By Sydnie Matda
Brandon Jones became the Catawba riverkeeper in 2018 after completing his M.S degree in Earth Science at UNC Charlotte. In his role as a riverkeeper, he completes many tasks such as collecting water samples and reading reports to protect North Carolina waters.
When asked if he has seen climate change impact the Catawba, Jones cited the expansion of algal bloom this season. Recently, in October 2022, Jones saw two toxin-producing blooms on Lake Norman (located north of Charlotte, NC) and Lake Wylie (located southwest of Charlotte, NC). He disclosed this was the latest in the season he had ever seen algal blooms.
In order to reduce the effects of algal blooms, Jones states that education is their primary tool. Knowing what algal blooms are, the dangers that they pose, and how to report them is key in managing them. They are also working to reduce the nutrient pollution that can contribute to algal blooms by targeting and reducing stormwater runoff through educational and legislative measures.
One project Jones has been working on in order to reduce stormwater runoff is the legislative process to remove the 2018 Stormwater Bill (Section 26B of Senate Bill 469) that prevented municipalities from requiring new stormwater infrastructure during redevelopment. By not requiring new stormwater control measures, runoff and flooding will only continue to be an issue for urban communities in North Carolina. To learn more about Brandon Jones and his work as the Catawba Riverkeeper, please visit his website.