In Gratitude for Clean Water

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In Gratitude for Clean Water

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Coastal Carolina Riverwatch (CCRW) is a women-led grassroots organization driven by the voices of the coast and working through community collaboration to protect water quality and coastal habitat.

We are your boots-on-the-ground for water quality in

coastal North Carolina.”

– R.Lewis, White Oak Waterkeeper

CCRW work is funded by your donations and accomplished by an efficient and effective three-person staff, dedicated board of directors, 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 local advocates. We are grateful for community, clean water, and You!

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Community and Clean Water

It’s the time of year when many of us, while enjoying the smells of pumpkin pie, pause and express thanks for the things we’re most grateful for in life.

Here at Coastal Carolina Riverwatch, we are thankful, everyday, for

Community and Clean Water!

Have you ever heard the term “it takes a village”? At CCRW, we take an all-hands-on-deck approach to developing and providing water quality services to the community.

You are a part of this collaborative approach and process. You are a key stakeholder in the coastal village of water quality advocates and we are grateful for you!

In this time of food and family, CCRW is grateful for your role in our collaborative approach to working alongside local coastal farms and fisheries. In 2022, CCRW worked to communicate the connection between local and sustainable food sources and water quality protection. We did so through a village of collaborators that worked to prioritize, develop and provide services that benefit coastal NC. This work can be found in the accomplishments of the Pure Farms, Pure Waters and Water Quality for Fisheries programs.

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Supporting Local and Sustainable Food Sources

Help Protect Water Quality and

the Quality of Community Life

in Coastal NC

From farm or waters-to-table, coastal NC has everything you could possibly need to sustain an adventurously flavorful seasonal (and sustainable) dish variety.

“The ability to successfully and sustainably farm and fish is an indicator of water quality and quality of community. We all play a role in keeping local sustainable farming and fishing a part of our coastal community heritage.” – Lisa Rider, CCRW Executive Director

Three years ago, CCRW made a commitment to getting-the-word-out about local sustainable food choices “as a tool, in our tool box, for helping improve water quality while also protecting the quality of life here in coastal NC.

Since 2019, CCRW has supported over 15 (and growing) local farms, farmers, and farmer’s markets in the White Oak River Basin by featuring their sustainable work on a permanent basis on our website and through weekly features (#FarmFriday).

In 2022, CCRW held a Pure Farms, Pure Waters Sustainable BBQ, with partners 34 North, featuring local (Newport, NC) and sustainably-raised pork BBQ and vegan BBQ supporting NC products and farmers. The event supported several coastal farms and farmers and reached hundreds of folks with outreach materials regarding sustainable farming and how to protect the quality of water through sustainable agriculture advocacy.

Local coastal consumers are the glue that holds a sustainably-sourced food-web available to a community. “If you do not support it, it will not be around forever.” In addition, it has been showcased many times, here in the CCRW newsletter, how industrialized agriculture and factory farming practices can and have-had significant impacts on our coastal water quality. As consumers, we play a big role in “voting with our wallet” support for where our money goes relative to whether or not something is made or grown sustainably, locally, and with water quality in mind.

The staff at CCRW go a step above “the talk” about sustainable farming and fisheries. “We personally support these farms and farmers.” At CCRW, the staff and board members support local farms, markets, fishers, and local artisans. “Supporting our local sustainable farms and fishers in our daily lives, for the food we eat and materials we need, is just a part of how we are committed to community and water quality.” It is important that we “walk it like we talk it.”

We are grateful for access to local and sustainable foods in coastal NC. If you would like to learn more about impacts of industrial agriculture and factory farming on water quality, please check out our Pure Farms, Pure Waters Program and Water Quality for Fisheries Program.

Check out our social media program #FarmFriday, highlighting a different coastal farm or market each week and click here for more information. For local fish markets, please click here.

Click here to Support CCRW Programming in 2023.

