Water Quality Specialist gets aerial view of watershed issue

Environmental, Sound Rivers

Posted on May 17th, 2023

Water Quality Specialist Taylor Register took her first flight this week, on a mission to check up on CAFOs in the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico watersheds.

Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Jill Howell introduced Sound Rivers’ Water Quality Specialist Taylor Register to the skies this week with a surveillance flight over the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico watersheds.

“I had an amazing time,” Taylor said. “I’ve never flown in anything before, so it was a completely new experience for me. It was incredible to see both the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico rivers from a different perspective than what I usually see.”

Jill and Taylor flew with a D2 Flight Academy pilot out of New Bern.

“We actually flew out to Washington first to check out the sand-mining operation that we had problems with on Maple Branch a little while back, then flew out to Grimesland and Hookerton in Pitt County for the CAFO sites,” Taylor said.

Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Jill Howell.

Flights over CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) allow Riverkeepers to get a bird’s-eye view of any potential violations—visible sludge in hog-waste lagoons, excessive vegetation on the berms lining the lagoons or active spraying of hog waste on saturated fields.

According to Taylor, it was an eye-opening experience.

“What was really shocking to me was to see just how close some of these farms are to our waterways. In some places, the boundary between a hog lagoon and the creek was only a small, wooded field. It really puts into perspective how quickly things could go wrong if these lagoons are not being maintained properly,” she said.

High above the Neuse River.

A CAFO located in Pitt County.




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