Bald Head Island Takes Lead in
International Barrier Island Research

Press Release

July 22, 2007 Bald Head Island, North Carolina (NC) - The Bald Head Island Conservancy, an independent non-profit organization, has launched an in-depth program to study conservation and development strategies that promote barrier island sustainability, taking a lead role in international barrier island research. The program's objective is to better understand the behavior of North Carolina's barrier islands and to identify worldwide solutions to save and maintain these environments.

Previously recognized across the region for its contributions in studying and protecting Loggerhead sea turtles, the Conservancy is now planning the world's first Barrier Island Study Center in response to growing global concern regarding barrier island sustainability. The center will promote community-based conservation by integrating scientific research about barrier island sustainability and effective management strategies.

The proposed Barrier Island Study Center will provide a long-term and short-term facility dedicated to barrier island research and education. Bald Head Island's unique environment, which includes beach, marshland and maritime forest in 12,000 acres, offers researchers both pristine and developed habitats to study. Construction on the $2.5 million, certified "green" study center will begin in the Fall of 2007, for a 2008 completion.

Ecologically critical to the protection of the mainland, barrier islands stand as one of the fastest disappearing habitats on Earth because of overdevelopment and rising sea levels. In addition to analyzing barrier island behavior, the study will examine the conservation efforts and conscientious planning used on Bald Head Island by its owners and developers, the Mitchell family.

"Bald Head Island is one of the only islands that has taken a sustainable perspective in development," said Conservancy Executive Director, Dr. Suzanne Dorsey. "Here, there has been a developer who approached the island with that purpose in mind."

Bald Head Island is a vacation and second-home destination located two miles off the southeastern coast of North Carolina - a 20-minute ferry ride from Indigo Plantation and Marina in Southport, N.C. Open to the public, the island features more than 800 homes, including condominiums and single-family residences, with nearly 200 year-round residents. The island also includes a 10-acre marina and a championship golf course in one of the East Coast's most pristine barrier island environments. Of the island's 12,000 acres, 10,000 acres of beaches, salt marsh and maritime forest are protected and will remain undeveloped. Visit to learn more.

For more information on barrier island sustainability, please contact the Bald Head Island Conservancy at (910) 457-0089 or visit

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