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Cape Fear River Partnership
What’s at stake?
At more than 9,000 square miles, the Cape Fear River basin is one of the largest watersheds in North Carolina, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to past Greensboro. Poor habitat quality in rivers and streams threatens fish, such as American shad, striped bass, river herring, and endangered Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon populations. Dams and other blockages prevent fish such as these from migrating upstream to spawn (lay eggs).
What are we doing?
A partnership of key federal, state, local, academic, and other organizations in the region is working together to develop a multi-year action plan that will use a broad range of tools and capabilities to provide long-term habitat-based solutions for the most pressing challenges for migratory fish.
Building on the momentum created by constructing a fishway on the first barrier on the river—the Army Corps’ Lock and Dam #1—we will address other issues affecting fish and recreational use of the Cape Fear River.
What’s in it for me?
Improved habitat conditions in the Cape Fear River will benefit not only these important fish species, but also the communities that depend on the river for its abundant water supply and rich recreational opportunities. Many North Carolina counties, cities, and businesses depend on the Cape Fear for water, such as Brunswick and New Hanover Counties, the Smithfield Packing Company, Fort Bragg, DuPont, and the cities of Wilmington and Fayetteville.
North Carolina anglers spent more than $1.5 billion in 2011 on fishing related activities. This number shows the importance of sustainable fish populations to North Carolina's economy.
How will it work?
The action plan will
- Identify threats to healthy migratory fish populations.
- Outline actions to improve water quality, habitat conditions,
and fish passage.
- Determine community and economic benefits of improved migratory fish populations.
The plan will address protection and restoration challenges and opportunities through multiple approaches.
The partnership will reach out to the broader community while continuing to implement the suite of actions described in the newly released Plan.