Our Recent Fundraiser

DJT_7390On March 5, 2016 we held a fundraising event at The Marina Cafe in Jacksonville, with food served by A Shuckin’ Good Time. James Archer played live music, while our volunteers served up hot food.

An event like this is a group effort. I want to personally thank everyone who helped us pull this off. Of course, no fundraiser can be a success without patrons, and we’ve got some of the best patrons, ever. I can’t thank you all enough for your support.

We also had a silent auction and many people donated items for us to auction off. I’d also like to thank those people for their generosity in helping us raise some additional funds.

People who donated items for the silent auction:

DJT_7400We also received gift certificates, gift baskets, and other things from the following vendors:

Given how many things can go wrong at any event, I must say things went very smoothly. The professionals at A Shuckin’ Good Time had a lot to do with that. Also, I can’t thank The Marina Cafe enough for providing us with a venue that is right on the water. They’ve always been a great supporter of the Riverkeeper.

In addition to live music and a silent auction, Nicole (our Riverkeeper), gave a short presentation, while our guests shucked oysters and enjoyed some tasty shrimp and chicken tenders. As stewards of the river, we strive to educate anyone who will listen on the issues that confront us everyday and what everyone can do to help make our rivers cleaner and safer.

On a side note, I negotiated furiously with one of our charter members over a position on our board. If all goes well, we’ll soon have a new board member who has been a longstanding supporter. I sent her an application and I’m looking forward to her response.

I can’t thank everyone enough for their support. I have personally invested in the Riverkeeper Alliance because it means a lot to me. Without your financial support, and the help of an army of volunteers, there would be very little we could do. You guys make it all possible, and you have my eternal gratitude.

Doug Toltzman

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Brewed Awakenings Meet & Greet 🐢 🐟 🐌

Brewed Awakenings Coffee Cafe & Wine Bar

2355 Western Boulevard, Jacksonville, NC

Come join me at the Brewed Awakenings off of Western Blvd in Jacksonville. We can discuss White Oak – New Riverkeeper business. More importantly though, we can talk about how you can get involved in volunteer activities and listen to what you have to say about the White Oak River Basin. Hope to see you there!

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Longpoint Landing Cleanup and Offshore Drilling Developments

On Sunday, November 15th a handful of us wandered out to Longpoint Landing and did a cleanup. All-in-all we gathered about 5 big trash bags full of trash (mostly beer bottles and cans) and a busted television. It’s always interesting to see what turns up on these cleanups. One of my favorite “treasures” is a completely flattened fork, which I framed and is now decorating my kitchen. Anyway, it turned out to be a lovely day. To keep up on future events please join us at: http://www.meetup.com/White-Oak-New-Riverkeeper/

Below are some of the photographs taken that day, courtesy Douglas Toltzman.

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In other news…

On Monday, November 16th the Carteret County commissioners voted in favor of offshore drilling in a 4 to 2 vote. This was not taken lightly by local residents. However it was stated by Commissioner Mansfield, ““At this time I have to stand in support of the governor and his views on offshore drilling.” You can read more on this HERE.

 

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Town of Maysville, Wastewater Treatment Update:

Mr. James Harper, Interim Town Manager, announced last night at the Maysville Town Meeting that after speaking recently with NCDENR they have hired Envirolink to help manage the many issues that the municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant faces. Additionally, a new Operator in Charge (ORC) has been hired. ORC Lee Buck stated that he has 14 years of experience operating wastewater treatment plants, has rehabbed several, and has already pinned infiltration / inflow (INI – occurrences of stormwater infiltrating the system and causing overflow) as the primary concern to tackle. Mr. Harper has made a plea to the commissioners to accept a Special Order by Consent (SOC) with the state in order to avoid further fines and repercussions. The SOC contractually binds the town to pursue a timeline of upgrades and fixes in order to obtain compliance. This seems to be the most sensible route to take. It is my hope that the commissioners accept.

White Oak-New Riverkeeper Alliance will continue to keep our thumb on the pulse of this issue and keep you, the public, informed of any progress being made.

Sincerely,

Nicole L. Triplett

White Oak-New Riverkeeper

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Nov. 7 Public Meeting

The White Oak-New Riverkeeper Alliance is having a planning meeting at the Bake Bottle & Brew coffee shop on the Swansboro waterfront at 147 Front St. The meeting is open to the public and will start at 10:30am on November 7, 2015. We encourage anyone who is interested in what we do to join us for an open planning session.

We will hear from our president, Dale Weston, our new Riverkeeper, Nicole Triplett, and Doug Toltzman on the state of our river, recent projects, what we need from our volunteers and the community, and our future plans.

Most of the meeting will be reserved for an open discussion about upcoming projects and public outreach. We are seeking new board members, and we’ll have applications for anyone who would like to apply. We would also like to enlist as many supporting members as we can (there is no cost to attend the meeting), because we rely on public support to run our programs and pay our Riverkeeper.

Whether you’re a paddler, a fisherperson, or just a concerned citizen, we’d love to hear from you. Nicole is your Riverkeeper, and she can’t do her best without community involvement and input.

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Dr. Stanley R. Riggs to Speak on NC’s Offshore Oil and Gas

 

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Let’s protect and preserve our beautiful oceans and ensure that our future generations will have the quality of life they all deserve!

