Climate change, pollution blamed for fish kill in Pamlico River

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WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) — Environmental experts said an abnormal algae bloom in the Pamlico River this week was caused by a warming climate and pollution.

Executive Director of Sound Rivers, Heather Deck, said this sort of algae is not normal.

“Algae are naturally occurring for a number of reasons, but they bloom and turn the river green, that is not natural; that is man-made,” she said.

She said it can be caused by nitrogen pollution which comes from all kinds of things such as water waste treatment plants, and even our car.

“Climate change, warmer summers, and more rainfall in shorter periods of time are just going to fuel more of these blooms into the future,” Deck said.

Deck encourages people to reach out to legislators who are currently in the budgeting process.

“You know really this is about funding for the protection of wetlands. Because wetlands really are nature’s kidneys, they help filter out pollution, which is also great for flood control, but really it’s about making this a priority,” said Deck.

She said the problem cannot be fixed overnight, but if it’s not addressed now, the problem will continue and have huge negative effects.

“This is the consequence of a river that’s showing us it’s not healthy,” Deck said, “I think over time, yes it will have an impact on our recreational fisheries, on our commercial fisheries, that’s a billion-dollar industry for North Carolina.”

She also said there are things you can do at home to help such as making sure septic tanks are properly maintained, washing your car on the lawn, and planting trees around waterways.

Deck said there haven’t been any more reports of a fish kill in the past day which may be a sign of improvement, but they still need to keep a close eye on the water conditions.

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