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Community Collaborative Research Projects

The Community Collaborative Research Grant Program, or CCRG, is an innovative funding opportunity that requires research approaches that couple local knowledge with scientific expertise. The CCRG is supported by WRRI and North Carolina Sea Grant, in partnership with the William R. Kenan Jr. Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science (KIETS).

Explore Funded CCRG Projects

The table below contains a list of funded CCRG projects dating back to 2018. Use the search bar to search particular topics, researchers, or key words. If a final report is available, it has been provided as a hyperlink within the title column. For a list of projects funded prior to 2018, contact John Fear (

TitleScientific LeadLocal Knowledge ExpertYear StartedKey TermsIn the News
Organic Nitrogen Sources in Tributaries to the Chowan River from the Town of Edenton after Rain EventsChristopher OsburnColleen Karl2024HABs; algal blooms; nitrogen; Chowan River; water quality; cyanobacteria
Direct Potable Reuse for NC State's Centennial Campus: Exploring Water Quality Needs and Regulatory PathwaysEmily BerglundWhit Wheeler2024water quality; direct potable reuse; Centennial Campus; Raleigh
Hydrological Connectivity: Improving Coastal Literacy and Resilience in Classrooms and Communities in the City of WilmingtonPhil BreshnahanCraig Harris2024resilience; climate change; youth engagement; coastal environment; Wilmington
Bottlenose Dolphin Distribution, Abundance and Health along the Brunswick County Coast/Cape Fear River Region of North CarolinaKim JonesRyan Camden2024bottlenose dolphins; Cape Fear River; species conservation
Investing in Teacher Expertise to Scale Up a Resilience CurriculumKathryn StevensonJessica Emory and Emma Refvem2024resilience; K-12 education; youth engagement
Recognizing African American Participation in the North Carolina Seafood IndustryBarbara Garrity-Blake, Duke University Marine LabJohn Mallette, Southern Breeze Seafood2023diversity; story-telling; fisheries; seafoodfrom NC Catch
Embracing ways to engage research in the Walnut Creek WatershedAngela Allen, NC State UniversitySamantha Krop, Sound Rivers2023community engagement; water quality; environmental justicefrom Sound Rivers
Connecting citizen science and youth action within local coastal communities to decrease plastic in our stormwater and advocate for clean waterLiz DeMattia, Duke University Marine LabLisa Rider, Coastal Carolina Riverwatch2023stormwater; plastic pollution; youth engagement; citizen sciencefrom NC WRRI
Spatiotemporal patterns of algal toxin contamination in small and juvenile fish across Albemarle Sound and its tributariesAstrid Schnetzer, NC State UniversityCarlton Godwin, NCDEQ Marine Fisheries Division2023fisheries; toxic algal blooms; HABs; water qualityfrom NC WRRI
Understanding Plastic Contaminants in Western N.C. HeadwatersJerry Miller, Western Carolina UniversityEric Romaniszyn, Haywood Waterways Association2022plastic pollution; youth engagement; atmospheric depositionfrom Spectrum News
Building Agents of Change in Mecklenburg County through Youth Education, Career Awareness, and Citizen ScienceOlya Keen, UNC CharlotteEbone Lockett, Harvesting Humanity, LLC2022youth engagementfrom NC Sea Grant
Reinforcing Resilience: Gleaning Knowledge from the Land and Water of the Waccamaw Siouan TribeEric Britt Moore, UNC WilmingtonAshley Patrick Lomboy, Waccamaw Siouan STEM Studio2022indigenous engagement; environmental justicefrom WHQR's CoastLine
HAPs and HABs: Investigating Associations between air and water quality through community collaborations in eastern North CarolinaHans Paerl, UNC Chapel Hill Institute of Marine SciencesColleen Karl, Chowan-Edenton Environmental Group2022algal blooms; HABs; air quality; water qualityfrom NC Sea Grant's Coastwatch
Using adaptive management to guide the next phase of the New River Estuary Oyster HighwayJoel Fodrie, UNC Chapel HillPat Donovan-Brandenburg, City of Jacksonville2021oyster restorationfrom CoastalReview
