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2021-2022 Legislative Projects

In November 2021, the North Carolina General Assembly passed Senate Bill 105, the 2021 Appropriations Act (Session Law 2021-180). The annual budget had several legislative provisions directing the Collaboratory to lead research studies, continue ongoing studies and implement new projects. Outlined below are summaries of these projects.

Fisheries study

The budget appropriates $1 million to conduct a study on the status of state-regulated coastal and marine fisheries focusing on their health and habitats. The study will analyze trends over the last few decades to assess and develop policy recommendations to better manage the overall health and viability of the state’s fisheries and fisheries’ habitats. The fisheries study is due to the NCGA Environmental Review Commission by June 30, 2023.

Research grant for Historically Minority Serving Institutions

The Collaboratory receives $500,000 annually for a research grant program for institutions in the UNC system identified as historically minority-serving. The institutions include Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, North Carolina Central University, UNC-Pembroke and Winston-Salem State University.

COVID-19 Research Projects

The state budget includes a $30 million allocation for Collaboratory-led COVID research projects related to public health and economic impacts of COVID-19. The Collaboratory will explore best practices and strategies to maximize resources and achieve a comprehensive research response as well as commercialization of technologies developed through research. Fifteen million dollars of the funds must be used for a corporate or academic research grant program with the remaining $15 million being used for academic research. A final report is due to the NCGA Joint HHS Committee no later than September 1, 2024.

Wastewater Pilot Program

The Collaboratory receives $20 million to establish the Wastewater Pilot Program. This pilot program will help distribute grants to local governments to develop wastewater treatment systems. The final report is due to the NCGA Environmental Review Commission by December 1, 2024.

Cyanobacterial Algal Bloom Treatment

The Collaboratory receives $5 million to conduct a study evaluating an in-situ treatment and its ability to remediate and prevent cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms in the lakes and reservoirs of North Carolina. The Collaboratory shall report the results no later than April 1, 2023, to the NCGA Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources Committee.

Water Safety Act

The budget appropriates $14.5 million to continue research on PFAS through the NC PFAS Testing Network. A minimum of $10 million must be used to develop technology that removes the presence of PFAS chemicals in water.

Firefighting Foam Project

The Collaboratory receives $100,000 to develop an aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) inventory. The Collaboratory, in partnership with the Office of the State Fire Marshal, should develop and maintain an online reporting tool and database. The tool must be operational by January 1, 2023.

FerryMon

The on-going FerryMon program receives $170,000 in funds to continue collecting water quality data of the nation’s second largest estuary and North Carolina’s most important fisheries and recreation resource through a ferry-based monitoring system. The program will help determine what’s essential for long-term environmental management and protection of the Pamlico Sound and its resources.

ModMon

The on-going ModMon program receives $160,000 to continue the monitoring and assessment of water quality and environmental conditions in the Neuse River Estuary. The program monitors and assesses the following: nutrient-eutrophication dynamics, algal blooms, hypoxia, fish kills, and related issues pertinent to the public’s interest and the ability to provide science-based management decisions.

Jordan and Falls Lake Nutrient Management Study

The budget allots $750,000 for the Falls Lake Study. Any leftover funds for the Falls Lake Study that remain at the end of the 2022-2023 fiscal year will remain available for the study to analyze nutrient management strategies and compile existing water quality data of Falls Lake.