Division of Water Resources OKs certificate for pilot treatment at Lake Mattamuskeet 

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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RALEIGH – The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Water Resources (DWR) has approved a certificate of coverage to allow BlueGreen Water Technologies to conduct a pilot study of a treatment for cyanobacteria within a limited area of Lake Mattamuskeet, the state’s largest freshwater lake, starting on June 1.

The certificate of coverage falls under the general permitting process for pesticide applications. The pilot treatment, which is proposed as a collaboration with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Institute of Marine Sciences and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is targeted to take place on 400 acres in four isolated bays around the lake’s perimeter. The study area accounts for 1% of the surface area of the lake, which is more than 40,270 acres in total size. The permit files are available online.

The certificate of coverage requires monitoring data to be provided to UNC-Chapel Hill’s Institute of Marine Sciences, and to be made available to DWR.

The lake makes up the majority of the Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge, which is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The refuge supports wintering waterbirds, including swans, ducks and other wildlife. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a final environmental assessment for the cyanobacteria treatment in March, along with a finding of no significant impact.

The lake’s water quality and clarity has been in decline due to the flow of excessive nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, and other factors. In 2016, the lake was listed on North Carolina’s 303(d) list for elevated acidity, or pH, and chlorophyll a.

For more information about harmful algal blooms in North Carolina, or to report an algal bloom or fish kill, find information about the DWR Algae Lab online.