Long-billed curlew (North America’s largest shorebird).
Spring Birding in Coastal North Carolina
In early March a group of local birders boarded the CheLeiMar, captained by Jess Hawkins of Crystal Coast Ecotours, to do a little springtime birding by water. The southwest winds were a little too stiff for getting out onto the open ocean (Cap’n Jess said the water was pretty snotty out there, which didn’t sound at all appealing), so we concentrated on the sheltered waters from the Morehead City docks to the eastern end of Harkers Island and around the waters of Lookout bight off South Core Banks.
The photos of the birds were taken by Jamie Adams. These are the rarities we saw on our trip but we recorded many other bird species and hundreds if not thousands of individual birds. Our boat was even followed a couple of times by playful dolphins.
On beautiful days like this birding trip, I am reminded of the fragile natural beauty that surrounds us. Whether humans or any other species, we all need safe and clean places to live and food to eat. Water quality is not an abstract concept for our plant and animal neighbors, but a necessity. One of the reasons I believe so strongly in the work of CCRW is because the plants and animals who have no voice need an advocate to explain and protect their role in our ecosystem.
– Suzanne Wheatcraft, Coastal Carolina Riverwatch Board Director
The birders pictured are, from left to right, Curtiss Merrick, Suzanne Wheatcraft, John Fussell, Marty Wall, Donna Goodwin, and Jamie Adams. Photo by Jess Hawkins.
Common loon in drab winter plumage (Canadian dollar coins featuring this bird are referred to as Loonies)
Razorbill (a small bird who can dive underwater over 300 feet deep in pursuit of fish).
“We are your boots-on-the-ground for water quality in
coastal North Carolina and we need your support to continue our mission.”
– Riley Lewis, White Oak Waterkeeper
CCRW work is funded by your donations and accomplished by local water quality advocates, top-of-their field scientific and research advisors, local government and industry community stakeholders, pro-bono attorney groups, captains and pilots, university partners, local sustainable businesses, and you.
We fill gaps in services that protect water quality in communities throughout the White Oak River Basin (Carteret, Onslow, and beyond).
We are grateful for community, clean water, and your support of our mission to protect the quality of water and quality of life in coastal NC!
CCRW spoke up about Water Quality at conferences and the NC Legislature last month
PHOTO: (From left to right) CCRW ED Lisa Rider, Senator Norman Sanderson, Waterkeeper Riley Lewis, Town of Beaufort Commissioner Melvin Cooper, Beaufort Citizen Logan Louis.
NC Water Resources Research Institute conference
Coastal Carolina Riverwatch’s White Oak Waterkeeper, Riley Lewis, presented on our Water Quality for Fisheries Program at last month’s NC Water Resources Research Institute conference. Her concurrent session named “Out of the Box: Creative Approaches to Community Collaboration and Engagement” allowed her to highlight the unique work of our WQ4F program and its approach to assessing water quality concerns from multiple stakeholder perspectives. Riley also participated in the conference by moderating a session for other water quality advocates.
“There was incredible support for our WQ4F program from multiple different industry individuals, they really appreciated how many stakeholder groups we collaborated with. I left very inspired to continue our fisheries work and many researchers gave great insight into our top water quality issues. There is always more to know and more work to be done.“
The 2023 WRRI Annual Conference was held at the NC State McKimmon Center in Raleigh, North Carolina and provided an opportunity for water quality researchers, professionals, and organizations to share their knowledge on the State’s water quality. The conference brings together all sectors and all disciplines working in water resources across North Carolina. Riley interacted with water utilities, students, consultants, academics, nonprofits, state agency staff, among many others, working across diverse fields such as stream restoration, water supply planning, stormwater management, hydrology, and community engagement.
PHOTO: Riley Lewis, CCRW White Oak Waterkeeper, presenting at the 2023 WRRI conference.
Ocean Advocacy Workshop
At this year’s Ocean Advocacy Workshop, CCRW Executive Director, Lisa Rider, joined fellow coastal environmental advocates to teach university students from across the State about impacts to the quality of water and quality of life at the coast and how to use advocacy to protect our coastal community environment. She was joined by fellow fierce advocates for environmental justice and pollution prevention for the 2023 Ocean Advocacy Workshop in Greensboro, NC.
“This event was planned with maximizing student engagement in mind and I am grateful to be a part of it. It’s inspiring to meet so many young people getting involved in advocacy and seeking out educational programs and careers that will work to protect the quality of water and life in NC. I can’t think of a better way to spend a weekend and I’m looking forward to more events with this level of student engagement.”
PHOTO: Lisa Rider, CCRW Executive Director, presenting to students at the 2023 OAW.
CCRW staff and local water quality advocates meet with legislators in the White Oak River Basin to advocate and explain support for legislation relevant to water quality and quality of life in coastal NC. We spoke with Senator Norman Sanderson, Representative George Cleveland, Senator Michael Lazarra, Representative Carson Smith, and Representative Phil Shepard about the threats to water quality and what they can do to help.
CCRW participated as part of a state-wide Waterkeeper Lobby day where water representatives from across the state spoke up about legislative needs to protect water quality. Throughout our State we are seeing stormwater become an increasingly common issue and this threat can be exceptionally severe along the coast. Pollutants in stormwater flow directly into sensitive coastal waters and can greatly impact the swimability, drinkability, and fishability of the waters that surround our coastal communities.