Riverkeeper Update: On the Neuse

Neuse Riverkeeper Samantha Krop was out in the field this week, sampling for macroinvertebrates in Lick Creek. Teaming up with a specialist hired by the Southern Environmental Law Center, the two set about determining how development is impacting species of waterways in the upper Neuse.

“I learned a lot about bugs, and he told me that, sadly, this is obviously a very impacted creek, and that surely development is the culprit — you can see the damage happening in every direction,” Sam said. “Hopefully, this will be the beginning of getting some traction for meaningful, stronger protections.”

On the development note, Sam has also been active in opposing development that could potentially harm waterways in the area, providing information to concerned residents and speaking at planning board meetings. That paid off on Monday night, when the Durham City Council declined to move ahead with a 280-acre development on land that is on the Natural Heritage Registry, home to an old hardwood forest and unique plants.

The city council’s reason to deny the proposal was less about water quality — a concern of the Durham City-County Planning Board that recommended against approving the proposal — and more about infrastructure: the area lacks a fire station.

“They didn’t talk about water quality, though that was one of the main reasons why the planning board did not recommend it,” she said. “But it’s still really good news for that area.”

Sam is currently organizing the installation of Sound Rivers’ third Trash Trout on Little Rock Creek, a tributary of Walnut Creek, which will take place on Nov. 15.