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PHOTO: Jan Farmer, Ocean Fest, and Ryan Bethea, Oysters Carolina, both CCRW Board Members, harvesting oysters for post-cleanup with fellow board members in Harkers Island, NC.
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PHOTO: RIDER 2022 – North River
Some of our most ecologically diverse, and most vulnerable habitats are in jeopardy of being lost forever. I am proud that our work is building a sustainable advocacy coalition to work collaboratively on protecting these important natural heritage areas.”

– K.Burke, Administrative Assistant

Please consider donating today to support programming in 2023.

Wards creek, where I live, is a beautiful body of water and deserves protecting. I support Coastal Carolina Riverwatch to protect the quality of water and life in Wards Creek and throughout coastal NC.” – Rick Kearney, Board President

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PHOTO: Board President, Rick Kearney, photo taken by L.RIDER, 2022 on Wards Creek, Otway, NC.
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North Carolina Coastal Conference

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The North Carolina Coastal Conference

Last week NC Sea Grant held the North Carolina Coastal Conference in Raleigh. The conference brought together government staff, researchers, businesses, and non governmental organizations to talk about coastal resiliency along our coast.

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch’s White Oak Waterkeeper attended this year’s conference to network with other North Carolina organizations and stay updated on current research and projects that help the environmental needs of our coastal communities.

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PHOTO: LEWIS, 2022 – Presentation by Elizabeth Frankenberg, the Director of the Carolina Center for Population Aging and Health at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Day 1:

The first day of the conference began with opening comments from Susan White – NC Sea Grant Executive director, Elizabeth Biser – NC DEQ Secretary, and Jonathan Pannock – Natinal Sea Grant College Program Director. The remarks emphasized the importance of collaboration and the need for increased resiliency efforts along the coast.

According the the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Coastal resilience means building the ability of a community to “bounce back” after hazardous events such as hurricanes, coastal storms, and flooding – rather than simply reacting to impacts.

The sessions that followed expanded on current resiliency plans being developed by the State of NC (like the Resilient Coastal Communities Program), projects being implemented in coastal communities (like the Todd D. Krafft Septic Health Initiative Program), and environmental threats that still need to be addressed.

In a session called “Buying Time Along the Coast” listeners heard from Karen Amspacher with the Core Sound Museum and students working with the Down East community to tackle the threat of Sea Level Rise and the resulting ghost forests encroaching on their homes. The Down East community is especially vulnerable because of their low elevation and susceptibility to flooding which can lead to water quality degradation in areas of flooded septic tanks. They are also an unincorporated community which can make it more difficult to be assisted by the State’s many different resiliency projects.

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PHOTO: LEWIS, 2022 – Presentation by Brian Byfield with the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency.
Day 2:

The last day of the conference began similarly with opening comments from Susan White, Randy Woodson – the Chancellor of NC State University, and Mladen Vouk – the Vice Chancellor of Research at NC State University. These remarks discussed the importance of data collection and the continual analysis of coastal environmental threats and human response.

The following session titled “Cross Cutting Coastal Resilience Efforts and Building Strategic Climate Partnerships” consisted of coastal resiliency resources being developed throughout North Carolina. The panel included government staff working on the Coastal Habitat Protection Plan (CHPP), NC Climate Risk Assessment and Resilience Plan, Resilient Coast Communities Program (RCCP), and Regions Innovating for Strong Economies & Environment (RISE). There were also representatives from the Nature Conservancy and the NC coastal community who discussed their experience executing projects.

Many of the projects being developed by the State seem to be collaborating and specialized for different aspects of coastal resiliency. The projects are meant to be used by local governments and towns that are looking to update their resiliency strategy but that can leave unincorporated communities with less access. The RCCP includes the use of community action teams that encourage community lead decisions and can be used by unincorporated areas to facilitate community organization.

