Protection Protecting the processes that sustain our estuary APNEP works to protect the intact ecosystem processes, structures, and functions that sustain the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system. Overview APNEP's objective is to protect the intact ecosystem processes, structures, and functions that sustain the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system. Preventing problems before they occur is the most cost-effective approach to maintaining environmental health. The Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system has been altered significantly during the past 400 years as nearly undisturbed large ecosystems have made way for human development. While not as urbanized as many other watersheds, land uses like forestry, farming, industry, mining, and development characterize much of the land use in the region. These land use activities have important direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on aquatic ecosystems. Further, more direct aquatic impacts can be seen through the existence of dams and water-dependent structures found throughout the region. If not properly managed, these activities and structures can cumulatively damage and destroy the underlying processes that allow for healthy and productive ecosystems. Human population growth and a changing climate will likely magnify these challenges in the future. To maintain the structure and function of the ecosystem, it is imperative to identify and protect the ecosystem’s important features. 2012-2022 Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan Current Projects Coastal Habitat Protection Plan APNEP staff work to implement North Carolina's Coastal Habitat Protection Plan (CHPP) in a way that is coordinated and integrated with implementation of our CCMP. The CHPP is a guidance document that addresses the habitat and water quality efforts needed to protect, enhance, and restore fish habitat in North Carolina. Using Nature-Based Features to Build Resilience to Storm-Driven Flooding APNEP is collaborating as a project partner on a NOAA Coastal Resilience Grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. The project is focused on increasing the use of natural and nature-based features (NNBFs) to increase resilience of coastal communities to flooding caused by storms and extreme weather events. The project is designed to include interaction with local government officials as the target audience for project generated data and guidance. Climate Resiliency and Adaptation Initiatives The Albemarle-Pamlico region has been identified by scientists as one of our country's most vulnerable areas to climate change and associated sea level rise. APNEP, in conjunction with its partner organizations, aims to work closely with coastal communities as they face the difficult challenges of adapting to long-term climate pressures. In addition to supporting research and the development of tools to help resource managers make informed decisions, APNEP dedicates resources and support towards connecting communities to the best available science as they develop adaptation planning strategies. Past Projects View information about past and completed APNEP-funded projects.