Month: January 2022

Plastic Pollution Impacts on Coastal North Carolina

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Plastic Pollution Impacts on Water Quality are a Top Priority for Coastal Communities

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PHOTO: B. Monteleone, 2021

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch (CCRW) is home to the North Carolina Marine Debris Symposium (NCMDS). Created through collaboration, the NCMDS is the first sustained annual marine debris program in the State. Partners include the Plastic Ocean Project, featured here in the above photo showcasing micro-plastic research.

As part of the CCRW Water Quality for Fisheries Program, plastic pollution has been identified as one of the top five water quality impacts to coastal North Carolina fisheries.

Plastic pollution has received a significant amount of media attention the last few years, but there is still a dire need to establish regulatory policies and implement effective infrastructure in order to mitigate the harmful impacts of plastics on aquatic ecosystems.

Plastics can increase toxicity in water and marine life due to the presence of chemical additives that can leach out. Each year, between 4.8 and 12.7 million tons of plastic ends up in the ocean worldwide. Unfortunately, only 10% of plastics produced globally actually goes through the recycling process while the rest enters the environment, sits in landfills, or burns (Michelson, 2021).

“We cannot recycle-away the coastal concerns regarding plastic pollution. It will take improved infrastructure, strong policy and enforcement, continued research, and collaborative outreach to make long-lasting and sustainable change. With greater than 1,200 marine species impacted by plastic pollution, the time to act is now.”

– Lisa Rider, Executive Director, CCRW

Read more about Plastic Pollution Impacts to coastal North Carolina communities and what you can do by clicking here.

Stay tuned next month to read more about plastic pollution impacts on water quality and fisheries during the launch of CCRW’s Water Quality for Fisheries Assessment.

Join us for the NC

Plastic Policy Workshop

Hear from plastic policy experts in North Carolina.

Learn how local government planners, solid waste representatives, and local elected officials can help create change.

When:

April 29th, 2022

1-5pm

Where:

Carteret County, NC and

Virtually Everywhere

Brought to you by:

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Click here to Register

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Join Water Quality for Fisheries Industry Working Group

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PHOTO: Chianis, 2022

“I LOVE living here where there’s lots of beautiful water to fish, kayak, and play in.”

– Trudy A. Brewer, Student at the Tiller School in Beaufort, North Carolina

Join the

Industry Working Group in 2022

The Industry Working Group is

made up of commercial and recreational fisheries representatives,

working together to protect the quality of water and quality of life in coastal North Carolina.

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2021 Completed Goals of the IWG:

  • Enhanced the voices of North Carolina’s coastal fisheries community.
  • Collaborated and communicated with fisheries representatives to address concerns about how water quality impacts fisheries.
  • Collectively learned (from the WQ4F Assessment Process) what is currently being done in NC to address water quality issues impacting fisheries.
  • Collaboratively made recommendations on what more needs to be done to improve water quality for fisheries.
  • Proposed next steps that address gaps in addressing what is not currently being done to address water quality issues.

Do you, or someone you know, fish in North Carolina’s Coastal Waters (Commercial or Recreational)?

Join us today, click here to register.

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Donate to benefit Water Quality for Fisheries – Click Here

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Make Your Voice Heard

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Protecting Quality of Water and Quality of Life in Coastal Carolina
“Protecting Quality of Water and Quality of Life in

Coastal North Carolina.”

Make Your Voice Heard

The Biden administration has proposed a rule that would permanently reject the so-called “Navigable Waters Protection Rule”.

This would set us back to the pre-2015 definition of “waters of the U.S.” until the Biden administration creates a stronger rule defining Clean Water Act jurisdiction later in 2022.

The EPA will hold virtual hearings as part of the rule-making process to take oral comments from members of the public on January 12, 13, and 18, 2022.

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch is working with the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) to get the word out in hopes you will attend and make your voice heard.

We are asking that the agencies move swiftly in creating strong, long-lasting, science-based protections for streams, wetlands, lakes, and other waters. Help us elevate the voice of Coastal North Carolina to protect the quality of water and quality of life for generations to come.

Please sign up for a speaking slot or encourage others in your organizations or your members to do so. It is so important that the agencies hear from a diverse range of organizations and individuals who support strong clean water protections.

