DEQ accepting public comment on Draft Coastal Habitat Protection Plan amendment

MOREHEAD CITY

The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality is accepting public comment on the Draft Coastal Habitat Protection Plan 2021 Amendment and Appendix.

The Coastal Habitat Protection Plan (CHPP) is a long-term strategy to improve coastal fisheries through habitat protection and enhancement efforts. The CHPP, which must be approved by the Environmental Management Commission, the Marine Fisheries Commission, and the Coastal Resources Commission, provides information on habitat distribution and abundance, ecological functions and importance to fish production, status and trends, threats to the habitats, and includes recommendations to address those threats. 

The draft CHPP amendment focuses on recommendations to address five priority issues:
1.    Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Protection and Restoration through Water Quality Improvements;
2.    Wetlands Protection and Restoration through Nature-based Solutions;
3.    Environmental Rule Compliance to Protect Coastal Habitats;
4.    Wastewater Infrastructure Solutions for Water Quality Improvement; and
5.    Coastal Habitat Mapping and Monitoring to Assess Status and Trends.

The public may comment on the draft amendment in three ways:

  1. Submit Comments Online – Public comments will be accepted through an online survey until 5 p.m. on Oct. 21. Click here to submit comments online.
  2. Mail Comments – Written comments may be mailed to CHPP 2021 Amendment Comments, P.O Box 769, Morehead City, N.C. 28557. Comments must be received by the division 5 p.m. on Oct. 21.
  3. Sign Up to Speak at an Advisory Committee Meeting – Public comment will be accepted at the five Marine Fisheries Commission advisory committee meetings listed below. Those who wish to speak at the meetings must register by 5 p.m. the day before the meeting. The committees will meet by web conference as follows:
Southern Regional Advisory Committee
Oct. 12 at 6 p.m.
Register to Speak
by 5 p.m. Oct. 11 
Northern Regional Advisory Committee
Oct. 13 at 6 p.m.
Register to Speak
by 5 p.m. Oct. 12
Finfish Advisory Committee
Oct. 14 at 6 p.m.
Register to Speak
by 5 p.m. Oct. 13    
Shellfish/Crustacean Advisory Committee
Oct. 19 at 6 p.m.
Register to Speak
by 5 p.m. Oct. 18    
Habitat & Water Quality Advisory Committee
Oct. 20 at 6 p.m.
Register to Speak
by 5 p.m. Oct. 19

Emailed comments will not be accepted.

Meeting links and agendas are available on the CHPP Public Comment Period webpage.