Susan White, Executive Director, North Carolina Sea Grant. Photo courtesy Roger Winstead.

Susan White, Executive Director, North Carolina Sea Grant. Photo Roger Winstead.

North Carolina Sea Grant is a long-term partner contributing science, education and support to our state. We are committed to the open and engaging exchange of information — activities that lead to new understanding of the functioning of our coastal systems and communities.

North Carolina’s Coastal Conference on April 14 has been designed as an ideal opportunity to bring up-to-date information regarding our coast to an audience of professionals. We are reaching out to individuals and organizations from our own coast and inland areas, as well as from the southeast region and across the nation.

Conference presenters are leaders in their fields — economics, transportation, energy, environment, industry, health, etc. With integrated sessions designed to include insight from academia, government, industry and nonprofits, the perspectives and information offered undoubtedly will be useful in establishing new collaborations that benefit the coast.

That’s the point. Resources — time, treasure and talent, as one of my mentors often remarks — are not unlimited. Deliberately designing opportunities where the strengths of our state’s academic institutions, local community organizations, state agencies and industry groups intersect can be constructive.

And the results of these interactions can be transformative. Sea Grant is pleased to facilitate these discussions at this Coastal Conference, sponsored by the University of North Carolina system. We will actively work with partners across these intersections to strengthen existing collaborations and support opportunities moving forward.

I encourage you to engage and join us in these efforts at the conference and beyond. The sessions will spur some discussions as Sea Grant begins a new round of strategic planning. And we’d like to hear from you. Check our website,, for updates on future listening sessions.

In this issue of Coastwatch, we provide background on two key points for coastal communities: demographics and transportation planning. Watch for future stories that reflect issues considered during the conference.

There are plenty of reasons to come together to celebrate the vast resources and opportunities that our coast provides. As we all eagerly awaited spring, we had a number of prime-time highlights. Sea Grant team members have participated in meetings regarding water quality and quantity, oysters, local seafood, coastal communities, weather, aquaculture and marine education. In the months ahead, staff members will be integral in discussions on rip currents, marine finfish aquaculture, Earth Day and coastal resilience.

There remains a great set of experiences yet to enjoy over the next few months. In Coastal Tidings, you will see a list of upcoming festival, conference and travel opportunities. You will learn about locations that share the rich history of African Americans in the coastal region. Also consider becoming a citizen scientist and help researchers identify Hydrilla.

I hope you and your family or friends will take advantage of these opportunities — and I look forward to seeing you at a few of them myself!

Do you see a place where Sea Grant intersects with your interests and priorities? If you do — or even if you just have questions — please feel free to contact me at to discuss potential collaborative opportunities to enhance and build our North Carolina coast.

This letter was published in the Spring 2015 issue of Coastwatch.

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