North Carolina Cooperative Extension

Raleigh, NC, United States

North Carolina Cooperative Extension

Raleigh, NC, United States
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O'Driscoll M.A.,East Carolina University | Humphrey C.P.,East Carolina University | Deal N.E.,North Carolina Dep Of Health And Human Services | Lindbo D.L.,North Carolina Cooperative Extension | Zarate-Bermudez M.A.,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Journal of Environmental Quality | Year: 2014

On-site wastewater treatment systems (OWTS) can contribute nitrogen (N) to coastal waters. In coastal areas with shallow groundwater, OWTS are likely affected by meteorological events. However, the meteorological influences on temporal variability of N exports from OWTS are not well documented. Hydrogeological characterization and seasonal monitoring of wastewater and groundwater quality were conducted at a residence adjacent to the Pamlico River Estuary, North Carolina, during a 2-yr field study (October 2009-2011). Rainfall was elevated during the first study year, relative to the annual mean. In the second year, drought was followed by extreme precipitation from Hurricane Irene. Recent meteorological conditions influenced N speciation and concentrations in groundwater. Groundwater total dissolved nitrogen (TDN) beneath the OWTS drainfield was dominated by nitrate during the drought; during wetter periods, ammonium and organic N were common. Effective precipitation (precipitation [P] minus evapotranspiration [ET]) affected OWTS TDN exports because of its influence on groundwater recharge and discharge. Groundwater nitrate-N concentrations beneath the drainfield were typically higher than 10 mg/L when total biweekly precipitation was less than evapotranspiration (precipitation deficit: P < ET). Overall, groundwater TDN concentrations were elevated above background concentrations at distances > 15 m downgradient of the drainfield. Although OWTS nitrate inputs caused elevated groundwater nitrate concentrations between the drainfield and the estuary, the majority of nitrate was attenuated via denitrification between the OWTS and 48 m to the estuary. However, DON originating from the OWTS was mobile and contributed to elevated TDN concentrations along the groundwater flowpath to the estuary. © American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America.

Church C.S.,North Carolina Cooperative Extension | Stinner R.E.,National Science Foundation | Buhler W.G.,North Carolina State University | Bradley L.K.,North Carolina State University
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2013

The Pesticide Environmental Stewardship website, http://, was funded by the National Science Foundation Center for Integrated Pest Management to summarize general principles of pesticide stewardship and to direct users to key resources (including state-specific regulations) by stewardship topic. There are eleven topic areas including recordkeeping, disposal, drift, surface and groundwater, wildlife and pollinators, storage, handling containers, spills, calibration, integrated pest management, and terms and acronyms. Initially the site targeted commercial pesticide applicators but a review of the environmental impacts of pesticide mismanagement identified the importance of expanding the site to target homeowners as well. Prior to enhancing the website a national survey of Cooperative Extension agents was conducted to identify the pesticide related questions they receive from homeowners most frequently, the difficulty of obtaining information on those topics, as well as their recommendations for most effective strategies for presenting the information to homeowners. In addition, Extension agents were asked to identify their primary concerns related to homeowner pesticide applications. The homeowner section of the website was developed based on the results of the surveys.

Humphrey Jr. C.P.,East Carolina University | Deal N.E.,North Carolina State University | O'Driscoll M.A.,East Carolina University | Lindbo D.L.,North Carolina Cooperative Extension
World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2010: Challenges of Change - Proceedings of the World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2010 | Year: 2010

On-site wastewater (septic) systems have often been implicated as a source of high nitrogen content in groundwater in Eastern North Carolina. At the national level, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pointed out the need for enhancing the knowledge of septic systems performance. This paper is part of a study that was designed to address that need. The objectives of this work were to determine if electrical resistivity mapping is an applicable technique for characterizing septic system effluent plumes in sandy soils and to investigate the links between septic system discharge, groundwater quality, and potential contributions to surface waters. Electrical resistivity surveys were completed on two sites that use septic systems in Washington, North Carolina. Plumes of low resistivity groundwater were identified at both sites. Orientation of the plumes matched closely with the direction of groundwater flow away from the septic systems as indicated by groundwater level data from piezometers. Preliminary data of samples taken from each septic tank showed total nitrogen concentrations between 46 and 48 mg/l, mostly in the forms of organic nitrogen and ammonium nitrogen (NH4-N). Also, preliminary data showed higher concentrations of nitrate nitrogen (NO3-N) and organic nitrogen in shallow groundwater samples adjacent to septic systems than in background samples. While dissolved nitrogen concentrations typically decreased as the plumes moved further away from the systems, elevated nitrogen concentrations were seen close to the estuary at one site. Future work will include septic tank and groundwater N-isotope sampling and installation of YSI sondes (automated NO3-N and NH4-N sensors), to gain more information on N-processing and the fate and transport of dissolved nitrogen in shallow coastal aquifers. © 2010 ASCE.

