In folklore, one feather of the magical firebird can light a room and fill men’s hearts with hope and inspiration. Because of that power, the firebird is symbolic of a difficult quest, to find the firebird, capture its light and inspire others to join the quest.

That is the pursuit of Save the Cape, Inc., to create light where none exists on projects and problems at the Cape Fear, to give the region the benefit of the cleansing power of that light. To illuminate the importance of the unique ecology of the region. To preserve it for generations to come. And to inspire the special human resources of our area to apply their talents to a most satisfying and necessary task.

To subscribe to the Cape Fear Firebird, send an e-mail to

February 17, 2017
Ports Profligacy Unbound A NC House Select Committee proposes to throw over a billion tax dollars at the State Ports Authority without any valid analysis of the return on that investment.

January 20, 2017
A Smidgeon of Vision A wonderful plan for “Greenways and Blueways,” bicycle and walking trails and kayak routes throughout Brunswick County.

January 5, 2017
That Was the Year that Was A brief review of issues from 2016 that are being carried over into the new year.

November 28, 2016
Aquifer Anxiety The State Ports Authority is pursuing a plan that could destroy the most important groundwater source in North Carolina.

September 21, 2016
Baby, the rain must fall The increase in storm surge in the Cape Fear River due to dredging–and planned dredging.

September 1, 2016
For a Smidgeon of Vision An important part of the Cape Fear’s heritage lost; another that can be saved.

August 18, 2016
How High’s the Water, Mama? Quadrupling the depth of the Cape Fear River by dredging over the years has increased the incidence of flooding and caused substantial damage from salt water inundation. And still they want to dredge.

July 19, 2016
Subsidy for Economic Enslavement We subsidize Asian imports by improving our ports for larger Asian ships, increasing the trade deficit and surrendering our economic future.

June 9, 2016
Just Say “No,” NOAA NOAA’s newly defined critical habitat for the endangered Right Whale takes in the areas at the Cape Fear designated for leasing for offshore windmill farms. Now what?

May 31, 2016
The Sting The NC State Ports Authority seeks $35 million in the State budget for improvements to the Port of Wilmington to accommodate ships that cannot get to the port.

May 12, 2016
Competing with Reality The NC State Ports Authority faces loss of a major part of its container revenues. Impending doom or metamorphosis?

April 1, 2016
Ports Profligacy The NC State Ports Authority plans to spend $100 million of taxpayers money to accommodate at the Port of Wilmington a new generation of Asian ships too large to navigate the river channel to the port.

March 15, 2016
Offshore Drilling The US Department of Interior removes the mid and south Atlantic coast from the five-year plan for offshore drilling leases.

February 20, 2016
Aquifer Anxiety The State Ports Authority’s dredging plans for the Cape Fear River put our fresh water supply at risk.

January 28, 2016
The $22 Million Blivet The State Ports Authority spends $22 million to widen the turning basin at Wilmington for ships too large to get up the river.

January 22, 2016
Wind and Waves Alternatives to offshore windmill farms for renewable energy from the Outer Continental Shelf.

December 29, 2015
The Sum of All Fears The likely reasons for State’s plan to remove a rock wall blocking the ocean from the Cape Fear River near Southport; none with any economic analysis.

November 18, 2015
The Rocky Horror Show Senatorial nonsense about the State’s plan to remove a rock wall blocking the ocean from the Cape Fear River near Southport and the megaport site.

October 20, 2015
Tilting at Windmills A Federal Agency moves ahead with leasing areas for offshore wind farms off the beaches of Oak Island and Bald Head, disregarding the request of our State for a minimum distance of 24 miles, sufficient to put the towers out of sight over the horizon.

September 25, 2015
A Primrose Path A cursory review by a Federal agency starts the process of building offshore wind farms off the beaches of Oak Island and Bald Head.

September 17, 2015
Other People’s Money A State legislative plan to open a new inlet to the Cape Fear River and a $35 million annual subsidy for the ports.

August 18, 2015
The Big Bang Theory What of the 90,000 tons of wood pellets to be stored in confined spaces at the State Port of Wilmington 200 feet from a residential development?

June 19, 2015
Budget Badness Three unwise and conflicting spending provisions in Senate and House versions of the State budget that should be removed.

June 11, 2015
When Will They Ever Learn? The State Ports Authority pushes a plan, endorsed by the Governor, for deeper dredging of the Cape Fear River channel without any examination of the costs.

