Director's Editorial: Lisa Wimpfheimer (As well as a Director on the Board of Crossroads, Lisa is also Agricultural Extension Agent: NC State University, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Carteret County Center, CMAST Building 303 College Circle Morehead City, NC)
Managing Lawns and Gardens to Protect Water Quality
One might ask why a single family with only a home lawn or garden should be concerned about the effects of their activities on water quality. The reason is that the effects are not always confined to their land. Soil eroded from a home yard may carry many contaminants to surface water. Contaminants may include fertilizers and pesticides, petroleum-based products, the residue of automobile emissions, and atmospheric deposition. Water quality, therefore, is everyone's responsibility. Strategies for reducing or preventing water contamination by sediment, fertilizers, and pesticides are based on common sense. Homeowners should think about whether their gardening activities are causing water quality degradation.
Soil Erosion: Whenever water falls on bare soil there is the potential for erosion. It is the transportation of soil particles and organic matter in runoff that causes concern. Land-disturbing activities, uncovered soil surfaces, and the absence of water-retention structures may contribute to excessive amounts of sediment in creeks and streams. Try to hold soil in place so that the amount of sediment generated from water erosion is small and does not become a problem.
Nutrient Management: An attractive lawn, vigorously growing shrubs and flowers, and a productive garden are the pride and joy of many homeowners. Fertilizer nutrients contribute to the health and beauty of these plants. But too much nitrogen and phosphorus along with carbon in surface water causes eutrophication (death from excessive algae growth) in waterways. Inflow of sediment that has phosphorus attached to it is a threat to water quality. Nitrogen, whether from compost or fertilizer, may leach past plant roots and accumulate in groundwater or eventually move out to surface impoundments if not used completely by grass, shrubs, or garden crops.
Pesticide Management: In addition to fertilizers, many homeowners use pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides) to ward off pests. Excessive use of these products could lead to their deposition in waterways if they are carried off with sediments. Excessive irrigation may leach soluble pesticides and nutrients deep into the soil and may contaminate groundwater. Always identify pests correctly so that you use the proper control. Then read container labels carefully and use the lowest effective rate listed. Learn about alternative pest control measures, such as beneficial insects, crop rotation, residue destruction, varietal resistance, proper planting dates, and companion cropping systems. Sweep granules of fertilizer or pesticide that may fall on sidewalks, patios, and driveways off onto the lawn. Develop some tolerance of weeds, insects, and disease. A low level of pests will not detract from the overall beauty of lawns and gardens. Fortunately, you do not have to choose between having an attractive lawn or garden and protecting water quality. The key to achieving both goals is to use common sense and ask for educational resources when you are not sure. Call North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Carteret County Center, 252-222-6352.
Annual Meeting Summary (cont.)
(This completes the summary prepared for Crossroads' Directors by Ted Odell. The first half of the summary appeared in the preceding NL (#95) and covered environmental issues.)
Economic Development: A variety of issues were identified, including the uncertainty about the future of nearby military facilities, the lesser requirement for services by non-residential development, lack of higher level jobs, failure to take advantage of assets that could create economic niches (e.g., from local research), use of the port, future communication and energy supplies, demographic change and beach erosion.
Objectives: Revitalize the County’s shopping areas, enhance business retention efforts (including facilitation of aquaculture expansion), enhance the hospitality industry (including environmentally friendly beach nourishment and ecotourism), encourage utilization of the port for local economic activity, expand and create new entrepreneurship efforts, recruit complementary and compatible new business activity (e.g., marine sciences and aquaculture), offer competitive incentives, and provide infrastructure and public facilities for sustainable growth.
Housing, Transportation, Recreation and Natural and Cultural Resources:
1. Expand supply of affordable housing
2. Expand recreational beach and water access in Bogue Banks and Sound
3. Encourage viable mass transit
4. Expand bicycle paths and trails
5. Encourage efficient hurricane evacuation procedures
6. Provide increased public access to beach and waterways
7. Provide for the conservation, environmentally sound use, or protection of aquatic and upland ecosystems
8. Expand or preserve the amount of shoreline devoted to water-dependent, water-related uses and public access
Four planning areas were designated:
1. Conservation areas – historical, cultural and natural resource
2. Town centers
3. Village centers
4. Growth areas – residential, industrial
Four geographic areas were used for planning purposes – (west, central, east and Bogue Banks)
1. Control the amount of future residential growth in areas not served by public infrastructure/utilities
2. Promote quality housing, neighborhoods and communities that will be cost efficient for the county in the future
3. Provide for designated growth areas and activity centers within growth areas
4. Encourage quality design
5. Promote quality commercial development
6. Promote quality appropriate light industrial development
7. Promote sound and sustainable development and development practices
8. Preserve the character of “Down East” by
a. aggressively pursuing purchase of conservation easements.
b. pursuing additional government and private resources for easement acquisition
c. disallowing public utilities (e.g., centralized sewer, water) for servicing new development.
New conservation zone with new funding: In regard to the down east area, a new idea was envisioned as an attempt to provide a method to preserve its culture and character, namely a conservation capital fund, a new mutual fund. A proportion of the return would be retained by the fund while the rest would go to a 501C-3 corporation <E the investor would get a tax deduction and the opportunity to support down east, in addition to the return on the investment. The part of the return that would go to the 501C-3 would provide money to buy development rights in the down east area. If we don't do something, the down east culture will be lost.