Identification and Research Identifying gaps in our knowledge of the estuarine system To identify knowledge gaps, APNEP implements a focused scientific program with priorities for monitoring and research in order to improve our understanding of the ecosystem. Overview To achieve its mission, APNEP and its partners must continually work to identify and assess trends in the regional ecosystem. This component also requires assessment of planning, management, and policy choices related to the ecosystem to ensure environmental progress. Comprehensive monitoring provides the information on which these assessments are based. APNEP’s mission, structure, and ecosystem-based approach allows for broad-scale inquiries and research designed to support management efforts in the region. APNEP staff members work closely with the Science and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC), partner organizations, and project-specific contractors on diverse research initiatives. This network of professionals allows APNEP to consistently access and apply advanced scientific knowledge in areas of strategic interest to the program. Furthermore, natural resource managers, partner agencies and organizations, and other professionals commonly identify knowledge gaps, which if rectified could result in more robust management of the ecosystem’s natural resources. 2012-2022 Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan Current Projects APNEP-NC Sea Grant Joint Graduate Fellowship Since 2015, APNEP and the North Carolina Sea Grant have jointly funded a graduate student fellowship to conduct applied research within the North Carolina portion of the APNEP management area. Fellows conduct research that addresses focus areas identified in the NC Sea Grant Strategic Plan and management actions from APNEP's Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. Coastal Plain Ecological Flows Evaluation APNEP's Ecological Flows Action Team contracted with Dr. Michael O'Driscoll and colleagues of the Coastal Water Resources Center at East Carolina University to identify and collect ecological flow data for the Albemarle-Pamlico region's coastal plain, an area where established methods of determining ecological flow are limited. NC Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan Coordination APNEP is helping to facilitate the finalization of North Carolina's Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan, which will facilitate the coordination of numerous state and federal agencies, as well as NGO's, to tackle management and outreach of North Carolina's aquatic invasive species. Economic Valuation of the Albemarle-Pamlico Region To assist APNEP in efforts to measure and communicate the societal contributions made made by the Albemarle-Pamlico region's natural resources, APNEP contracted with RTI International to conduct an economic valuation of the natural resources of the watershed. Economic Valuation of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation in the Albemarle-Pamlico Region APNEP worked with researchers from the NC State Center for Environmental and Resource Economic Policy and the Duke Sanford School of Public Policy to conduct an economic valuation of SAV in our region. The results will be used to guide decision-making on a local and regional level. Past Projects View information about past and completed APNEP-funded projects.