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Article Published: Dec. 30, 2009 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

Area waterways make impaired waters list

The N.C. Division of Water Quality has released the revised 2008 impaired waters list and is seeking public comment.

Several local waterways are on the list, though little has changed since the original draft was released last year. In the Watauga River basin, six miles of Beaverdam Creek remain on the list for impaired aquatic life.

In the New River basin, 5.4 miles of the South Fork of the New River in Watauga County has impaired aquatic life, as well as half a mile of the East Fork of the South Fork of the New River.
In Ashe County, Little Buffalo Creek has impaired aquatic life, while Little Peak Creek, Peek Creek and Ore Nob Branch have low pH levels.

Every two years, states are required by section 303(d) of the federal Clean Water Act to list those streams, rivers and other bodies of water that do not meet water quality standards or are otherwise not able to support intended best uses. Possible best uses include aquatic life or biological integrity, recreation or swimming, fish consumption, shellfish harvesting and water supply.

The revised draft 2008 list may be downloaded from the DWQ Web site at General questions about the list or about specific listings may be sent to Kathy Stecker at: (

Written comments should be submitted to: Jennifer Everett, NC DWQ, Planning Section, 1617 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1617 or by e-mail to (

The comment period ends Jan. 25, 2010. For those who have previously submitted comments on the 2008 draft list, those comments remain part of the current record and will be evaluated along with any new comments received. The draft list may be modified based on comments received by the end of the comment period. The final list will be available on the DWQ Web site after EPA approval.

Jobless rate drops slightly for holidays

The state unemployment picture looked a little rosier for the holidays with a slight drop in jobless rates.

November's rate was 10.8 percent, down from 10.9 percent in October. That was the equivalent of 12,453 jobs added, with another 8,800 non-farm jobs lost. The unemployment rate has been relatively unchanged since February, hovering around 11 percent, while Watauga County's rate has been around 7 percent.

A year ago, the North Carolina unemployment rate was 7.5 percent. The national unemployment rate is 10 percent.

"Even though employment increased slightly over the month, we still need more job growth," said N.C. Employment Security Commission chairman Moses Carey Jr. "It's another month where we haven't experienced much change. We continue to assist job seekers and eligible recipients of unemployment benefits. We are also working to enroll eligible recipients for the new extension of benefits."

The latest county unemployment rates will be released Jan. 5.

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