A study soon to be released from the North Carolina Cooperative
Extension Service's Neuse Education Team will provide the tools to build
a better educational program that focuses on what the people want - science
based solutions. A total of 20 focus groups were conducted during a five-month
period using a water quality survey of 10 questions.
"The consistent theme that emerged,
regardless of each groups knowledge level about what ails the Neuse, is
the need for better education and science-based information," says Dr.
Deanna Osmond, Neuse River Education Team member and lead author of " What
Constituents in the Neuse Basin Think."
Constituency groups representing most
interests in the Neuse River Basin were surveyed: local government officials,
builders and developers, business persons, the landscaping/lawn care sector,
golf course superintendants, homeowners, forestry interests, agricultural
producers, and environmental groups. Each group consisted of three to fifteen
individuals with similar professions or interests.
Throughout the discussions, the lack
of knowledge about pollution and its relationship to water quality in the
Neuse River was continually cited as the main obstacle preventing each
group from making some changes in their respective areas/industry. Constituents
sought unbiased, reliable sources of information that describe the water
quality conditions in the neuse and their effects on the estuary. They
also want this information put in historical context.
"This study provides a scientific
basis for the educational programming the Team is currently involved with
in the Neuse River Basin," says Mitch Woodward.
Neuse Education Team members brought upper basin
officials togethre with lower basin citizens in a fall tour designed to
foster better understanding between these key groups in the Neuse River
Basin. The two-day, seven-city tour explored North Carolina Cooperative
Extension Service water quality projects from Cary to New Bern. The tour
included urban, suburban and agricultural projects.
"We wanted to show projects that were dealing with
the whole range of pollution concerns," says
Mitch Woodward, coordinator of the Neuse Education Team. Remember; by simply
living in the basin everyone is a part of the problem. But we can also
become part of the solution," he says.
Tour participants learned about a succesful
water-quality education progrma in Cary, visited two urban stormwater demonstration
sites in Wilson, and toured a swine farm in Jones County, The tour also
included a boat trip on the Trent and Neuse Rivers where participants viewed
actual river conditions and engaged in dialogue to better understand local
concerns and the scope of riverfront development.
"Knowledge and understanding provides solutions,"
says Craven Hudson, Neuse education Team member and lead organizer for
Hudson says that just as important as bringing upper
basin officials down the river to learn about on-going, research-based
water qualiy projects, was the meeting between upper and lower Neuse interests
in the first night in New Bern. Citizens from both ends of the basin were
open and honest about the myraid of issues the Neuse River faces.
"Of course there was some tension. But as the evening
and discussion progressed, I really feel thyat progress was made," says
He believes that the Neuse Education team's role,
through partnering with other Extension personnel in the basin, is not
only to provide science-based solutions in a practical sense, but also
to combat misinformation-a huge education obstacle according to Hudson.
Hudson says that future ours are a definite possibility.
But for now he is content with what the Neuse education Team's inaugural
"This team was able to bring together decision makers
from opposite ends of the issue, to learn from each other about workable
solutions to improve water quality," he says " Cleaning up the Neuse River
will not occur overnight. What this tour represents is a solid commitment
from citizens on both ends of the basin to work together, while workind
If cleaning up the Neuse River is going to mean
more than simply a catchy phrase,environmental education must be focused
on our youth. They are tomorrow's leaders and decision-makers. A 4-H project
in Lenoir County is helping to ensure that this need is met.
"Helping our children develop awareness, knowledge
and skills for sound water-use decisions is very important," says Mary
Lenior County 4-H agent who leads the Neuse River Project.
"They will soon be making water resource management
decisions ," she says.
The Neuse River 4-H project, which targets third-twelfth
graders, is an environmental project that encompasses both education and
community service. A learn and Serve America Grant through the North Carolina
Commision on National and Community Service funds the project.