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PHOTOS: LEWIS, 2022 – Brainstorming session with session attendees to identify and vote on critical concerns for rural coastal communities (top), training needs (middle), and creative engagement approaches (bottom).
After the conference CCRW feels both excited about the many different projects that provide funding and resources to the coast but also concerned that many communities may not know about these opportunities. The work we do at CCRW helps bridge this gap between resources and beneficiaries by directly working with communities to identify their water quality concerns and getting them the resources that they can use.
For more info about local water quality information, please contact:

Riley Lewis,

White Oak Waterkeeper

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch

RileyL

Report a Water Quality Concern
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Building Coastal Resiliency

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Building Coastal Resilience, One Community at a Time

Building resilience to natural hazards is crucial for coastal communities to help maintain quality of water and quality of life. Resiliency planning is also vital for healthy growth, durable systems, and conservation of resources for all. With that said, most coastal communities lack the resources to facilitate the process.

The services provided by the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management offer assistance to local governments to develop critical plans that serve to reduce impacts to coastal habitat and water quality.

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PHOTOS: RIDER, 2022 – Mackenzie Todd (LEFT), Tancred Miller, Policy & Planning Manager at NC Division of Coastal Management and Coastal Carolina Riverwatch Board Director (MIDDLE), Riley Lewis, Waterkeeper at Coastal Carolina Riverwatch
The Resilient Coastal Communities Program (RCCP) helps address the need for local planning through technical and financial assistance to advance coastal resilience efforts throughout the 20 coastal counties in North Carolina.

The objectives of the N.C. Resilient Coastal Communities Program include:

  • Addressing barriers to coastal resilience in North Carolina at the local level (limited capacity, economic constraints, and social inequities);
  • Assisting communities with risk and vulnerability assessments and developing a portfolio of planned and prioritized projects;
  • Advancing coastal resilience projects to shovel-readiness, or ready for implementation; and
  • Linking communities to funding streams for project implementation.

Mackenzie Todd, Coastal Resilience Specialist, manages this program. Mackenzie is a subject matter specialist in the area of coastal resilience, coastal climate adaptation, coastal flooding, hazard mitigation planning, and related public policy issues. Mackenzie is a coastal resiliency advisor to Coastal Carolina Riverwatch, seen above in the photo, and works directly with the Waterkeeper on ways that we can collaborate to enhance water quality protection actions.

Reach out to Mackenzie herefor assistance with projects related to coastal resilience. This service includes assisting local communities with resilience evaluations and planning, outreach and communications focused on coastal hazards.

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ADVOCACY ACTION NEEDED:

The Resilient Coastal Communities Program (RCCP) has NOT been permanently sustained by funding from the State Legislature. The program needs long-term funding from the NC Legislature to continue providing service. You can help by sharing your stories about the importance of coastal resiliency.

Please consider reaching out to your legislators with your story of support for this programming. Let your legislators know that this is a crucial service being provided to underserved rural coastal communities.

RESOURCES FOR LOCAL COMMUNITIES:

Program Basics Overview

As part of this process, presentations are available for different audiences about resiliency efforts in North Carolina. Request a presentation here.

This program handbook provides guidance to communities and program partners for the completion of Phases 1 and 2 of the Program.

All 26 Resilience Strategies (Phase 1 & 2 Final Deliverables) have been updated on the website. Click here for the direct link to those strategies.

Want to support additional collaborative community-based advocacy and outreach efforts? Click to donate today.

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

Riley Lewis,

White Oak Waterkeeper

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch

RileyL

Report a Water Quality Concern
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Click Here to Support
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No toxic “forever chemicals” in waters around Maysville

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Nationwide PFAS Study finds no toxic “forever chemicals” in surface waters around Maysville

Earlier this year the Town of Maysville was found to have high levels of PFAS in their ground water and drinking water. This summer our White Oak Waterkeeper collected surface water samples around the town to identify if any of these toxic chemicals may also be in their surrounding waters of the White Oak River.

PFAS are a group of chemicals that are used in non-stick cookware, stain repellent, waterproof coatings, and many other manufacturing processes. These “forever chemicals” do not break down over time and instead accumulate in people, wildlife, and the environment. PFAS have been found in surface water, air, soil, food, and many commercial materials. PFAS are widely linked to serious health conditions such as cancer, liver and kidney disease, reproductive issues, immunodeficiencies, and hormonal disruptions.

