By WECT Staff | April 22, 2021 at 6:11 AM EDT – Updated April 22 at 6:34 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Hutaff Island, one of North Carolina’s last privately owned undeveloped barrier islands, will be conserved, Coastal Land Trust announced Thursday.
The two-mile long island is located between Lea Island and Topsail Beach to the north and Figure 8 Island to the south.
This effort is due to a partnership between Audubon North Carolina, NC Coastal Land Trust, and the Hutaff/McEachern family and funded by conservation philanthropist Tim Sweeney.
“Hutaff Island is a rare gem on the North Carolina coast. It’s one of the last, best examples of a natural barrier island with dynamic dunes and productive saltmarsh,” said Walker Golder, Executive Director of the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust. “We are so very grateful to the Hutaff/McEachern family for their commitment to conserving the island forever and to the partnership that brought us to this important day.”
The island is an important habitat for wildlife, and serves as a nesting place for threatened species of birds, and the tidal marsh serves as a primary nursery for fish, shrimp and crabs. Hutaff is also a safe place for baby sea turtles because there’s no lights to distract hatchlings when they venture out to sea.
“For so many of our most beloved coastal birds and sea turtles, Hutaff is one of the last remnants of habitat they have left,” said Andrew Hutson, Audubon North Carolina Executive Director and National Audubon Society Vice President. “That’s why the island’s conservation is so important—it ensures birds like Least Terns and marine animals like Loggerhead sea turtles will continue to have a home on our coast. We’re grateful to all our partners for making it possible.”
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