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John Fear to Join NC Sea Grant and WRRI


Katie Mosher, North Carolina Sea Grant, 919-515-9069,

Posted Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013

In January, John Fear will join North Carolina Sea Grant and the Water Resources Research Institute of the University of North Carolina as deputy director of both programs.

                         John Fear

"John's experience in relevant NCSG and WRRI research areas, as well as his successes in building long-term, positive, partnerships across North Carolina and the region, is of great value in addressing our programs' missions and our need to continue to expand our efforts strategically," notes Susan N. White, executive director for Sea Grant and WRRI. "We are eager for him to join our team."

In his new duties, Fear's focus will be developing and executing research programs for the two interinstitutional programs that work with academic, agency, business, and community partners across the state. Both programs are headquartered at North Carolina State University.

For the past nine years, Fear has been the research coordinator for the N.C. Coastal Reserve program within the N.C. Division of Coastal Management. The Coastal Reserve includes the N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve, a state-federal partnership. There, he has overseen research conducted across the 10 reserve sites — about 42,000 acres in total — including projects conducted by reserve staff and those by partners. From 2009 through 2012, he also led a major, multi-partner study of estuarine shoreline stabilization options in the state.

"I look forward to joining the outstanding team at NC Sea Grant and WRRI. I have admired their great body of work for years and am excited about the opportunity to contribute toward the continued growth and success of both programs," adds Fear, who has a doctorate in environmental sciences and engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Public Health.

A North Carolina native, he also has a bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry from UNC-CH and served as a post-doctoral fellow at the UNC-CH Institute for Marine Science.

Fear has played a key role organizing and implementing an annual graduate fellowship that is a partnership between North Carolina Sea Grant and the N.C. Coastal Reserve, and which was a model for partnerships among the Sea Grant programs and Estuarine Research Reserves in South Atlantic states.

He also has served on the North Carolina Sea Grant Advisory Board and as a member of the steering committees for ocean policy and inner coast studies led by Sea Grant and the N.C. Coastal Resources Law, Planning and Policy Center. Fear currently is on the core management team for the N.C. Sentinel Site Cooperative, a multi-agency partnership established as part of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration effort to provide coastal communities and resource managers with information on potential impacts of sea level rise on coastal habitats.

North Carolina Sea Grant receives funding from NOAA and matching funds from the state to provide research and outreach on a wide range of topics that affect ecosystems, economies in the coastal region. The program has three field offices in addition to the headquarters at NC State.

With funding from the U.S. Geological Survey and a state match, WRRI provides research and technical training on water quality and water quantity topics across the state, with a focus on working with state and local officials.


North Carolina Sea Grant: Your link to research and resources for a healthier coast