Author: Heather Deck

Water Quality Hacks at Home

March 9, 2023

Water Quality Hacks at Home

When it rains, it ultimately pours lots of bad stuff into our waterways. Stormwater runoff fills ditches, streams, creeks and rivers with pollutants such as pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, motor oil from roads and driveways — you get the picture.

While it may same like a Herculean task to tackle water quality as a whole, it turns out everyone can play a part in reducing pollution stormwater runoff.

Here are a few good ways to make your own impact for clean water:

Lawn Care

If you’re planning to fertilize, test your soil to determine how much fertilizer you actually need. Apply fertilizers and pesticides sparingly, and do not apply before it’s supposed to rain. Compost your lawn clippings. Learn all you need to know about lawn care here!

Cut Your Pollution Contribution

There are some simple ways to cut back on polluting at home: reduce bacteria by picking up after your pets and disposing of the waste properly; wash your car on your lawn where the chemicals and soap can be absorbed and filtered by the soil instead of washing directly into a ditch or stream; maintain your septic tank — find out how here!

Gardening for Water Quality

When it comes to gardening and water quality, there are a variety of ways you can make an impact: planting/preserving trees and introducing rain gardens and rain barrels to your gardening repertoire. Rain gardens hold and slowly filter water, preventing runoff, while rain barrels and cisterns harvest rainwater to be reused. Find out more about how to install your own rain garden or install a rain barrel.

Learn other great tips and tools to reduce pollution with N.C. State Cooperative Extension’s A Gardener’s Guide to Protecting Water Quality.

And here are some more general ways you can address climate change by cutting back on your carbon footprint — individually, we can make a difference together will make a difference. If you have a tip to share, please email it to info@soundrivers.org.

  • Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
    Yep, that still works!
  • Use Water More Efficiently
    Less water, less energy needed to pump to your home.
  • Commit to Eating More Plants and Less Meat
    Livestock contribute 14.5% of global greenhouse emissions. Eat less meat and while you’re at it, choose locally sourced foods when possible and buying food with less packaging.
  • Install a smart thermometer to reduce energy use at home.
  • Plant more trees and/or support groups that do.
  • Vote!
    Check out resources like vote411.org.
  • Be active in your community and find ways to support youth-led movements that focus on the environment.
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40th Anniversary

March 9, 2023

40th Anniversary

40 years, fighting for clean water

2021 was a special year as Sound Rivers celebrated 40 years of fighting for clean water — your water.

In the fall of 2021, we premiered “A Sound River,” our 40th-anniversary film exploring Sound Rivers’ history of activism, from its humble beginnings around kitchen tables to court battles against industrial polluters, as told by the voices of Sound Rivers — its founders and partners, those continuing the fight for clean water and environmental justice, and the Riverkeepers guarding the waterways that cover nearly a quarter of North Carolina. 

Rain Bennett, a Durham resident and Washington native, directed the film, drawing on Sound Rivers’ storytellers and experts to provide background and the science behind issues.

“Seeing and hearing some of the stories from the people who have been there from the beginning, it’s clear that certain things remain constant: there will always be industries and facilities and regulations and interests threatening our waterways, but there will also always be those who care deeply for the river and their community, ready to stand up to these challenges,” said former Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Jill Howell.

Watch the trailer for Sound Rivers today!

If you’re interested in hosting a watch party or screening the event, email us at info@soundrivers.org and we’ll be happy to make it happen.

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In Their Own Voices

March 9, 2023

In Their Own Voices

For more than four decades, Sound Rivers has been an advocate for the health of the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico, as well as the communities that rely them. Though Sound Rivers may be the voice for the river, it’s the many people who have supported the clean-water cause for more than four decades who have made the greatest impact, giving generously of their time, expertise, passion and resources.

From founders of the Neuse River and Pamlico-Tar River foundations to incredible supporters who’ve joined along the way, we’ve taken a look back at some familiar faces, whose passion for the environment and the beautiful rivers, lakes and creeks of eastern North Carolina has been, and continues to be, instrumental in keeping our waters swimmable, fishable and drinkable.

Read about their work, their passions and why they became involved in our fight for clean water.

Our Stories

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History

March 9, 2023

History

Sound Rivers was created by the merger of two of the state’s oldest grassroots conservation organizations, combining the deep history of advocacy of the Neuse River Foundation, established in 1980, and the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation, established in 1981.

Prior to the founding of these two organizations, people had noticed a fundamental change on the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico rivers. Fish and crab, so abundant in previous decades, had declined. Forests of sea grass had disappeared, seemingly overnight. Fish kills began to be a regular occurrence.

The cause seemed to be cumulative: development, more farming and industry, more wastewater plants along the length of the rivers, from the Piedmont to the Pamlico Sound, were all contributing to the downward spiral of the rivers’ health. Those concerned with the decline they’d witnessed took action, taking the health of the rivers in their own hands, forming these grassroots organizations to serve as watchdogs for the waterways, holding polluters and the state accountable.

Decades later, boards and staff of both organizations understood the issues affecting both rivers were the same, and in 2015, the Neuse River Foundation and the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation merged to become Sound Rivers, strengthening our impact within the state and becoming a powerful advocate for our most cherished waterways.

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Our Commitment

March 9, 2023

Our Commitment

Sound Rivers is a nonprofit organization that guards the health of the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico river basins. We work with concerned citizens to monitor, protect and preserve these watersheds that cover nearly one-quarter of North Carolina.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR WATERSHEDS

Our Mission

Sound Rivers’ mission is to monitor and protect the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico River watersheds, preserving the health and beauty of the river basins, and the health of the communities that rely on them.

Sound Rivers is committed to the goal of environmental justice and equity for all people in our watersheds. Our work to protect our waters is more successful when our organization represents the full diversity of people living within our watersheds. We recognize the benefits and impact of diverse leadership, building of trust in impacted communities, and inclusive programs ensuring we serve the needs of all those communities within the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico river basins.

We believe all people should have access to enjoyment of the natural world and a powerful voice in decisions that may affect their environment and health. No group of people should bear a disproportionate share of negative environmental consequences, nor should they have less access to beneficial environmental assets. 

We acknowledge Sound Rivers has historically been a predominantly white organization. While we are working to change that, we are committed to ongoing activities focused on learning, reflection, adaptation and intentional and focused outreach to diverse communities to ensure our work reflects, respects, engages and includes communities of color.

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Our Story

March 9, 2023

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Search

July 7, 2022

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Resource Library

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History & Success

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