Amphibians spend part of their lives on land and part in the water, which means they are essential for both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Juvenile amphibians cycle nutrients in aquatic environments by consuming plant matter and small invertebrates. Adults provide natural pest control and are important food sources for larger critters as well. Learn about some of the #amazingamphibians native to North Carolina on CWEP’s social media:
Did you know that many amphibians breathe through their skin? (Imagine if you could do that!) This makes amphibians more sensitive to changes in their environment than many other animals, so scientists can use changes in amphibian populations to assess environmental impacts. This is just one of many reasons we want to keep stormwater clean. Stormwater washes anything on the ground into our waterways, where it can affect amphibians and other critters.
If you want to learn to identify amphibians (and other animals, plus plants and fungi), try using the free iNaturalist mobile app! Just take a photo, and iNaturalist will identify the organism in front of you, and geo-tag the location for other app users to identify. You can even upload sound recordings, and fellow naturalists can identify the species for you! For a step-by-step guide to iNaturalist, click here or see below.
Happy exploring, and remember to keep stormwater clean for the critters downstream!
In this interview, CWEP educator Hannah talks with Terry Hackett from the Town of Hillsborough stormwater department. Terry’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all avid fly fishermen, which has influenced Terry’s involvement with his local chapter of Trout Unlimited, the Triangle Fly Fishers, as well as his career in stormwater. Learn more about how Terry dovetails his passion for fly fishing and his career to advocate for clean water in North Carolina. Thanks, Terry for helping to advance this important work in all that you do!
To get involved in the Fly Fishing community, you can visit the Triangle Fly Fishers webpage or find your local chapter of Trout Unlimited!
Tune in to the latest Water Leadership Series Interview, where CWEP educator Hannah talks with Scott Miles, stormwater engineer from the City of Rocky Mount. Scott shares about how his experiences with water resources from childhood to being an undergrad student at NC State University helped shape his eventual career path. Scott also details a new downtown revitalization project happening in Rocky Mount, in which the stormwater department is a key player. We hope you enjoy hearing from Scott as much as we did!
In mid-April, CWEP educator Hannah interviewed Amin Davis, the state and local projects manager for the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. Tune in to hear who and what inspires Amin to continue working in the water sector and where he sees this work headed in the future. In this interview, Amin discusses influential personal and professional relationships and the roots of the Raleigh Watershed Learning Network model. Thank you, Amin for your leadership in the water sector!
Know any young people looking to gain experience in environmental education? Encourage them to come and work for us!
We’re looking for an outgoing, detail-oriented person to lead stormwater education in our 40 member communities full-time September 1st, 2021 until July 31st, 2022. The deadline to apply is June 1th, 2021, and applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis—so encourage interested folks to apply soon!
Recent college graduates, graduating seniors, and current AmeriCorps members considering another term with background in environmental science, biology, geology, and education (with environmental science background) would all be good candidates. The AmeriCorps member will receive a living stipend of $17,000 for the eleven-month term, health insurance reimbursement, professional development opportunities, and an educational award of $6,345 upon successful completion of their term.
Here at CWEP we believe every day should be treated like Earth Day. That makes Earth Day as good a day as any to be reminded of the “Big 6” stormwater pollutants and how small actions at home can make a big difference downstream. Take a look at the infographics below to learn more. We hope you use today, and every day, as an opportunity to spread the word about stormwater pollutants and solutions.
Scroll through the carousel to read more about each stormwater pollutant and what you can do to help.
In early March of 2021, CWEP staff member Hannah had a conversation with Tots Height, the Program Director at Partners for Environmental Justice in Southeast Raleigh. Listen in to hear more about Tot’s experience in the water sector and her passion for working towards environmental justice, culturally relevant education and community engagement.
Keshi Satterwhite has been doing outreach and engagement for the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association since 2019. CWEP education and outreach coordinator Hannah sat down with Keshi to talk about her passion, leadership, mentorship, and hope for the future of the water sector.
