Marine Debris Cleanup from Hurricane Florence in Southeastern North Carolina

A large, messy pile of lumber being collected with heavy machinery.
Hurricane Florence cleanup in North Carolina (Photo: North Carolina Coastal Federation).

The North Carolina Coastal Federation and project partners will remove over 70,000 pounds (about 35 tons) of marine debris left in the wake of Hurricane Florence. 

Type of Project: Removal

Region: Southeast

Project Dates: September 2019 - August 2021

Who is involved?
The North Carolina Coastal Federation, with support from a NOAA Marine Debris Removal Grant, is partnering with the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management and local governments in Pender, New Hanover, and Brunswick Counties, as well as community volunteers, to remove hurricane debris and develop resilient building codes for docks and piers.

What is the project and why is it important?
Hurricane Florence was the first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. The storm made landfall near Wilmington, North Carolina, causing extensive damage along the southeastern North Carolina coast due to high winds and catastrophic flooding. The hurricane left large amounts of marine debris, especially dock debris, polystyrene, and vessels in its wake. Much of the debris remains today, embedded into the upper reaches of the coastal marshes and maritime shrubs and trees.

The North Carolina Coastal Federation (NCCF) and project partners, will remove over 70,000 pounds of hurricane debris in Pender, New Hanover, and Brunswick Counties. For future preparedness, the NCCF plans to develop best management practices to guide others in protecting important natural resources while removing large amounts of storm debris. Also, the NCCF plans to work with local municipalities to create model resilient building codes for marine construction to help new development withstand the effects of future hurricanes.