Charles Peterson, Ph.D.

Professor of Marine Science, Biology & Ecology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA

Charles (Pete) Peterson is both an academic and a natural resource and environmental policy maker. He teaches and conducts research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he has been employed on the faculty for over 30 years. In addition, he serves or has served the state of North Carolina on the Environmental Management Commission (18 years), Marine Fisheries Commission (6 years), Sedimentation Control Commission (2 years), Coast Hazards Panel of Coastal Resources Commission (3 years), and the Intercommission Review Committee for Coast Habitat Protection Plans (3 years).

Pete utilized his Pew Fellowship to develop environmental regulations for coastal water quality and estuarine fisheries management in North Carolina that evaluate the consequences of alternative human activities on the health and production of two critical estuarine habitats: sea grass beds and oyster reefs. The approach he advocates is "active adaptive management", and he developed management schemes for the preservation of sea grass habitat and dependant biodiversity, and to restore oyster habitat and production. Pete succeeded in helping craft and get passed the first state regulations in North Carolina to protect riparian buffers for reduction of nutrient loading to the Neuse River and to establish a cap on total nutrient loading to the river. Pete has also initiated regulatory efforts for oyster restoration in the coastal areas of North Carolina and further along the Atlantic coast.