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Cape Fear Floodwaters After Matthew

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Hurricane Matthew was, without a doubt, one of the worst flooding events in recorded history for southeastern North Carolina, and the Cape Fear River Basin in particular. All three of the major sub-basins, the main stem of the Cape Fear River, The Black River, and the Northeast Cape Fear River, saw all-time high levels of flooding at some gauging sites.

The environmental impacts from this kind of flooding are enormous. The Cape Fear Riverkeeper, along with fellow Riverkeepers on the Waccamaw and Lumber River, the White Oak and New River, The Neuse River, and the Pamlico-Tar River, made several flights in small planes to get an idea of the impacts. What we saw was troubling.

Concentrated animal feeding operations (a.k.a. CAFOs or Factory Farms) were significantly impacted. Barns full of animals (both swine and poultry) were flooded, drowning animals in those barns. The waste within those flooded barns was swept up by floodwaters and carried downstream. Across North Carolina there were numerous hog lagoons that were buried beneath flood waters, their waste washed into communities downstream. Massive piles of poultry waste left in fields were washed into our rivers as well.

Coal ash ponds in the Cape Fear Basin did not see significant impacts, as the rainfall and flooding in New Hanover and Chatham Counties was less severe than areas in between. There were breaches of coal ash ponds in the Neuse River Basin at the Duke Energy Lee Plant, as well as a breach of the cooling pond there. As we have seen time and time again Duke Energy was late to catch the breach (they had to be told about it by the local TV station) and the NC Department of Environmental Quality has been reluctant to disclose the details of the spill.

To get a bird’s eye view of impacts across NC click here. To watch the WECT story click here. To read a Washington Post article about flooding impacts to CAFOs click here. The read about the coal ash spill click here. To read the Waterkeeper Alliance report on CAFOs and see the interactive maps click here.

Floodwaters are falling although many, many people are still out of their homes and or without power in areas of flooding. Clean-up of these impacted communities will continue for some time. The bottom line is that the Cape Fear still is likely to have high levels of bacteria that can make people very sick, Stay out of floodwaters, the river, and the ocean (remember the Cape Fear empties directly into the Atlantic). Stay tuned as more information about water quality will be forthcoming.

Shots from Lock & Dam #1 where our education center and rain garden were inundated:

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If you would like to make a monetary contribution for repairs to the rain garden and education center you can do so here!

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Matthew Destruction – we need your help!

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Hello River Watchers and River Supporters!

The River needs your help! Hurricane Matthew has caused catastropic damages to the Cape Fear River. Our rain garden, education center and educational boardwalks at Lock & Dam #1 are completely underwater. We have huge concerns about contamination of the river we all drink from livestock deaths, hog farm lagoons, coal ash and more.  We will need to continue to monitor, sample and report on the health of the river to keep our community safe.

We need your support more than ever – will you support the Cape Fear today?

Your Riverkeeper has been hard at work surveying the damage, talking with local reporters and folks from our community and researching the potential issues. Without his drive and determination to protect the Cape Fear our community could be even more at risk.

Will you support your Cape Fear Riverkeeper today?

If you have ever thought of suporting your local environment, your local drinking water supply and your local waterway… today is the day.
Please support a clean Cape Fear River during these time to keep it around for generations to come!

Please consider becoming a member of Cape Fear River Watch or donating to protect the Cape Fear River HERE!

The river is waiting to hear from you…

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Thank You Whole Foods!

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Thank you to Whole Foods for fundraising with cups of coffee for CFRW! They raised $693 for River Watch! Great job, thank you so much Whole Foods! Please consider Whole Foods during your holiday meal shopping!

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Who speaks for the river?

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Don’t miss the article in the September issue of Our State Magazine about Kemp Burdette, your Cape Fear Riverkeeper!

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New Eco Blog – check it out!

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Green and Blue Stuff  Quick and ‘Dirty’ Eco-updates! View the blog here!

By Dana Sargent

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Congratulations to KayLynn!

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Congratulations to our very own Education Coordinator KayLynn Plummer who won in the YWCA’s Environmental Women of Achievement Award this year! We are very proud as Kay Lynn works tirelessly towards diversifying the education and outreach program here at CFRW.

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Encore Reader’s Choice 2015 WINNER!

