Month: September 2022

The Smell of Money

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Meet the Waterkeeper

and Watch “The Smell of Money” at Farm Aid

Join Coastal Carolina Riverwatch’s Waterkeeper, Riley Lewis, at Farm Aid for a viewing of The Smell of Money, an award-winning documentary film centering the experience of Elsie Herring, former CCRW Board Director, and her neighbors in Duplin County, NC.

“The smell of money” is what Big Pork calls the stench of pig waste in the air in eastern North Carolina, where much of the world’s bacon and barbecue is made. But to Elsie and others who live near the state’s giant pig factories, the revolting odor is a call to battle against generations of injustice.

A story about the power of love for one’s family and community, The Smell of Money calls upon viewers to see the people behind what’s on our plates – and to join the fight for a better future for us all.

A discussion will follow, moderated by Ghanja O’Flaherty, Co-Director of Infrastructure and Development with the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network and will include the filmmaker Jamie Berger, Duplin County resident Ms. Rene Miller, and farmers and factory farm organizers fighting a dairy CAFO and poultry CAFO in Oregon.

When:

Friday, September 23 | 1–4pm

Where:

Farm Aid – Click here for event details and ticketing information.

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Student Research Opportunity – Deadline Approaching!

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NC Water Resources Research Institute Funds Opportunities for Students

Proposals due October 3rd!

The North Carolina Water Resources Research Institute (WRRI) offers a graduate student component of our annual call for research proposals and funds several graduate researchers each cycle.

For faculty submissions to our annual funding call, one criteria for proposal evaluation is the level of engagement of student researchers; thus, almost all funded projects support university students, and many also engage K-12 and public audiences with an outreach component included in their project scope.

This is a great opportunity for our coastal area graduate students working on research projects that will lead to the protection of the quality of water and quality of life in coastal North Carolina.” – Lisa Rider, CCRW Executive Director

For North Carolina graduate students:

WRRI issued its annual RFP for graduate student proposals for the FY 2022-2023 Competitive Grants Program.

This RFP is sponsored by WRRI and the USGS 104(b) program.

Full student proposals are due Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, at 5 p.m.

Faculty may propose one- or two-year projects for the 2022-2023 cycle, with a maximum award of $60,000 per year. Student proposals are limited to one-year projects and a $10,000 maximum award amount. The anticipated start date for faculty projects is September 1, 2023. The anticipated start date for student projects is January 3, 2023. Start dates and award amounts are contingent upon receipt of federal funds.

Read full RFP details

Download the NC WRRI Guidelines for Data Management Plans Templates & Examples

Informational webinar will be Aug. 23, 2022. Registration: go.ncsu.edu/wrri_rfp_info_webinar

Slide deck (and recording upon request) is now available

Read the full news release about this funding opportunity

If you are a student and would like to partner with Coastal Carolina Riverwatch on a water quality research proposal, let us know. – click here.

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Click Here to Learn about the North Carolina Marine Debris Symposium
– October 12-14th –
Duke University Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, NC.
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Fish Kill in Coastal Community

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Fish Kills in Coastal Community

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PHOTO: CARTER , 2022
Not one, but two reports of fish kills in the small coastal community of Sneads Ferry.

On September 13th, 2022 a citizen reported seeing dead fish of all sizes in a Chadwick Shores neighborhood pond. An NCDEQ Water Quality inspector visited the site the next day and observed 5-10 dead fish, mostly consisting of red drums. No unusual color or odor from the pond had been noted on this day. It was theorized that heavy rain may have flushed a load of organic matter from the wetland which drains into the pond, which also receives runoff from the roads in that area. On September 18th a citizen indicated that the water was darker than the day of initial inspection, but found that it cleared up the next day.

This event happened in Everett lake, located in the Chadwick Shores neighborhood of Sneads Ferry, North Carolina. Chadwick Shores is located along the Fullard Creek at the mouth of the New River.

The concerned Chadwick Shores citizen followed proper procedure and contacted local state water quality personnel. Anyone who sees foul smelling water or dead fish in a body of water are encouraged to contact their regional DEQ office staff.