 

Join Dr. Stanley R. Riggs, research professor from the Department of Geological Sciences at East Carolina University, for a lecture and discussion on offshore drilling. This has been an increasingly hot topic in the Town of Swansboro, which houses a good portion of our White Oak river. As we get closer to the Town of Swansboro’s November meeting to vote on offshore drilling this is a good opportunity to learn some of the details of its effects on water quality and aquatic ecosystems. Let me know if you can make it. I will be attending the 2015 North Carolina Coastal Federation Water Supply Summit all day the following Wednesday, October 28th so I would appreciate any information others can get from this lecture in particular. Feel free to send me any information you gain that is integral to our local water systems through our contact page. Hope you can make it! 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015
6:30 PM
Joslyn Hall – Carteret Community College
3500 Arendell St.
Morehead City, NC
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To Drill or Not to Drill

_DJ23922I attended the October 14 Special Meeting & Workshop of the Swansboro City Council. The first half of the meeting consisted of presentations by four experts concerning off-shore oil drilling and seismic surveys.

Greg Rudolph opened with an overview of the off-shore drilling process, a general overview of seismic blasting, what the oil industry expects to find on our coast, the minimum time frame in which things might happen, locations, and some projected revenue numbers, along with how revenue may or may not be shared.

I took away a few things from his presentation. I was surprised to hear that the area that is expected to be the most productive is mostly inside the 50 mile exclusion zone. Apparently, that’s why our governor is working to reduce the exclusion zone to 30 miles. Another item that struck me was that outside 3 miles distance from our coast, there is no current law that says the federal government has to share any of the revenue with the state. A revenue sharing agreement must be passed by the U.S. legislature before North Carolina would get any money from off-shore drilling, unless it was right on our coastline (within 3 miles). Even if the state did get money from the federal government thanks to some kind of revenue sharing legislation, the State of North Carolina, would get first dibs on the money, and it’s unlikely that much, if any money would flow down to the local level.

_DJ23925Our next speaker was Dr. Douglas Nowacek. He explained what we do and do not know about the impacts of seismic air guns (used for seismic surveys) on marine wildlife. The good doctor explained that, although we haven’t documented immediate harm to individual marine animals, we have lots of evidence that would lead a rational person to conclude that constant loud noises (seismic airguns are the loudest sound humans put into the ocean, and seismic surveys continue through the drilling process) displace, disrupt, and otherwise annoy the creatures that are bombarded with them. He pointed out that noise levels were shown to change foraging patterns, cause animals to eat less, negatively impact reproduction, and other things you’d expect if an animal was under stress from repeated loud noises. Seismic airguns are very loud, and they can be heard for thousands of miles.

_DJ23926If you guessed that, in the interest of getting all sides of the story, the next speaker would be an industry shill, you’d be right. I must say that he was well chosen, in that he claims to have grown up in the area and has the area’s best interests at heart. David McGowen, the Executive Director of the North Carolina Petroleum Council took the stand and told us that there was no conclusive evidence of adverse effects on marine wildlife by seismic testing. To be fair, he was very respectful of the previous two speakers. However, his job was to allay our fears and convince us that there was great economic opportunity, and little to no danger of environmental damage. He also pointed out that the public is allowed to comment at every stage in the permitting process, in a bid to convince the council that it didn’t need to take any action in the near term. If you want the details of David’s presentation, you can get his sales pitch from Energy Tomorrow’s web-site.

_DJ23932Our final speaker was Jessie Hawkins. Jessie had a long resume’ that I didn’t manage to scribble into my notes, but I did catch that he was with the Division of Marine Fisheries for 30 years. What was most obvious about Jessie was that he is passionate about fish and the unique features of North Carolina’s coast that support them. He pointed out that North Carolina gets around a billion dollars a year from sustainable commercial fishing and tourism. He described what makes our estuaries and coastal waters unique and invaluable. He also pointed out that there is a lot we don’t know about the deep water spawning areas along our coast and how they might be impacted by oil drilling. Mr. Hawkins did an excellent job of explaining why we shouldn’t be too quick to gamble with our natural resources. He even suggested that a more sustainable solution might be to build wind farms to harvest the huge wind potential along our coast.

My thoughts on all this, are in line with Jessie Hawkins. I think we need to stop gambling with our natural resources to drill for fossil fuels when we know fossil fuels are not sustainable. You probably expected that from me. However, I have another thought: If we did get 55,000 jobs, as the proponents advertise, those jobs would come with the infrastructure that accompanies dirty industry. If you haven’t been to New Jersey, I suggest you fly into the Newark airport and check out the coast of New Jersey as you make your final approach. If you don’t want to visit NJ, try Houston. There is a reason why people come to North Carolina to enjoy the beach, and there is a reason why I live here, and not on the coast of New Jersey. Sure, economic development is a great thing, but the oil industry would destroy everything I love about eastern North Carolina. If I wanted to live in a booming metropolis and get up every morning to the smell of crude oil, there are lots of places I could go. I live here because the air is fresh, the beaches are clean, I can swim in the water, and I can eat the local seafood, among other things. The world doesn’t need more oil. The world needs clean, safe water and an environment that provides us with food and a good life.

Doug Toltzman

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