Fishermen often pay the brunt of development costs in the areas they fish in frequently. Have you ever wondered where your fishing license fees go? In some cities, they go directly into the costs of creating artificial reefs, cleaning up fishing holes and more. In North Carolina, more than $750,000 in license fees is being funneled into cleanup projects, including several that involve concrete. Let’s look at this concrete project in NC.

David Brinkley, head of the development project, is barging more than 250,000 pound loads of concrete out of the area. These concrete pipes were donated by manufacturers in the Dunn and Fayetteville areas. These defective concrete pipes will help create artificial reefs and structures underwater, which will help promote sea life. Brinkley says that one of the best reasons for using concrete for a project like this is because it doesn’t have to be cleaned up, whereas ships have a variety of structure that has to be cleaned up to save the environment.

While this may seem like an odd use of fish license fees, these artificial reefs help encourage and protect seal life, which in turn gives the fishermen something to fish up when they hit the water. It’s a cycle that’s worked well in North Carolina and other fishing friendly areas across the nation. This helps brings in tourism and more to areas in North Carolina where the fishing is good.

This is a case where license fees are being put to good use. More communities at the local and state level could learn from North Carolina to help truly put fees to good use in a way that’s environmentally friendly and helps those who pay the fees in the first place. We’ll keep an eye on other projects across the nation that utilize concrete in unique and eco-friendly ways.

Last February, North Carolina dealt with the worst environmental disaster in the state’s history. A storm water pipe below a Duke Energy coal ash pond collapsed, causing more than 40,000 tons of coal ash to spill uncontrolled into the Dan River. Duke Energy, the state, and outside help rushed to stop the spill and keep the Dan River from being taken over by coal ash. It’s also forced Duke Energy to try and figure out a better method for dealing with the 150 million tons of coal ash across North Carolina.

State leaders, community leaders and those that live near coal ash storage areas across the state are working together to find a solution that benefits the environment. State leaders are adamant that there aren’t enough landfills that can safely store the ash, so they must develop or come up with new ways to dispose of the coal ash.

After the accident, the North Carolina Coal Ash Management Commission was formed to help deal with the issue in the state. This is where the concrete industry comes into play. Coal ash can actually help make concrete even more durable and last much longer than it normally does, so for NC concrete plants and manufacturers, being able to use the coal ash within the state can help a variety of building projects up and down the east coast.

Coal ash itself isn’t beneficial, but fly ash, which is the fine powder of coal ash is beneficial when mixed with concrete. North Carolina already uses coal ash in concrete, most notably when the Panther’s Stadium was built. Even the Duke Energy Building in downtown Charlotte is made with the mixture. By working with concrete plants within the state, NC can deal with the coal ash issue in the state, but only once they find a way to safely transport and recycle it.