Our interview with Keshi kicks off our Water Leaders Profile Series, where we will be interviewing water leaders from across the CWEP region. Know someone in a CWEP community who is leading the water sector? E-mail us at email@example.com to suggest our next interviewee.
Winter in North Carolina means shorter days and colder nights, a time when you might be spending more time indoors or bundling up to brave the drop in temperature. But what does winter mean for our aquatic animal neighbors? You might be surprised to discover that the winter is still an active time for many critters.
Water gets cold more slowly than air, which means fish, macroinvertebrates, and other aquatic creatures remain active even as the air temperature drops. You may still find mayfly, dragonfly, stonefly and other macroinvertebrates when sampling in the winter. Some people even prefer to look for these tiny animals in this season because they move slower and spend more time hiding under leaves and rocks.
Stoneflies overwinter as aquatic nymphs and continue growing even as water temperatures approach freezing. (photo courtesy of thecatchandthehatch.com)
Get involved: Macroinvertebrates are important water quality indicators and can help us assess stream health. Join or create an NC Stream Watch group to collect and submit macroinvertebrate data to a statewide citizen science effort! To learn more about the importance of clean water for macroinvertebrates, check out this video by the town of Chapel Hill’s stormwater department that talks about macroinvertebrates and dissolved oxygen.
Many salamander species are still active during North Carolina winters. You can spot red-back salamanders, lead-back salamanders, and maybe even the notoriously elusive marbled salamanders under logs in wet woodland areas. They are especially active during warm and rainy winter nights. Marbled salamanders breed in the winter, laying their eggs in ephemeral (temporary) woodland ponds.
The beautiful Marbled Salamander is the state salamander of North Carolina.
Winter is a time that many birds migrate to North Carolina to overwinter. Buffleheads, pied-billed grebes, coots, ring-necked ducks and hooded mergansers are some of the inland waterfowl you might spot on a nearby pond or lake. If you live on the coast, you might spot gannets, loons and wrens near the shore. Some bird species even mate and lay eggs in the winter! If you listen closely, you might be able to hear the nasal sounding mating call of a male woodcock on a mild January night. Woodcocks live in shrubby forests and grasslands near water.
Male buffleheads are easily identified by their large white crown. (photo courtesy of allaboutbirds.org)
Get Involved: Ready to do some winter birding? Be sure to download the E-Bird app before you go. E-bird allows you to easily track, record, and ID the birds you find. To read more about winter birding in North Carolina, check out this page on the Bird Watcher’s Digest.
These animals need clean water to survive or thrive (like us!) Help protect critters by doing your part to keep stormwater clean.
To celebrate National Water Quality Month, the Clean Water Education Partnership invites you to create an art piece that shows how you interact with your watershed. A watershed is an area of land that all drains to the same creek, stream, or river. Everyone lives in a watershed!
Your art piece must somehow incorporate the name of the watershed you live in. Type your address into this interactive map to find your watershed.
Or, you can discover your river basin (a larger-scale watershed) by looking at this interactive map.
Get inspired by a few of these ideas:
Use non-toxic sidewalk chalk to draw a watershed message to others in your neighborhood
Create a poster with cool facts and photos from your watershed that you can share with others
Draw or take a picture of one of your favorite plants or animals in your watershed
Make a sculpture out of litter you find in your watershed
A stormwater art installation that doubles as a rainwater harvester (Binford Green Schools Initiative, Chesepeake Bay)
“Protect our Watersheds” art competition submission (Pennsylvania American Water)
Your art piece can be in any medium you choose as long as you can take a photo of it.
Winners will have a photo of their art piece featured as the homepage header on the CWEP website and receive a CWEP Swag Bag with fun giveaways in the mail. Art will also be used by CWEP to create a set of greeting cards for our fall BioThon competition. 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will be chosen weekly.
This competition is open to all ages. Children under 13 must have an adult submit their art piece.
Art can be submitted through this google form. If you have any questions please contact Hannah Barg, the CWEP Education and Outreach Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.