Water Quality inspectors will continue tracking any news from the area. They will be sending a Wildlife Biologist out to the site in a few weeks, but because of staffing it may take a while for them to do a thorough assessment of the pond. Priority is given to suspicious/non-natural situations and because the DEQ inspector that came out stated the event was most likely caused by dissolved oxygen and no other animal mortalities were observed, it will be a lower priority.

In the same community of Sneads Ferry, at the end of Fannie Creek Lane along the New River, there is a much larger algae bloom seen late yesterday evening (9.20.22) with fish kills reported. This bloom was reported by Adam Jones, CCRW Advocacy Committee Member and local community member. Mr. Jones has reported this bloom to the State and CCRW will be following-up on and filling-in when needed on algae identification and analysis. Stay tuned for a full report on this later this week.

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PHOTO: JONES, 2022
The NC Division of Water Resources has recently established an online reporting system where citizens can also report suspicious water using their phone, tablet, or computer. That online survey can be found here: https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/c23ba14c74bb47f3a8aa895f1d976f0d?portalUrl=https://ncdenr.maps.arcgis.com

WiRO attributes the bad water in the bays and boat basin as stagnant water that is being held by all the NNE wind. NE wind is not common for long durations in September when the water is warm. There is nothing that we can think we could sample for at this moment. It seems a natural occurrence that will resolve itself when the weather pattern changes and especially when the water temps drop.” – Morella King, NCDENR

WATERKEEPER ACTION ALERT:

Fish Kills are usually influenced by manmade pressures including the use of fertilizers, pesticides, and impervious surfaces. These contaminants flow into waterways and harm the organisms that live there. The best way to prevent Fish Kills is by stopping these contaminants from getting into waterways in the first place.

Residents of coastal communities can make a big difference by following proper application instructions on pesticides and fertilizers. Only use as much as you need, where you need it and do not apply them before wet weather. Residents can also ensure to properly dispose of lawn clippings and plant debris to prevent them from entering waterways, where they can add excess nutrients and cloud the water.

Communities can prevent Fish Kills by implementing good stormwater management and by

familiarizing themselves with coastal processes and how water moves through the property.

Rachel, a community HOA member, reached out to the residents of Chadwick Shores stating “Until we know the extent of this issue we suggest that no one fish in the pond and you keep your children and animals away from the area.”

CCRW Waterkeeper, Riley Lewis, encourages citizens to use the NCDEQ online reporting system:

https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/c23ba14c74bb47f3a8aa895f1d976f0d?portalUrl=https://ncdenr.maps.arcgis.com

and the Fish Kill and Algal Bloom Report Dashboard where you can keep track of current and past fish kills and algal blooms in all of North Carolina.

That dashboard can be found here: https://ncdenr.maps.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/7543be4dc8194e6e9c215079d976e716

The causes of Fish Kills and Algal Blooms can be very serious and potentially harm humans and pets, so “When in doubt, stay out!”

For current updates on this water quality impact, please contact, hoaboard

For more info about local water quality information, please contact:

Riley Lewis,

White Oak Waterkeeper

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch

RileyL

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PHOTOS: CARTER, 2022
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Coastal Development Impacts

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Coastal Development Impacts

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PHOTO: RIDER, 2022
At Coastal Carolina Riverwatch, we watch what is happening on land in order to see what might influence our waterways. Coastal NC faces the challenge of balancing our growth with the damage it will do to the environment.

From Beaufort to Topsail there are swaths of wooded areas being clear cut for structures. This removal of trees contributes to the number one pollutant in US waters: Sediment. Sediment falls under the category of Stormwater Runoff and is one of the top concerns identified by our Water Quality for Fisheries study

Vegetation holds dirt in place with extensive root systems and the more native plants there are the more soil they can hold. Elderberry bushes and Silky Willow can even hold the sides of river banks together and keep the ground from falling in. The leaves of trees and other plants are important in slowing down rain water so soil is less disturbed when hit by water droplets, and the stems of plants slow water that moves along the surface of the land and picks up loose earth along the way.

Without that vegetation, water can more easily displace soil and carry it into water bodies. Once sediment is in the water it can cause some serious damage to the ecosystem.

Bottom dwelling organisms like oysters and sea grass can get smothered and buried by settling dirt.

