Environment

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission staff collect and sort dead fish at White Lake, N.C., in May 2018.
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

“Look at that boat right yonder. They’re going around picking up dead fish,” says a man who identifies himself on YouTube as Kyle McGee.

Gerry Dincher / Flickr Creative Commons

There is plenty of debate over whether an algae bloom, or chemicals, or a combination of the two led to the devastating fish kill on White Lake in Bladen County, NC. What is clear, is more than 100,000 fish of various species, including hearty largemouth bass, floated up to the surface and washed ashore starting in May.

an offshore drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico
Robert Seale, Maersk Drilling / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/mU1Qdz

The mayor of Nags Head says members of Congress should vote down a draft bill on offshore drilling.

File photo of a house on Nags Head. By the year 2045, 2,000 homes in Nags Head and Hatteras can expect flooding every other week, according to the non-profit Union of Concerned Scientists.
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

In 30 years, more than 15,000 North Carolina homes will be chronically inundated, meaning they're flooded about every other week, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. The nonprofit advocacy group released a report today showing where and when sea-level rise is likely to impact residents' daily lives.

A protest sign brought by Rebekah Cain Saenz sits on a platform in front of Chemours' President of Flouroproducts Paul Kirsch during a community meeting hosted by the chemical company Chemours at Faith Tabernacle Christian Center in St. Pauls, N.C. on Tue
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

A year after news broke that Chemours had been releasing unregulated, industrial compounds into the Cape Fear River for decades, the company ended its silence with a town hall meeting Tuesday night.

Recycling bin.
Town of Chapel Hill

You mean well, and want to help the environment. But have you ever tossed a plastic bag in your blue curbside recycling bin? Or a styrofoam container? You might be part of the reason America has such a lousy reputation for recycling.

A picture of curbside recycling carts in Durham.
Ildar Sagdejev / Wikipedia

Recycling is becoming more popular across North Carolina, and Dare County recycles the most household paper and container materials per-capita in the state.

Heavy rain could be reducing farm yields across the state, like this one in western NC.
mystuart via Flickr, creative commons

 Western North Carolina is expecting more rain and thunderstorms over the next few days. A state of emergency for 33 Western North Carolina counties has been in effect since late May after heavy rains caused several mudslides, flash floods, rising rivers and falling trees. Some areas received 20 inches of rain over a two week period.

Cape Fear River at Raven Rock State Park NC
Keith Weston / WUNC

  Last June, The Wilmington Star News broke news that the toxic chemical GenX was found in drinking water from the Cape Fear River.  Long before their investigative series was published, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) knew about the elevated levels of GenX.  Once the news of tainted water spread through the state, so did fears and concerns from residents, government officials and environmental groups.

Flooding along NC 211 near Lumberton make roads impassable on Monday, October 10, 2016.
Jay Price / WUNC

A report on the potential for hurricane damage says more than 250,000 homes in North Carolina face some chance of flooding.  

book cover of 'The Source' by author Martin Doyle
Courtesy Martin Doyle

The history of rivers in America is a story of control, or at least an attempt at control. Early on, waterways determined where and how European settlers would live. Later, in the industrial age, humans would begin to exert their control over the rivers. Through massive projects like the Tennessee Valley Authority, Americans turned long rivers into a series of reservoirs and water into money-making energy. But in the process, they also drastically changed the ecosystems around the rivers.

The Advocacy group Environment North Carolina is leading the charge to ban the use of single-use polystyrene, better known as styrofoam.
romana klee / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/r78ZQJ

Environmental activists are calling for a statewide ban on single-use polystyrene, better known as styrofoam. The plastic food and drink containers don’t biodegrade, and often end up in waterways and marine animals.

Overhead view of Hurricane Matthew
NASA / Flickr

North Carolina's coastal ecosystem has drastically changed because of two decades of hurricanes and other tropical cyclones.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a 75 percent chance that the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season will be near- or above-normal.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

U.S. government forecasters are expecting an active Atlantic hurricane season.

