Runoff Threatens Water Quality
One of the biggest threats to water quality along the coast and elsewhere is runoff pollution. It occurs when rainwater, snowmelt or irrigation water doesn't soak into the ground, but instead runs off the land or developed surfaces, carrying pollutants into creeks, streams, rivers and sounds.
In recent years, the coastal region has been subject to several problems related to pollution from stormwater runoff, also known as nonpoint source pollution. Algal blooms, fish kills, sediment plumes and shellfish closures have been caused by upland pollutants finding their way into the state’s coastal waters.
State and local regulations, such as impervious-surface limits and shoreline buffers, help to control runoff. The Division of Coastal Management also has undertaken a variety of non-regulatory initiatives to fight this problem.
How DCM Is Fighting Runoff
Coastal Management has launched several initiatives to raise awareness about the effects of runoff pollution. A few are listed below:
Workshops for realtors on septic tank health.
Technical bulletins on septic tank health for local governments and other coastal decision makers.
With the Division of Water Quality, sponsored three workshops for local governments and the public on linking land use to water quality.
Grants to marinas for pump-out stations.
With N.C. Marine Trades Services, created Clean Marina Program to recognize marinas that use best management practices to reduce pollution.
Workshops for teachers about runoff pollution.
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Because of runoff pollution, signs such as this have become all too common along coastal waters.
North Carolina Coastal Nonpoint Source Management Program
The Coastal Management and Water Quality divisions have teamed up to administer the state's Coastal Nonpoint Source Management Program.
The link above to the CNPS Web site provides information about the program, which recently received approval from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Approval makes the program eligible for additional federal funding each year.