/ / / / / White Oak River basin plan aims to improve water quality

White Oak River basin plan aims to improve water quality

Harvesting shellfish is prohibited in much of the lower White Oak River. Most of the impaired waters in…

Harvesting shellfish is prohibited in much of the lower White Oak River. Most of the impaired waters in the White Oak River basin are associated with shellfish growing area classifications. Photo: File

The state is asking for public comment on the draft 2021 White Oak River Basin Water Resources Plan, which explores water quality and water quantity issues in the basin.

The basin, which includes Jacksonville, Beaufort, Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, Sneads Ferry, Surf City, Wrightsville Beach and the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, is the smallest contained entirely in the state at 1,382 square miles.

The basin plan is designed to help state and local leaders identify areas that need additional protection, restoration or preservation to ensure waters of the state are meeting their designated use. This is fourth document to be developed for the White Oak River basin.

The basin is made up of four small river systems — New River, White Oak River, Newport River and North River — all of which drain south directly into the Atlantic Ocean and Back, Core, and Bogue sounds, according the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Division of Water Resources. Nearly a third of the basin is wetlands.

Most of the impaired waters in the White Oak River basin are associated with shellfish growing area classifications, as detailed in the integrated report that is based on water quality assessments and is updated every two years per the Clean Water Act.

Other impairments in the basin are associated with chlorophyll a, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, fecal coliform, enterococcus and copper.

The public may comment on the plan now through July 23, by emailing robin.hoffman@ncdenr.gov, or sending written comments to Robin Hoffman, Basin Planner, Division of Water Resources, 1611 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1611.

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Credit: Original content published here.