Ocean Friendly Establishments

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Jan Farmer, CCRW Board Director collecting oysters from Ryan Bethea, Oyster Farmer and CCRW Board Director. Ocean Friendly Establishment, Oysters Carolina

PHOTO: L. Rider, 2020

Ocean Friendly Establishments
June 2022. by Piper Farmer
Supporting environmentally friendly businesses is a great way to protect the quality of water and quality of life by voting with your wallet.

The Ocean Friendly Establishments program helps you identify some of the many local businesses who take an extra effort to protect our local community environment.

Ocean Friendly Establishments (OFE), a nonprofit founded in 2015 during the NC Marine Debris Symposium, and emerged from concern over the amount of plastic pollution found on our beaches.

Plastics like disposable straws, styrofoam containers, and leftover condiment packages are all threats to the local marine environment. Consumers can take steps to avoid these plastics, but avoiding harmful materials is difficult if a business doesn’t offer a sustainable alternative. Being able to choose businesses that offer environmentally safe options is essential. That’s what Ocean Friendly Establishments is dedicated to – recognizing businesses that keep our environment safe.

OFE, which has North Carolina chapters in Cape Fear, Crystal Coast, Topsail, the Outer Banks, and Brunswick County, is coordinated by a local conservation nonprofit and certifies businesses who agree to protect the environment. For businesses, that means only offering straws to customers on request, in addition to other measures like reducing plastic use, providing recycling facilities, and composting food waste.

Ocean Friendly Establishments also provide education and outreach opportunities for businesses. According to OFE founder Ginger Taylor, “most [businesses] are eager to learn about simple changes they can make to help protect our marine environment.”

For the Carteret and Onslow County areas, Coastal Carolina Riverwatch partners with the local Plastic Free by the Sea group, the Bogue Banks Surfrider chapter, and Ocean Fest to certify OFE businesses.

Finding an Ocean Friendly Establishment in your area is a great way to show support for environmental causes while enjoying local shops and restaurants in your community.

Plastic pollution was identified by both commercial and recreational fisheries representatives as one of the top five water quality impacts to NC fisheries.

Learn more about plastic pollution, Water Quality for Fisheries, and Ocean Friendly Establishments during the 2022 NC Marine Debris Symposium.

Save the Date – October 12-14th, 2022 at the Duke University Marine Laboratory.

Click Here – Support Our Mission Today!
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Photo of beach cleanup at Cape Lookout National Seashore.

PHOTO: S. Wheatcraft, CCRW Board Director. 2020

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NC Shark Conservation through Photography

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Shark Conservation through Photography

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch, Executive Director, Lisa Rider is a scuba diving instructor and one of her favorite places to dive in the world is off the coast of North Carolina.

When asked what North Carolina’s diving is most famous for, she states “Wrecks and Sharks!”

The North Carolina Wreck Shark Shootout is a photo and video competition in Morehead City hosted by Mike Gerken at Olympus Dive Center.

Every year divers and photographers migrate from all over the world to share a love of diving, underwater photography, sharks, wrecks and compete for big prizes in the competition. The NC Coast is famous for their numerous shipwrecks that are home to the prolific sand tiger shark; Carcharias taurus, cousin to the great white shark.

The wrecks are also host to a myriad of marine species from up and down the food chain. Large numbers of jacks, barracudas, tunas, spade fish, cobia, giant stingrays, sea turtles and NST’s (non-sandtigers) are seen with regularity.

“Sand tiger sharks are the main subject for the NC Wreck Shark Shootout and there is no better place to photograph them on the historic wrecks off the Carolina Coast.” – Mike Gerken

Other programs like Spot A Shark USA, offer a citizen-science-based program that engages divers to take part in data collection that can be useful in shark conservation efforts.

“Events like the the NC Wreck Shark Shootout and programs like Spot a Shark are a wonderful way to bring conservation awareness to this fragile species of shark as well as the entire coastal ecosystem they call home.” – L.Rider, Coastal Carolina Riverwatch

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Swim Safe This Summer

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We protect the quality of water and quality of life in coastal NC.

