Cooperatove Conservation Project

Preserving and Protecting the Environment of New River

The Phoenix of New River

Location: Southeastern Region: North Carolina

Project Summary: Our project and mission is to restore the New River to an ecological and economically sound river for public and commercial use.
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Resource Challenge
In June of 1995 Onslow County had the largest known recorded Lagoon Spill in it's history.  25 Million gallons of hog waste was released from an eight-acre hog lagoon that had ruptured.  Millions of gallons would reach New River, causing one of the Counties biggest Environmental Disasters.  This event would not only rock the state of North Carolina but the entire United States Agricultural world on confined animal operations.  The series of events that would follow would put environmental laws and rules on a fast track that would change the Agricultural world for ever.  In the mist of this Onslow County was left with many unanswered questions on how this could happen, what is the state on New River?  What this event did was to awaken a sleeping little New River that not only starts in Onslow County but ends in Onslow County.  Citizens were outraged on how this could happen to THEIR River!  How could this event kill our river, or was the river in need and no one cared until a major event occured to bring the attention of the River to everyones front door step.  Local Government, State Agenices and Federal Agencies went into action to look and reveiw the state of New River, Citizens started asking what can we do?  A movement to save New River was in motion!  This movement spread throughout the county looking at all watercourses and their state of being.  Today the Onslow Soil & Water Conservation District workes closely with its agricutlural community, local government and citizens to improve and work on concerns that affect our rivers and streams.  This has fired a cause that will burn for years.                   
Examples of Key Partners
Onslow Soil & Water Conservation District, Onslow County Local Government, North Carolina Agricultural Cost Share Program, North Carolina Department of Environmental & Natural Resources,North Carolina Marine Fisheries, North Carolina Wildlife, North Carolina Forestry Service,North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, New River Foundation, Crystal Coast Canoe & Kayak Club, United States Marine Corp Base at Camp Lejeune, Onslow County Tourism, Onslow County Agricultural Community, Natural Resources Conservation Service, City of Jacksonville, and many others.
Results and Accomplishments
10 years later, scenic paddling trails have been established, Camp Lejeune has elimated it's old waste treatement plant with a state of the art system.  Camp Lejeune has an environmental group that is also state of the art.  The City of Jacksonville has removed and shut down it's old waste treatment plant that discharged into Wilson Bay of the New River.  The City now land applies it's waste.  Onslow County Government looks at new ways for a safer environmental growth for Onslow County.  Onslow County Government supports their local Soil & Water Conservation District as a new Operational Agreement was signed in 2002 between United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, Department of Environment, and Natrual Resources-Division of Soil & Water Conservation of North Carolina, Soil & Water Conservation District of Onslow County and Onslow County, North Carolina.  The New River Foundation plays a major role in preserving and protecting the environment of New River.  Local paddling groups report problems and take it upon themselves to remove fallen and storm debris.  Debris that can not be removed by the groups the county removes.  Clean County of Onslow keeps our river clean and organizes events for this.  Water Sampling stations monitored by NC Division of Water Quality, Onslow County, UNCW, and NC State University. Our agricultural community works closely with the Soil& Water Conservations District on agricultural environmental concerns.  This has truly been an amazing accomplishment, bring this many agencies, citizens and groups together to restablish a River that has such amazing history.

The highligt of this undertaking has to be the citizens and agencies working together. But most of all is the fact that this project is not over and will probably never will be. We still have a long way to go but not as far as it was. The New River is alive and well and has truly risen from Ashes!

Project Contact
Bill Norris
Soil and Water Conservation Officer
Onslow County Soil and Water Conservation
4028 Richlands Hwy.
Jacksonville, NC 28540
(910) 455-4472 ext. 3


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