Newport, N.C.

Nov. 14, 2021


In 1992, Becky and I purchased a lot at South Shores Subdivision, which is on the Newport River. Newport River at that time was one of the healthiest bodies of water in this state. Thousands of bushels of oysters were produced every year, as were clams, hard crabs and shad for bait. In the summer, thousands of pounds of shrimp were also produced.

Just a few years before this, the “fish docs” wouldn’t leave well enough alone. They got on this “nursery kick.” They said we need more nursery areas. In their wisdom they kept moving the people further down the river. They weren’t smart enough to realize they were doing much more harm than good.

Slowly, the river bottom was destroyed by the much added runoff of pollution. The water was becoming stagnant and dying. In the last decade it was apparent to the people living on the river that there was a problem. Oysters, clams, crabs and shrimp were getting harder to find.

The first years when we wanted a “mess” of clams Becky put on her water shoes, grabbed her clam rake, waded out in the river a short distance and got us some clams. Dr. Barrett Davis rigged her up a flounder light to gig flounder.

Today if you want to wade in the river you must have knee boots on because the bottom is so muddy you can hardly walk.

Think about this “fish doctors” - go ahead and drive the last nail in the coffin of Newport River.


(8) comments

the secret life of man

I feel your concern.Our family has watched beloved north side of the Bogue sound clams,oysters,flounder and crabs disappear due to Morehead city pollution.


Don't know exactly what you're referring to as the fish Dr's, but it's housing developments like the one you live in that largely contributes to the situation you are referring to.


As with all things, it's usually a combination of factors. There are several scholarly articles on upstream effects of dredging. More specifically, dredging can increase erosion upstream in tidal areas because the tidal range is increased. The muck maybe coming towards the inlet from the swampy areas further inland along with runoff from developed areas.

the secret life of man

You are right! We have owned this property 54 years.The massive building here is damaging the sound.The large non pervious surfaces are a big problem.Our house has only one nonpervious surface,the roof.Well,on this way to killing the sound.I will probably out live it.We've turned a natural resource into a man made latrine.


definitely! And it's not the small regular sized houses that are making the issues as much. The huge mansions that are being put up where smaller houses and smaller septic systems were are a huge component. It's the same on the beach. Where is the planning of the county to handle all of those infrastructure issues? I sure hope we aren't expected to cover the additional costs that'll be brought on by all the mammoth buildings.


Boy if this isn't the pot calling the kettle black! Do you not think you building on the river helped cause some of this problem. What did you think - that you would be the only home built there? You start the domino effect and you get what you get. If you want to preserve our water ways in our area "DONT" build on them or near them. That's jut like the people on the beach - they build right on top of the sand and them complain because the sand washes away. Stay away from building in these areas and they will persevere on their own. They don't need our help - they just want to be left alone.

(Edited by staff.)

Here we go again!

So where is all this mud coming from, is it just fish poop that the boats used to keep stirred up and moving out to sea?


Go up the river and you'll see that the tides rise and fall throughout the river plain. That's where the mud is coming from. Tides now come in further and faster, but when it opens up near the inlet the sediment settles. Dredging has been attributed to increased flooding. Just down the coast, in the Cape Fear, tidal range has increased more than 1ft mainly due to dredging. The more water over land the more sediment is carried away.

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