No one should ever have to swim in unsafe waters. How can you tell if your local river or beach is safe? Check out Swim Guide!

Swim Guide is a resource for water lovers informed by the most current water sampling results.

In the White Oak River basin, Swim Guide data is pulled directly from the Department of Environmental Quality’s Recreational Water Quality Program.

From beaches, lakes, or rivers, the Swim Guide is an online map that shows you areas that are safe for water recreation and those unsafe due to bacteria levels or pollution.

How the Swim Guide Works

Polluted water can lead to waterborne illnesses. That’s why it’s important to have current and accurate data: to protect both water and people. If the water exceeds the federal safety standards of safety the water area is considered unsafe for recreation and noted with a red icon. However, if the water is safe, it is marked with a green icon, meaning it’s safe to use.

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Through the Swim Guide website and app, you can easily track your favorite spots and get directions to water areas in your community.

DOWNLOAD THE APP

Department of Environmental Quality

You can also find water quality data and swim advisories directly on The Department of Environmental Quality’s website. The DEQ monitors recreational water quality at 213 sites in NC, many of which are in our watershed.

Waters are tested for enterococcus bacteria, which is an indicator organism found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals, transported through feces. The presence of enterococcus does not necessarily cause illness, but can be correlated with disease-causing pathogens. Excess nutrients also associated with fecal contamination can cause algae blooms and fish kills.

Sources of enterococci in recreational waters include:

Sewage, wastewater treatment malfunctions, agricultural runoff, improper manure applications, storm water, domestic animal and wildlife waste, boat waste dumping, polluted groundwater, soils, sediments, and sands.

Ways to reduce bacterial contamination:

  • Always pick up after your pet.
  • Maintain septic tanks.
  • Follow boating sewage regulations.
  • Wash your car at commercial car washes to reduce runoff.
  • Install rain barrels and other methods of runoff control.
  • Protect wetlands that filter pollutants.
  • Reduce impervious surfaces.
  • Advocate for wastewater system improvements.
  • Support local farmers practicing sustainable animal agriculture.
Donate to Water Quality Monitoring Programming
Become a Citizen Member Today!
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White Oak Waterkeeper’s Departure Message

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Dear Coastal Carolina Riverwatch members, volunteers, and supporters,

With a heavy heart, I will be moving from my position as White Oak Waterkeeper at Coastal Coastal Carolina Riverwatch at the end of July 2022 to pursue furthering my education.

I have absolutely loved my experience here with CCRW and in coastal NC. I am looking forward to expanding my horizons by exploring new fields of work and using what I have learned from this experience to grow as an advocate for change.

Working for CCRW has been the most rewarding chapter of my life thus far. It has been an honor to serve our waterways alongside all of you and I could not have asked for a better colleague and mentor than Executive Director, Lisa Rider.

In my four years of employment with CCRW, we have accomplished so much through grassroots community action.

We have worked collaboratively with East Coast advocates to achieve a moratorium on offshore drilling, reinvigorated our Pure Farms, Pure Waters program, developed a targeted CAFO monitoring program, certified 30 Ocean Friendly Establishments, greatly increased our network of partners, connected our community to sustainable food alternatives, impeded irresponsible coastal development, removed over 20,000 pounds of marine debris, and developed meaningful relationships with our fishing community.

I believe there is a very noticeable increase in our community’s environmental awareness and engagement due to CCRW’s efforts and support from water quality advocates like you.

None of this work would be possible without a strong cohort of volunteers, members, and supporters. I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to each of you for your part in these achievements.

Watching CCRW grow, and helping to build it with staff, board, and our community has been so impactful for me, but more importantly for our waterways.

I look forward to CCRW’s continued success, and I know I will be a lifetime advocate for water quality.

Though I am departing, I will forever be an avid supporter of CCRW’s work and mission because I will always believe in it so strongly.

