Call for Action on Strengthening Critical Drainage and Water Quality Infrastructure

 

WE, the signers, recognize that more frequent and stronger storm events are causing longer periods of severe flooding and the subsequent degradation of water quality, AND that these problems are negatively impacting both urban and rural residents, businesses, and our regional economy, DESIRE to work with our legislators, local governments, businesses, Albemarle Resource Conservation and Development Council (ARC&D), Albemarle Commission (AC), Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD), farmers, non-profit groups, universities, state and federal agencies and citizen scientists to strengthen critical drainage and water quality infrastructure in northeast North Carolina.

We request the State of North Carolina to increase financial assistance to the ten counties in northeast North Carolina around the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds for the following activities, which will help strengthen critical drainage and water quality infrastructure in northeast NC.  

1)    We recognize that creeks, rivers and canals are critical for draining stormwater off our flat landscape. However, many of these systems become clogged with woody debris during storm events, both minor and major. We request matching funds for local governments to annually clear debris from creeks, rivers and canals. This will help strengthen critical drainage infrastructure and lessen the damage that can occur during major storms such as Matthew and Florence. 

 2)    We recognize that swamp forests are a critical component of drainage infrastructure as they help mitigate floodwaters and improve water quality. We request funds to help provide financial incentives to owners of swamp forests to conserve a minimum 100-foot buffer along creeks and rivers, which is essential for protecting both drainage and water quality.

 3)    We recognize that the return of algal blooms to our waters after an absence of 30 to 35 years is a threat to fisheries, recreation, property values, and human health, and thus to our regional economy. We request funds to help identify the causes of, and solutions to, the algal blooms, specifically to proactively monitor water quality in creeks and rivers—where NCDEQ does not have monitoring stations—in order to identify the specific sources of nutrients and sediment entering our waterways.  This work would be performed in collaboration with local governments, ARC&D, AC, SWCD, universities, and citizen scientists.

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