State Seeks Public Feedback on the Chowan River Basin Plan


The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Division of Water Resources is requesting public review and input of the draft 2020 Chowan River Basinwide Water Resources Plan (Basin Plan).

The Basin Plan provides a comprehensive examination and explanation of the planning process for water quality and quantity issues in the basin. It’s used to identify areas that need additional protection, restoration, or preservation to ensure waters of the state are meeting their designated use.

The Chowan River basin is located in Virginia and North Carolina. The Chowan River itself begins where the Blackwater, Nottaway and Meherrin rivers merge near the state line. It then flows to the Albemarle Sound and eventually the Atlantic Ocean. An estimated 95,000 people live in the North Carolina portion of the river basin and Bertie, Chowan, Gates, Herford and Northampton counties are either fully or partially located in the basin.

Based on 2016 land use data, nearly 36 percent of land in the North Carolina portion of the basin is identified as forest; 29 percent is identified as agriculture; and 20 percent is comprised of wetlands. Algal blooms have reemerged as a major water quality concern in the basin over the past several years. Some of the blooms have been identified as potentially harmful algal blooms (pHAB) capable of producing toxins. The Basin Plan includes recommendations to address and identify potential pollution sources that may be contributing to excess nutrients and the algal blooms in the basin.

The public comment period is open through October 30, 2020. Comment on the proposed plan may be emailed to Comments may also be mailed through the postal service to:

Forest Shepherd
Basin Planner
Division of Water Resources
Department of Environmental Quality
1611 MSC
Raleigh, NC 27699
The Fact Sheet can be found here.

Public comments will be reviewed and considered for incorporation into the Basin Plan. The Basin Plan is scheduled to be presented to the Environmental Management Commission (EMC) January 2021 for final approval. DWR will work with local stakeholders to implement approved recommendations.

Basin plans are required under General Statute 143-215.8B and are approved by the EMC every 10 years (Session Law 2012-200).

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