epa visit

APNEP is proud to be one of twenty-eight “estuaries of national significance” across the United States that belong to the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program (NEP). As part of the National Estuary Program, APNEP’s progress towards achieving its long-term goals is assessed every five years by EPA representatives through a formal Program Evaluation. This May 15th through 17th, APNEP staff and EPA representatives traveled across the Albemarle-Pamlico region for the site visit portion of the Program Evaluation.

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With the demolition of Raleigh’s Milburnie Dam in November 2017, the Neuse River now flows freely from Falls Lake to Pamlico Sound for the first time in over a hundred years. Safety concerns contributed to the dam’s removal, but the main reason for the removal of Milburnie was to enable fish such as American Shad, Striped Bass, and Atlantic Sturgeon to once again migrate from the ocean to their historic spawning habitat upstream of the dam.  

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merchant's millpond state park

The ebb and flow of water guides the rhythms of the natural world. Rivers and creeks swell with spring rainfall, life blooming along their banks. Small streams become inhospitable channels of rock and sand during the hot months of summer. Fall then brings the threat of hurricanes, which can turn waterways into raging torrents that sweep pollutants, sediment, and detritus far downstream.

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teachers explore the salt marsh

Teachers waded through the shallow water of Bogue Sound, laughing and shouting as they searched the estuary’s sandy bottom for signs of life. Behind them, gnarled maritime forest backed shoreline-fringing salt marshes. The group had canoed and kayaked here as a part of the 2017 ExPLORE NC Teacher Institute, an annual APNEP-funded professional development institute for North Carolina’s teachers. The Institute seeks to introduce educators to hands-on, inquiry-based ways of teaching about our state's natural resources. 

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seagrass monitoring

Most of us are familiar with North Carolina’s grassy meadows, fields, and lawns, but did you know that our state’s coastal rivers and sounds harbor underwater meadows of their own? Many North Carolinians have no idea that these underwater grasses – also known as submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) or seagrasses – are actually one of North Carolina’s most valuable, and fragile, aquatic resources.

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