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Cape Fear River Watch is proud to announce we have won the 2015 Encore Reader’s Choice Award!
Thank you to everyone that voted for us! We are thrilled that the Wilmington community has recognized our organization for providing high-quality environmental education, dedicated advocacy, and focused action on behalf of our Cape Fear River for the past four years! We could never accomplish so much without your help, THANK YOU WILMINGTON!

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The Art Brownell Fellowship Fund

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As many of you may know, we have lost one of our most dedicated and passionate members of our Cape Fear River family. In April, we lost Arthur W. Brownell, a champion of the Cape Fear River and a driving force behind the restoration of our river’s fishery. Art was an exceptional man. His deep understanding of the importance of environmental conservation was developed throughout a lifetime of work and experience in the field.

He grew up in the Boston area, and his love of the outdoors and fishing began at an early age. He joined the Massachusetts Department of Natural Resources and worked his way to the top of that organization in just eighteen years. He then worked in governmental affairs for International Paper and was that organization’s interface with Congress on environmental issues for over twenty years.

His lifetime accomplishments are extensive and include helping to establish the Cape Cod National Seashore, working on the clean-up of Boston Harbor, forming numerous conservation commissions, serving as Vice President and President of Cape Fear River Watch, serving as Treasurer and President of the Cape Fear Men’s Club, and being elected to the New Hanover County Soil and Water Conservation Board of Supervisors in 2012.

Art took a love of the outdoors and turned it into a lifelong commitment to protect and improve the waterways and forests that he knew were so important. Cape Fear River Watch benefitted enormously from his leadership over the years. He asked tough questions, gave wise advice, took calculated risks, was always there ready to help, and pushed us to be the best organization that we could be.

Art is survived by his wife of 51 years, Helen Brownell; two daughters, Sandra Brownell and Debra Bense, Debra’s husband Ron and daughter Juliana; as well as his nephew Paul Dunn.

Here at Cape Fear River Watch we individually and collectively find great inspiration by looking back at Art’s well-lived life. As a way of honoring Art’s commitment to conservation and his tireless efforts to restore the Cape Fear River fishery, Cape Fear River Watch is establishing The Art Brownell Fellowship. This fellowship will be funded as an annual internship at Cape Fear River Watch in support of fishery restoration in the Cape Fear River, and it will be awarded to an exceptional undergraduate or graduate student selected by the Cape Fear River Watch Board of Directors. The recipient will be announced each year at the StriperFest banquet.

We know that Art would be honored to see that his vision and work within Cape Fear River Watch to restore the fishery is being continued and improved with the addition of a fellowship dedicated to that goal. We are also confident that the students who are awarded this fellowship will benefit from a deeper understanding of the importance of conservation and fisheries just as Art did. Finally, we take comfort in knowing that “our” river and its fishery will continue to benefit from Art’s legacy for many years to come.

If you would like to contribute to the Art Brownell Fellowship Fund please click here.


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Official 2015 Striperfest Schedule!

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StriperFest 2015!
January 16th – 17th is our fabulously fishy StriperFest!
Here is your official schedule of events, all will take place at the Coastline Convention Center!

January 16th – Friday night at 6pm kicks off our event with our Auction and Banquet!
Bid on vacation packages, boating equipment, unique art pieces, local restaurant packages and much more all while enjoying a catered dinner and great friends.

January 17th – Saturday morning at 9 am is Boats Away in our one of a kind Tag & Release Striped Bass Fishing Tournament! Be there to catch the live action and then stick around for a ton of fun activities!

10:00 AM – Cape Fear River Fisheries Science Forum

11am – 2pm – Education Day!
Education is an important component successful fishery restoration. Our fun activities focus on the Cape Fear River’s incredible anadromous fish and the importance of restoring our fishery restoration. Come on out and bring the kids to participate in activities like: Face Painting, Casting Lessons, Microscope Fun, Arts and Crafts, Fish Printing, Fish Anatomy and Much More!

11am-2pm – Boat Trips!
All aboard the Wilmington Water Tours Boat “The Wilmington” for a wonderful guided tour up the Cape Fear River! Registration links and time schedule coming SOON!

12:00 Noon – Jot Owens Fishing Workshop
Captain Jot Owens will be giving a FREE Cape Fear River Striped Bass Fishing Seminar starting at 12pm. This seminar will go over tactics for fishing for Cape Fear River Striped Bass; what lures, what tides, where to fish, tackle and more… This seminar will last about 45 minutes to an hour.

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Annual Report!

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View our Annual report to see all of the wonderful things we have accomplished!

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