Sediment suspended in the water can block light and deprive plants of energy. Cloudy water reduces visibility and make it difficult for fish to find food. Sediment loading events can happen naturally but dramatically increases in frequency and severity once the natural vegetation is removed.

According the NC Department of Environmental Quality, uncontrolled soil erosion is a major concern in North Carolina, because of its effect on the environment. In 1973 the General Assembly passed the North Carolina Sedimentation Pollution Control Act that requires anyone involved in land-disturbing activities to take precautions to reduce soil erosion and prevent damage to waterways.

The law includes five mandatory standards:

  • prior plan approval
  • slope stabilization
  • establishment of groundcover
  • stream buffer zones
  • follow the approved plan

An erosion control plan is required, for disturbances larger than one acre, at least 30 days prior to beginning the land disturbing activity and must be approved before the land-disturbing activity can begin. Failure to file an erosion control plan or to follow an approved plan can result in fines up to $5000 per day. Willful noncompliance is considered a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $5000. An injunction or stop work order may also be issue.

At the coast, we are all too familiar with impacts to water quality being the cost-of-business for some, while NCDEQ offices have very limited resources to enforce State regulations. Coastal region inspectors are currently covering multiple coastal jurisdictions due to staffing shortages. At Coastal Carolina Riverwatch, we are building a team of local advocates to help bring awareness of the ecological and economical benefits to low-impact development and the high-cost of slash and burn practices.

What can you do?

Take Action:

  • Attend municipal and County planning board meetings to learn about upcoming developments and advocate for sustainable low-impact development practices.
  • Support local companies that use sustainable practices with a priority to reduce impacts to water quality.
  • Advocate for stronger policies and enforcement.
  • Report erosion and sediment issues to Coastal Carolina Riverwatch at RileyL

Don’t assume that economic interests and environmental interests are in conflict. “The idea of development vs. conservation is counterproductive to both ends. With that said, getting to a more sustainable future will rely on our ability to secure both thriving communities and healthy ecosystems.

We can best achieve this if developers prioritize low-impact practices, if local, State, and federal policies require sustainable low-impact development practices, if local, State, and federal regulations are enforced, and if we continue to learn from low-impact development research that will benefit our community and ecology.” – Lisa Rider, CCRW Executive Director

If you notice water looking different around development, let us know – click the red button below.

Report a Water Quality Concern
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Mashallberg Farm Tour

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Marshallberg Caviar Tour
Join the Coastal Carolina Riverwatch crew for a Friday tour of Marshallberg Farm. Click here to purchase tickets.

Tour the sturgeon farm, taste caviar and sturgeon, and learn about the farm’s sustainable practices that protect water quality.

The tour includes:

• An in-depth tour of the indoor R.A.S. sturgeon farm
• Caviar tasting with champagne & Social House Vodka
• Generous samplings of smoked sturgeon products & more
• Opportunity to speak to staff and purchase Marshallberg Farm products.

The entire event will last about 2 hours.

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NC Marine Debris Symposium News

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The North Carolina Marine Debris Symposium is an annual event that provides a collaborative forum for the exchange of information on recent research, infrastructure best management practices, policy development, removal projects, and advocacy that prevents plastic pollution.

Join marine debris and plastic pollution prevention stakeholders from all over North Carolina and the Southeast for three days of collaboration, networking, and solution-development.

Marine debris is a problem that continues to grow. Our waterways and oceans are constantly polluted with a wide variety of marine debris ranging from polystyrene trays and plastic bags to derelict fishing equipment and abandoned boats.

Who should Attend this year’s event:

  • Local Government Decision-Makers
  • Solid Waste Managers
  • Recycling and Waste Reduction Coordinators
  • Public Health Managers
  • Fisheries Representatives
  • Non-government Organizations
  • Researchers
  • Students
  • Volunteers and Advocates
  • Business Owners
  • Tourism Managers
  • You!
Click Here to View the Agenda!
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Click the image above for information, registration, sponsorship opportunities, and the event agenda.
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New Coastal Waterkeeper Announced

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Welcome White Oak Waterkeeper,

Riley Lewis, to the Crew

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The Coastal Carolina Riverwatch Board of Directors has appointed Riley Lewis as White Oak Waterkeeper (WOW). Riley joined the staff of Coastal Carolina Riverwatch in the Summer of 2022. Prior to this role, she served as an AmeriCorps member in Wilmington and engaged the community in citizen science research of wetland and oyster health, conducted educational programming to school age and university students, and provided field experience to environmental educators in local waterways.

