Through Coastal Carolina Riverwatch’s boots-on-the-ground rapid response program we have documented significant water quality problems that threaten human health and aquatic life and utilize that information to increase awareness and support for improved policies. We conduct research and use facilitated collaborative methods to engage advocates, scientists, industry, government, and other stakeholders to provide top-down prioritized gaps-in-service programming for the communities in coastal NC.
Accomplishments (so far) in 2022:
CCRW staff has developed, written, and published a weekly newsletter to over 2,500 subscribers.This newsletter brings attention to water quality concerns and actions at the coast. Sign up, click here.
Investigated significant pollution events and published outreach content to a social media audience of over 20,000 per month and 2,500 newsletter subscribers.
Investigated potential pollution events in the White Oak River Basin from Cedar Island to Hampstead. Major events include potential pollution events from stormwater runoff in several developments, PFAS research in areas of significant concern and including Statewide and National research on PFAS in surface waters, plastics research in collaboration with a Statewide coalition project, and finding, investigating, and reporting on a significant harmful algae bloom in the lower New River.
Advocated for the protection of coastal habitat, water quality, and quality of life by providing comments on legislation, policies, regulations, and local planning and development activities.
Created and sustain gaps-in-service programming that protects water quality:
Wetlands Wednesdays, (NEW IN 2022)
Focus on educating the public on wetland science and eco benefits as well as anthropogenic. Types and sub-types, threats, locations and news in video, and image format.
This work encompasses a comprehensive long-term strategy to study and advocate for water quality protection measures in coastal communities.
Achievements for this program in 2022:
Collaborated and communicated with fisheries representatives to address concerns about how water quality impacts fisheries and next steps on prioritized project development.
Collectively learned (from the WQ4F Assessment Process) what is currently being done in the State to address water quality issues impacting fisheries and use the information to develop prioritized project proposals to fund ongoing research and outreach efforts that will protect water quality for 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.
Submitted three project proposals in 2022 to fund further WQ4F work.
Screened the WQ4F Film “Tidal Alert” several times in-person and virtually in 2022 with an estimated audience of +5,000 people in 2022.
Developed the Algae Bloom Response project in collaboration with commercial and recreational fishermen participating in the WQ4F program.
Water Quality for Fisheries Prioritized Actions Items in 2022:
Industrial Agriculture and Factory Farming Pollution:
Advocated for updated waste management systems for industrial agriculture and factory farming practices.
Advocated for improving the requirements for pre-storm preparation.
Worked to bridge the gap between scientists and policymakers.
Advocated for the implementation of sustainable development techniques (wetland and forest protection, permeable surfaces, increased vegetated areas, on-site runoff treatment technologies).
Advocated for green infrastructure policy development (standardize the use of permeable pavement, green streets, filtration systems, and nature-based infrastructure).
Enhanced the monitoring of stormwater runoff.
Publicized successful stormwater control efforts.
Advocated for the reduction of industrial activities that utilize harmful industrial chemicals in their process and the development of new filtration technologies.
Advocated for policies that enforces the maximum contaminant levels for municipal water treatment facilities.
Increased education efforts providing information to consumers on PFAS-containing products.
Advocated for changes in the manufacturing process of plastics that prevent plastic pollution.
Advocated for single-use plastic-bans and extended producer responsibility.
Advocate for the research of green chemistry (alternatives to current chemical composition of plastic) and research the physiological effects of plastic on fish.
Advocated for preventative repairs and updates on current infrastructure.
Advocated for the establishment of water quality standards for additional wastewater pollutants, including plastics and industrial chemicals.
Worked with researchers to understand wastewater treatment infrastructure for coastal regions, with high water tables and flooding, to determine effective best management practices for reducing wastewater pollution.
Increased community outreach support for improving wastewater treatment infrastructure.