Sincerely,

Rebecca Drohan,

White Oak Waterkeeper

Send a Message to the White Oak Waterkeeper
Make a Donation
in honor of the work of the White Oak Waterkeeper
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Rebecca Drohan, White Oak Waterkeeper

PHOTO: L.RIDER 2022

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CCRW Participates in Terrapin Tally

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CCRW Participates in

Terrapin Tally

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PHOTO CREDIT: S. WHEATCRAFT, 2022. PHOTO FEATURE: Georgia Minnich

The Terrapin Tally is a project created in partnership with the NC Coastal Reserve & National Estuarine Research Reserve and the NC Wildlife Resources Commission to help address questions about the overall population status and condition of the Diamondback Terrapin within the state.

The diamondback terrapin is listed as a species of special concern within the state and Species of Greatest Conservation Need in the NC Wildlife Action Plan.

The Terrapin Tally is structured as a community science activity that aims to take a snapshot of the diamondback terrapin population numbers in a given area by conducting kayak surveys at specified times and prescribed routes.

CCRW Board Director, Suzanne Wheatcraft, participated in the 2022 Terrapin Tally with board donor Andy Wheatcraft, and Georgia Minnich. They canoed Calico Creek in Morehead City, NC. Results will be located on the Terrapin Tally website found here.

To read more about volunteer opportunities at CCRW, please click here.

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Thank You for Protecting Coastal NC

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THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT

Together, we protect the quality of water and quality of life in coastal NC.

We cannot do it without YOU!

The primary goals of Coastal Carolina Riverwatch are:

  • Elevate the voices from the coastal fishing community about specific water quality concerns that impact fisheries.
  • Increase coastal ecology and water quality knowledge and educational opportunities for under-served coastal communities.
  • Advocate for sustainable farmers and fisheries that support water quality improvements, while monitoring potential pollution sources and reporting results of studies that implicate polluters to the proper agencies.
  • Facilitate the collaborative development of long-term solutions that prevent water quality pollutants including:
    • Factory Farming and Industrial Agriculture Pollution
    • Stormwater Pollution
    • Industrial Pollution
    • Plastics Pollution
    • Wastewater Pollution
Please help us reach our goals

by becoming a member,

renewing your membership, or making a donation today!

Click Here – Support Our Mission Today!
With Gratitude,

the Staff and Board at CCRW

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Water Quality for Fisheries: Wastewater Pollution

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Water Quality for Fisheries:

Wastewater Pollution

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Coastal Carolina Riverwatch and the Industry Working Group (made up of commercial and recreational fisheries representatives) have identified wastewater pollution as one of the top five water quality concerns that impact coastal NC fisheries.

Wastewater treatment systems are one of the most widely-used pollution control technologies in the US. These systems’ treatment process includes sewers collecting wastewater, transporting the water to treatment plants, completing a cleaning process, and finally discharging the wastewater. Municipal wastewater treatment plants, also referred to as publicly owned treatment works (POTWs), filter physical, chemical, and biological pollutants from the wastewater received from households, businesses, and industries.

Differing from municipal wastewater treatment facilities, about 50% of homes in North Carolina use on-site wastewater systems, or septic systems (EPA, 2017). They generally have a tank, a distribution box, and subsurface absorption lines with perforated pipes laid in a gravel bed. On-site wastewater systems provide an alternative, natural way to treat and dispose of domestic waste without being connected to a centralized municipal sewage treatment system.

LEARN MORE

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Action Alert: Gibbs Creek Needs Your Voice  

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Action Alert:

Action Alert: Gibbs Creek Needs Your Voice

Join us to make comments regarding Salt Wynd at the Town of Beaufort Planning Board Meeting Tonight at 6pm.

Salt Wynd is a development proposal on the banks of Gibbs Creek in Beaufort, NC. The Preliminary Plat for Salt Wynd Preserve Phase I is on the Planning Board agenda.

Our March 16, 2022 public comments detail the ecological significance and high water quality of Gibbs Creek, which make it the last creek in Beaufort not permanently closed to shellfishing!

