From the director

    In 1999, the Neuse Education Team demonstrated science-based solutions throughout the Neuse River Basin, targeting farmers, urban dwellers and homeowners with their "working toward solutions" water quality message. Whether it was initiating the successful Neuse Crop Management Project, organizing alternative pavement demonstrations, or leading tours for elected officials - this team remained committed to educating everyone as to their role in improving water quality in the Neuse River.
    The Neuse team reached more people than ever last year with their education message - despite Hurricane Floyd - and team members continue to identify new resources to help solve environmental problems. Since its inception, the team has brought more than $10 million in grant monies to the Neuse River Basin. Not only does this money enhance their educational efforts, but it also widens the possibilities for science-based solutions. Once again, the Neuse Team had a successful year. The comprehensive nature of their water quality education program continues to serve as a model for other river basins in states other than North Carolina. Water quality scientists and professionals from across the Southeastern United States were very impressed with the Neuse Team's program, which was highlighted at a regional water quality conference held in Raleigh last Spring. But even with all their success, there still remain many challenges.
    We must all continue nurturing relationships with county and city governments, other state agencies, policy makers, agricultural groups and water quality professionals. As you read through the Neuse Team's 1999 Annual Report, remember that each of these projects will have long-term impacts - the kind of impacts that the children of citizens in the Neuse and other river basins will benefit from in the years that follow.

Jon Ort
Director of North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service

"I hope that through the more efficient use of nutrients and herbicides we can save money and improve the Neuse."
Jim Parrot, Neuse River Basin Farmer and Neuse crop Management cooperator

Neuse Crop Management Project
    Launched in early 1999, The Neuse Crop Management Project seeks to balance water quality improvements with economic viability. It augments the Neuse Education Team's work on the four demonstration farms funded by the Clean Water Management Trust Fund -one straddles the Wake/Franklin county line, and the others are in Wayne, Lenoir and Craven counties. The project is focused on producing results at the field level.

  • Project funds from the Pew Charitable Trust Foundation and the United States Environmental Protection Agency funded technicians who work on these farms and who will be working with local farmers.
  • Nutrient management planning has begun on many of the farms.
  • Controlled drainage sites were installed at the Lenoir County and Wayne County farms. These mark the first. of a series of BMPs to be implemented in conjunction with the Neuse Crop Management Project.
  • Some of the farmers involved in the project used Herbicide Application Decision Support System (HADSS) - a weed management tool - to better target their herbicide program.
Other 1999 Neuse Team Agricultural Impacts:
  • The Neuse Team held several meetings throughout the Neuse River Basin explaining to farmers, agribusiness, landowners and the turf industry their responsibilities under the newly adopted Neuse Rules. The team reached more than 4000 persons.
  • Developed and distributed 3 fact sheets explaining the Neuse rules, reaching 1200 people.
  • Established a pilot nutrient management training program, developed crop yield data and refined computer accountability tools.
  • Worked with the state Division of Water Quality, and other state agencies, to refine nutrient management programs.
  • Held animal waste trainings for more than 700 producers.
  • Installed a constructed wetland demonstration site at a Johnston County nursery. (Testing has shown a 50% reduction in nitrate-nitrogen in water leaving the wetland thus far.)
"Most developers have not considered using alternative pavement because they have yet to see it work in real-world conditions. This research and demonstration site will provide those conditions."

Bill Hunt, Neuse Education Team stormwater specialist
Since 1998, ten cities and five counties in the Neuse River Basin have been affected by state-mandated rules. An important part of the rules is to reduce impervious surfaces. In 1999, the Neuse Education Team assisted the City of Kinston in developing a parking lot that will provide scientists, engineers and local leaders a research and demonstration site that focuses on reducing stormwater pollution. The team conducted several tours of the parking lot in 1999.


Other 1999 Neuse Team Urban Impacts
  • Working closely with the River Bend community in the lower basin, installed a stormwater wetland in 1999. The wetland uses about acre of land to treat 70 acres of runoff.
  • Held two permeable pavement workshops. One in Kinston and one in New Bern. - 60 attendees.
  • Led two stormwater BMP tours. One in Raleigh and one in Durham. - 40 attendees.
  • Installed two rain gardens. One in Wake County and one in Lenoir County.
  • Partnered with Umstead State Park to develop a demonstration site featuring a reinforced grass swale and a level spreader. Both are urban BMPs park goers will learn about when they visit.

Other 1999 Neuse Team Educational Impacts
  • Coordinated and lead the Southeast Extension Water Quality conference and Animal Waste Management Tour. More than 200 people attended the event.
  • Organized a Triangle "Water Quality Solutions" Tour. Featured lower basin officials touring both agricultural and urban projects north of Goldsboro. Durham Mayor Nick Tennyson and U.S. Representative David Price were a part of this Neuse Team effort.
  • Presented explanation of the Neuse Rules to over 200 Triangle Area landscapers at the Triangle Landscape Symposium and over 100 fertilizer dealers at five county pesticide meetings
  • Conducted homeowner education programs reaching more than 1000 Neuse River Basin homeowners.
  • Conducted water quality education programs for youth reaching nearly 1,000 students in Grades 6 - 12 in the Neuse River Basin.
  • Revamped World Wide Web site (http://ces.soil.ncsu.edu/net/) to distribute information in a more user-friendly format.
  • The team's work was featured in the PBS documentary "Currents of Hope: Reclaiming the Neuse River." UNC-TV estimates the viewership at 33,000 households and 45,000 people.
  • Another Neuse River conference is planned for November 2000.
In 1999, the Neuse Education Team continued the education tradition of the Neuse River Conference. It showed a snapshot of cooperating groups the Neuse Team works with in the Neuse River Basin. The team uses such conferences to balance a focused presentation of science-based information about Neuse water quality issues with hands-on tours of possible solutions. In addition, such Neuse Team venues remain good forums for scientists, state and local leaders to meet and discuss practical ways to improve the health of the Neuse River. Last year's conference featured an urban BMP tour, attracting more than 50 water quality professonals. "Of all the things we started in 1996 to help the Neuse River, I think the Neuse Education Team has been one of the most successful." - Beverly Perdue, Craven County Senator