Rick Kearney, Board President, added “Riley emerged from a pool of well qualified candidates for Waterkeeper because of her enthusiasm for our mission, her educational background, and her experience. I am delighted that she is on board at CCRW.”

Riley holds a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science from University of South Carolina and a Master of Science in Coastal and Ocean Policy from UNC Wilmington. Her background includes analysis of water quality on drinking water affordability and research of chemical pollutants along North Carolina’s coast.

“I am honored and excited to be your Waterkeeper. Ever since learning about the Waterkeeper organizations I have been inspired by their work. Having grown up on the Chesapeake Bay and lived by rivers my whole life I have a deep appreciation for our waterways and have always been motivated to protect them. North Carolina’s coastal environment is constantly threatened by natural and manmade processes and these threats turn around and harm our communities. Water deserves the respect that we give each other and as Waterkeeper, I will advocate for this belief.” Said Riley Lewis, Waterkeeper.

Lewis will lead several initiatives as Waterkeeper, which will support the mission of CCRW, to protect and enhance the waters, land, and communities of eastern North Carolina.

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) subject our rivers to fecal contamination and pollute the air in surrounding communities. Through the “Pure Farms Pure Waters” campaign, we work with other NC Waterkeepers and several amazing statewide advocates to address these impacts. CCRW collects regular water samples in our service area to monitor bacteria levels surrounding CAFOs. We also do aerial monitoring to look for violations. By collecting this data we can track trends on how these facilities are affecting our waters. We can then work with our partners to advocate for the reform of these destructive industries. We have the greatest respect for NC’s local, sustainable farms and are working on initiatives to support these alternatives. In addition to monitoring active CAFOs, CCRW support local and sustainable farms through the #FarmFriday program, a weekly outreach program that features a local sustainable food provider in our watershed. For more information, click here.

Microplastics are another form of pollution plaguing our waterways. Plastics never truly break down. Instead, they breakup into tiny pieces called microplastics. Microplastics can attract toxins and be ingested by aquatic life. Microplastics have become so pervasive that they are present in the human body. CCRW is participating in a two year microplastic study in the New River. We are collecting water and sediment samples to be analyzed for microplastic content. This project is in partnership with all other NC Waterkeepers and will provide valuable information about the scope of NC’s microplastic problem. Riley will also be assisting with the coordination of the NC Marine Debris Symposium this October. Click here for more information.

NC fishing communities depend on clean water as a way of life. They spend more time on the water than perhaps anyone else and are deeply impacted by water quality issues. CCRW’s Water Quality for Fisheries program addresses water quality impacts on NC fisheries. Through a research based survey, we identified five water quality priority concerns from our fishing communities. We developed an Industry Working Group made up of commercial and recreational fishermen to collaboratively address these concerns. Through an assessment process we are evaluating what is currently being done on these issues and working to identify areas of need.

Moving forward, we have several projects we are looking to implement in our watershed. We are hoping to fund research that will lead to local partnerships to develop policies and update infrastructure that will prevent impacts to water quality. We are seeking funding to develop Equity in the Environment programming, expand our Water Quality for Fisheries and Pure Farms Pure Waters programming, and continue to provide water quality monitoring and advocacy services to the Carteret and Onslow county areas.

“The work we do is challenging but rewarding, and we rely on the support from our community, volunteers, and members who consider us as a resource. Our work to support our area and protect our waterways will continue, because even after a big win there will always be more to do.”

– Riley Lewis, White Oak Waterkeeper

Lisa Rider, Coastal Carolina Riverwatch Executive Director, noted, “We are grateful to welcome Riley Lewis to our dedicated team of water quality advocates. Riley has a lot of experience with building community collaborative efforts that protect our community environment. She will be a role model for others wanting to do more to protect water quality in coastal North Carolina. Riley has the perfect combination of knowledge and skills, plus a passion that supports our mission.”

