In September and October of 2022, Coastal Carolina Riverwatch monitored a Harmful Algae Bloom known for “Rust Tides” in the lower New River. Thanks to the help of SouthWings, our White Oak Waterkeeper was able to get an aerial view of the bloom after Hurricane Ian.

From the air there appeared to be no signs of the bloom located in the Chadwick Bay area of Sneads Ferry and was most likely washed out by the heavy rain. However, the bloom located in Stones Bay appears to still be present and potentially growing (red coloration in photo above).

SouthWings Volunteer Pilots are dedicated to helping water quality researchers and advocates with aerial photography as a part of an integrated system of watershed protection and management.

At CCRW, we are grateful for SouthWings support of our mission to protect the quality of water and life in coastal NC.  SouthWings donates thousands of dollars in flights each year to the work of CCRW.  Their crucial service to our organization is part of our integrated watershed investigative process.”

– Lisa Rider, Executive Director

The Bloom was first investigated by CCRW on September 20th, but had been seen and smelled by residents for weeks prior.

On Friday, October 7th, the owner of an Oyster Farm, working in Stones Bay, reported a mass mortality in the area of the rust tide.

CCRW Executive Director, Lisa Rider, spent this past Sunday morning on the New River hearing concerns from Oyster Farmers and monitoring the waters of Stones Bay.

Blooms can last this long because they continue to be fed by nutrient pollutants, most likely from runoff.  Coastal Carolina Riverwatch will continue to monitor this bloom and continue to report to the State and notify the public”

– Riley Lewis, White Oak Waterkeeper


Harmful Algae Blooms can be influenced by manmade pressures including the use of fertilizers, pesticides, and impervious surfaces. These contaminants flow into waterways and harm the organisms that live there. The best way to prevent Fish Kills is by stopping these contaminants from getting into waterways in the first place.

Residents of coastal communities can make a big difference by following proper application instructions on pesticides and fertilizers. Only use as much as you need, where you need it and do not apply them before wet weather.

Residents can also ensure to properly dispose of lawn clippings and plant debris to prevent them from entering waterways, where they can add excess nutrients and cloud the water.

Communities can prevent Harmful Algae Blooms by implementing good stormwater management and by familiarizing themselves with coastal processes and how water moves through the property.

For more info about local water quality information, please contact:

Riley Lewis,

White Oak Waterkeeper

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch

Current Information on HABs in the White Oak River Basin (Onslow/Carteret)

Ready More about the 2022 HAB event in the New River here. 

Stay tuned here for updates and click the map below to learn more about the White Oak River Basin.


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