Leadership team of estuary partnership board announced

Pieces of a dock are missing as high water on the Pamlico River impacted waterfront property in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Hermine at sunset on Sunday

RALEIGH — The policy board for the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership, or APNEP, named its new leadership team for the next two years. Kirk Havens, the vice-chairman of the board since 2015, is the new chairman while Holly White, the principal planner for Nags Head, was elected to fill Havens’ position as vice chairperson. Also, DEQ Secretary Michael Regan appointed N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s Mary Penny Kelley. Kelley is the department’s senior advisor for Policy and Innovation.”Protection of the estuary, which serves as a key nursery area for coastal fish and shellfish, has been vital to the fishing and tourism industries in both Virginia and North Carolina,” Havens said. “I look forward to pursuing opportunities for collaboration in the shared waterways between the two states.”The board advises the partnership, which implements a citizen-driven watershed approach to protecting and restoring the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary, an ecologically-rich estuary that covers large portions of northeastern N.C. and southeastern Virginia.Havens replaces Tom Allen, associate professor of political science and geography at Old Dominion University. Allen will remain an at-large member of the policy board. The partnership is hosted by DEQ and is funded with a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.The APNEP turns 30 years old this year after the United States Congress designated the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system an “estuary of national significance” in 1987. It was among the first of 28 National Estuary Programs established by the EPA through the Clean Water Act.