Sign up here:

Wednesday, January 12, 2022 from 10 AM – 1 PM ET (pre-registration closes Jan 7): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/us-epa-and-department-of-the-army-wotus-public-hearing-tickets-211244667487

Thursday, January 13, 2022 from 2 – 5 PM ET (pre-registration closes January 10): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/us-epa-and-department-of-the-army-wotus-public-hearing-tickets-211258017417

Tuesday, January 18, 2022 from 5 – 8 PM ET (pre-registration closes January 13): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/us-epa-and-department-of-the-army-wotus-public-hearing-tickets-211274536827

In case it is helpful, below are some proposed talking points provided by SELC:

Introduce self and organization (if applicable)

The so-called “Navigable Waters Protection Rule” allowed the pollution and destruction of our nation’s waters, and put the health of families, communities, and businesses that rely on clean, safe water at risk.

Returning to the pre-2015 approach is significantly better than leaving the fate of our nation’s waters to the inadequate and unlawful Trump-era rule, but it is still inadequate to ensure clean water for our families and communities.

The agencies must act promptly in finalizing the current proposal to restore longstanding clean water protections. Then the agencies must quickly move towards developing stronger, more robust clean water safeguards to protect the streams, wetlands, and lakes that we and our members rely on.

Strong federal clean water protections that are rooted in science and consistent with the objective of the Clean Water Act are critical to ensure our nation’s waters are safe for fishing, swimming, and as sources of drinking water.

The prior administration’s rule put countless streams, lakes, and wetlands at risk for far too long, removing clean water protections that had been in place through every other administration.

The unlawful rule stripped protections from thousands of stream miles, many public recreational lakes, millions of acres of wetlands, and numerous other waters that perform critical ecological functions and provide numerous economic benefits for communities. For example, at-risk wetlands help protect many Southern communities facing increased, intensified rain events and flooding with climate change.

Two federal courts in Arizona and New Mexico refused to leave the unlawful rule in place because, as has been clear since the rule was first proposed, it threatened increased pollution and flooding, endangering our communities.

Since the prior administration’s rule took effect in June 2020, the Army Corps has slated thousands of wetlands and other waterways to be destroyed by industry. Among those projects is a recently revised jurisdictional determination that removed protections from nearly 400 acres of wetlands for a massive mine proposed adjacent to the Okefenokee Swamp. These iconic wetlands and other at-risk waters are too valuable to lose.

Black, Brown, Indigenous, low-income, rural, and other communities are counting on the agencies to act now. Decades of environmental racism and corporate pollution have left too many low-income communities and communities of color without consistent access to safe, affordable drinking water, and the Trump-era rule only exacerbated the disparity.

The only way for the administration to fulfill its commitment to environmental justice is for the agencies to adopt strengthened clean water safeguards as soon as possible.

On behalf of Coastal Carolina Riverwatch (or your Organization), I urge the agencies to act swiftly and consistent with the objective of the Clean Water Act.

Remember that personal stories are the most impactful:

Why is protecting clean water important to you?

We need the EPA to hear that this is an issue that affects real people.

All of us, our families, and our communities suffer when our waterways are destroyed and polluted.

Your Coastal North Carolina story is important, Make Your Voice Heard!

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Become a Water Quality Advocate
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Become a Member

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Donate

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Coastal Carolina Riverwatch

www.coastalcarolinariverwatch.org

700 Arendell Street

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Morehead City, North Carolina 28557

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What You Need to Know About Bio Gas

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Protecting Quality of Water and Quality of Life in Coastal Carolina
“Protecting Quality of Water and Quality of Life in

Coastal North Carolina.”

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What You Need to Know

What is Biogas?

North Carolina’s 9.5 million hogs generate over 10 billion gallons of waste each year. The untreated waste is stored in massive pits, known as lagoons. These are often unlined, and uncovered. Liquid from these lagoons is sprayed onto adjacent fields for disposal. As the waste is sprayed, it can run into our waterways, pollute our air, and degrade quality of life in surrounding areas.

Biogas projects propose to install covers over lagoons in order to trap gas. As hog waste breaks down, methane is released and captured. Methane would then be transferred to a central location, converted into energy, and transported into natural gas pipelines for electricity.

Leading pork producer, Smithfield Foods, is touting biogas as a sustainable energy source and a solution to the problem of CAFO pollution.

Why is it a problem?

Below lagoon covers, hog waste still remains. Biogas is still entirely dependent on the outdated lagoon and spray-field system. Biogas projects will perpetuate the water contamination, air pollution, and degraded quality of life associated with lagoon and spray field systems. Some impacts can even be worsened by biogas infrastructure, such as anticipated increases in ammonia emissions.

