There are a number of groups and organizations that have educational and research missions related to water resources and land use.  Some of these focus specifically in the Cape Fear River basin; while others have broader missions.  This section includes both university programs and those sponsored by governmental or nonprofit organizations.

University Programs


Center for Marine Science at UNC Wilmington

The Center for Marine Science at UNC Wilmington is dedicated to providing an environment that fosters a multidisciplinary approach to questions in basic marine research. The mission of the center is to promote basic and applied research in the fields of oceanography, coastal and wetland studies, marine biomedical and environmental physiology, and marine biotechnology and aquaculture.  Faculty are conducting research that contributes to understanding environmental processes and problems. Through research, education and outreach, the Center strives to increase knowledge and cultivate public awareness about the marine sciences.  Currently there are more than 100 active research programs ongoing at CMS.

Duke Marine Laboratory

The Duke Marine Laboratory located in Beaufort.  Faculty study the biology of marine species, address global-scale marine issues, and use advanced technologies, analysis, and modeling that allow science and policy to be evaluated across space, time, and disciplines. Scientific endeavors highlight organisms and populations, ecosystems, and human affairs. We emphasize acquisition of basic knowledge to understand and manage ecological systems. This emphasis includes scientific discovery and problem solving within the context of human interactions with the environment identified through physical, biological, and social science studies, and can be found throughout the teaching and research activities at the Marine Lab.

UNC Institute for Marine Sciences

The Marine Sciences Program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a mission to conduct cutting-edge research, train young scientists, provide expertise to governmental agencies and industry, and to promote new knowledge to inform public policy.  The Institute is strategically located in North Carolina’s central coastal region on 6.5 acres of waterfront property on Bogue Sound. The unique environment is the second largest estuarine system in the U.S. and an ideal site to study the ecology, conservation and restoration of coastal marine resources and to develop and apply new technologies in research.


Nonprofit Organizations

American Forest Foundation

“The American Forest Foundation (AFF) works on-the-ground with families, teachers and elected officials to promote stewardship and protect the values provided by our nation’s forest heritage. A commitment to the next generation unites our nationwide network of forest owners and teachers. These devoted professionals work to keep our forests healthy and our children well-prepared for the future they will inherit.”

American Rivers

“American Rivers is the leading organization working to protect and restore the nation’s rivers and streams. Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Since 1973, American Rivers has fought to preserve these connections, helping protect and restore more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual release of America’s Most Endangered Rivers.”



EPA Watershed Central

“Watershed Central provides state, local, and voluntary watershed management entities with the key tools, resources, guidance, and data sets to aide in a successful watershed management.  Watershed Central includes a feature called Watershed Wiki, which is web site that allows the user to submit and edit content so that the information is constantly updated by the watershed community (just like Wikipedia). The wiki includes case studies, information on watershed organizations and various watershed management tools.”

It’s Our Water

The Environmental Education Fund created It’s Our Water, a North Carolina specific, educational curriculum focused on water quality for the state’s 8th grade and high school level Earth and Environmental Science teachers and educators to use with their students. The goal of It’s Our Water is to educate young citizens about the scientific principles at the heart of the increasingly urgent water quality and quantity issues in our country. With a solid understanding of the science, our future decision-makers will be better equipped to make the many difficult choices that lie ahead.

Project Learning Tree

PLT uses the forest as a “window” on the world to increase students’ understanding of our environment; stimulate students’ critical and creative thinking; develop students’ ability to make informed decisions on environmental issues; and instill in students the commitment to take responsible action on behalf of the environment.



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