"Students gain an increased knowledge about the
environment and an appreciation for the importance of water quality," Smith
The project began in the fall of 1997 to increase
youth awareness about the Neuse River. Smith wanted to develop a proactive,
community-based water awareness program. And although the project has been
underway only a little more than a year, Smith is encouraged by what she
"the students and teachers involved in this project
have been outstanding. These students really do have a refreshing hunger
and enthusiasm for water quality, especially the science behind it all,"
The Neuse River 4-H project has enjoyed many successes
since its inception last fall. 4-H members partnered with Kinston high
School Science Club to lead a storm drain stenciling project and met with
Kinston Mayor Johnnie Mosley to proclaim March 18-19 as "Storm Drain Awareness
Days." The 4-H'ers were also involved in a Neuse River panel discussion
where they were able to ask political and industry leaders various water
"The point of all these activities is to make learning
about science and water quality fun," says Smith. "We are trying to connect
these kids to the Neuse River so that they will learn to better appreciate
and respect it."
|This summary is intended to provide a
brief update on the Neuse Rules that became law 8/1/98. It should be used
as an educational tool. For more detailed information about the Neuse Rules,
contact the state Division of Water Quality at (919)733-5083 Ext.357 or
visit their World Wide Web site at:
Buffer Stakeholder Advisory Commitee consists of;
Public at Large Member
Environmental Management Commission
Division of Water Quality
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Soil and Water Conservation Districts
North Carolina Association of County Commissioners
North Carolina League of Municipalities
University of North Carolina Water Resources Research Institute
Upper Neuse Basin Association
Lower Neuse Basin Association
North Carolina Association of Environmental Professionals
North Carolina American Planning Association
North Carolina Aggregates Association
North Carolina Citizens for Business and Industry
North Carolina Farm Bureau
North Carolina Forestry Association
North Carolina Home Builders Association
A Commercial Land Developer
Conservation Council of North Carolina
North Carolina Environmental Defense Fund
Neuse River Foundation
North Carolina Sierra Club
North Carolina Wildlife Federation
The legislature passed House Bill 1402 at the close of this years session
. What this means is the buffer rule, passed in the summer of 1997, remains
in effect. This bill creates a Buffer Stakeholder Advisory Commitee which
will review the buffer rule. The commitee is expected to finalize its recommendations
to the EMC by April 1999.*
HB 1402 adds the use of Natural Resources Conservation Services soil survey
maps to the previously approved U.S. Geology Survey topographic maps to
aid in surface water determination.
HB 1402 allows for mitigation or monetary payment in lieu of complying
with the buffer law.
HB 1402 does not effect the buffer requirements listed under the agricultural
Please reference the full document for complete details http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/.html1997bills/house/hbill1402.full.html
New Development will be required to meet maximum nitrogen loading of 3.6
By 8/1/99 DWQ working with local governments, will submit a model local
stormwater management plan to the EMC.
Within 12 months of the EMC's
Option 1: By August 1, 1999 all persons engaged in farming operations must
sign up with the local advisory committee to participate in a County Nitrogen
Plan being developed in your county. The best management practices selected
would need to be implemented within 5 years.
Collectively, agricultural operations will be required to achieve a 30%
nitrogen reduction relative to 1991 - 1995 loadings.
Farmers have two options from which to choose:
* Option 2: Implement standard BMPs (riparian areas, and/or controlled
drainage, and/or nutrient management) within 4 years.
Three categories of nutrient applicators are required to obtain a certificate
verifying completion of nutrient management training by 8/1/03.
1 Persons who fertilize 50 acres of more per year of cropland.
2 Persons who fertilize 50 acres or more per year of turfgrass, golf
courses, recreational areas, or rights of way.
3 Persons who commercially apply fertilizer to 50 acres or more
of lawn and garden areas per year in residential, commercial, or industrial
Persons not receiving training will be required to develop and implement
nutrient management plans. These plans must meet standards and specifications
of the Natural Resource Conservation Service or the Soil and Water Conservation
Beginning with this NeuseLetter, "Partnerships" will become a regular
feature on this page. Partnerships are an invaluable tool the Neuse Education
Team uses as they conduct their basin-wide educational efforts. These
collaborative ventures are especially important now that the proposed Neuse
Rules have become law. The Neuse Education Team is a diverse group of problem
solvers and the focus of their work is science-based solutions. However,
the Neuse Education Team can not work in a vacuum. The environmental issues
Neuse River Basin citizens face demand that this team collaborate with
a number of state, federal, and local agencies, other universities, and
the business community. This section will serve as a way to recognize those
partners. There is no finer example of partnerships than last month's "Agricultural
Solutions for the Neuse River Basin" water quality conference. Campus and
field faculty form North Carolina State University lead a multiagency,
multiuniversity effort to describe technologies and management strategies
farmers will be able to use to comply with the Neuse Rules. The two-day
conference explained riparian buffers, controlled drainage, and nutrient
management as practical ways to help farmers. The conference also featured
a workshop on alternative animal waste technology. The Neuse Education
Team is grateful to the presenters and the conference participants for
making this conference such a success.