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Town of Stallings and the Wildlife Resources Commission
Will Hold Water Pollution Awareness Event

Biologists conduct freshwater mussel surveys on Goose Creek. Good water quality is essential for the survival of mussels and other aquatic species.
Media: A hi-res version of this image may be downloaded here. Please credit the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

RALEIGH, N.C. (Sept. 23)—The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and the town of Stallings will hold Storm Drain Stenciling Day on Oct. 4 to increase public awareness about the hazards of water pollution in the Goose Creek watershed. Volunteers will meet in the Harris Teeter parking lot on Stevens Mill Road at 9 a.m. to paint storm drains with “No dumping – drains to stream” messages in Stevens Mill and surrounding neighborhoods until 1 p.m. A cookout and educational program at Stallings Town Park will follow.

Protection of the 42-square-mile Goose Creek watershed is critical, as it is home to the Carolina heelsplitter, a federally protected freshwater mussel found in only six habitats in the world. It also provides habitat for five state-protected mussel species, such as the Eastern creekshell and notched rainbow.

These mussel species require stable streams and clean water to survive, said Bianca Bradford, outreach and education specialist with the Commission.

“We hope that curbside markings will remind people to keep storm drains clean,” Bradford said. “While storm drains keep roads from flooding during heavy rains, they also carry pollution straight to streams.”

Bradford suggested homeowners heed these tips to minimize pollution from their property to streams:

bulletDon’t dump water, oil, antifreeze, household grease and other pollutants into storm drains.
bulletCollect runoff in a rain barrel placed under the downspout of roof gutters.
bulletWater lawns and gardens with collected runoff.
bulletEliminate or minimize applications of weed killers and fertilizers to lawns.
bulletMulch natural areas to control weeds and minimize runoff.
bulletWash cars sparingly, using environmentally friendly products.

Tainted stormwater is not the only threat to Goose Creek. The growth of commercial and residential development in the watershed means that more sediment from construction sites is being carried through storm drains into local creeks.

“In fast-growing areas such as Union County, fields and forests are being replaced by impervious surfaces such as roads, driveways and parking lots,” Bradford said. “As areas are covered by these hard surfaces, rain that would normally soak into the soil now flows into the storm drains and, eventually, dumps into the creek. Over time, this large increase in water volume erodes stream banks, creating silt-filled bottoms that smother aquatic wildlife, such as fish eggs and mussels.”

Because of sediment and other pollutants, Goose Creek does not meet state standards for safe, recreational wading and support of aquatic wildlife.

Youth groups, churches, neighborhood associations and individuals are encouraged to volunteer for this event. In case of rain, the event will be rescheduled for a future date. People interested in volunteering for Storm Drain Stenciling Day should call Bradford at (704) 567-7014.




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