Community-Based Stormwater Mitigation: Rescuing a Clam Fishery in Middens Creek, N.C.
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Eastern North Carolina’s expansive aquatic environment, with large lagoonal sounds tapering into winding inland waterways, maximizes the number of residents with direct influence on our coastal waters. Such a system creates a complex management scenario where regulating non-point source pollution proves difficult. To examine sources and potential remedies of fecal coliform loading, a study was initiated in our model waterway, Middens Creek, where active shellfish harvesting is ongoing. Through a multi-phase investigation, current legislation aimed at reducing stormwater impacts is reviewed and pre- and post-storm fecal coliform levels characterized. It became evident during the course of the study that non-point source runoff is the primary way fecal coliform is conveyed into Middens Creek. Quantifying the impact of this runoff in the subwatershed was further extended to examine the statistical link between human development and bacteria levels within the creek and significant correlations between the two were found. Finally, public outreach and education was initiated to affect grassroots change among the residents living along the model waterway in an effort to mitigate the trend anthropogenic impacts.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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