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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Protecting Bogue Sound

You sometimes hear that we have to stop development in order to protect our waters. You can only subscribe to that opinion if you have never lived very close to Mother Nature. It has taken many years, but we have learned that if we never let fires burn in our forests, we end up creating a very dangerous situation. Now in Croatan National Forest we regularly see controlled burns. They get rid of the underbrush and make the forest much healthier. Animals find it easier to browse on the new tender vegetation. On top of that we end up with forests that are much less susceptible to catastrophic fires. There are parallels to the new forest management techniques in the way that conservation focused development not only protects our coastal waters but even improves them.
I live in Bluewater Cove which was developed by Bluewater Builders. While I was not around in 2000 when the first efforts toward development began, I have seen Google Earth photos of the area behind my home which sits on a small piece of Raymond's Gut which connects to the White Oak River. That area was a mud filled swamp which extended to the White Oak River.

What had once been bodies of water had filled with silt from poor farming practices and roads with uncontrolled drainage. Over the years the mud eventually drove out all the fish and shrimp.

Development of Bluewater Cove changed all of that. Raymond's Gut and its channels were dredged and tons of silt were removed. At the same time the roads were graded and erosion control features were implemented. Grasses were planted and the movement of silt to the river came almost to a halt. New conservation features were implemented which filtered runoff water.  Marsh grasses started to flourish.

My home which was built in 2005 has several bags of styrofoam chips buried behind the driveway. When water runs down our driveway, it goes down a drain and then is filtered through the bags of styrofoam before emerging crystal clear onto a grassy slope which then takes it to Raymond's Gut.

The result of these conservation measures is that Raymond's Gut is now teeming with shrimp and small bait fish. I often sit on my dock and night and listen to the sounds of life in the water. When I slide my kayak into the water I am always amazed at how many small fish are in the water. On one of my last kayak trips, a shrimp actually jumped into my kayak. The water often explodes around my paddle as small fish scurry away.

There is no question in my mind that the conservation focused development that took place in Bluewater Cove helped improve the waters of the White Oak River and Bogue Sound.

Proper development techniques in Bluewater Cove not only improved the water quality in Raymond's Gut, but it also created a new nursery for shrimp, crabs, and bait fish. It addition it provided a wonderful place for a number of us to live.

Bluewater Cove is a beautiful spot where we are able to enjoy our natural resources with the knowledge that we have helped improve the environment at the same time.

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