Building coastal resilience through youth-led community conversationsKathryn Stevenson, NC State UniversityVequainn Joyner, Boys and Girls Club of the Coastal Plain2021youth engagement; coastal hazards; resilience
from NC Sea Grant
Determining contaminant accumulation and exposures in local shark species from domestic fisheriesScott Belcher, NC State UniversityCaptain Charles Locket, F/V Salvation2021human health; food web; contaminants; PFAS; Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)from NC Sea Grant
Hybrid Constructed Wetlands to Further Reduce Nitrogen and Phosphorus Loads from Municipal Wastewater Treatment PlantsNatasha Bell, East Carolina UniversityJason Manning, Greenville Utilities Commission2021wastewater; wetlandsfrom ECU News
Science and Data Support for the Town of Nags Head Estuarine Shoreline Management PlanReide Corbett, East Carolina UniversityHolly White, Town of Nags Head2021coastal erosion
Increasing environmental literacy of North Carolina freshwater mussel conservation through a projection mapping exhibitLindsey Zarecky, Greensboro Science CenterRachel Hoch, NC Wildlife Resources Commission2021public engagement; environmental literacy; freshwater ecosystemsfrom NC WRRI
Determining the ecological impacts of shellfish relay in North CarolinaJoel Fodrie, UNC Chapel HillStevenson Weeks, Crab Point Seafood2020oyster relay; estuarine ecologyfrom NC Sea Grant's Coastwatch
Testing Novel Substrates and Approaches to Improve Oyster and Salt Marsh RestorationRachel Gittman, East Carolina UniversityBrandon Puckett, NC National Estuarine Research Reserve2020oyster reef restoration; shoreline erosionfrom NC Sea Grant
Speak Your Piece: Coastal Youth, Environment and CommunityRose Hoban, North Carolina Health NewsNick Szuberla, Coastal Youth Media2020youth engagement; climate change; science communicationfrom NC Sea Grant's Coastwatch
Detritus removal and enhanced aeration to improve water quality treatment and extend the useful life of constructed wetlands in NCMichael Burchell, NC State UniversityFred Summers, North Carolina Rural Water Association2019wetlands; water qualityfrom NC Sea Grant's Coastwatch
Connecting for resilience: understanding community networks and their role in disaster preparedness and responseLisa M. Campbell, Duke University Marine LabKaren Amspacher, Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center 2019natural disaster; hurricane response; community resiliencefrom NC Sea Grant's Coastwatch
In the Wake of the Storms: Working Waterfronts and Access in Coastal North CarolinaBarbara Garrity-Blake, Duke University Marine LabSusan West2019seafood industry; coastal economiesfrom NC Sea Grant's Coastwatch
Using citizen science to understand nutrient limitation of algal blooms on the Chowan River: Filling critical data gaps and promoting community engagementNathan Hall, UNC Institute of Marine SciencesColleen Karl, Chowan Edenton Environmental Group2019HABs; cyanobacteria; citizen sciencefrom NC Sea Grant's Coastwatch
Food Web Transfer of Cyanobacterial Toxins in the Chowan River and western Albemarle Sound, North CarolinaAstrid Schnetzer, NC State UniversityCharlton Godwin, NC Department of Environmental Quality Fisheries Management2019HABs; cyanobacteria; fisheriesfrom NC Sea Grant's Coastwatch
Assessment of Novel and Legacy Poly and Perfluorinated Alkyl Substances (PFASs) in Alligator and Fish of the Cape Fear RiverScott Belcher, NC State UniversityMadi Polera, Cape Fear River Watch2018PFAS; alligator; Cape Fear River; bioaccumulation; public healthfrom WHQR
Assessment of Flood Risk and Simulations of Wetland Change in Pender County, North CarolinaJoanne Halls, UNC WilmingtonWesley Macleod, Cape Fear Council of Governments2018urban development; GIS; coastal flooding; wetlandsfrom Star News
Night-Scape Resources of a Sustainable Eco-Tourism Trail System on the Outer Albemarle Peninsula (OAP): Tyrrell, Washington, & Mainland Hyde-Dare Counties, NC Stanley Riggs, NC Land of Water (NC LOW); Brian Baker, A Time For Science (ATFS)Karen Clough, NC Land of Water (NC LOW); Emily Jarvis, A Time For Science (ATFS)2018light pollution; public engagement; K-12 educationfrom NC Sea Grant's Coastwatch