By Mike Piehler

Mike PiehlerMike Piehler is a professor at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences and the Technical Lead for the UNC Nutrient Management Study.

The UNC Nutrient Management Study is conducting a comprehensive assessment of the condition of Jordan Lake that includes exploring cost effective solutions to improve and sustain water quality.

Located in Chatham County, south of Chapel Hill and Durham and west of Cary and Apex, Jordan Lake provides tremendous economic and environmental value to North Carolina.  More than 300,000 residents rely on Jordan Lake for drinking water.  In addition, the lake is a valuable recreational resource with more than a million visitors a year, provides fish and wildlife habitat, and controls floodwaters for downstream residents.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designated Jordan Lake as impaired by nutrient pollution a decade and a half ago.  Since that time state policy-makers, regulatory agencies, local governments, and a range of stakeholders have worked to find solutions to reduce the nutrient pollution which fuels algal growth, and thus improve water quality in Jordan Lake.

In 2016 the North Carolina General Assembly directed UNC to examine nutrient management strategies for Jordan Lake and Falls Lake (a similar reservoir located in Durham, Granville, and Wake counties) over a six-year period. The UNC Nutrient Management Study has focused its initial efforts on Jordan Lake and just completed its second Interim Update to the General Assembly.  A final report on Jordan Lake is due to the legislature in December 2018.

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