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PHOTOS: RIDER, 2022 – Becca Drohan (left) and three Duke University Engage Students (right)
Last week, Waterkeeper Alliance released a groundbreaking new analysis of American waterways that sounds the alarm on a PFAS pollution emergency. In a test of 114 waterways from across the country, 83% were found to contain at least one type of PFAS. In the samples taken by Coastal Carolina Riverwatch in the White Oak River, we found that the surface waters around Maysville NC did not have any detectable levels of PFAS. Ready more – click here.

When sharing the results of our sampling, the Town Manager of Maysville, Schumata Brown, said that he is “relieved to know that the contamination is not being found in the surface waters.

The Town of Maysville has closed their drinking water well for the town and are currently receiving water from Jones County municipal water. The town has recently received a combined $6 million for infrastructure updates, including a new well and water treatment system. Mr. Brown let us know that the “updates should be completed and running by the early summer of 2023″.

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PHOTO: GOOGLE MAPS
In some places, like creeks connected to the Potomac River in Maryland, the Lower Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania, and the Niagara River in New York, the level of contamination is thousands to hundreds of thousands times higher than what experts say is safe for drinking water. This is of particular concern as an estimated 65% of Americans source their drinking water from surface waters similar to those sampled.

Despite serious health risks, there are currently no universal, science-based limits on the various PFAS chemicals in the United States. For many PFAS chemicals, the EPA has not even set a health advisory limit that would give the public a baseline to determine what amount of PFAS is unhealthy in drinking water. In most cases, the EPA is not doing adequate monitoring for these chemicals, which is why these findings are so unique and important.

Your support can help turn PFAS legislation into a reality. Contact your Members of Congress today in support of this urgently needed legislation.

Want to support additional PFAS sampling in coastal NC, collaborative community-based advocacy and outreach efforts? Click to donate today.

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

Riley Lewis,

White Oak Waterkeeper

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch

RileyL

WE NEED YOUR HELP!
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Water Quality Stakeholders Work to Implement CHPP

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Water Quality Stakeholders Work to Implement CHPP

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PHOTO: RIDER , 2022 – Slide from Kathy Rawls, Director, Division of Marine Fisheries, presented by Jacob Boyd, Chief, Habitat and Enhancement Section, NC Division of Marine Fisheries
On Wednesday, October 19, 2022, stakeholders from across the coastal region met in New Bern during the NC Coastal Water Quality Summit to move forward and implement the Coastal Habitat Protection Plan (first published in 2004).

Summit attendees were welcomed by a group of key stakeholders, including Mike Blanton, CCRW Industry Working Group Commercial Fisherman and Member of NC Marine Fisheries Commission. Commissioner Blanton talked about how water quality is “vitally important to these fisheries.” He added that systems are “obviously stressed” and highlighted concerns with harmful algae blooms at the coast. “When folks look-out there (on the water), they don’t see what’s truly happening.” At CCRW, we know this all too well. If you are not reviewing aerial images of waterbodies, it can be hard to locate water quality concerns such as harmful algae blooms, run off from coastal development and emerging contaminant pollution. Blanton also expressed the necessity for this programming to carry on “coastal heritage and economy.”

No matter what fishery we are talking about“, water quality makes a difference. “We all recognize the connections between clean water, clean coastal habitats, and fisheries.” – taken from Kathy Rawls, Director of Division of Marine Fisheries, notes and presented by Jacob Boyd, Chief, Habitat and Enhancement Section, NC Division of Marine Fisheries.

Click here to learn more about how water quality impacts coastal fisheries.