June 1, 2015
Profligate Plans Pending Three bills before the State Senate would bestow several hundred million dollars on the State Ports Authority without a shred of analysis of return on investment or benefit to the State.

May 20, 2015
Conservatism, Where Art Thou? A bill in the State Senate would provide a $35 million per year subsidy for the State Ports Authority. Why?

May 11, 2015
Between the Rocks and a Soft Place A map showing how a bill to remove the rock wall from the Cape Fear River opens the way to new spending on the megaport at Southport.

April 30, 2015
Breaking the Rocks and Connecting the Dots A bill to remove the rock wall from the Cape Fear River opens the way to new spending on the North Carolina International Terminal.

April 1, 2015
More Than You Expect The State Ports Authority releases a strategic plan that includes massive dredging of the Cape Fear River.

March 10, 2015
Objectivity, Where Art Thou? The Federal government’s reckless plan to issue wind farm licenses off the North Carolina coast without consideration of environmental consequences.

January 22, 2015
Ports Puffery Misleading claims of economic effects in aid of a new project to dredge the Cape Fear River deeper.

December 23, 2014
Our Christmas Wish

November 24, 2014
From Megaport to Megapark  A plan to assemble existing reserves into a Cape Fear Maritime Heritage Area.

November 12, 2014
Chutzpah A bold tactic to move the park project forward.

September 29, 2014
A Nasty Surprise NCDOT plans to dredge the Cape Fear River channel deeper.

September 15, 2014
A Plan with Power Save the Cape’s plan for a new State park on the Cape Fear River.

July 22, 2014
Dredgery Some thoughts on the Wilmington Harbor Improvements Project.

May 14, 2014
Time to Talk about Parks An important survey of park preferences by NC State Parks. Please participate. Closes May 31.

April 2, 2014
The Value of Parks The economic impacts of parks.

March 14, 2014
Some Help from our Friends What some experts are telling us about the site for the new State park.

February 10, 2014
Some Things Bright and Beautiful Sea Biscuit Wildife Shelter joins the project for a new State park.

January 21, 2014
A Walk in the Park Some photos of the site for our new State park.

December 22, 2013
Ho Ho Ho Some Christmas thoughts.

December 2, 2013
Park Pushback Brunswick County officials oppose State park for the County. Why?

November 6, 2013
The Eternal Terminal The State Ports Authority keeps the megaport alive.

September 12, 2013
Park’s Progress The plan for a new State park in Brunswick County.

June 17, 2013
Area of Environmental Concern Public workshop in Southport, June 26.

May 31, 2013
Shell Game in the Senate Senate budget bill: now you see it, now you don’t.

May 22, 2013
A Plan for a Park A new State park at the Cape Fear?

April 4, 2013
A Plethora of Plans Some context for the Governor’s new 25-year transportation plan.

March 25, 2013
TurtleTalk Loggerhead turtle habitat at the Cape Fear.

March 11, 2013
Tilting at Windmills Wind energy at the Cape Fear?.

February 25, 2013
The People’s Business Senator Goolsby’s bill and meetings of public bodies.

February 7, 2013
Movie, Movie Films, Southport, and the Ports Authority property.

January 4, 2013
Paving Paradise The natural heritage of Brunswick County.

December 19, 2012
Ho Ho Ho Some Christmas thoughts.

October 9, 2012
Behind Closed Doors NC Department of Transportation’s secret maritime planning.

September 9, 2012

Vision A national seashore at the Cape Fear

August 22, 2012

What Hath God Wrought? NC Secretary of Transportation chooses not to compete with God.

August 3, 2012

More for the Corps Serial engineering; a bad project to fix a bad project.

July 21, 2012

The Final Inning? The scoreboard looks good, but it ain’t over.

July 4, 2012

Declaration of Indignation. NCDOT Maritime Strategy Study final report.

June 24, 2012

A Little Good News Today. NC General Assembly prohibits spending on the megaport at Southport.

June 11, 2012

The Public Be Damned. Concealed changes in the budget bill subvert legislative process to release funds for megaport.

May 31, 2012

Transparency? We don’t need no stinkin’ transparency. Backroom manipulation of legislative process preserves funding for Southport megaport.

May 1, 2012

Objectivity, Where Art Thou? Objective analysis in the Maritime Strategy Study yields to “alignment with other priorities.”

April 18, 2012

Deeper South. A 15-year, $41 million study of dredging the Savannah River has lessons for the Cape Fear.

April 3  2012

Who Has the Courage?. We ask the General Assembly to stop spending on the megaport.
A related memorandum for the General Assembly.

