Local Issues & Initiatives

Water quality is critically important to our own quality of life. Over the past several decades, New Hanover County has experienced a decline in water quality related to human activities. One of the chronic threats to our local water quality is fecal coliform bacteria, which is commonly found in pet waste. Picking up pet waste is one way to ensure our waterways stay clean for future generations of humans and wildlife.

You probably know that the catch basins and storm drains that run along our streets and road curbs collect rain water. When rain water collects and runs over the ground and into the storm drains and culverts, it becomes stormwater. As stormwater flows across the streets and landscape, it collects oil, grease, debris and other pollutants. Stormwater then flows directly into the nearest stream, creek, or lake, and in our community can flow directly to the Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic ocean.

Stormwater does not go to a treatment plant to be cleaned! This is a common misconception and many residents pour oil, paint, cigarette butts, yard waste, medicine and other chemical pollutants into the storm drains because they think it gets cleaned before finding its way to the Cape Fear River or the Intracoastal Waterway. However, that is not the case.

You can help protect our waterways by spreading the word, installing rain barrels, or by becoming involved in our volunteer opportunities or those of our many partner organizations. If you are interested in a presentation about stormwater or actively helping us spread the word about water quality, district staff are happy to provide a Stormwater 101 presentation to your community or local organization and lead volunteer groups in storm drain marking. Contact us for more information.

Please use the link on this page learn how you can play a major role in protecting your local water quality. Help protect our waterways by reporting stormwater pollution! Call 910-341-1020 or report online using the City of Wilmington Pollution Report website.

View the Citizen's Guide to Protecting Wilmington's Waterways (PDF).

For more information about City of Wilmington Stormwater Services programs please visit the City of Wilmington Stormwater website.

Additional Pet Waste Information

In partnership with the City of Wilmington Stormwater Services, NHSWCD is happy to provide information about the City of Wilmington Pet Waste Ordinance. Please visit the following links for more information.

Shortnose Sturgeon Information

In partnership with the City of Wilmington Stormwater Services, NHSWCD is happy to provide information about the endangered shortnose sturgeon. Please visit the following links for more information.

Operation Medicine Drop

Is your medicine cabinet crowded with leftover medicines? That's a dangerous situation! If you keep drugs around, they could fall into the wrong hands. But if you flush them down the toilet, they pollute our river and ocean. Then everyone is taking your medicine… wildlife included! The solution: Operation Medicine Drop, also called Operation Medicine Cabinet. Operation Medicine Cabinet is a coalition of NC agencies and nonprofit organizations that holds Operation Medicine Drop prescription drug take-back events across NC to encourage the public to safely dispose of unused and unwanted medication. By providing safe and secure ways for people to get rid of unwanted prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, Operation Medicine Drop helps prevent accidental poisonings and drug abuse while protecting our waters. North Carolina holds its biannual Operation Medicine Drop the 4th week of March to coincide with Poison Prevention Week.

In partnership with NCSU Cooperative Extension Services, NHSWCD is happy to provide information about lawn care. Please visit the following links for information.

Carolina Lawns

Organic Lawn Care Guide