Down East Seniors host riverkeeper

Published 6:23 pm Friday, March 24, 2017


The Down East Seniors Club held its March 22 meeting at the Blind Center of North Carolina in Washington. President Stewart Rumley led the meeting. Jim Hackney played for the singing of “God Bless America,” and Ed Hamrick gave the invocation. Rumley provided humor.

Rumley introduced Heather Jacobs Deck as the speaker. Deck is the Pamlico-Tar riverkeeper with Sound Rivers, the organization that works to maintain and improve the health of the Pamlico-Tar and Neuse rivers. Two and a half million people live in the watershed of these rivers. This watershed covers 23 percent of the state’s land mass. There are riverkeepers worldwide; 11 are in North Carolina. Their duties include documenting and investigating river water problems, notifying authorities of problems, providing science to study river problems, and educating the public about river concerns. Most river problems are caused by excess nutrients that run into the river. The Pamlico-Tar has seen fewer excess nutrients since the 1980s, but during the last five years there has been a slight reversal of this trend. The excess nutrients cause algae growth, algae blooms, fish kills and public health concerns since some algae are toxic. In 2016, there was the second major hurricane and resulting flooding in 17 years. This flooding washes a large amount of nutrients into the river and on into the Pamlico Sound. A hot summer will cause an extreme amount of algae bloom, especially in the sound because the Outer Banks prevent the nutrients from being flushed into the ocean. Sound Rivers is still contesting the permits that would allow the Martin-Marietta gravel quarry to dump up to 12 million gallons of fresh water a day into Blounts Creek. This would change the creek’s water chemistry and drastically affect the natural fish nursery there. Sound Rivers is asking that this water be dumped into three areas instead of just one.

Rudy Burns won the 50/50 drawing.