Coastal Carolina Riverwatch’s Water Quality for Fisheries Program includes a coalition of recreational and commercial fishermen and women that work to identify, prioritize, and tackle actions that protect the quality of water and quality of life in coastal NC. During the WQ4F survey, those who fish on the coast of NC identified industrial agriculture and factory farming as the number one priority focus for reducing water quality impacts to fisheries. The excess nutrients, from these facilities, cause eutrophication, habitat destruction, and algal blooms that block sunlight from reaching aquatic vegetation.
Algal blooms may contain toxic microorganisms such as a Pfiesteria which has contributed to public health issues and fish being plagued with large sores. These factors have caused massive fish kills in NC waters including species such as minnows, gar, largemouth bass, striped bass, and flounder.
Runoff from these facilities can also lead to the presence of fecal bacteria or pathogens in surface water. Fecal bacterial pathogens that can cause human health problems and may lead to shellfish collection restrictions.
NEW PODCAST – This week on the Under the Dome politics podcast, host Dawn Vaughan talks with the main reporting team behind a project by The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer, “Big Poultry.” Plus a sneak peek of what’s to come in their coverage.
PHOTO: LEWIS, 2022 – Dry litter piles sitting outside between the right two poultry barns.
As part of the Pure Farms Pure Water campaign, CCRW calls attention to these destructive practices, advocate for environmental laws, and support traditional family farms.
Coastal Carolina Riverwatch wants to see poultry CAFO’s regulated by the NC Department of Environmental Quality. Without proper regulation and enforcement, large facilities that produce as much waste as a large city will continue to pollute Coastal Carolina’s waterways and threaten our quality of water and quality of life.
This holiday season please consider supporting a small, local farm when searching for pork or poultry products. Small efforts like these, help our community businesses and help protect water quality in your back yard.
Though many CAFOs cannot be seen from the road, please keep an eye out for any hog lagoons or uncovered dry litter piles that look (or smell) off and let the White Oak Waterkeeper know!
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.