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FerryMon Water Quality Program Suspended

MOREHEAD CITY — A program that has long used the state’s ferry system to monitor water quality in coastal sounds and rivers has run out of money.

Hans Paerl, professor of marine and environmental science at the University of North Carolina Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City, announced Tuesday that because of the lack of funding beyond 2016, operation of the North Carolina Department of Transportation ferry-based water quality program for the Neuse River and Pamlico Sound known as FerryMon has been suspended.

The program, which started in 2000, was funded by the North Carolina Coastal Recreational Fishing License fund during the past three years, until the end of 2016.

“Without continued State and Federal funding, we will not be able to operate the program,” Paerl announced in an email. “It is the only continuous water quality monitoring program for the open Pamlico Sound system, the nation’s second largest estuarine complex, and a key fisheries nursery habitat. We appreciate any recommendations for seeking funding to continue the program.”

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The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.