Learn About Us





  • Dr. Stanley Riggs, Chair
  • James Hopf, Treasurer
  • Dorothea Ames, Secretary
  • Dr. Robert Bilbro
  • Dr. Stephen Culver
  • Mavis Hill
  • Lenora Jarvis-Mackey
  • Kristen Cahoon Noble


  • Dr. Betsy Bennett
  • Dr. Jeffrey Crow
  • Mike Dunn
  • Tom Earnhardt
  • David Hodges
  • Mayor James Hoggard
  • Dr. Paige Viren


  • East Carolina University (ECU)
  • Kenan Institute of Engineering, Technology, and Science (KIETS)
  • Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation (ZSR)
  • NC Dept of Commerce—Underserved and Limited Resource Communities (ULRC)
  • Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise (KIPE)
  • Reisert Foundation (RF)
  • First Citizens Bank (FCB)


The mission of the North Carolina Land of Water (NC LOW) regional economic development initiative is to undertake activities that will 1) contribute to long-term sustainable economic development based on the natural resources and cultural history of the region, 2) integrate the diverse areas of the Inner and Outer Banks regions for their mutual benefit, and 3) enhance the quality of life of its residents. The program is dependent upon the successful integration of the region’s human culture and history, natural resources and societal needs.



The NC LOW strategic business plan is developed to respond to concerns and ideas articulated by the region’s residents, leaders, and businesses during several workshops and group meetings held in the area.

GOAL 1 is to facilitate integration of NC LOW communities and regions through collaborations that lead to economic business growth and enhancement of the national recognition of the region’s unique natural resources and cultural history. This will be pursued through traditional and web-based marketing strategies as well as helping businesses navigate the financial processes to expand their capacities and jobs.

GOAL 2 is to develop new and expand existing business initiatives that build upon the natural resources and history of the region. Among consideration will be new water-based transportation connections throughout the region, opportunities for marine initiatives such as regattas and charter boat businesses, and expansion of natural resource-based businesses such as fishing and birding guide services.

GOAL 3 is to expand the natural resource and cultural history educational services for K-16 institutions, adult education, and educational tourism opportunities in NC LOW. This will lead to greater visitor levels and incremental growth in services that translate into jobs in the communities.

GOAL 4 is to continue the scientific efforts to understand and articulate the natural resource dynamics of the coastal system. Tasks will include the development of monitoring and research programs to enhance knowledge of the ongoing processes of natural change, preparation of ecosystem vulnerability maps, and examination of how both natural ecosystems and human infrastructure recover sustainably following major weather events.

The NC LOW will operate through a non-governmental organization established for this specific mission. Funding will be pursued from private foundations, businesses, and governmental organizations that are focused on the strategic initiatives of NC LOW.

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