North Carolina Sea Grant
News Releases

News Releases

January 20, 2015 | Katie Mosher


Katie Mosher, 919-515-9069,

Posted Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015

Boats, houses along waterfront.

The Jones Awards recognize individuals and communities for their commitments and contributions to healthy coastal and ocean resources. Photo by Roger Winstead.

For the NOAA listing of all national winners, go to: See also our news release on Currituck County’s 2014 Jones Award.

Spencer Rogers of North Carolina Sea Grant is a Coastal Steward of the Year in the 2014 Walter B. Jones Sr. Awards presented by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Sea Grant’s Barbara Doll was among four North Carolina graduate students also receiving Jones honors.

The national awards, presented every other year, honor Walter B. Jones Sr., who represented North Carolina in the U.S. House of Representative from 1966 to 1992.  While chairman of the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee, he was a strong supporter of NOAA’s fishery and coastal management programs, providing leadership on initiatives addressing issues such as commercial shipping, oil spill cleanups and prevention, and flood insurance reform.

The Jones Awards program recognizes people and organizations for their dedication to maintain healthy coastal and ocean resources. Winners are selected for their application of innovative approaches, tools or technology to advance the field. “They represent a wide range of uniquely driven people and activities in the pursuit of wise coastal resource management,” says Jeffrey L. Payne, acting director of NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, which makes the awards.

Rogers’ award recognizes an individual who has shown strong leadership in finding a balance between human use of the coast and the needs of the environment. Two stewards were chosen from across the country for 2014. “This honor reflects Spencer’s three decades of service to coastal communities and the state overall through his North Carolina Sea Grant extension work in coastal construction, erosion and other factors related to coastal processes,” notes Susan White, executive director.

The Jones Award for Excellence in Coastal and Marine Graduate Study was awarded to four North Carolina graduate students, including Doll, Sea Grant’s water protection and restoration specialist, and three graduate students who have worked on Sea Grant research and outreach. A total of six awards honor students from across the country whose research improves approaches to coastal or ocean management.

“The high number of North Carolina graduate students among the winners speaks to the excellent quality of marine and coastal research being conducted in our state, as well as to the caliber of the students themselves,” says Chris Brown, vice president for research and graduate education for the University of North Carolina system. “Spencer’s Coastal Steward award notes the strength of the North Carolina Sea Grant outreach program that links university expertise with community needs.”

In addition Currituck County was honored for Excellence in Local Government.

Learn more about the award winners from team North Carolina Sea Grant team and graduate students:

Coastal Steward

Spencer Rogers

Spencer Rogers

Spencer Rogers has been the coastal construction and erosion specialist at North Carolina Sea Grant since 1978. He is based at the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Center for Marine Science. Rogers also currently serves as co-vice chairman of the N.C. Coastal Resources Advisory Council and is a member of the N.C. Science Panel on Coastal Hazards that advises the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission. His rip current research to save beachgoers’ lives, using data-logging drifters, has earned national media attention. Over the years, Rogers has helped private property owners, builders, designers and government agencies to develop hurricane-resistant construction methods, understand shoreline-erosion alternatives and implement marine-construction techniques. He serves on the faculty at UNCW and as adjunct faculty for civil, construction and environmental engineering at North Carolina State University.


Graduate Study

Barbara Doll

Barbara Doll

Barbara Doll is the water protection and restoration specialist for North Carolina Sea Grant. Her doctoral studies and stream-related outreach efforts regarding water-quality and restoration have lasting impacts for North Carolina’s coastal zone ecosystems. Doll has developed and evaluated field assessment methods in order to advance the practice of stream restoration. With colleagues at North Carolina State University, she organizes many professional workshops and co-organized the recent Southeast Regional Tidal Creeks Summits. Doll received her doctorate from NC State University in 2013. In addition to her Sea Grant duties, she is on the faculty at the university, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses.

Justin Ridge

Justin Ridge

Justin Ridge is a doctoral candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Institute of Marine Science in Morehead City. Ridge is completing the 2014 Coastal Research Fellowship funded by North Carolina Sea Grant and the North Carolina Coastal Reserve. Ridge and a fellow graduate student co-founded the Scientific Research and Education Network, to provide connections between scientists and classroom teachers and their students. His research includes assisting Marine Corps Base Camp LeJeune in efforts to sustainably use the coastal zone for training exercises. He also is examining how oyster reefs next to salt marshes grow in comparison to isolated reefs on sand flats.

Paul Rudershausen

Paul Rudershausen

Paul Rudershausen is a doctoral candidate with Jeffrey Buckel and Joseph Hightower in North Carolina State University’s Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology program. His research focuses on testing the production of small fish in coastal tidal creeks in relation to human impacts on the ecosystems. His approach to track individual small fish with passive integrated transponder tags has been published in an international journal, Marine Ecology Progress Series. Rudershausen serves as scientific advisor to an N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission’s strategic habitat area committee. He has participated in multiple projects funded by North Carolina Sea Grant, including work on black sea bass.

Sharon Settlage

Sharon Settlage

Sharon Settlage spent a year as a graduate intern in science communications at North Carolina Sea Grant. She wrote for Coastwatch magazine and earned honors from the N.C. Association of Government Information Officers. Settlage also partnered with the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries to develop a pair of brochures to explain oyster shell recycling efforts in the state. She received her master’s degree in technical communications at North Carolina State University in 2014. She also has a doctorate in crop science and a master’s in botany, both from NC State, where she had worked as a scientist in molecular and structural biochemistry. Settlage is currently a scientist and technical writer for Critical Path Services LLC, which serves biotechnology clients.

North Carolina Sea Grant: Your link to research and resources for a healthier coast

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