Our Coast, Our Future
The 2022 North Carolina Coastal Conference

Teachers, scientists, community experts, policymakers, business leaders, and many others came to Raleigh in early November for this year’s Coastal Conference. Together, they discussed urgent and emerging issues affecting our coasts, forged new ties, and literally devoured new research for lunch.

This two-day hybrid event was available in person and online, and we recorded much of it. Here, you can watch videos of many of the sessions, or you can view individual presentations.

A look at the full array of programming, session descriptions, guest speaker bios, and abstracts is available in the conference program.

The speakers were professional and brought great content.


Day 1

The first day of the 2023 North Carolina Coastal Conference began with a welcome from Susan White, the executive director of North Carolina Sea Grant. Guest speakers Elizabeth S. Biser, secretary of North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, and Jonathan Pennock, director of the National Sea Grant College Program, also offered opening day remarks, before Elizabeth Frankenberg (above), director of the Carolina Center for Population Aging and Health, gave the plenary address. The concurrent sessions followed. 

Planning for a Resilient Future
Chris Ellis, NOAA, moderator


Lisa Montefiore, NC State University
From National to Local Scales: Integrated Approaches for Mapping Coastal and Estuarine Vulnerability to Projected Change

Narcisa Pricope, UNC Wilmington
Wetland Vulnerability Metrics as a Rapid Indicator in Identifying Nature-Based Solutions to Mitigate Coastal Flooding

Mike O’Driscoll, East Carolina University
Developing Coastal Plain Ecological Flow Guidance in the Albemarle-Pamlico Basin: Examples from Trent River


Developing Community Viability
Scott Baker, North Carolina Sea Grant, moderator


Eric Herbst, North Carolina Sea Grant
The North Carolina Shellfish Farming Academy: An Aquaculture Training and Workforce Development Initiative

David Griffith, East Carolina University
Sound Values: Livelihood Constellations, Networks, and Communicating Risk Along North Carolina’s Coast


Innovations in Wastewater Treatment
Jane Harrison, North Carolina Sea Grant, moderator


Julia Harrison, NC State University 
Using In-Situ Sensing Data to Predict Fecal Contamination in Estuarine Waters

Jane Harrison, North Carolina Sea Grant
Tipping Points: Onsite Wastewater Treatment and Climate Change

Holly Miller, Tetra Tech
Town of Nags Head Decentralized Wastewater Management Plan Update

Patrick Carroll, UNC Wilmington
Multi-Trophic Waste Management for Marine Finfish Aquaculture in Land-Based Recirculating Aquaculture Systems Using the Salt-Tolerant Halophyte Salicornia Virginica

Networking was excellent due to the

overall structure and format of the conference.”

Bridging the Gap: Prioritizing Equity
Christy Perrin, North Carolina Sea Grant, moderator


Bethany Cutts, NC State University
Shifting Terrains: Society-Nature and Hazard Information for Fair-Minded Transdisciplinary Impact

Hannah Tuckman, UNC-Chapel Hill
The Use of Mobile and Social Media Data to Improve Disaster Management


Research Applications at the Intersection of Ecosystem and Community Resilience
Cayla Cothron, North Carolina Sea Grant, moderator


Anne Smiley and Helena Garcia, UNC-Chapel Hill 
An Interdisciplinary Approach to Quantifying Flood Mitigating Ecosystem Services and Identifying Beneficiaries in New Bern, NC

Curtis Smalling, Audubon NC 
Integrating the Needs of Coastal Birds and Vulnerable Communities in Climate Resilience Planning

Adam Gold, Environmental Defense Fund 
North Carolina’s Adaptation Journey to Flood Resilience

Mallory Eastland, South Atlantic Salt Marsh Initiative
Marsh Forward: A Collaborative Effort to Conserve the Salt Marsh in the Southeast


Near-Term Monitoring and Data Needs for Assessing Sea Level Rise Impacts
Natalie Nelson, Megan Carr, and Thomas Thelen, moderators


Katherine Anarde, NC State University, and Miyuki Hino, UNC Chapel Hill

Ian Conery, US Army Engineer Research and Development Center

image: Lydia Sellers, Duke University, speaks about landscape-level changes at the coast.

Lydia Sellers, Duke University, speaks about landscape-level changes at the coast. Credit: Dan DiNicola.


Lightning Talks
Frank López, North Carolina Sea Grant, moderator

Abstracts for all the Lightning Talks are available on pages 29-31 of the conference program.

image: Lin Xiong, East Carolina University, delivers a Lightning Talk.

Lin Xiong, East Carolina University, delivers a Lightning Talk. Credit: Becky Kirkland.


Lin Xiong, East Carolina University

Mackenzie Douglas, UNC-Chapel Hill

Evan Ferguson, Cape Hatteras Secondary School

Frank Graff, UNC-TV

Josh Himmelstein, UNC-Chapel Hill

Ryan Mitchell, DRMP

Ashley Oliver, North Carolina Sea Grant

Nick Corak, Wake Forest University


Poster Session

image: Lindsey Stevenson (left) and Emily Corbitt (right), masters students at the University of North Carolina Wilmington's Center for Marine Science, shared first place honors for their poster presentations at the Coastal Conference. Credit: Dan DiNicola.

