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Exploring the Neuse River Basin - a Web Exploration of Environmental Issues


In this activity, you will identify and explore environmental issues in the Neuse River basin.
You will use the World Wide Web to gather, analyze, and interpret data.
You will analyze data to identify relationships between evidence and explanations.

The Neuse River basin is one of North Carolina's major watershed areas. This watershed is an important area for commercial and recreational fish species. Many different organisms spend part of their lives in the Neuse River estuary and are vulnerable to pollution. In this Web exploration, you will explore a variety of environmental factors and issues that have contributed to the Neuse's water quality problems.

As you explore these resources, seek to answer the following questions:

  • What are the environmental issues in the Neuse River basin?
  • What are people's interests in this area?
  • What types of environmental problems exist in the Neuse River basin?
  • Where are the sources of the problems?
  • What kinds of relationships are there among different environmental factors in the Neuse River basin?
  • What can be done to solve the problems?

Begin your exploration:

What are some of the main sources of water pollution?

Where do most people live in the Neuse River basin?

What is happening to the population in the Triangle area of the Neuse watershed?

What is the relationship between the Triangle population and the wastewater discharge in the Triangle?

Go to this site and click on the red words to find out who dumps what in the Neuse River in the Triangle area of North Carolina. http://www.news-observer.com/nao/neuse/tridischarge.html

What are other pollution sources being contributed to the Neuse River watershed?

Which sewage treatment plant in the Triangle discharges the most nitrogen in the Neuse River? http://www.news-observer.com/nao/neuse/images/1graph2.html

What are other major sources of nitrogen being discharged into the Neuse River?

What can people in the Triangle area do to help solve some of the pollution problems in the Neuse watershed? http://www.news-observer.com/nao/neuse/neuse1main_side2.html

What causes fish to die in the Neuse River basin?

In which part of the Neuse River basin do fish kills occur?
(scroll to the right to read the key on this graphic).

What factors in this area might be related to the fish kills?

What is being done to solve the problems in the Neuse River basin? Who is involved?

Other resources to explore:

Examine the impact of hog waste on the North Carolina watersheds

Location of major hog farms

Advanced Explorations

Neuse River Estuary MODeling and MONitoring project

Upper Neuse Regional Data System
This Web-based interactive database contains numerous layers of socioeconomic data, natural resource collection, and environment data. You can explore, create, query, and print maps displaying information about the Upper Neuse Region in North Carolina. Create custom maps of the upper Neuse River basin to identify relationships and patterns among different variables. Clickable interactive maps. Long load time - requires java.

NC River Basins
GIS Web-based data that can be used to explore environmental parameters in North Carolina's river basins. Clickable interactive maps.

Extension activity

Go to:
Locate your own watershed area.
Click on results to explore your environmental profile. Where do pollutants come from in your watershed area? How is this similar to the Neuse River basin? How is this different from the Neuse River basin? (Hint: Click on "Water Discharges").


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