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Salt marsh planting volunteers wanted

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SMYRNA, Carteret County - Volunteers are needed for a salt marsh planting project at North River Wetlands Preserve in Carteret County.

The organization sent a news release to NewsChannel 12 that reads:

The North Carolina Coastal Federation is seeking volunteers for a salt marsh planting at the North River Wetlands Preserve in Carteret County.

Volunteers are invited to plant marsh grass on Wednesday, May 10 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the newly restored salt marsh on the nearly 6,000-acre preserve. North River Wetlands Preserve is near Smyrna in Down East Carteret County.

Staff and volunteers will meet at the entrance to the preserve at 9:45 a.m. and will then carpool to the planting site. The federation has been working with Kris Bass Engineering, Carteret Land Development LLC and Carolina Silvics Inc. on a 9-acre tidal marsh and floodplain restoration at the headwaters of Williston Creek through a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

"These community plantings help to support the restoration work being implemented at the preserve," said Rachel Bisesi, coastal education coordinator at the federation's Ocean office. "They also allow volunteers the opportunity to learn more about the site and how these projects help keep surrounding waters clean and healthy."

This restored 9-acre area will help filter and reduce polluted agricultural runoff reaching Williston Creek and Jarrett Bay, helping to improve water quality so that the area can eventually be reopened to shellfish harvest. The salt marsh will also provide habitat for fish, crabs and waterfowl.

The federation has worked with many partners since 1999 on restoration projects at the preserve, which used to be a farm. About 2,500 acres have been restored from farmland back to wetlands, and another 1,200 acres of existing forested marshes and wetlands have been preserved. Wetland restoration of the remaining 2,100 acres is ongoing. The preserve is one of the largest restoration projects of its kind in the United States.

For the planting workday, volunteers should wear weather-appropriate clothes that can get dirty and closed-toe shoes. Wading boots are recommended. Work gloves, bug spray, sunscreen and snacks will be provided.

Participants can register for the event at nccoast.org/events. Registration is required. Please contact Lexia Weaver at 252-393-8185 or lexiaw@nccoast.org with any questions.

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