“I have been fortunate to spend time with Riley on several occasions now, and her enthusiasm and passion for our work is inspiring. I cannot wait to work out in the field with her, and I look forward to many more opportunities to share our passion for clean water and our coast!”

– Board Vice President, Katie Tomberlin

“Being a Waterkeeper means, not only, long hours in front of a computer working to fund projects and corresponding with concerned community members and decision makers, but it can be a dirty job too. Fieldwork does involve trudging through some of our most remote and primitive conditions. This is not a job for the faint of heart and we are lucky to have passionate team members that work tirelessly to protect our quality of water and quality of life.”

– Bob Marsh, Board Director

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Action Alert: Major Pollution Event on the Neuse

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Action Alert: Major Pollution Event on the Neuse

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At Coastal Carolina Riverwatch, we stand in solidarity with our neighbor Riverkeepers protecting the watersheds upstream from Coastal North Carolina.

When a major pollution event happens upstream of our coastal waters, we feel the impacts as well.

Click here to read the full story:

Major Pollution Event on the Neuse

Take Action:

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Photos: Sound Rivers, 2022
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Angler Citizen Science: DMF wants your Flounder Carcusses

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Citizen Science:

The Division of Marine Fisheries wants your Flounder Carcasses

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The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries is asking for your help. They will be collecting legal sized flounder carcasses (15 inches or greater) from recreational fishermen during the upcoming recreational flounder season.

The division has set up 8 temporary freezer locations where recreational fishermen can take their flounder carcasses. In addition, there are an additional ten drop off locations accessible throughout the year. These locations are also below.

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Tania Baldridge

PHOTO: B. BALDRIDGE 2022

The temporary locations are:

Oden’s Dock: 57878 North Carolina Hwy 12, Hatteras;

Bridge Tender Marina: 1418 Airlie Rd, Wilmington;

NC Division of Marine Fisheries: 943 Washington Square Mall Highway 17, Washington;

Sea Gate Marina: 729 Sea Gate Dr, Newport;

Chasin’ Tails Outdoors: 709 Atlantic Beach Causeway, Atlantic Beach;

Ocean Isle Marina: 2000 Sommersett Rd SW, Ocean Isle Beach;

Seapath Yacht Club: 330 Causeway Dr, Wrightsville Beach; and

Dudley’s Marina: 106 Cedar Point Blvd #8000, Cedar Point.

The year-round locations are (map available here):

Cape Pointe Marina, Harkers Island;

Frisco Rod & Gun, Frisco;

Jennette’s Pier, Nags Head;

Pogies Fishing & Kayaking Center, Swansboro;

Pelagic Hunter Fishing Center, Sneads Ferry;

Sea View Crab Company, Wilmington;

Tex’s Tackle, Wilmington;

NC Division of Marine Fisheries Headquarters, Morehead City;

NC Division of Marine Fisheries, Wilmington; and

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point- Environmental Affairs Office (available only to those with military base access).

The notice from North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries states that fishermen who donate legal carcasses and provide a completed carcass collection catch card will be eligible for either an Angler Recognition Certificate (one per season for fish 15 inches to less than 24 inches total length) or a N.C. Saltwater Fishing Tournament Citation (one per fish for fish 24 inches or greater total length).

Instructions on how to deposit the carcasses are posted on each freezer. Anglers will be asked to give information related to how and when the fish was caught and must provide their names and addresses if they wish to receive a certificate or citation.

Division biologists will measure the fish, determine the sex, if possible, and remove the otoliths (ear bones) to determine the age of the fish. The information collected will be used in future flounder stock assessments.

The 2022 recreational flounder season opened at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 1 and close at 11:59 p.m. Sept. 30 for both the recreational hook-and-line and gig fisheries. There is a one flounder per person per day creel limit with a minimum size limit of 15-inch total length (from the tip of the snout to the tip of the compressed tail).

For specific recreational harvest regulations, go to Proclamation FF-44-2022

For more information visit the links below.

Website: http://www.ncmarinefisheries.net

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ncdeq

Click here to watch “Tidal Alert”, a new film about how Water Quality impacts Fisheries.

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