the first name to come to mind would be Blackbeard. And the fact that we have Blackbeard’s flagship just a mile off the North Carolina coast, it’s just an incredible opportunity for us.”

To learn more about Blackbeard and his ties to North Carolina, you can visit the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort.  On display is a model of the underwater wreck site and the ship's bell. 

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ENC Features
12:13 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

A New Program Puts Coastal Scientist In the Classrooms of Local Schools

This week, we talk about a new partnership between the Institute of Marine Sciences and local schools where coastal scientists become teachers for a day.

Last week, a group of third grade students in Beaufort were learning about coastal habitats, food web dynamics and the different kinds of marine life found along the North Carolina coast.  But the lesson wasn’t being taught by teachers. Instead, graduate students from the Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City offered a unique, hands-on lesson about our coastal ecology.  Tiller School third grader Jack McMann.

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ENC Features
11:22 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Local Scientist Discovers Rapid Water Quality Testing Method

We talk to a local scientist who developed a new method of rapidly detecting polluted water that’s likely to become the standard in the United States. 

For information on current swimming advisories, chick [here].

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ENC Features
10:17 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Homeowners Insurance Rate Increases Announced

Public Radio East's Jared Brumbaugh speaks with North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin about the homeowners rate increases that will take affect July 1st.

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The Down East Journal
3:49 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

The Down East Journal (03/08/13)

This week on the Down East Journal, we talk with Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin about the homeowners rate increases announced earlier this week. 





And, we explore the plight of the Greene County Animal Shelter.  Local animal advocates are rallying around the organization to prevent its closure.


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