We Need Real Improvements in Water Quality

The coal ash ponds at Duke's Buck Steam Station near Salisbury will eventually have a major spill into High Rock Lake and the Yadkin River. Those highly toxic, heavy metal and mercury laden ponds must to be removed by Duke Energy under careful supervision from the EPA.

For those of us concerned about the water quality of the Yadkin River we need to all work together. That includes actively supporting the following: 1. Remove all coal ash ponds along the Yadkin. 2. Preserve more forested shoreline buffers along the Yadkin. (Which includes working cooperatively with Alcoa to preserve their shoreline and upland property along the Yadkin.) 3. Significantly reduce the massive amounts of sediments and nutrients that enter the river and eventually High Rock Lake from poor waste water treatment facilities, toxic storm water run-off, and poor agricultural, farming and animal raising practices along the Yadkin.

It should be noted that McCrory's (and the Riverkeeper's) current efforts to takeover Alcoa's dams includes contracting out the operation of those dams to Duke Energy. The only outcome from this unfounded takeover effort is the grabbing of $$s for the state (and Duke Energy) at Alcoa's expense. Eventually the public will understand that the takeover efforts have nothing to do with water quality in the Yadkin River. Alcoa's actions with Dissolved Oxygen improvements and PCB remediation over the last several years have already improved the water quality in the Yadkin and their Relicensing Settlement Agreement includes additional water quality improvements that are being blocked by the takeover bunch. (Also note that as McCrory improperly halted the release of Alcoa's 401 permit, with the last minute riverbed ownership lawsuit, he and others in Raleigh were at the same time gutting the NC Department of Water Quality.)

An independent Yadkin Riverkeeper who is unaligned with the special takeover interest, who seek quick found $$s at Alcoa's expense, will support all three water improvement goals listed above. The silence about land preservation along the Yadkin River by the takeover bunch has been disturbing since day one.

Of course land preservation along the Yadkin and water quality are directly connected while the takeover of Alcoa's dams has never really been about improved water quality in the Yadkin.

Views: 289

Comment by Stop Global Whining on February 22, 2014 at 7:27pm

John, we can agree on the fact that the guy who calls himself "Riverkeeper" is pimping out water quality in favor of an anti-Alcoa agenda.  I'm just not certain, though, on what kind of 'land preservation' you would seek, outside of the land that is currently owned by Alcoa.  Around these parts if you go talking about development restrictions for average families, you could lose supporters about as much as Dean Najouks has done to himself.

Comment by John D. Young on February 22, 2014 at 8:24pm
I am speaking about Alcoa's approximately 16,000 acres along the Yadkin Project. Around 6,000 acres is preserved in the RSA. However, the takeover folks were able to politicize the Wildlife Resources Comm. and now the preservation of much of that 6,000 acres is all on the shoulders of the Land Trust for Central NC.
Comment by John D. Young on February 22, 2014 at 8:53pm
Also better Shoreline Management Plans (and land preservation) along agricultural sections of the Yadkin, way upriver, would help prevent excessive sediments and nutrients in the water.
Comment by Ann on February 22, 2014 at 9:03pm

Great post, John!  Not only have none of the takeover proponents ever mentioned the loss of the provision in the RSA for Alcoa to donate or offer for sale for conservation purposes their 6,000 acres along the shoreline, but they've also never mentioned how great the 16,000 acres Alcoa has preserved in a natural state all these years, paying property taxes on it all this time, are.  The undeveloped Alcoa land protects water quality, provides habitat for animals and birds, and adds greatly to the scenic beauty of the area, while providing public hunting and fishing opportunities.  FERC asked Duke Energy, on the Catawba, to buy back some buffer land along the river, to do just a fraction of what Alcoa has already done, and Duke Energy balked at the proposal.

Comment by Ann on February 22, 2014 at 9:11pm

Alcoa advocates to other property owners Voluntary Shoreline Stewardship Measures  https://www.alcoa.com/yadkin/en/info_page/stewardship_voluntary1.asp and Voluntary Guidelines for Timbering Operations https://www.alcoa.com/yadkin/en/info_page/stewardship_timbering.asp .

Comment by Stop Global Whining on February 22, 2014 at 9:18pm

Thank you, John and Ann, for explaining the preservation of Alcoa's land, and the voluntary stewardship that more property owners should consider availing themselves of.  It is informative and fact-based, unlike so much of the namecalling I've witnessed in videos posted where the nonprofit director is ranting and raving against his opponents.

Comment by John D. Young on February 22, 2014 at 9:32pm
In the SNAP today (Sunday 2/23, page 2D) was an article about a new study by the Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William and Mary. They reported - "The number of bald eagle chicks and active nests at the Yadkin Project nearly doubled in 2013, thanks to continued efforts by Alcoa Power Generating Inc. to preserve the natural habitat along the Yadkin River." They found 17 bald eagle chicks and 8 active nest along the Project.

Ann, thanks for your comments.
Comment by Ann on February 22, 2014 at 9:40pm

As a birdwatcher, I would KILL to go on one of those surveys!

The Lexington Dispatch also has the article:  http://www.the-dispatch.com/article/20140214/NEWS/302129972?p=all&a...

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Politics

Look who's paying for Pat McCrory's campaign!

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This 'n' that

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