State science board submits recommendations on water needed to sustain aquatic life in N.C.

DENRRALEIGH – The N.C. Ecological Flows Science Advisory Board has developed recommendations regarding the amount of water needed to sustain aquatic life in surface waters.

The board was created in 2010 to advise the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources on developing an approach to provide sufficient streamflows that protect the ecological integrity of streams and rivers in North Carolina as required by state law.

The board proposes that DENR use a two-part strategy to establish ecological streamflows, determine if future conditions support these flows, and assess whether additional review and studies are warranted. Much of the strategy includes how to maintain between 80 percent and 90 percent of streamflows to preserve aquatic life. To see the entire report, go to: http://www.ncwater.org/files/eflows/sab/EFSAB_Final_Report_to_NCDENR.pdf.

The board members included representatives from the state divisions of Water Resources, and Marine Fisheries as well as the state water quality program, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, the N.C. Natural Heritage Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service. The board is also represented by experts in aquatic ecology and agriculture, forestry, manufacturing, electric public utilities, non-governmental organizations, local governments and other groups.

State officials say public comments concerning the report can be sent during the next 30 days by mail to Crystal Best, State Environmental Review Clearinghouse, 1301 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1301, or by email to state.clearinghouse@doa.nc.gov. To see the history of the board, including past meeting agendas, summaries and recordings, go to http://www.ncwater.org/?page=366.

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