Lindsey Stevenson (left) and Emily Corbitt (right), masters students at the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Center for Marine Science, shared first place honors for their poster presentations at the Coastal Conference. Credit: Dan DiNicola.

The presenters and abstracts for the poster session are available on pages 32-41 in the conference program. Six graduate students received awards for their posters, and you can read more about those presentations here.

“The evening reception and poster session were outstanding.

I think this was also the best time for networking.”

Day 2

Susan White, North Carolina Sea Grant’s executive director, kicked off the second day of the conference. Guest speakers Randy Woodson, Chancellor, and Mladen Vouk, Vice Chancellor for Research, then welcomed participants on behalf of NC State and noted the conference’s role in supporting the university’s research and mission. The concurrent sessions followed.

Enhancing the Resilience of the North Carolina Seafood Industry
Barry Nash, North Carolina Sea Grant, moderator


Eric Edwards, NC State University
Economic Impact of the Commercial Fishing Industry in North Carolina

Sara Mirabilio, North Carolina Sea Grant
Refinement and Testing of a Microprocessor-Based Shark Bycatch Reduction Device (M-B BRD) Using an Academic-Industry Partnership

Ann Savage, NC State University
Leveraging Direct-to-Consumer Marketing & Tourism to Diversify Income Streams for Seafood Producers

Angel Cruz, NC State University
Supporting Fisheries with Student Interns


Management of Seagrass Habitat and the Blue Crab Fishery Under Changing Climate
Whitney Jenkins, North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve, moderator


Jessie Jarvis, UNC Wilmington
Submerged Aquatic Vegetation

George Easterly, UNC Wilmington
Juvenile Blue Crabs

Anne Deaton, NC Division of Marine Fisheries
How This Work Aligns With the Coastal Habitat Protection Plan

Jessie Jarvis, UNC Wilmington
Ecological Vulnerability


Cross-Cutting Coastal Resilience Efforts and Building Strategic Climate Partnerships
Sarah Spiegler, North Carolina Sea Grant, moderator


Sarah Spiegler, North Carolina Sea Grant

Jacob Boyd, NC Division of Marine Fisheries

Andrea Webster, NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency

Mackenzie Todd and Krista Early, NC Division of Coastal Management

Lora Eddy, The Nature Conservancy

Panel Discussion



image: StriperHub's Ben Reading presenting at the Coastal Conference.

When this man talks, people eat well. StriperHub’s Ben Reading at the 2022 Coastal Conference: Credit: Becky Kirkland.

Lunch featured striped bass from Locals Seafood, courtesy of the StriperHub Project, and a presentation on the project’s breakthroughs in aquaculture from StriperHub’s Ben Reading.

“The food and drink were top-notch.”

The Big Picture: Healthy Coastal Ecosystems

Erika Young, North Carolina Sea Grant, moderator


Erin Voigt, NC State University
Spatial Variation in Nursery Habitat Use by Juvenile Blue Crabs in a Shallow, Wind-Driven Estuary

Alexander Smith, UNC Wilmington
Least Tern (Sternula antillarum) Disturbance Responses to Human-Related Activities on Hatteras Island

Nick Funnell, UNC-Chapel Hill
Determining the Ecological Impacts of Shellfish Relay in North Carolina


Marsh Interface: Edges of the Land and Sea
John Fear, North Carolina Sea Grant, moderator


Antonio Rodriguez, UNC-Chapel Hill
Salt Marsh Ontogeny Drives the Wide Range of Carbon Accumulation Rates

Molly Bost, NOAA
Response of Fringing Salt Marsh Accretion and Carbon Burial to Land-Use Change of Tidal Creek Watersheds

Christina Salerno, UNC Wilmington
Predation Amplifies the Effects of Parasite Infection on the Personality of a Keystone Grazer


Emerging Technologies for Coastal Change
Gloria Putnam, North Carolina Sea Grant, moderator


Ryan Mieras, UNC Wilmington
Continuous Beach Morphology Observations Under Active Storm Forcing Using Compact 3D LiDAR Scanners

Logan Howard, National Weather Service
The Impact of the Gulf Stream on Marine Forecasting

Matthew Scalora, National Weather Service
New Wave Information Included in the NWS Coastal Waters Forecast

Krissy Hopkins, USGS
Can Green Stormwater Infrastructure Reduce Stream Stressor Impacts in Suburbanizing Landscapes?

I will be taking this knowledge back with me to share with others.”


A special thank you to our sponsors, who made the 2022 North Carolina Coastal Conference a success. 

North Carolina Sea Grant’s next Coastal Conference will be at our coast in 2024. We hope to see you there.

lead photo of Elizabeth Frankenberg by Dan DiNicola

more from the Winter 2022 issue of Coastwatch