A JAN. 5 PRESS RELEASE
Get the Poop Out
Bacteria Monitoring along Swannanoa River to Ensure Safe Swimming and Fishing
When: January 13, 20; February 10, 28 at 10 am
Where: Swannanoa River Watershed
Why: To take water samples to identify bacteria pollution in our local waterways
Who: Anyone, no experience necessary, training will be provided the day of the sampling. Contact French Broad Riverkeeper to sign up.
Bacteria pollution in the French Broad watershed is extremely prevalent, but largely unmonitored and therefore unresolved. Bacteria impairment in area streams usually means sewage or animal waste is reaching the waterway. This is a significant health concern as it can make humans very sick while seriously harming aquatic life. Despite the importance of understanding bacteria pollution, knowledge regarding its distribution has barely begun to scratch the surface. For example, over 15% of the impaired streams in the French Broad Watershed are damaged due to bacteria pollution; however the real problem comes from the vast majority of streams that are unmonitored. In one study, the North Carolina Waste Discharge Elimination Program reports that 20% of homes were illegally discharging bacteria into waterways.
Many of the streams in the French Broad River Watershed known to have bacteria pollution are frequently used for recreation despite the fact that the state does not manage these streams for uses such as swimming. As a result, the French Broad Riverkeeper has devised a plan to sample several area waterways to determine if bacteria pollution exists. This testing will enable the Riverkeeper to track the sources of bacteria pollution and then work with property owners and government agencies to eliminate these sources of pollution. This project is funded by Patagonia®.
To be successful, this project requires volunteers to survey area streams by taking water samples. During our first day of assessment in December, volunteers gathered samples from 40 sites on the Swannanoa River. Of these sites, 15 were found to have some E. coli and 2 sites showed high levels of E. coli. Following up our findings, we will more thoroughly sample these 17 sites that revealed E. coli and expand the testing to additional streams to find possible points of pollution.
Interested volunteers should contact Hartwell Carson, the French Broad Riverkeeper, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-258-8737.
WNCA is a 28-year-old grassroots organization that empowers citizens to be advocates for livable communities and the natural environment of Western North Carolina. For more information, visit WNCA at www.wnca.org or call Hartwell Carson at 828-258-8737.