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PHOTO: RIDER, 2022 – Dr. Jud Kenworthy, Research Fisheries Biologist, NOAA (retired)
The reduction of “submerged aquatic vegetation is one of our biggest challenges with water quality. SAVS are the best seafood restaurant on the coast. Over 150 fish and invertebrate species are known to use SAV as adults and juveniles. There is a cost of $88 million of loosing SAV in the next decade. It would take 3-5 times of the actual value, to replace SAVs. The State needs a water clarity standard to revert the loss of SAV.”

– Dr. Jud Kenworthy, Research Fisheries Biologist, NOAA (retired) and CCRW supporting member

Dr. Jess Jarvis, Associate Professor, UNCW, talked more about SAVs and the proposed NC Water Clarity Standard based on SAV light requirements, which is highlighted in the CHPP 2021 amendment SAV-RA-4.7, which recommends a water quality standard for light penetration for all SAV waterbody regions.

The recommendation sets the standard of:

Low Salinity: 13% to the deep edge (1.5 m)

High Salinity: 22% to the deep edge (1.7 m)

In July and September 2022, the Nutrient Criteria Development Plan Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) supported the adoption of the water quality standard.

What has happened with Water Quality since the CHPP was first written in 2004:

1. There is an overall decline in coastal water quality in North Carolina despite management efforts implemented for several decades to control sediment, nutrients, sediment, pathogens, and other pollutants. However, our state has made progress on reducing some forms of nitrogen, the most stimulatory nutrient for algal growth.

2. While some inorganic nitrogen loads have declined, recent water quality monitoring indicates that organic nitrogen is rising.

3. More intensive rainfall due to climate extremes exacerbates coastal water quality degradation by increasing surface runoff.

4. Rapid population growth is leading to more intensive urban and rural land use which changes watershed hydrology. This results in greater volumes and rates of surface runoff.

(SOURCE: Report)

“Coastal habitat protection is vital for water quality. We were grateful to have the time to participate in this process and we hope that the actions and objectives go beyond words on paper.

Protecting water quality means making hard-decisions about how and where communities develop on the coast.

The flood doors on high-impact coastal development have been open for far too long. It’s no longer a question of how high-impact development impacts our coastal communities (ecology and economy). It is time for measurable change and reports that include a holistic view of our community’s return on investment for us all, not just those that profit short-term.

We need to slow-down the faucet and require smarter decisions based-on science to lead the way for the future of coastal living. It will take action from local governments and coastal decision-makers, who have had access to the CHPP since 2004, and action from coastal developers to prioritize science-based low-impact designs. It will take State DEQ offices to fill positions and use resources to enforce current regulations and the NGO stakeholders, like CCRW, to fill in gaps in service.”

– Lisa Rider, CCRW Executive Director

In addition to local level policies and practices, it will take local grassroots advocacy to fight for the protection of our remaining natural coastal heritage and habitat areas (JOIN US).

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PHOTO: RIDER, 2022 – Slide from Jacob Boyd, Chief, Habitat and Enhancement Section, NC Division of Marine Fisheries
For more info about local water quality information, please contact:

Riley Lewis,

White Oak Waterkeeper

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch

RileyL

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NC Marine Debris Symposium Highlights

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Highlights from the 2022 NCMDS!

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PHOTO: K.BURKE , 2022
Last week Coastal Carolina Riverwatch presented the 10th annual NC Marine Debris Symposium. Stakeholders from around the state met up to assess the current impact of marine debris and workshop pollution prevention strategies. The Symposium lasted three days, engaged about 40 in-person attendees and supported more viewers online through live-streaming services.

Marine debris is an umbrella term for man made items that end up in waterways. Marine Debris include plastics, microplastics, abandoned derelict vessels, building supplies displaced by storms, and more.

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PHOTO: K.BURKE, 2022
Day 1 of the symposium focused on research-based outreach and education. The sessions, on this day, highlighted how microplastics impact fisheries and how the public can get involved in citizen science and advocacy efforts that will reduce impacts to fisheries, human health, and our community environment. Sessions included fisheries research relative to microplastic impacts, an educator workshop that showcased ways to engage teachers and students with stormwater based plastics research, and CCRW’s Executive Director, Lisa Rider, presented on how collaborative programming can target audiences and increase public awareness about how water quality (including plastics pollution concerns) can impact fisheries in coastal NC. Two films where screened at the end of day 1, Tidal Alert (seen here) and 356: The Incredible Story of How Saving Whale Can Save Us.

