Over the last few months, 15 University of North Carolina Chapel Hill undergraduates have been conducting water quality research in Beaufort and will present their findings at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences, Room 222, in Morehead City.
The undergraduates spent the fall semester at the UNC IMS as part of the UNC Institute for the Environment’s Field Site program under the instruction of UNC professors Johanna Rosman and Nathan Hall.
The research project was conducted from September to November in Town Creek, an estuary that runs just north of downtown Beaufort and leads out to Gallants Channel, the site of a relatively new high-rise bridge.
Research was focused on water quality concerns such as bacteria, algae, and nutrients, or fertilizers and processes that affect water quality such as water circulation and oyster filtration. Students covered topics such as potential sources of nutrients and fecal contamination, public perception and use of Town Creek, fecal indicator bacteria and nutrients near stormwater discharge and marinas, tidal flushing in the creek, and the ability of marshes and oyster beds to remove nutrients from the water, according to a news release from the university.
The students’ findings can be used as a baseline data set for Beaufort to understand and manage water quality in Town Creek.
The presentation is free and open to the public, and can also be watched online at https://zoom.us/j/2527266841.