Roanoke Island Festival Park including the Elizabeth II State Historic Site is located on Ice Plant Island adjacent to Manteo, in Dare County, North Carolina. About 1,500 feet of coastal marsh and maritime forest was eroding along the islands shoreline. This habitat is important for oysters, fish and wildlife and supports commercial fisheries. Public facilities of Festival Park are located just landward of these habitats. The Roanoke Island Festival Park, NC, Aquatic Habitat Restoration and Protection Project restored 5 acres of maritime forest and shallow estuarine habitat, including marsh, submerged aquatic vegetation and oysters. It includes a rock sill that increases diversity by providing attachment substrate and protects the habitat and adjacent public facilities from future erosion.
This project, a product of hands-on team synergy, may be relatively small in scope, but the final product supports the foundation of future ecosystem restoration projects in North Carolina. The team, was a unique alliance of Federal and state government and non-government organizations (NG0’s), who took personal ownership of this project. Many of it’s members, including the staff at Festival Park, enlisted their families and worked hand in hand with volunteers and practitioners to plant marsh grasses and trees provide by the NC Forest Service, USFWS and NC State University. Conservation Technical Assistance and experimental estuary marsh grasses were provided by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service through its National Plant Materials Program, Cape May Plant Material Center. State marine fisheries professionals and NGOs, including the Nature Conservancy, contributed their expertise and equipment to oyster restoration and were willing to test innovative methods to seed cultch, potentially expanding oyster restoration opportunities to include fresher waters less effected by oyster disease. The NC Coastal Federation provided a traditional role as volunteer organizer, and also provided new services of cost share partner, and environmental facilitator, working with the Corps of Engineers and State of North Carolina to achieve a common restoration goal.