Day 2 focused on research, partnerships, and policy. During the morning session, researchers from Plastic Ocean Project presented on plastic ingestion and microplastic accumulation research, while NC Sea Grant and CCRW presented on river system research partnerships and the success of upstream capture devices. One of the programs highlighted on day 2 is a project where CCRW is working with the City of Jacksonville to capture debris and identify common pollutants through the installation of a Trash Trout capture system and continual monitoring. A highlight of day 2 was the NC Plastics Policy Workshop. Presentations during this session covered how Statewide and local level policies can make a huge impact on reducing plastic pollution. Also covered in day 2, a session on the benefits of reusables, and a program on locally tested products that can make a difference in everyday consumer plastic waste reduction.

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PHOTO: K.BURKE, 2022
Day 3 included collaborative discussions on current plastic removal technologies and what is being done to reduce marine debris pollution in the US. Day 3 included information about regional waste management infrastructure, using drones for marine debris surveying and collection, and big picture considerations. Day 3 also included a session on how plastics can impact composting, how to spot compostable greenwashing, and other plastic pollution reduction guidelines for NC composting.

“It has been an honor to present another collaborative agenda for the NC Marine Debris Symposium this year. This is one of my favorite events of the year. It’s become a family reunion for many who work tirelessly to prevent plastic pollution in NC. Our team is grateful for the support of those that submitted papers, volunteered time, presented, sponsored, and participated. We’re looking forward to another year of planning content that will reduce plastic pollution and protect the quality of water and life in NC.”
– Lisa Rider, CCRW Executive Director

“Thanks for a wonderful enlightening symposium last Thursday. I have been doing my plastic inventory at home and I have a lot of work to do. It’s amazing how plastics are everywhere. Now that my eyes are open, I can start to make changes. Unfortunately it is going to slowly because of how entrenched plastics are in our lives.”
– Brian Treston, 2022 NCMDS Live Stream Attendee

This was my first NCMDS and I am so honored to be a part of such a collaborative effort to reduce marine debris in North Carolina. The presenters were local researchers and industry working professionals that taught me so much about the issue. By the end of the Symposium I felt so inspired to make a difference and felt equipped with a toolkit of resources. I look forward to using what I have learned to support Coastal Carolina Riverwatch’s debris reduction efforts.

– Riley Lewis, White Oak Waterkeeper

Check out the full agenda here.


Check out NCMDS speaker interviews throughout October and November on the CCRW Facebook page.

Thank You!

CCRW would like to extend special thanks to the participants of the 10th NCMDS. Their contribution to conversation and the expertise and diversity of the presenters lead to a deeper understanding of the issue and the culmination of resources needed for local advocates to make change.

We would also like to highlight the Duke Marine Lab for their beautiful campus and great tech support for our virtual attendees.

Thank you!

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

Riley Lewis,

White Oak Waterkeeper

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch

RileyL

Sponsors of the 10th North Carolina Marine Debris Symposium

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Rust Tide in New River

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Rust Tide on the New River

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PHOTO: R.LEWIS , 2022
Since September 20th, Coastal Carolina Riverwatch has been monitoring a Harmful Algae Bloom known for “Rust Tides” in the lower New River. Thanks to the help of SouthWings, our White Oak Waterkeeper was able to get an aerial view of the bloom after Hurricane Ian.

From the air there appeared to be no signs of the bloom located in the Chadwick Bay area of Sneads Ferry and was most likely washed out by the heavy rain. However, the bloom located in Stones Bay appears to still be present and potentially growing (red coloration in photo above).

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PHOTOS: RIDER, 2022
SouthWings Volunteer Pilots are dedicated to helping water quality researchers and advocates with aerial photography as a part of an integrated system of watershed protection and management.

