COVID-19 creates financial threat to water quality monitoring groups

Local

CRAVEN COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT) – Fish kills typically last a couple of days, but the lower Neuse riverkeeper says fish are still dying in parts of waterways after three weeks.

The fish kill covers parts of the Carolina Pines and Slocum Creek and has spread upstream to Fairfield Harbor. 

Katy Langley Hunt is a Lower Neuse riverkeeper and says, “Dead and rotting fish do have a lot of bacteria so we still recommend you stay out of the water and away from the areas where there are dead fish.”

Workers from North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality tested twice, confirming there are no toxins in the water. 

But dead fish are never a good sign.

“These fish kills are an unfortunate and unsightly indicator that our rivers are not healthy. They are suffering from lots of pollution and especially in relation to algae blooms,” says Hunt. 

Sound Rivers works with groups to get this information and pass it to the public.

“MODMON is short for The Neuse River modeling and monitoring program. It’s been going since 1997,” explains Nathan Hall, Assistant Professor at UNC-Chapel Hill.

But state funding for MODMON is coming to an end which will have short- and long-term consequences.

“As of November I’m not going to be receiving that regular data update, and so we won’t be able to look at the conditions of the river throughout the year,” Hunt says. 

There will also be a gap in data collection, so people working with MODMON are determined to get money to keep this program going.

Hall states, “We’re looking for funding from anybody that will give us money to get the programs up and running so foundations and right now it’s not going to come from the state, that’s pretty clear. 

Groups are encouraging people to get help from state lawmakers.

The river keeper says if you come across a fish kill, please take photos and videos then report it to Sound Rivers or the DEQ. 

If you’re interested in donating to MODMON, you can do so here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

LKQD Outstream

Trending Stories

news-app-download-apple-350x50news-app-download-android-350x50