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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Water Quality - Successes

Water Quality

Restoration Watershed Successes and Improvements

Successes ...

Brasstown Creek - Hiwassee River Basin

Brasstown Creek was not meeting its uses in 1990s likely due to eroding streambanks, runoff from agricultural lands and livestock access negatively impacting the creek.  Public and private partners implemented management measures (i.e., restricting livestock access to the creek, providing livestock with alternative water sources, reconstructing stream channels, enhancing riparian buffers, etc.) to reduce water quality impacts. Water quality improved to again support a healthy macroinvertebrate community, and the state delisted Brasstown Creek in 2000.

Heather.B.Jennings@ncdenr.gov and phone number (919) 807-6437. 

Little Ivy Creek - French Broad River Basin

Little Ivy Creek's aquatic habitat was negatively impacted from runoff carrying sediment from agricultural areas and was officially listed as impaired in 2002.  Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District installed management measures including livestock exclusion fencing, alternative watering facilities, pastureland management and riparian buffer plantings. Water quality improved and Little Ivy Creek segment was determined to be supporting its uses in 2008. 

Heather.B.Jennings@ncdenr.gov and phone number (919) 807-6437. 

Smith Creek – Roanoke River Basin

Low dissolved oxygen levels and poor biological integrity scores in Smith Creek prompted North Carolina determine that a segment of the creek was not supporting its uses (2004).  The Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District worked with landowners to install management measures along Smith Creek, including conservation tillage, livestock exclusion fencing, heavy-use area protection and cropland conversion. These efforts restored aquatic habitat along Smith Creek and in 2008 the 1.6-mile segment was determined to be supporting its uses.

Heather.B.Jennings@ncdenr.gov and phone number (919) 807-6437. 

Tar-Pamlico River - Tar Pamlico River Basin

Row crops and animal feeding operations in the Tar-Pamlico River Basin, one of three main feeders to the nation's second largest estuary - the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound - have led to excessive nutrients in the estuary and chlorophyll a impairment. Through implementation of management measures on agricultural lands, such as riparian buffer protection, reduced fertilizer use, and implementation of conservation tillage practices, North Carolina met its 30 percent nitrogen reduction goal and impaired acreage in the estuary was reduced by 90 percent, allowing one section of the estuary to be determined supporting for chlorophyll a. 

John.huisman@ncdenr.gov
NC Division of Water Quality
(919) 807-6436
And
Kelly Ibrahim
Kelly.Ibrahim@ncdenr.gov  
NC Division of Soil and Water Conservation
(919) 715-9631

SP12 Successes (What is SP12?)...

Mills River - French Broad River Basin - 2008 SP12 

Agricultural runoff in the Mills River watershed caused benthic macroinvertebrates to suffer resulting in a segment of the stream to be listed as not supporting in 1998. 

Local and state water quality experts worked with the community to implement several management measures such as moving pesticide mixing stations away from river banks and restoring vegetated buffers.  Water quality improved enough to once again support macroinvertebrate life, and river was listed as supporting in 2006. 

Mills River Partnership efforts were recognized by EPA in 2008.  Efforts in the watershed resulted in 80 percent of the assessment units in that watershed being restored.  These improvements were officially approved by EPA under a policy measure known as SP12.  Congratulations to the Mills River watershed folks!

Contact:  shaun.moore@nc.nacdnet.net  or Henderson County Soil and Water Conservation (828) 697-4949.

Improvements ...

Neuse River - Neuse River Basin

Nitrogen runoff from crops, pasture, and animal feeding operations was a major contributor to frequent algal blooms, hypoxic conditions, and fish kills in the Neuse River, one of the three main feeders to the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound system. The agricultural community implemented management measures such as buffers, contour planting, no-till planting, and creek fencing that resulted in a 42 percent decrease in nitrogen loading to the estuary, exceeding the 30 percent reduction goal called for in the total maximum daily load (TMDL). This reduction, combined with additional point source reductions, resulted in a 27 percent instream nitrogen reduction in the Neuse River just above the estuary. 

John Huisman
John.huisman@ncdenr.gov
NC Division of Water Quality
(919) 807-6436

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