News & Blog

The NCAEP uses this site to keep our members and the public informed on the latest news and events concerning the environment and the environmental profession in North Carolina. Use the links below to access and comment on the latest news and postings.

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  • 15 Jul 2019 12:54 PM | Kim Hamlin (Administrator)

    CAROLINA MADTOM AND NEUSE RIVER WATERDOG PROPOSED FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT PROTECTION

    Critical Habitat proposed for both species, with a 4(d) special rule proposed for waterdog, allowing for tailored conservation

    May 21, 2019

    The venom in the stinging spines of the Carolina madtom’s fins is so potent that it earned the freshwater catfish the scientific name, Noturus furiosus. The Neuse River waterdog salamander, with its black spots and red external gills, looks like something out of a science fiction movie.

    Both species are part of North Carolina’s rich biological heritage, and due to ongoing threats are now only found in limited and shrinking areas of the state. Following rigorous scientific review, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is proposing to protect the Carolina madtom as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Neuse River waterdog as threatened.

    “We look forward to continuing our work with our state and local partners within the Tar and the Neuse Rivers,” said Pete Benjamin, field supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Raleigh, North Carolina, field office. “Together we will conserve aquatic wildlife and implement actions that have additional benefits to local communities and other native wildlife in the area.”

    The ESA defines endangered species as those that are in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their range, and threatened species as those that are likely to become endangered throughout all or a significant portion of their range within the foreseeable future.

    These findings are the result of reviews conducted by Species Status Assessment (SSA) teams composed of experts from state and federal government agencies and academic institutions. The assessments (See madtom SSA and waterdog SSA) included comprehensive reviews of scientific information as well as evaluations of current population status and projected trends in population levels based on threats to the Carolina madtom and the Neuse River waterdog.

    The Service is proposing to designate about 257 river miles in seven units in North Carolina as critical habitat for the Carolina madtom and about 738 river miles as critical habitat for the Neuse River waterdog.

    For the waterdog, the Service is also proposing a special rule under section 4(d) of the ESA, which will allow the agency to tailor ESA protections while reducing regulatory burdens. While conservation efforts focus threats that are slowing the species’ recovery, activities that do not significantly harm the species will be allowed to continue.

    The Service is seeking information about distribution, status, population size or trends, life history and threats to these species. Comments received will be reviewed, addressed and, where appropriate, incorporated into the final listing rule. If these species are listed under the ESA, the Service will continue to work closely with all partners to develop recovery plans to conserve them.

    With Carolina madtom population in the Trent River within the Neuse River Basin presumed extinct, remaining populations in the Tar and the Neuse River Basins are facing a variety of threats. Ongoing threats include declines in water quality, loss of stream flow, fragmentation of riparian and instream habitats, deterioration of instream habitats, and expansion of the invasive predator flathead catfish. These threats are expected to be exacerbated by urbanization and extreme weather events like hurricanes.

    Challenges to the Neuse River waterdog include dams or culverts that limit the salamander’s ability to move throughout a stream to occupy quality habitat. Impoundments also slow down water and limit the amount of dissolved oxygen. Development, pollution and increased water temperature also add stress to or kill waterdogs living in the stream. Excessive aquatic plant growth, particularly from hydrilla, an invasive water weed, have become a problem in the upper Neuse River Basin, likely interfering with waterdog movement and foraging during the summer months.

    The Service and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission are working with numerous partners to conserve the Neuse River waterdog and Carolina madtom and restore habitat. One restoration project involves partnering with land trusts to target key parcels for acquisition. Federal, state and university biologists are surveying and monitoring species occurrences.

    Conservation Fisheries Inc., collected Carolina madtom individuals as well as juveniles and eggs and is attempting to propagate it in captivity. The work is made possible by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The goal is to put the fish produced by Conservation Fisheries back into the wild to augment and expand the current populations into historical habitat.

    Written comments and information concerning the proposed listing rule will be accepted until July 22, 2019. Requests for public hearings should be submitted within 45 days by July 8, 2019. Comments may be submitted by one of the following methods:

    1. Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS–R4–ES–2018–0092, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. Then, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment Now!”
    2. By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R4–ES–2017–0018; U.S. Fish & Wildlife Headquarters, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.

    The Service will post all comments on regulations.gov. This generally means the agency will post any personal information provided through the process. The Service is not able to accept e-mails or faxes.


  • 21 Dec 2018 10:01 AM | Ward Marotti (Administrator)

    https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/4823104907576658956

    The agencies are hosting this webcast to help explain the key elements of the proposal. In order to provide access to as many people as possible, this system is a webcast rather than a webinar. This means there will not be an opportunity for questions and answers, and participants must join via an internet-connected device (there will be no dial-in audio). There is a limit of 2,000 attendees for the live webcast, however the webcast will be recorded and hosted on the agencies’ websites for later review. The agencies encourage participants to submit comments through the official docket for this rulemaking at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OW–2018–0149. 

