North Carolina Sea Grant

April 7, 2017 |



John Fear, 919-515-9104,
Katie Mosher, 919-515-9069,

Carter Smith will survey coastal homeowners on their perceptions of sea-level rise and risk. Photo courtesy UNC Research

Carter Smith is the recipient of the 2017 joint graduate fellowship funded by North Carolina Sea Grant and the N.C. Sentinel Site Cooperative, or NCSSC.

Smith is a doctoral candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Institute of Marine Sciences in the lab of Charles Peterson, a marine conservation ecologist. She will study the effects of sea-level rise and storm events in Carteret, Dare and Brunswick counties.

Her survey of homeowners will identify attitudes and perceptions of sea-level rise and risk in the context of ecosystem services, shoreline hardening and coastal resiliency. This project was inspired by Smith’s previous fellowship with Sea Grant and the N.C. Coastal Resources Law, Planning and Policy Center.

“Two years ago as a Coastal Policy Fellow, I conducted fieldwork across the coast of North Carolina to look at how different types of shorelines — including different erosion control structures — protect properties during hurricane events,” she explains. “This current project will build upon that field research by incorporating surveys of coastal North Carolina residents to assess perceptions about hurricane and sea-level rise risk.”

The overarching goal of the new project is to collect data that will help coastal managers inform stakeholders about climate change and coastal resilience adaptation strategies.

For more information about this fellowship, go to

The NCSSC is located on North Carolina’s central coast, encompassing Carteret, Craven and Onslow counties. Part of the NOAA Sentinel Site Program, the NCSSC was established to provide coastal communities and resource managers with information on the potential impacts of sea-level rise on coastal habitats. The cooperative leverages resources across organizations, integrates the multiple efforts within the NCSSC boundary, and provides information to help stakeholders adapt to sea-level rise and coastal inundation.

Sea Grant is a state and federally funded program that provides research, education and outreach opportunities relating to current issues affecting the North Carolina coast and its communities. The program prides itself on being a valuable resource for scientists, educators, local officials, government agencies, coastal businesses and the public to find unbiased, scientifically sound information about the state’s coastal ecosystems.


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


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