Nov. 7 marked the second public meeting as part of the development of the Lake Mattamuskeet Watershed Restoration Plan. The plan development is funded by a partnership of Hyde County, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. The plan is guided by an 11-person stakeholder committee and public input, and will be written by the North Carolina Coastal Federation.
Attendees at the public meeting received an update on the plan development and learned about recent water quality and waterfowl trends, as well as the ongoing mapping and surveying efforts conducted at the lake and in the surrounding watershed. Learn more about the various presentations below.
Updates on plan development
Members of the stakeholder group have met four times since the plan development was initiated in May 2017. They have worked to understand and document the land use and hydrology changes within the watershed over the last century, drafted three overarching goals for the watershed restoration plan to address and have discussed potential solutions that will be explored to improve to the lake watershed’s water quality and flooding. Read the draft goals.
Stakeholders include members of Hyde County’s residential, farming and hospitality communities, as well as Hyde County employees and representatives from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. Learn more about their roles and responsibilities.
Water quality trends presented by Dr. Michelle Moorman
Dr. Michelle Moorman, field biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, discussed water quality changes in the lake over the last three decades. She highlighted the decline in submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) within the lake and made note that 2017 was the first year without any SAV observed. Salinity and water levels of the lake have been monitored by the refuge and USGS since 2012. Furthermore, she is currently researching a unique bacteria that is contributing to algal blooms in the lake. Check out her full presentation.
Waterfowl trends in the Lake Mattamuskeet Watershed
Doug Howell, waterfowl biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, discussed the effect of SAV loss on the waterfowl populations that overwinter on Lake Mattamuskeet. In particular, he talked about the connection between SAV loss and shifts in the way the tundra swans and ducks use the lake and surrounding waterfowl impoundments for food and refuge. Read more on waterfowl trends.
ECU professor conducts research for plan development
Dr. Randall Etheridge, assistant professor at East Carolina University, is assisting with mapping the lake’s watershed and surveying the way people manage their properties in the watershed. He presented the final outline of the watershed as he has determined it to be. There are a few key areas where additional input from the public would be helpful to finalizing the understanding of the watershed. Please review his presentation and contact him with any input you can provide. He also presented a preliminary outline of identified problems in the watershed, as well as potential solutions. Check out his presentation.
The next public meetings are planned for Feb. 6, May 8, July 10 and Sept. 18, 2018 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Hyde County Government Complex. Stay updated at nccoast.org/lakemattamuskeet.