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The North Carolina Coastal Habitat Protection Plan Passed Another Milestone

August 25, 2021
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The North Carolina Coastal Habitat Coalition had a busy summer engaging the CHPP steering committee, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), scientists, and a group of stakeholders to develop voluntary actionable strategies that improve water quality and can be incorporated into the 2021 CHPP update. 

Read more about the stakeholder workgroup convened by the North Carolina Coastal Federation and the Pew Charitable Trusts here.

The CHPP steering committee voted to send the CHPP to the three commissions

We are excited to announce that the Coastal Habitat Protection Plan (CHPP) took the next step on its way to final approval! 

On August 3rd, the CHPP steering committee heard from DEQ on its final draft to the 2021 CHPP update. The steering committee voted to send the CHPP to the Environmental Management Commission (EMC), Coastal Resources Commission (CRC), and Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC). During these commissions meetings in August and September, the respective commissions will vote to send the CHPP to public comment.

A quick refresher on the CHPP and its process

The CHPP is a state plan that evaluates the status of North Carolina’s coastal habitats and makes recommendations on how to protect and restore these habitats for the benefit of our fisheries, environment, and communities. It gets updated every 5 years and we are in the home stretch for the 2021 version, called the CHPP 2021 Amendment [hyperlink to draft].

In collaboration with scientists and management experts, DEQ staff from the divisions of Marine Fisheries, Coastal Management, and Water Resources draft the update for review by a steering committee before going to . three North Carolina state commissions: EMC, CRC, and MFC. The CHPP steering committee is composed of two members from each commission. DEQ regularly updates the CHPP steering committee on its progress, and it's the CHPP steering committee that must vote for the update to be sent to its three commissions, which will vote on sending the update to public comment. Finally, the CHPP update will go back to the commissions for final approval in November of 2021.

Like any good plan, the CHPP follows a thoughtful path toward completion and is as good as its contributors make it. The 2021 version is especially important because of the urgency of coastal habitat protection-both for the environment and for our communities-and we hope the public will weigh in, assist with implementation, and get involved in promoting a healthy North Carolina coast.

Important upcoming dates

The EMC, CRC and MFC will have the opportunity to hear from DEQ on the final draft of the CHPP. At these commission meetings, commissioners will vote on whether or not to send the CHPP to a one-month long public comment period. See the google calendar for more details on these events.

If all three commissions vote to send the CHPP to public comment, the public will have the opportunity to weigh in on the CHPP, anticipated to begin in late September and last through October.

After the public comment period, the three commissions will have the opportunity to evaluate public comment. Each of the three commissions will meet again in November, discuss the final update to the CHPP and public comment received, make changes to the CHPP as necessary and vote whether to accept the 2021 CHPP update.

Subscribe to the CHPP Google Calendar!

Want to stay up to date with the CHPP’s progress? Subscribe to our Google Calendar at this link! We’ll update it with times, dates, and agendas as they become available. 

How to get involved

There are a number of ways to get involved at this point! With public comment just around the corner, we are looking for people to submit written public comments, speak at a public hearing, and spread the word on social media! 

Submitting written public comments

Be sure to subscribe to our listserv and our social media channels. You can also subscribe to our google calendar to be aware of when public comment will open and when public hearings are

Speaking at a public hearing

Want to speak at a public hearing, but have never done it before or want some guidance? Reach out to us at and we can help you prepare for speaking during a public hearing.

Spread the word

Help us spread the word about how important it is to protect and restore our coastal habitats! Do you have a personal experience you’d like to share with the world about water quality, fishing, recreation, or something else related to coastal habitats and protection? Let’s work together to co-create stories and videos to share these important stories through our channels. 

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Subscribe to the North Carolina Coastal Habitat Coalition for updates, hear stories from our partners, and get involved!
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