Our comments raise concerns with the efforts of the proposed development on the Creek’s ecological integrity and water quality.

Please read our comments submitted prior to the meeting tonight and join us this evening to make your voice heard.

Click here for meeting agenda.

Read our comments here.

READ MORE ABOUT GIBBS CREEK: CLICK HERE
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Pure Farms Pure Waters: Sustainable BBQ

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Sustainable BBQ

This Saturday!

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Support Local and Sustainable Farmers at this Fun Event!

Saturday, May 14th

Come for the food and stay for the music, lawn games, and learn from farmers at 34 North Bar in Cedar Point, NC. This is a family-friendly community event.

Your plate purchase goes directly to support local efforts that protect the quality of water and quality of life in coastal NC.

Purchase your ticket by clicking here.

Food is sourced locally, plates and wares at this event will be certified compostable, and 34 North Bar in Cedar Point features several Ocean and Eco Friendly practices.

Learn more about sustainable farms in our area: Click Here

Learn more about Pure Farms, Pure Waters: Click Here

Learn more about Water Quality for Fisheries: Click Here

Meet our BBQ Partners

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34 North Bar in Cedar Point is the host venue for our community BBQ. 34 North is a Platinum Business Member and generous supporter of CCRW’s work. They go above and beyond to protect our waterways by reducing plastic and commitment to sustainable business practices. 34 North offers a huge selection of craft beer and delicious cocktails, as well as fun for the whole family with lawn games, cornhole tournaments, and live music.
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Shenk Family Farm is sourcing our local pork for the BBQ. Shenk Family Farm is located in Newport, NC. Shenk Family Farm prides themselves on providing quality meat and eggs in a way that ensures happy and healthy animals, community, and farmers. They strive to serve our community with integrity and transparency and value nature and good stewardship of land and animals.
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Island Produce is helping us to source NC vegan BBQ options for the event. Located in Atlantic Beach, Island Produce is a local go-to for sustainable produce and meat stocked from local, ethical, eco-friendly farms. You’ll also find lots of NC specialty items, great coffee, ice cream, goodies, and vegan options! IP works hard to build connections with farmers all across NC to bring a little bit of everything here to our community. This season, look out for more options than ever before. Island Produce is a 5-star Ocean Friendly Establishment for their commitment to reducing plastic and protecting our waterways.
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Coastal Community Market is helping provide US grown, organic produce for the BBQ. Located in Beaufort, NC Coastal Community Market offers local, organic produce, responsibly raised meats, vegan and gluten free items, organic bulk teas and spices, as well as a variety of tinctures and homeopathic essential oils, health and beauty items and more. CCM is a 5-star Ocean Friendly Establishment committed to reducing plastic and protecting our local waterways.
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Garner Farms is sourcing local cabbage for our coleslaw at the BBQ. Garner Farms is located in Newport, NC and has been a staple in our community for some time. The farm was established in 1942 and has been open to the public for over 30 years! They provide main crops of strawberries, Sweet Corn and Bogue Sound watermelon, and a variety of seasonal produce. Their market at also features a plant stand and Garden Patch Kitchen. They offer a variety of activities at the farm including a strawberry picking patch, pumpkin patch, and a corn maze. They strive to provide family fun and produce shopping all in one.
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Pure Farms Pure Waters: Sustainable BBQ

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Pure Farms Pure Waters: Sustainable BBQ

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Support Local and Sustainable Farmers at this Fun Event!

Saturday, May 14th

Come for the food and stay for the music, lawn games, and learn from farmers at 34 North Bar in Cedar Point, NC. This is a family-friendly community event.

Your plate purchase goes directly to support local efforts that protect the quality of water and quality of life in coastal NC.

Purchase your ticket by clicking here.

Food is sourced locally, plates and wares at this event will be certified compostable, and 34 North Bar in Cedar Point features several Ocean and Eco Friendly practices.

Learn more about sustainable farms in our area: Click Here

Learn more about Pure Farms, Pure Waters: Click Here

Learn more about Water Quality for Fisheries: Click Here

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