Water Pollution and Conservation Measures in Eastern North Carolina River Basins

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Eastern North Carolina is home to eight different river basins; Lumber, Neuse, Cape Fear, White Oak, Tar-Pamlico, Roanoke, Chowan, and the Pasquotank (NCWRC, 2011). In these river basins are fertile agricultural lands that have propelled North Carolina into Top 3 rankings in tobacco, swine production, poultry receipts, sweet potatoes, cucumbers and turkeys (USDA, 2012). However, every river basin listed suffers from some form of water pollution, either in the surface water, which is seen, and the groundwater, which goes largely unnoticed. It is an ironic thing that the very things that bring about the prosperity in these areas are the reasons behind the problems. How has this pollution in our basins happened, and what are the people of Eastern North Carolina doing in order to fix these accumulated wrongs? It would be foolish to regress in the development of the coastal plain. The key to resolving the pollution problem lies in continuing the development while implementing conservation measures to correct the wrongs of generations past so that the river basins in the future will be an enjoyable and profitable for the inhabitants of the Eastern North Carolina river basins. When people hear of pollution in the water system, agriculture is nearly always the first to get the finger pointed at. From Currituck to Lumberton, acres of agricultural crops are visible from the road. There are pick-for-yourself strawberry farms, hog houses with their lagoons, farmers markets selling their fresh produce; people are literally swamped with agriculture in all the river basins of Eastern North Carolina. It is natural for agriculture to get the blame with all of the exposure it gets in the community. Some of that blame is justifiable, though, as po... ... middle of paper ... ... found over 140 miles of the river. Flathead catfish can grow quite large, up to 123 pounds. Their fast growth rates, coupled with large mouths, make these fish eating machines and trouble makers to wildlife personnel. Based on research by Dobbins, Cailteux, Midway and Leone, native species of catfish are a major part of the flathead catfish’s diet, along with native sunfish such as bluegill and largemouth bass. Largemouth bass are the area’s top game fish and are of economic importance to the area. While not a river, Jordan Lake is seeing an influx of these aggressive predators with absolutely no way to stop them from dominating. Tom Kwak, a flathead catfish expert and N.C. State University professor, says in a News & Observer interview that “…they’re also eating the largemouth bass food supply… combined, they can reduce another species by 50 percent” (N&O, 2010).

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