2010-09-20 Blue Creek and the New River Jacksonville, NC

2010-09-20 Blue Creek and the New River Jacksonville, NC

This trip is upstream of Routes 17 and 24 in Jacksonville, NC. Thanks to
Leo Schmidt of Emerald Isle it was conducted by motorboat instead of
our usual canoes and kayaks. This is more efficient as you will see.
The principle reason for the trip was to pick up all trash as we always do.
By coincidence Amanda Hickey, , had just done
this same trip but she and her group were on a mission to determine where
signs should be placed along this Canoe Trail. They also launched their boats
at McCallister Landing on Rhodestown Road and paddled downstream.
The last two paragraphs of Amanda’s article, “Paddling Into Peace” were
devoted to trash in the river. Well, Amanda, the trash has been picked
up and the river is clean and its beauty is unmarred by the ugly trash as
far as we could go. We hit a rocky bottom just before McCallister Landing.
A secondary reason for our trip was to measure salinity in the river at
various points. Our first reading was at the ramp at Marina Cafe. It was 12
PPT (Parts Per Thousand) which is enouogh to kill alligatorweed. DaleWeston
from Jacksonville sat up front in the boat. He recorded all readings and
wrote them down at their GPS cordinates.
The salinity at the dock and at this picture which is on the western shoreline
just above the ramp was high enough to kill alligatorweed. These readings
will vary with the volume of fresh water coming down the river. Right now
the gauge at Northwest Bridge Road is at 3 cubic feet per second. It lists the
all time Minimum at 3.9, in 1968, the Median at 34, the Mean at 108 and the
Max at 1680 in 1955! Click on this to see for yourself if you are interested.


LOCATION Marina Cafe Bay Western Shore 1st Weed Patch Salinity:
34′ 46.326 77′ 26.276 21 na

Another partial kill here. 2nd weed patch:

LOCATION Marina Cafe Bay 2nd weed patch Salinity:
34′ 46.279 77′ 26.219 22 na

Onslow County Soil and Water Conservation Division headed by Bill Morris has been
spaying with a chemical spray that is systemic and kills the entire plant. This winter
we hope he and his men will be working with us to take advantage of the winter kill
and the strong currents to get every bit of this horrible, foreign, invasive weed down to salt water where it cannot live.
These next three were floating free out in the middle of the river from
the ramp.They all indicate a partial kill. GPS reading is:

LOCATION Marina Cafe Bay 100 yards off ramp Salinity:
34′ 46.266 77′ 26.229 19 28

Wherever the water was deep enough we took surface readings and a
second reading at between 4 and five feet:
Sorry, I accidentally deleted the reading for this one
The deeper readings all indicated a higher salinity.

Alligatorweed hung up behind a strainer partially killed. This was at the
mouth of Blue Creek. As we went up Blue Creek we got a real surprise.
The water became alive with thousands of little fish. We suppose they
are menhaden recently hatched. They were under our boat and the water
boiled with them as they fled toward the shoreline to get away from us.
They were present in the New River too but not so obvious.

This is the fancy, elegant access and launching device up Blue Creek.
Access is via Oakhurst Park off Routes 24/258. Sgns are on the road.

This large mass of alligatorweed is doubling its total mass every three weeks.

Another propagating nursery for alligatorweed.

This is a beautiful home up Blue Creek with a channel off Blue Creek and,
yes, there are two bright green masses of alligatorweed in this little channel.

Dale up front in the boat

In all these shots I was trying to get a picture of a white, juvenile blue heron.

Maybe he is in there somewhere but I can’t find him.

He lead us all the way down Blue Creek Now we are srarting up the New
River and he is still leading us.

This is Leo. That bird could be in thisi picture too.

A mixed dying and growing mass of alligatorweed. At one place like this
there was a bright, fresh green mass of alligatorweed that must have just
come from upstream. It was hung up in front. We loosened it with the hoe
handle. It all hung together and floated away with the outgoing tide.
We placed some light trash on it. If you come across it downstream please
let us know.