  • 13 Dec 2018 10:11 AM | Ward Marotti (Administrator)

    On December 11, 2018, the EPA and Department of the Army proposed a clear, understandable, and implementable definition of "waters of the United States" that clarifies federal authority under the Clean Water Act. The agencies’ proposal is the second step in a two-step process to review and revise the definition of “waters of the United States” consistent with the February 2017 Presidential Executive Order entitled “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule.” The proposed definition would replace the approach in the 2015 Rule and the pre-2015 regulations.

    The agencies will take comment on the proposal for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

    https://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule/proposed-revised-definition-wotus-factsheets

    https://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule/revised-definition-waters-united-states-proposed-rule

    Revised Definition of "Waters of the United States" Proposed Rule - Pre-publication Version (PDF)(253 pp, 1 MB)



  • 14 Nov 2018 10:06 AM | Kim Hamlin (Administrator)

    Apply for a Jim Roberts Scholarship
    Application deadline is November 30

    NAEP is still receiving applications for the Jim Robert Scholarship. This scholarship was established in 2008 to honor Jim Roberts, an early and influential NAEP member who held several leadership roles.

    Scholarship winners receive $1,000 to offset education expenses, as well as a pre-paid, year-long NAEP membership! Applicants must be enrolled in an environmental program at an accredited university or college in the United States, its territories, or Canada.

    Application Instructions

    Simply go through the following application form and fill in each appropriate item. Save the document to your hard drive then submit (by email) this form—along with all other required information for your nomination package—to Chuck Nicholson at cpnicholson53@gmail.com.
    Application Form

  • 20 Aug 2018 1:28 PM | Ward Marotti (Administrator)

    A federal judge in South Carolina has issued an injunction to block the Trump administration's move to delay a clean water rule intended to prevent pollution from being released into bodies of water like creeks, lakes and streams.

    https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/federal-court-reinstates-clean-water-rule-delayed-trump/story?id=57222558

  • 10 Aug 2018 1:34 PM | Kim Hamlin (Administrator)

    The U.S. Army released a memorandum taking initial steps to empower States and tribes in assuming Section 404 permit authority under the Clean Water Act (CWA). In taking on this authority, States and tribes can accelerate job-creating economic development and infrastructure, all while continuing to protect the environment. To read the full story, visit:
    https://www.army.mil/article/209359/army_issues_memorandum_to_empower_states_tribes_in_their_permitting_authority

  • 02 Jul 2018 9:39 AM | Ward Marotti (Administrator)

    The Environmental Protection Agency  and the Department of the Army are issuing a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking to the July 2017 proposed action to repeal the 2015 definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS).  Read the supplemental proposal.

  • 02 May 2018 11:42 AM | Kim Hamlin (Administrator)

    The NC Aquatic Data Hub is hosting a series of training workshops across the state on stream monitoring methods. To register: http://ncaquaticdatahub.org/workshops/

    Who should attend? Anyone who engages or is interested in engaging citizen scientists in monitoring streams. Participants will learn about and practice methods that NCADH recommends for citizen stream monitoring.

    Dates and locations offered:

    Piedmont: May 7 and 8 at Umstead State Park, Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh
    Western North Carolina: May 22 and 23 at Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa
    Eastern North Carolina: June 6 and 7 Edgecombe Cooperative Extension, Tarboro

    Each workshop will take place over two days and will consist of both classroom and in-the-stream components each day. Participants can register for day 1, day 2, or both days:

    Day 1: 9am – 6pm – Monitoring best practices, habitat assessment, and Tier 1 and Tier 2 chemical/physical monitoring.
    Day 2:  9am – 4pm – Tier 2 Bacteria sampling and Tier 1 macroinvertebrate monitoring.

    CLICK HERE for the full agenda for each day.

    Tier 2 benthic macroinvertebrate monitoring for program leaders will be taught in a separate, two day workshop hosted by the Environmental Quality Institute. More information about the Tier 2 macro workshop is coming soon!

    For a review of the NCADH monitoring tiers, click here

    The North Carolina Aquatic Data Hub is a new initiative for connecting aquatic monitoring efforts across the state in order to better understand the condition of North Carolina's waters and to maintain and improve them. NCADH is providing resources and training for new groups and existing organizations to contribute to and access a statewide network of aquatic data. Funding is provided by Z Smith Reynolds Foundation.

    For more information about the NCADH, visit http://ncaquaticdatahub.org/

  • 23 Mar 2018 10:45 AM | Amber Coleman (Administrator)

    Environmental Tech Summit: Improving Our Environment with Modern Technology

    Thursday April 26, 2018

    8am – 5:30pm EDT

    https://envirotechsummit.org/

    Location:

    Devolve

    304 Glenwood Ave

    Raleigh, NC 27603

    The Summit is designed to introduce engineers, scientists, technical and other professional in the environmental industry to the latest software and hardware solutions, and to the people tackling big environmental problems.

    DISCOVER the latest apps, smart IoT devices, drone use cases, mapping technologies, field data collection systems, reporting automation, big data uses, and other modern tools and techniques.

    CONNECT with environmental professionals, tech developers, hardware engineers, and scientists to learn and create solutions for your projects and problem sets!

    EARN NC Professional Development Hours (PDHs) for Engineers.

    Sponsorship opportunities available!

    For more information please contact: Nicholas A. Moran, PG

    CoFounder & Geologist (namoran@gmail.com)


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