CAPE FEAR RIVER BASIN

By: Maggie Bryson & Jon Thomas Blackwood

Frequently Asked Questions:

Location, Population and Miles of steams and rivers included in Cape Fear:

Cape Fear is centered around Wilmington but stretches into the Atlantic ocean. An estimated 2,072,305 people live in the Cape Fear River Basin. The basin includes 6,584 miles of streams and rivers.

Important Landmarks:

Morehead Planetarium

Natural Science Center of Greensboro

North Carolina Zoological Park

Screech Owl Farm School

Wilmington Children's Museum

Two Non-point Sources:

One important pollution problem in Cape Fear is that the water has low oxygen levels. This problem can be very serious for aquatic animals because it can cause aquatic animals to die, due to lack of oxygen. Another serious pollution problem in this river basin is the land use damage. The land is overused, causing land material to end up in Cape Fear and pollute it. A solution to the low oxygen levels in Cape Fear is to monitor the oxygen levels and remove aquatic animals if needed. This could help to keep the aquatic animals in Cape Fear alive.

Two Point Sources:

Coal ash is the byproduct remaining after coal combustion. The ash is routinely held in "storage ponds." Sadly, these ponds leak into the groundwater, and the contaminants end up in Cape Fear River. Duke Energy was caught intentionally dumping 61 million gallons of coal ash into a tributary feeding the Cape Fear River. Another point source pollution problem is the discharge from both swine and poultry CAFO's (Consecrated Animal Feeding Operations). These discharges contain nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, heavy metals such as copper, toxic gases including methane, hydrogen-sulfide, ammonia, deadly bacteria and viruses such as MRSA and salmonella. One way to prevent companies like Duke Energy to stop throwing out their coal ash into the Cape Fear River Basin and any other basins is to put regulations and laws in place to end pollution in the river basin. These laws would fine any company or organization that pollutes any river basin.

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