At CCRW, we are grateful for SouthWings support of our mission to protect the quality of water and life in coastal NC. SouthWings donates thousands of dollars in flights each year to the work of CCRW. Their crucial service to our organization is part of our integrated watershed investigative process.”

– Lisa Rider, Executive Director

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PHOTO: RIDER, 10.09.22
On Friday, October 7th, the owner of an Oyster Farm, working in Stones Bay, reported a mass mortality in the area of the rust tide.

CCRW Executive Director, Lisa Rider, spent this past Sunday morning on the New River hearing concerns from Oyster Farmers and monitoring the waters of Stones Bay.

Blooms can last this long because they continue to be fed by nutrient pollutants, most likely from runoff. Coastal Carolina Riverwatch will continue to monitor this bloom and continue to report to the State and notify the public”

Riley Lewis, White Oak Waterkeeper

WATERKEEPER ACTION ALERT:

Harmful Algae Blooms can be 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 Harmful Algae Blooms by implementing good stormwater management and by familiarizing themselves with coastal processes and how water moves through the property.

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

Riley Lewis,

White Oak Waterkeeper

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch

RileyL

Report a Water Quality Concern
Click Here – Support Our Mission Today!
We Really Need Your Help to Continue Protecting the Quality of Water and Quality of Life in Coastal NC!
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CAFOs in the Hurricane Alley

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Hogs in the Hurricane Alley

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PHOTO: DOVE, 2018
Those who have been in NC for a few years will remember Hurricane Florence in 2018 and the devastating impact it had on local communities and waterways. Coastal North Carolina has a long history with hurricanes and is no stranger to the impacts of flooding but some residents remain unaware of the impact Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) lagoons can have after a storm.

In the aftermath of these storms, confinement buildings containing thousands of chickens, turkeys and hogs flood, some to their rooftops. The birds kept inside perish under these conditions. So do many of the hogs. Horrific environmental damage occurs when swine and poultry feces and urine get flushed out of the confinement buildings and the massive lagoons (cesspools) that are in harm’s way.” – Rick Dove

Rick is an advisor to the larger Waterkeeper Alliance and has been involved with monitoring CAFOs in NC for nearly 30 years and thoroughly documented the environmental impacts of Hurricane Florence.

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PHOTO: DOVE, 2018
When CAFO lagoons rupture or overflow it can lead to hundreds of gallons of raw animal waste entering our environment. This influx of bacteria and nutrients can lead to E Coli and bacteria contamination in seafood, algal blooms and fish kills, and air pollution around the spill.

Because of this impact on fish communities and water quality, CAFOs are identified as one of the top 5 water quality concerns for NC fishing communities identified in CCRW’s Water Quality For Fisheries project.

As of 2020, the NC Department of Environmental Quality has record of 61 CAFOs in Onslow County and 1 located in Carteret County.

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PHOTO: NCDEQ, 09.30.22

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With the recent rain and wind from hurricane Ian, CCRW is planning a flight to observe impacts from this weekend’s weather and identify any water quality concerns. Be on the lookout for updates from us and report any suspicious waters to us and your regional DEQ office.

To learn more about how industrial agriculture and factory farming practices can impact water quality and coastal fisheries, watch this:

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There are documented water quality impacts facing our coastal waters as the result of impacts from CAFOS and other livestock and industrialized agriculture issues.

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch and other stakeholder groups are documenting a lack of regulatory action or enforcement to protect water quality from these facilities. The result has had a detrimental impact on the health of our streams and neighboring communities, especially in the lower part of the Coastal Carolina Riverwatch service area (Onslow County).

CCRW Water Quality Advocates support the following actions:

Funding for the Swine Farm Buyout Program – The swine farm buyout is a voluntary program that was established in the wake of Hurricane Floyd to remove swine farms from the 100-year floodplain.

Oversight of the Poultry Industry – The poultry industry in North Carolina has little regulation, which leads to unchecked amounts of nutrients and bacteria from these facilities polluting our state’s waterways.

