Lower Cape Fear Program

The Lower Cape Fear River Program is a large-scale water quality and environmental assessment program covering the Cape Fear River Estuary and a large portion of the lower Cape Fear River watershed.

Cape Fear River Watershed

Mission and Objectives

The mission of the Cape Fear River Program is to develop an understanding of processes which control and influence the Cape Fear River and to provide a mechanism for information exchange and public education.  Specific objectives include:

  • Develop, implement, and manage a basin-wide coordinated physical, chemical, and biological water quality monitoring program.  Point, non-point, and naturally occurring sources will be considered in developing the monitoring plan.
  • Interact with regulatory agencies, academic institutions, local industries, and other groups to determine additional studies and analysis needed to develop an effective and successful management plan.  Initiate the studies and assist in securing funding to conduct the research.
  • Develop scientific information to provide environmental education about the basin targeting point and non-point source contributors and produce reports to identify changes or trends.
  • Develop, consolidate, and maintain a data base on the Cape Fear River Basin, including historical and current data, and made data available to public and private requesters including regulatory agencies.

A collaboration of academia, government, industry, and the public, the program is located at and administered by the Center for Marine Science at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.  Program objectives are to develop an understanding of the fundamental scientific processes shaping and controlling the ecology of the Cape Fear River system and provide a mechanism for information exchange and public education. Numerous physical, chemical, and biological measurements are collected at thirty-four different sites on a regular basis so biologists, chemists, physicists, and geologists will be able to understand freshwater, estuarine, and nearshore marine processes in the Cape Fear River basin. This research will complement and refine the current basinwide management plans being developed by the  North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

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