There is a beautiful pure white flower here at right center.

Some weed dead, some dying, some growing.

More of the same.

Bag worms have probably killed this huge tree. Fishing should be good here.

A beautiflul bush of yellow flowers. This is the same flower that exists at
the Canoe Trail begining in the little pond at Steed’s Park on Cowhorn Rd.

The three of us at the ramp with our day’s collection of trash. those four
bags are full! Leo is taking it to the dump.

I arrived early and I took a salinity reading right behind where we are on
the ramp. It read 12 which is high enough to kill alligatorweed.

We had to turn around where we stopped going upstream due to a shallow
rocky bottom which damaged the propeller. This is the lowest flow ever
according to the USGS gauge. We used to see springs in this area flowing
cold, clear water into the New River. They were coming from the aquifer.
Perhaps the flow is reversed now and the New River is flowing into the
aquifer and replenishing it! As salt water is heavier than fresh water could
salt water be intruding our aquifer?

A great and beautiful day on the water we all enjoyed it very much. Elmer
Some observations about alligatorweed.

These views are not those of all Waterway Stewards:

#1. It is killed whenever it is exposed to freezing weather. This includes

that portion that is actually frozen in surface water. Stems and roots that

are below the ice are not frozen and remain alive. In fact, they sprout with

new leaf growth every tme we have three or four warm days of warm weather

which happens in North Carolina every winter.

This winter kill should be taken full advantage of as this kill has reduced the

total mass by close to 50%. The above water growth if in open water tends

to fall over on itself when it attains two feet in height. If supported by

overhanging branches or blown down trees it will grow and stay taller where

it is hung up. It is dies too when the water level goes down and it is

exposed to the colder air.

The under water stems and roots remain alive and sprout new growth

at the very first appearance of warm weather. They may even grow slowly too

all winter. They grow into intertwoven masses. The under water stems and

roots grow up to eight feet long. The whole mass hangs together and can be

moved intact with rakes, pitch forks and grapple hooks. The current takes over

and the hole mass is on its way to death in salt water.

#2. The current in the river is usually running 24/7. We should also take

advantage of this. The rate of flow and the volume varies tremendously

depending on the weather. Tides also affect it where there is tidal water.

Right after heavy rains we should be on the river freeing

all alligatorweed that is hung up on anything. The current

will vary from one to five miles per hour depending on the

terrain. This fast moving water will carry tons of alligatorweed

rapidly downstream to death in salt water. We just need to

help it along when it gets hung up in strainers.

Many of these strainers are blown down trees that should be

removed anyway.
It is now September 28. Our rains have finally come. The gauge
on the New River rose yesterday from 2 feet to over 9 feet!
This is bound to be moving tons of alligatorweed downstream.
The remnants of a tropical storm are to visit us this Thursday.
Unfortunately I cannot get on the river to observe what is taking.
place. It is raining very hard again right now here in Trenton.
I hope some of you can get on the river and report with your
observations and pictures. Thanks, Elmer


2010-09-18 Brock Mill and Jones County Heritage Day

This is the Fair Grounds where Jim Morris and I launched our canoes. You get
there by going two blocks north from the traffic light in Trenton and turning left.

This is the actual launching site. It is a drafting point for the Fire Department
so do not block the entrance. Park well away.

Jim Morris from Morehead City. We have unloaded or canoes and moved
our vehicle well away from the access.

We mounted our Canoe Trail sign provied by ACA and LLBean.

An unusual flower along the shore of Brock Mill Pond.

More of the same.

This Jon Park formerly of upper New York State and now living in Jacksonville.
His parents just bought a house on Brock Mill Pond. That is duck weed on the
surface as we went up Crooked Run Creek.

This is the end of our run up Crooked Run Creek. We need to bring a chain
saw next trip to paddle up further into this wilderness.

