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Local waterways face constant pollution threat

READ MORE: Local waterways face constant pollution threat
WILMINGTON -- With all of our regional growth researchers say local waterways face the constant threat of pollution. Doing your part to protect them may be easier than you think. "No wetlands, no seafood" is a slogan Tracy Skrabal lives by. As the senior scientist to the North Carolina Coastal Federation she spreads the word about protecting our natural habitats. There are six major named creeks in New Hanover County and even more that are unnamed. Skrabal says preserving our local creeks becomes more difficult every time it rains. Skrabal said, "That storm water carries pollution and that pollution gets into the creeks. We start seeing shell fish closures so we can no longer harvest the shellfish, and when things get really bad you're taking about closures to human contamination, swimming and fishing and we don't want to get to that point." When rain falls pollutants are carried into our waterways -- pollutants like metal, automotive oil and fecal bacteria. Storm water run-off is such a big issue for creeks here in New Hanover County that some are permanently closed to shell fishing because of fear of contamination. Hewlett Creek is just one of the many New Hanover Creeks that are at risk of being completely polluted by storm water run-off, but there is something we can do. Skrabal said, "The thing is people don't realize that what's in their backyards is where it all starts, that's where the education comes in, people understand about oceans, and that we should keep our oceans clean, but they don't realize it starts in their yard." Skrabal says starting small can help maintain the delicate balance between people and nature. A few ways you can help prevent pollutants from reaching our waters: use less fertilizer in your yard and pick up after your pets. "We have a fragile system here," Skrabal said. "But we have a relatively healthy system, so we want to protect our creeks before it is too late and we want to restore the creeks where we have some serious problems." To find out more about how you can help you can attend a public forum Tuesday night at Odgen Elementary School. You'll have the chance to talk with experts from the North Carolina Coastal Federation beginning at 7:00 p.m.

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What Groups Are Out There To Help?

Are there any groups out there like the Surfrider foundation that regular citizens can join to help? If so, can someone please post a comment on what where and maybe a web address?