Given that Biogas is dependent on created methane emissions, it is not a renewable resource as compared to solar and wind. Biogas transport pipelines spanning across multiple counties, pose significant environmental risks as well.

Biogas provides profits and incentive for polluters to keep polluting. Now is the time we need to be investing in a just transition to true clean energy. Coastal Carolina Riverwatch advocates for the prioritization of the protection of our land, waters, and communities over dependence on destructive, green-washed systems.

“As the NC Department of Environmental Quality is drafting an animal waste digester system general permit, CCRW, along with statewide advocates, urge the DEQ to adopt a stringent permit, above and beyond current swine permits.

Requiring cleaner technologies, comprehensive water monitoring and reporting, assessment of cumulative pollution impacts, and prevention of disproportionate impacts to communities of color and lower income communities.”

– Rebecca Drohan, White Oak Waterkeeper, Coastal Carolina Riverwatch

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Support of Clean Water

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Coastal Carolina Riverwatch

Support of Clean Water

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PHOTO: Patty Zimmery 2021

Honoring

Suzanne Wheatcraft

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch

Member and Volunteer, Board Director, and Supporting Donor

Suzanne Wheatcraft, Coastal Carolina Riverwatch Board Director, is a sustaining supporter of Coastal Carolina Riverwatch’s programming that protects the quality of water and quality of life in Coastal North Carolina.

Suzanne’s dad “built one of the first houses in Pine Knoll Shores and we grew up coming down to the beach from Durham every chance we got. Every few years my dad would save up his vacation days and our parents would pile us all in the station wagon for a family trip. Between those visits to Pine Knolls Shores and trips to locations (mostly state and national parks) all over the eastern half of the US and Canada, I developed my love for travel and my appreciation for what we have here in Carteret County.”

Having known Pine Knoll Shores for a lifetime, Suzanne understands its fragility to the impacts of water quality, and has also witnessed the area’s resilience through the collaborative support of this coastal community.

Suzanne knew early on that she was “destined for a career in one of the sciences.” Suzanne recalls a “great instructor at UNCW, Charles Markun”, convinced her that geology should be that science. The more Suzanne learned, the clearer it was that as a hydrogeologist she could do work that would have an environmental impact.

From UNCW, Suzanne went on to get her MS from Oklahoma State, where Dr. Arthur Hounslow taught her that “science and humor could go hand in hand… and could wake up sleepy graduate students in old, overheated classrooms during an after lunch, geochemistry lecture.”

Suzanne met and married, a Duke Forestry grad, Andy Wheatcraft. Together, their passion for nature and travel has served them well in both careers and free time. Luckily for Andy, he shares Suzanne’s love for Coastal North Carolina. Being from Baltimore, Andy also shares Suzanne’s love of fresh local North Carolina seafood – especially oysters and blue crabs. Both Suzanne and Andy are huge supporters of the Water Quality for Fisheries Program (WQ4F)

Once Suzanne started exploring the various corners of the Crystal Coast, she realized that “most of them are wet”. “We have an incredible amount and variety of coastline. Sound frontage and river bank, it all represents productive yet delicate ecosystems.”

At CCRW, “I’m learning lots of fascinating stuff about what harms and protects our communities and ecosystems, and I’m helping dedicated scientists spread the word about our home and how to advocate for it.”

Having seen coastal areas all over the world, Suzanne feels “optimistic that we have the tools and resources to protect our unique and diverse habitats and I’m excited to be a part of that work.”

Thanks Suzanne and Andy Wheatcraft, and to all the CCRW volunteers, members, and donors!

Whether you have strong roots to the coast, lived here your entire life, or just moved here to enjoy the salt air, we need your support to protect the quality of water and quality of life.

Regular donors, members, and volunteers are vital to continue the growth of service that Coastal Carolina Riverwatch provides to the coastal community. We are a small grassroots advocacy nonprofit working to provide services to Carteret and Onslow counties (link our Pure Farms Pure Waters Program), and serving the entire coast with our Water Quality for Fisheries Program (WQ4F) We do so with limited resources, because we have a support system like you.

Together, we protect the quality of water and quality of life in Coastal North Carolina.

Become a Supporting Donor

Become a Regular Supporter of

Clean Water with

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch.

Donate Today!

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