At Fairfield Harbor, a planned residential community just outside New Bern, the banks of the lower
Neuse were carefully carved to maximize suburban water frontage.
Previous page: Pharo by Roger Wins/cad !The N ews & Observer
DAVID MOREAU'S very title is
anathema to a lot oflandowners. He's
chair of the department of city and regional
planning at the big university in the state
where "planning, my butt" has been the
prevailing attitude in the countryside.
Moreau, who also chairs the state's
Environmental Management Commission,
is more optimistic than you might think
that the widely divergent stewards of the
Neuse River Basin can swallow some
the wide, shallow final stretches of the
Neuse beyond it account for about 30
percent of the nutrient-based pollution in
the river. Their share, the experts say, is
relatively well under control. "Non-
point" polluters-those with no specific
point of discharge, such as farms, residen-
tial developments and sources that taint
the air as far away as the Midwest-are
getting the finger-pointing now. That's
the pork industry, yes, but the piggies just
hogged the headlines: It's also
the stuff that makes com and The Neuse River Basin
tobacco and golf courses
grow, and maybe what runs
down our driveways.
UNC professors and
researchers, through their
work inside the University
and the loan of their exper-
tise outside it, can take a
good share of credit for
awakening and informing the
state's politicians and its citizenry
and for pushing solutions.
In a state where fishing puts a lot of
food on the table, and where tourism may
soon be the fattest slice ofthe economic
pie, the stakes are high.
tough rules for the good of the whole.
He has the sununer of 1995 in his
arsenal. It was a real stinker on the Neuse.
The water turned funny colors and turned
out unfunny smells, and something in it
killed thousands offish. Two words sat a
lot ofpeople straight up in their comfy
chairs: Health Warning. That sanle summer,
fish died in other parts of the state's coastal
waters, and a hog furm lagoon broke open
and dumped 20 million gallons of waste
into a coastal stream.
"Ten years ago, you couldn't even talk
about this without being considered a
radical," Moreau said, "even though the
information was there."
] Suddenly, the governor and legislators ~- wanted to be counted among the radi- cals. They went after aninlal operations
and formed a Select Committee on
River Water Quality and Fish Kills. For
expertise, they turned to the state's
research universities. The long and short
of the conunittee's work was a decree
that the nitrogen level in the Neuse be
cut by 30 percent.
That's the easy part; Moreau and the
EMC tackled the tough decisions about
how to achieve it, including an elaborate
system of tradeoffs for municipalities, and
how to get tough with furmers. Ifit works,
it may be because he was determined
that the work not carry the aroma of
government intervention- that it be