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The projects outlined below were mandated studies to the Collaboratory by the North Carolina General Assembly.

Cancer Research Advisory Panel

In 2019 the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) directed the Collaboratory to assemble a research advisory panel to discuss, review, and analyze statewide cancer data. The panel is charged with developing recommendations for strategies regarding effective and credible research program design to determine if, and where, statistically significant clusters of cancer incidents exist within North Carolina.

In establishing the panel, the Collaboratory is charged with consulting with several institutions of higher education and health care providers. The panel provided final recommendations to the NCGA by their deadline of April 30, 2020.

Project Report

UNC Nutrient Management Study of Jordan and Falls Lakes

During the 2016 legislative short session the North Carolina General Assembly approved a special provision in the annual budget bill, House bill 1030, Section 14.13(a) “Development of New Comprehensive Nutrient Management Regulatory Framework.” This section directs UNC-Chapel Hill to “oversee a continuing study and analysis of nutrient management strategies and compilation of existing water quality data specifically in the context of Jordan Lake and Falls Lake.”

The legislation provides $500,000 annually over six years beginning in FY 2016 – 2017 and ending in FY 2021 – 2022 with progress reports on the study required every year.

During 2020 researchers from UNC, East Carolina University, and NC State will be conducting a number of research projects focused on Falls Lake as part of the study, including:

  • Evaluating reservoir vulnerability to eutrophication, including harmful algal blooms, relative to nutrient and sediment loads, streamflow patterns, and climate, for both current conditions and future scenarios.
  • Identifying major sources of nutrients and sediments to Falls Lake and the timing of loading.
  • Evaluating likelihood of nutrient mitigation through the implementation of best management practices, regulatory measures and restoration efforts.
  • Evaluating innovative financing mechanisms for stormwater controls and analysis of costs and benefits of water quality improvement.

During 2018 and 2019 the Study team held public symposia to share updates on their research.  More information about the symposium and copies of the presentations can be found at the Jordan Lake Symposium webpage.

Project Updates

UNC Shellfish Mariculture Plan

During the 2016 legislative short session the North Carolina General Assembly approved a special provision in the annual budget bill, House bill 1030. Section 14.11, entitled, “Promote Shellfish Industry.”

Included in the special provision is a directive to UNC-Chapel Hill to “convene a stakeholder working group to study and advance efforts to ecologically restore and achieve economic stability of the shellfish aquaculture industry.” The study is charged with considering the following factors:

  • how best to spend financial resources to counter declining oyster populations and habitats
  • the use of nonnative oyster species to accomplish oyster restoration
  • means of combating oyster disease and managing harvesting practices to balance the needs of the industry and promote long-term viability and health of oyster habitat and substrate
  • economic aquaculture methods to improve oyster stock and populations
  • long-term, dedicated options for funding sources and water quality improvements
  • means to increase oyster production for both population growth and harvest
  • options that expand the use of private hatchery capacity in the State
  • options for promoting the use of cultch planting to enhance and increase oyster habitat and population
  • other resources that might be leveraged to enhance reform efforts

The primary directive of the legislative provision is to convene a “stakeholder working group” to study the shellfish aquaculture industry.

The UNC study partnered with the ongoing efforts of Oyster Steering Committee and Division of Marine Fisheries.

  • The UNC study focused on the development of a Shellfish Mariculture Plan.
  • Convening of interested parties took place in early 2017 and working groups met on a regular basis.
  • Final report of the UNC Shellfish Mariculture Plan was provided to the North Carolina General Assembly in December  2018.

Project Updates

Energy Storage Study

In the 2017 legislative session the North Carolina General Assembly directed the Collaboratory to lead an energy storage study, which had two primary mandates:

  • evaluate how energy storage technologies may or may not provide value based on a number of factors such as capital investment, value to the grid, net utility savings, net job creation, impact on consumer rates and service quality
  • address the feasibility of energy storage in North Carolina, including services energy storage can provide that are not being performed, the economic potential of energy storage deployment, and recommended policy changes needed to develop a coordinate energy storage policy

A team of researchers from North Carolina State University led the study. The final report was submitted to the North Carolina Legislative Commission on Energy Policy and the Energy Policy Council in December 2018. The final report and background on the study can be found at the NC Energy Storage Study website.

Environmental Data Study

During the 2017 legislative session the General Assembly directed the Collaboratory to develop a proposal to identify and acquire digital data for environmental monitoring and the creation of an online database for environmental permits.

Project Updates