Coastal Federation recognizes three locals with Pelican Award

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A Wrightsville Beach business, a Wilmington resident and a local state representative are among those honored for their efforts to protect and enhance the state’s coast with Pelican Awards from the North Carolina Coastal Federation.

Konrady and Son Construction, a Wrightsville Beach-based business, was recognized for its work in moving a 1948 beach cottage from its original site on Banks Channel to its new location in the town’s historic square off West Salisbury Street, where it now serves as North Carolina Coastal Federation’s local offices and the Fred and Alice Stanback Coastal Education Center.

The Palmgren-O’Quinn House had to be transported to its new location by barge, but Konrady and Son Construction handled the unusual nature of the project with professionalism and enthusiasm, said Tracy Skrabal, the federation’s southeast regional manager.

“This project was daunting at best,” she said. “We not only needed to move a historic house by water, and all the logistics involved in that, but we had to do it in a very tight timeframe, and being a nonprofit we had funding challenges as well.”

Skrabal said what impressed her was both the results of their work and their demeanor in completing the project.

“They really became passionate about making this what we wanted, which was a place that people could use to celebrate the work that we do, but also really retain the nature and history of this house,” she said.

Wilmington-resident Rick Shiver earned his Pelican Award for his volunteer work for the federation, which follows a 30-year career with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Since retiring, Shiver donated his expertise in groundwater management to help the federation oppose Titan Cement in building its new facility on the Cape Fear River, said Mike Giles, the federation’s coastal advocate.

Giles said the federation hired an independent geohydrologist to study the potential impacts of Titan’s operations, which he said would include mining limestone near the aquifers that provide drinking water to the region. He said not only has Shiver done countless hours of research for the federation, but he can help the federation interpret the independent geohydrologist’s findings.

“He can lay it out in layman’s terms so the public can understand it and the elected officials can understand it,” Giles said.

The federation also recognized state Rep. Rick Catlin (R-New Hanover) for his legislative efforts behind the Cape Fear Water Resources Availability Study Bill, as well as his work on a coal ash bill to address the “pollution problems at the Sutton Power Plant in Wilmington,” the federation’s press release states.

“There is a concern about the availability of fresh, clean water for the growth that southeastern North Carolina, and specifically New Hanover County, is going to have over the next 50 years,” Giles said.

Catlin said the water resource availability study will make sure analyses of available water will take into account surface water and groundwater. Furthermore, he said, the study should determine what groundwater is high enough quality to use, because coastal regions like Wrightsville Beach contend with saltwater intrusions in the aquifer.

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