NEWSLETTER # 115 October, 2005
Development, Drainage and Destruction.
The recent heavy rains have once again made us aware of the drainage problems in our area. Before discussing solutions, we must remember that stormwater runoff is the primary cause of water pollution in our area. The chief cause of increasing runoff is increased impervious surface area which is associated with increased development. That is why, in spite of the Clean Water Act and EPA regulations, we continue to lose ground in controlling runoff. The amount of shellfishing water closed because of pollution continues to increase!
We congratulate the Town ofBeaufortfor the efforts they are making to resolve stormwater runoff issues. They did an extensive study of the drainage problems that lead to flooding and are working on an ordinance to control stormwater runoff from new development.
However, there are three components to the problem. First, increased development has resulted in greatly increased impervious surface, giving more and faster runoff in rain events. The proposed ordinance would help reduce runoff from future development but would not reduce the current problem.
Second, the present drainage system is largely agricultural ditches or town ditches which are inadequate to handle the present runoff from large storms. The engineering study proposed to remedy this by cleaning out and enlarging checkpoints in the ditch system. Third, the major problem, which has not been widely discussed, is the dumping of pollutants, including bacteria, into the receiving waters of Town Creek and theNewportRiver. This problem would be made much worse if the drainage system were to be enlarged as recommended by the engineering study.
There is no doubt that the closure of Wading Creek to shellfishing the last few years results from increased runoff from development in the Beaufort area. There is also little doubt that if the ditches draining into theNewportRiverare “improved” to handle more runoff more quickly, a major portion of theNewportwill also be closed.
What can be done about this problem? Surely, passage of the stormwater runoff ordinance proposed would be a big help in checking the growth of runoff volume. And we agree that the drainage system must be improved to prevent flooding. However, it must also be improved to provide for the removal of bacteria, sediment and other pollutants from the storm water as it flows to the receiving water. Best Management Practices (BMPs) have been developed to accomplish just this result. Examples are: artificial wetlands, detention ponds that give the water a chance to be treated by plants and using grassy swales to provide low flow rates in upstream areas. There are many skilled engineers available who could develop a system that would lessen the pollutant load on Town Creek and on theNewportRiverwhile increasing flow to minimize flooding.
The draft rules for the Universal Stormwater Management Plan are posted at: http://h2o.enr.state.nc.us/su/usmp.htm and are to be presented to the Water Quality Committee of the Environmental Management Commission in October. One improvement noted is that in coastal counties, any development that disturbs 5000 square feet of land must comply with the rules. Again we urge all local governmental officials and those involved with planning to look at this simple set of rules.
The following article was provided by Gayle Smy of CC-TAG.
The Carteret County Tree Awareness Group (CCTAG) was established in the past year, with support from Crossroads, to promote the preservation and planting of trees. We are incorporated and working on getting non-profit status. We received a North Carolina Urban and Community Forestry Grant through the North Carolina Forestry Department. This grant supports community education programs like the Champion Tree program and educational brochures. The Champion Tree program last fall and winter found the largest Live Oak inCarteretCountyand also found a lot of people who are concerned about and proud of their trees. There will be a new contest beginning in January, with the dates and species of tree to be announced later.
CC-TAG has also been writing brochures to help publicize tree benefits and protection measures. Many people do not realize the benefits of trees such as enhancing property values and reducing storm water runoff and erosion. Also, developers are willing to consider tree protection during construction but are frequently not aware of how to protect trees or what activities damage trees. Since the results of harmful activities usually are not apparent for months or years, it is not obvious what construction procedures caused the death of a tree on a job site.
Another current project is the writing of a Model Tree Preservation and Planting Ordinance. This model ordinance is about finished and will soon be presented to the Planning Commissions of the county and the various municipalities that do not already have an ordinance. Anyone who believes that tree preservation is a desirable goal can help by encouraging their planning committee members to approve the ordinance and to encourage passage by commission members.Newporthas shown much interest in this work, has already passed an ordinance and is actively enforcing it. Beaufort has just strengthened their ordinance and the first developments under the new guidelines are beginning. The organization believes that an ordinance encouraging tree protection during construction and the planting of trees at the time of construction or renovations is the most important tool we have to stop the loss of trees in the area.
CC-TAG usually meets at theBryantCenterat theCarteretCommunity Collegeon the fourth Monday of the month, at7 PM. For questions or to verify meeting dates please callSandyKunkle at 240-2433 or Gayle Smy at 247-2109.
Education & Resources: One NC Naturally
A web site on the state’s comprehensive land conservation efforts (now called "One NC Naturally") has recently been revamped and updated with a number of interesting (and potentially useful) new features. Check out www.onencnaturally.org for items like the following:
Maps linked to photos and information on already-protected sites;
Information regarding the impacts of rapid growth on the state’s natural areas;
A "conservation toolkit" providing information on conservation techniques.
Recent published reports from scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and four cooperating universities find that the ozone layer is no longer declining and may even be improving in midlatitude areas.
The study shows that theMontrealprotocol, established in 1987 to limit the amount of ozone-depleting chemical substances getting into the atmosphere, is probably working. It may take 20 to 70 years to return to normal levels of ozone because some chemicals that destroy ozone stay in the stratosphere for decades. This improvement is attributable to collaboration between scientists, chemical manufacturers and policy makers.
Our sincere thanks go to our newest Life Member, Jim Bailey.
If your label shows “Dues for 2005 are Due” or “Last Free Newsletter”, we have a great deal for you! Since we do not want to lose you, we will give you (or anyone else joining now) credit for 2006 dues.
We are happy to have members attend our Board meetings, usually at7:30 pm at Duke Conference Room, the second Thursday of each month. Check with a Board member.
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