DEQ

Updated May 18

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality says the town of White Lake's statements about what might have caused a recent fish kill are misleading the public.

Overhead view of Hurricane Matthew
NASA / Flickr

It's Hurricane Preparedness week, and North Carolina public safety officials want residents to consider how vulnerable they'd be if a big storm hit their area.

A protest sign against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Francine Stephenson's property in Johnston County.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Environmental groups and the lead developer of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline were at odds Wednesday over what happens now that a federal appeals court has vacated a key permit for the multistate project.

a portion of a pipeline
Roy Luck / Flickr Creative Commons

On Tuesday, a federal appeals court issued a decision that created a roadblock for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. A three-judge panel of the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service review of the pipeline. The federal review is known as an incidental take statement, and it is meant to set limits on killing threatened or endangered species during construction and operation. 

Courtesy of NC Coastal Land Trust

A 1,000-acre tract of land along Salmon Creek in Bertie County might one day become a state park. 

Pigs on a Farm
Eric Mennel / WUNC

Updated 9:18 a.m. | April 27

A federal jury on Thursday awarded more than $50 million in damages to neighbors of an industrial hog operation found responsible for intense smells, noise and other disturbances so bad people couldn't enjoy their rural homes.

red wolf and pup
Brooke Gilley, US Forest Service / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/rT5zJf

The only wild population of endangered red wolves is unsustainable and could be wiped out within a decade after dwindling to a few dozen, government officials said in a report Tuesday.

Catch per unit effort of bull sharks
Charles Bangley / Nature

Researchers say rising sea temperatures have brought more bull sharks to North Carolina. 

A study published on Nature.com says the sharks appear to be moving their reproductive habitats farther north as the Atlantic gets warmer.

North Carolina Air Pollution
Doug Bradley / Flickr

The American Lung Association says North Carolina's particle pollution has improved, but ozone pollution remains an issue in many areas. 

many small photos of plastic objects such as a pizza table or small bag, each photographed next to a ruler
Robin Frohardt

Mandatory recycling is law in some places around the United States, which makes people feel comfortable about their part in saving the planet. But what happens to single-use plastics, like take out containers, grocery bags, and Starbucks cup caps? They end up in the oceans, among other places.

Duke Energy customers in North Carolina will be able to get rebates of up to $6,000 each beginning this summer for installing solar panels on their homes.  The four-year, $62 million rebate program was approved by state regulators last week. It's required under a 2017 state law designed to keep solar power growing in North Carolina.

 Casey Collins, Duke University Energy Manager, inspects a boiler at the West Campus Steam Plant. Soon, these boilers will run on swine biogas instead of natural gas.
James Morrison / WUNC

North Carolina isn’t rich in coal, natural gas or oil deposits, but it has more hogs than nearly any other state. And for many years, people have been trying to figure out a way to turn hog waste into electricity.

Aerial image of Lake Lure, North Carolina
David Dugan / Creative Commons

Lake Lure is high on Hollywood’s call list. The small town in Rutherford County has been the site for blockbuster movies including the 1987 film “Dirty Dancing.” But the community is now facing a critical situation. The dam that makes Lake Lure the idyllic spot that it is, is in urgent need of repairs that may cost up to $5 million.

crab pots
Darren Pullen / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/2frpk5

Commercial fishermen retrieved 3,500 lost crab pots from coastal waters this winter. Storms and boating can cause buoys to separate from these wire cages, which makes the traps hard to find.

A protest sign against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Francine Stephenson's property in Johnston County.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Crews are already cutting trees in Northampton and Robeson counties to make way for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the 600-mile-long delivery system that will carry natural gas from West Virginia, across Virginia, and through North Carolina. The pipeline will cut an eight-county, 200-mile-long path across the Tar Heel State with supporters and opponents all along the route.

photo of a man holding a card that says 'asheville is climate city'
Courtesy of The Collider

This month Asheville hosted the first ClimateCon, a conference to explore innovations and business solutions to combat the effects of climate change. The nine-day conference included a business of climate forum, a summit for emerging climate leaders, and community-wide events.

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