Water quality is essential to the overall health of the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system. With over 3,000 square miles of open water, the Albemarle-Pamlico estuary is the second-largest estuarine complex in the continental United States. To assist in ensuring that water quality issues are recognized and addressed, APNEP provides funding to to organizations monitoring water quality as gaps in data coverage are identified and as programmatic funds allow. APNEP's Water Quality Improvements: Low Impact Development and Agriculture Action Teams, as well as the Water Resources Monitoring and Assessment Team, work to define and address the pressing water quality issues in our region.
NC DMF Recreational Water Quality Monitoring (2015-2020)
APNEP has provided funding to support the Division of Marine Fisheries’ Recreational Water Quality Monitoring Program in the Albemarle-Pamlico region. APNEP's funding increases the number of sites DMF is able to monitor, enabling more comprehensive coverage of the region's communities and facilitating collection of water quality data. The Recreational Water Quality Monitoring Program tests for bacterial concentrations in coastal recreational waters with the goal of protecting human health. When bacteriological standards have been exceeded, the program notifies the public.
Sound Rivers Swim Guide Program (2018 and 2020)
APNEP provided funding to Sound Rivers to initiate a citizen science water quality monitoring program called Swim Guide. Community volunteers and interns, with the assistance of Sound Rivers staff, sampled sites weekly in the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico watersheds. Alerts and information were posted on the organization's website and sent to the larger Swim Guide database. The goal of this program, similar to NC DMF's Recreational Water Quality Program, is to improve public health by monitoring for harmful bacteria at strategic sites throughout these watersheds.
ModMon Project (2014-2015)
APNEP provided bridge funding for the ModMon project, which has been collecting and analyzing water quality on the Neuse River Estuary since 1994. The ModMon project, led by the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences, provides high quality, readily available data on water quality parameters in the Neuse River. These parameters can be used to evaluate the overall health of the river and address the modeling and monitoring needs for the Neuse River Estuary Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). The data collected are available on a continuous basis to government agencies and universities. ModMon also supports numerous undergraduate field trip experiences for universities.
Oak City River Gauge Monitoring (2014-2015)
APNEP partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, N.C. Division of Water Resources, and N.C. Water Resources to maintain a river monitoring station near Oak City on the Roanoke River during a budget shortfall in 2013-2014. Continuous funding of this gauge meant that water quality and flow records remained uninterrupted, providing valuable information for planning efforts in the Roanoke River Basin.
APNEP Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) actions addressed:
- E1.1: Facilitate the development and implementation of an integrated monitoring network through the guidance of regional monitoring and assessment teams.
- E1.3: Facilitate the expansion of volunteer monitoring into a core element of the integrated monitoring network.