March 15  2012

Deepwatergate. The draft Maritime Strategy Study report is bent to puff up the benefit/cost ratios for deepwater container port projects.

March 2  2012

The Perpetual Study Machine. The draft Maritime Strategy Study has something for everyone.

February 21  2012

Comparative Advantage. A basic economic concept to help the ports succeed in their mission to advance North Carolina commerce.

February 9  2012

Slush Funds. Federal and State slush funds permit unauthorized spending on the megaport.

February 1  2012

Wise Guys. Organized crime and container ports.

January 19 2012

Store-Bought Studies. If you want objectivity you won’t find it.

January 1, 2012

The New Year. Some musings on what 2012 will bring.

December 15, 2011

The Selling of the Megaport. NCDOT holds public meeting for the Maritime Strategy Study.  376 people attend.  375 stand up to oppose the megaport.

December 1, 2011

It’s Back. The megaport reappears from hiding in the NCDOT Maritime Strategy Study.

November 1, 2011

The “On Hold” Hoax. The State  Ports Authority keeps the megaport at Southport out of sight.  But not out of mind.

October 15, 2011

An Unfortunate Event. New Zealand’s worst maritime environmental disaster ever is a container ship foundering on a reef, spilling oil and containers.

October 9, 2011

Compatibility. NCDOT and the Ports Authority ignore the Governor’s Executive Order on port and local economy compatibility.

September 14, 2011

Save the Cape. The challenge of stopping the feeding of bureaucracy on the megaport.

September 1, 2011

The Sunk Cost Conundrum. The decision on the megaport site must look forward, not justify a poor past decision.

August 5, 2011

The Steady Study Smokescreen.

The Governor and the General Assembly agree on one thing–problems can

be deferred by doing a study. While business as usual goes on..

August 1, 2011

Meanwhile Back in Brunswick. Governor intercedes in Morehead City port sulphur issue but ignores effects of NCIT in Brunswick County.

July 10, 2011

An Absence of Accountability. The State Ports Authority keeps brimstone, PETN, and a massive container port behind the curtain.

July 1, 2011

Tick Tick Tick. A radioactive container arrives from the Middle East.

June 18, 2011

Consultants’ Concerto. Another ports study, this time by NCDOT.

June 3, 2011

Megaport Money Pit. More spending on the North Carolina International Terminal, and budget bill that opens the door to even more.

June 1, 2011

Young Minds or Yang Ming. Budget item opens door to huge spending to accommodate ships from Asia–funds that would be better spent on education.

May 24, 2011

Senate Surprise. Senate version of budget bill includes slush fund for dredging projects and removes restrictions on NCIT spending.

May 15, 2011

Where have all the ibis gone. The white ibis leave Battery Island.

May 1, 2011

Reconnaissance Released. A reckless recommendation by the Corps of Engineers.

April 15, 2011

Dredging in the Dark. Results of our Freedom of Information Act requests.

April 1, 2011*

A Plan for the Land. A plan for disposition of the site of the proposed North Carolina International Terminal.

March 16, 2011

Sunshine. Trying to discover the scope and estimated cost of the feasibility study for more dredging of the Cape Fear River.

March 1, 2011

Budget Unbalance. Mismatch between State and Federal budgets for water resource projects.

Note: This newsletter is based on this table of water resource project items from NCDENR and this table of the 2012 budget from the Wilmington District of the Corps of Engineers..

February 25, 2011

$4.4 Billion. A new estimate of the cost of the North Carolina International Terminal.

February 12, 2011

Port’s Puffery. Claims of economic contribution.

February 7, 2011

The Harbor Maintenance Tax.. Large ports subidize the North Carolina ports.

February 1, 2011

The Sediment Sink. An unstable situation at the mouth of the Cape Fear River.

January 20, 2011

The Industrial Zone. Smokestack industries in southeast Brunswick County.

January 15, 2011

The Ports Report. An inventory of ports for NC business.

January 1, 2011

Crossing the border. What ports do NC businesses use?

December 20, 2010

Ho Ho Ho. A call for volunteers.

December 14, 2010

Too Good to Be True. Reports of the death of the NCIT are greatly exaggerated.

December 1, 2010

Go Fish: Where have all the fishes gone?

November 15, 2010

A String of Pearls: A plan for a park.

November 1, 2010

Forecast Folly: The uncertainty of feasibility study forecasts

October 10, 2010

The Quest: Introduction to Save the Cape.


* April Fool’s Day