That is not a dug-out. It is the bark fallen off of a cypress.


2010-09-14 Rachel Carson Reserve

Thanks to Ed Gruca for the pics and helping to get them ready for posting!  Thanks also to Paula Gillikin, Director  of  the Sanctuary who came out and guided us and provided photos. This was a great trip on a great day and was most enjoyable. We will be going back again and again until we can say this Sanctuary is cleared of all trash and litter as it should always be.

The  participants today were Ed Gruca of Emerald Isle, Dale Weston of Jacksonville, Scott Brown and Jim Morris of  Morehead City and Elmer Eddy of Trenton. Thanks, to all, Elmer.

Egrets, Horses, and Ibis……..residents of Rachel Carson Reserve

2010-09-08 Brandt Island in Morehead City Harbor

This is the spoils island where they pump the dredged material from the harbor to be used later to restore the beaches. There is a huge lake in the middle of it. It isn’t The Grand Canyon but you get that same sensation when you look down into it. This is pretty unique in Eastern North Carolina.

Here is a map of our trip today. It was an eventful day. I started off without my cell phone. I turned around and went back home to get it. My son phoned the others and they were waiting for me over an hour late.

From 11th Street we started out for the nearest point of Brandt Island after we rounded the western point of Sugarloaf Island. White caps were everywhere.  A much stronger west wind than predicted was blowing. The tide was running out

So, we headed straight for Fishing Creek. Those red dots on the map are wrong.  There is no entrance to Fishing Creek where the map shows. We found it way down further about where the “g” is in Tar Landing Bay.

We were concerned about the tide running out and leaving us stranded in the marshes.We know from experience that one cannot paddle through the maze of these marshes at low tide.

Well, we made it through without having to back paddle once. Here we are at the mouth if Fishing Creek at Tombstone Point The tide was still rushing out of Fishing Creek. Look at the huge delta it has formed along Morehead Channel.
The trash was heavy here  back up at the high tide line.
This is Tom Fineco with a bag of that trash. Tom is from River Bend near New Bern. He has been a Steward for over 10 years.
Lunch time on the beach just above Fishing Creek. That is Elmer Eddy from Trenton on the left, Juddith Gruca from Richmond center and Dale Weston from Jacksonville on the right.
Here are Tom an Dale stuffing a collapsible boat in our trash barge.
They had to unload the collected trash so far first.
Here are Judith and Dale towing the trash barge.
They are making good progress against the wind.
Scott Brown formerly from California now living in Morehead. He moved here to dive and explore our sunken ships off shore.
This is Jim Morris from Morehead City. He also made his canoe.
Dale and Judith. Juddith had been paddling with her father. Now I am in a kayak!.
And, Tom Fineco is now towing the trash barge.  This is along Sugarloaf Island which gave us some protection from the strong S/W wind. The closer we got to 11th Street the harder the paddling. We all made safely about an hour later than planned.

We unloaded our boats of the trash and carried it all up to the trash can in the parking area. We left the inflatable boat there too.

Upcoming events:

Wednesday, Sept 15th:  Rachel Carson Sanctuary.

Saturday, September 18th: Brock Mill Pond, Trenton, NC.

The public is cordially invited to participate in both. We are committed to clean up The Rachel Carson Sanctuary no matter how many trips it may take.




2010-08-31 New River and Everett Creek

These three pictures are of the trash Leo Schmidt and Elmer Eddy picked up on this trip. There are seven and one half full bags there plus a few miscellaneous items.

We Stewards had picked up this trash several years ago. We were overloaded on that tip and had to unload it on the shore to continue on
the planned trip. We were told it had been picked up but as you can see it never was.

The bags were pretty well eaten up by the sunshine and we had to re bag it all again!

Leo and I were the only ones that showed up. The water was too low for us to get into Everett Creek so we went to our favorite clamming area and loaded up.