News Flash


Posted on: November 15, 2023

Press Release: Sugarloaf Island Restoration Project Begins

Legislators and Mayor

Sugarloaf Island Resiliency Project Begins

Project to restore 3,520 LF of Sugarloaf Island shoreline will help the town better weather storms

WINTER GARDEN, FL, OCEAN, NC and MOREHEAD CITY, NC, November 15, 2023 / PRNewswire / -- The vital restoration of Sugarloaf Island, Morehead City's protective barrier island, has officially commenced, supported by $6.6 million in NC state legislative funding. This significant financial injection is set to play a crucial role in addressing the alarming erosion of the island, which has been under threat with each passing storm, jeopardizing its protective capabilities for Morehead City.

The unwavering support of North Carolina Senator Norman Sanderson and State Representatives Celeste Cairns and Pat McElraft has been instrumental in securing this funding. Their commitment ensures that expert teams will now focus on advanced shoreline stabilization techniques, blending shoreline enhancement with public utility and natural habitat restoration.

Aquatic restoration experts Sea & Shoreline, the North Carolina Coastal Federation, The Town of Morehead City, Quible & Associates, Sandbar Oyster Company, and East Carolina University have spent the last two years studying, designing, planning, and permitting this project to restore and protect the island.

A notable component of this plan and project are Wave Attenuation Devices (WAD®s). With over 300 of the proposed 1,200 devices already constructed, these offshore breakwater devices are designed to counter erosion by diffusing wave energy, assisting in the reformation of the shoreline through sand accretion, supporting seagrass growth to enhance water quality, and creating essential fish habitat. This living shoreline project will also include installation of seagrass planting units, saltmarsh plants, and oyster reefs, and is expected to be complete by mid-2024.

The widespread advantages of this initiative encompass:

● Countering erosion, rebuilding the shoreline

● Amplifying the coastal resilience of Morehead City

● Expanding fish habitats, leading to enhanced fishing opportunities

● Boosting ecotourism

● Improving seagrass presence and overall water quality

● Preventing the loss of trees and shorebird habitat

● Augmenting carbon sequestration

According to Morehead City Mayor Jerry Jones, “The rejuvenation and resiliency of our island have been long-standing objectives for our town. With the recent financial backing from the NC State Legislature, our aspirations are now within reach. We’re excited that this project is now coming to life.”

Dr. Lexia Weaver of the North Carolina Coastal Federation added, “The commencement of this restoration is a testament to collaborative efforts, and it marks the beginning of an era of enhanced environmental protection for the island, the town, and its inhabitants.”

About Sea & Shoreline: Sea & Shoreline is a Florida-based aquatic restoration firm that specializes in improving water quality and making our communities more resilient to the effects of climate change. Services include environmental dredging, seagrass/submerged aquatic vegetation restoration, natural stormwater filtration, oyster reefs, artificial reefs, living shorelines, wave attenuation devices, rip rap, vegetated retaining walls, wetland plantings, invasives control, project design, surveying, permitting, and funding. For more information, please visit, or follow us on social media LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

About North Carolina Coastal Federation: The North Carolina Coastal Federation is a member-supported 501(c)3 that focuses on protecting and restoring the North Carolina coast. Since 1982, the Federation has been in the field restoring miles of coastline; training and educating students, adults, and communities to take actions that result in cleaner coastal waters and advocating for an accessible, healthy, productive coast. Created to give a united voice to the need for long-term coastal management, the Federation remains a collaborative, grassroots organization at its heart and brings together traditional and nontraditional organizations, government agencies and businesses in order to achieve what is best for the North Carolina coast and to leave a legacy of clean water for future generations. The Federation has 16,000 supporters and reaches almost 300,000 people directly each year. For more information, please visit, or follow us on social media LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.

About the Town of Morehead City, NC: Morehead City is dedicated to the well-being and safety of our community through exceptional service with a warm coastal smile. Please visit our website for more information.

Media Contacts:

Email Anna Smith, Morehead City Public Information Officer

Email Heather Herold with Sea & Shoreline

Email Stacia Strong with the NC Coastal Federation


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