What Water Quality Advocates are calling for:

  • Poultry Study Bill – to understand the impacts of poultry waste on our state waterways.
  • Poultry Siting Act – to prevent new construction of growing facilities within the 500-year flood plain.
  • Poultry Buyout Program – to remove facilities within the 100-year flood plain.
  • Nutrient Waste Utilization Plans – to be submitted to DEQ for approval and prohibit land application of poultry waste within 100 ft of surface waters.

Funding to Support Farmers:

  • Increase Funding for Soil and Water Cost-Share Programs – The Agricultural Cost Share Program typically receives as much as $20 million in requests for $4 million in annual funding statewide. We recommend doubling that to meet demand.
  • Livestock exclusion from waterways – We suggest establishing a fund of $1 million recurring annually to help farmers install livestock exclusion fencing and alternative water sources.

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

Riley Lewis,

White Oak Waterkeeper

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch

RileyL

Click Here – Support Our Mission Today!
We Really Need Your Help to Continue Protecting the Quality of Water and Quality of Life in Coastal NC!
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Algae Bloom Expands in Coastal Community

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Algae Bloom Expands in Coastal Community

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PHOTO: A.JONES , 2022
On 9/26/22 the algae bloom, located in the lower New River in the Sneads Ferry area, has expanded and continues to grow. The bloom, seen here was observed at 34.537576, -77.374597.

Photos and observations were sent to Chris Stewart, Daniel Wiltsie, and Mark Vanderborgh at NCDEQ.

Blooms can last this long because they continue to be fed by nutrient pollutants, most likely from runoff.

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch will continue to monitor this bloom and continue to report to the State and notify the public.

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PHOTO: JONES, 2022
Last week, CCRW Waterkeeper, Riley Lewis, took a sample of the water in the middle of the bloom (near 34.568703, -77.394870). The site was accessed by drone and a sample was taken from the middle of the bloom.

The pictures were shared with staff at UNCW (Dr. Mallin’s lab) and ID was confirmed via the photos.

The water had a red tint and was very smelly (both signs of a potentially harmful bloom). I was able to ID the plankton as a type of marine dinoflagellates “Cochlodinium” which causes red tides and is known for causing fish kills around the world. The toxin they produce is harmful to finfish and shellfish but not much is known about this organism’s toxicity to humans. Best to be safe and keep people and pets out of the water.

– Riley Lewis, White Oak Waterkeeper

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VIDEO: RIDER, 09.21.22
WATERKEEPER ACTION ALERT:

Harmful Algae Blooms can be 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 Harmful Algae Blooms by implementing good stormwater management and by familiarizing themselves with coastal processes and how water moves through the property.

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

Riley Lewis,

White Oak Waterkeeper

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch

RileyL

Report a Water Quality Concern
Click Here – Support Our Mission Today!
We Really Need Your Help to Continue Protecting the Quality of Water and Quality of Life in Coastal NC!
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Plastic Pollution Impacts on Coastal North Carolina

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Plastic Pollution Impacts on Water Quality are

Top Priority for Coastal Communities

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 Duke University Marine Laboratory, Duke Law and Policy Clinic, Plastic Ocean Project, Carolina Recycling Association, and others. View the agenda – click here.

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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).

Current Coastal Carolina Riverwatch Plastic Pollution Prevention Projects:

  • Microplastics Research in the New River
  • Plastics Capture and Removal Infrastructure and Research Projects (Trash Trout)
  • NC Plastic Prevention Policy Workshop
  • NC Marine Debris Symposium

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.

Join us for the NC

Marine Debris Symposium

Hear from leaders in plastic pollution prevention efforts going on right here in North Carolina.

Learn how local government planners, solid waste representatives, researchers, citizen scientists, advocates, and local elected officials can work together to prevent plastic pollution in the State of North Carolina.

When:

October 12-14th, 2022

Where:

Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort and LiveStreaming

Click here to Register
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