Flickr/NASA Goddard Space Center

Environment Issues

Hurricane Matthew continues to blow. Coverage of Hurricane Matthew’s record-breaking East Coast jaunt was largely drowned out by last week’s presidential debate and that resulting shit storm, but Civil Eats reminded us this morning that a lot of North Carolina is still very much underwater.

Christina Cooke reports that an estimated 1,300 hogs and anywhere between 2 and 5 million birds (or more) housed in the state’s Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) have already drowned in the flooding.

Ribbons of the lagoons’ trademark bright pink color have made their way into the adjacent Neuse River.

Beyond loss of livestock, the flooding has serious environmental implications. CAFOs dispose of hog waste in nearby lagoons, and those ammonia and nitrate-rich, fecal bacteria-breeding waste repositories are vulnerable to flooding. Cooke spoke with Waterkeeper Alliance founder and advisor Rick Dove, who says he flew over some of the lagoons this week and saw evidence that the waste is leaking into surrounding bodies of water.

How could he tell? Ribbons of the lagoons’ trademark bright pink color have made their way into the adjacent Neuse River, while some of the (formerly pink) lagoons have taken on the color of the surrounding floodwaters. Cooke reports that Waterkeeper plans to release photographic evidence of the seepage in the coming days.

H. Claire Brown

A North Carolina native, Claire Brown joins The New Food Economy after working on the editorial team at Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn. She won the New York Press Club's Nellie Bly Cub Reporter award in 2017. Follow her at @hclaire_brown.