Oviedo-Rondon E.O.,North Carolina State University | Shah S.B.,North Carolina State University | Grimes J.L.,North Carolina State University | Westerman P.W.,North Carolina State University | Campeau D.,North Carolina Cooperative Extension
Journal of Applied Poultry Research | Year: 2013

The reutilization of litter is currently a common practice in broiler production due to several environmental and economic factors. The application of litter amendments in broiler houses is a popular practice that can reduce ammonia emissions from recycled litter by converting them to nonvolatile ammonium. Sodium bisulfate (SBS) is one of the acidifiers frequently used in broiler houses. Broilers raised to 9 wk may require higher acidifier application rates to prevent unhealthy NH3 levels throughout the flock than broilers raised to smaller sizes. A study with 6 flocks of roasters was conducted under commercial conditions to evaluate 4 levels of SBS. In a farm with 8 houses, 4 treatments were evaluated. In the control treatment 0.49 kg/m2 of SBS was applied to the brood chamber, whereas the low, medium, and high treatments received 0.49, 0.73, and 1.46 kg/m2, respectively, in the whole house. Data were obtained as the average of 2 houses with approximately 21,000 broilers per house in each of the 6 flocks evaluated. Results indicated no significant differences due to treatments on final average BW, FCR, mortality, or the majority of condemnation parameters. The significant reductions in NH3 levels observed in the whole flock across all 6 flocks receiving SBS treatments did not significantly improve broiler live performance or affect condemnations at the processing plant. © 2013 Poultry Science Association, Inc.

Shah S.B.,North Carolina State University | Westerman P.W.,North Carolina State University | Grimes J.L.,North Carolina State University | Oviedo-Rondon E.O.,North Carolina State University | Campeau D.,North Carolina Cooperative Extension
Journal of Applied Poultry Research | Year: 2013

High ammonia levels in broiler houses can reduce bird performance. Broiler producers commonly use acidifiers to reduce ammonia build-up. In addition to improving broiler performance, acidifiers can also provide other ancillary benefits such as reducing propane and electricity use and increasing cake (caked litter) N content. In this 2-yr study involving 9 flocks, 4 levels of an acidifier (sodium bisulfate) were applied to commercial roaster houses in eastern North Carolina. The control treatment had a sodium bisulfate application rate of up to 0.1 lb/ft2 to the brood chamber, whereas the high, medium, and low treatments had application rates of up to 0.3, 0.15, and 0.1 lb/ft2, respectively, to the whole house. No treatment effect was observed on propane or electricity use. However, compared with published studies involving smaller broilers, roasters required lesser amounts of propane and electricity. Linear regressions of propane and electricity use as a function of ambient temperature may help with decision making in roaster production. Brooding accounted for 88% of propane consumption. Reduced pH in the high treatment compared with the other treatments led to significantly higher ammonium concentration in the cake. © 2013 Poultry Science Association, Inc.

Shah S.B.,North Carolina State University | Grimes J.L.,North Carolina State University | Oviedo-Rondon E.O.,North Carolina State University | Westerman P.W.,North Carolina State University | Campeau D.,North Carolina Cooperative Extension
Journal of Applied Poultry Research | Year: 2013

Broiler production has the potential to cause water and air pollution. Acidifiers such as sodium bisulfate (SBS) can reduce ammonia (NH3) emissions from broiler houses; NH3 is an important air pollutant that also affects bird health. Due to their longer grow-outs, roasters may require higher acidifier application rates to prevent unhealthy NH3 levels during the flock than ordinary broilers. Changes in NH3 emission with acidifier use may affect the partitioning of the input nitrogen (N) among the different N output pathways. Accounting for these output pathways through N mass balance provides a complete picture of N as it cycles through the roaster house. In a 2-yr study involving 9 flocks of roasters, 4 levels of SBS were applied to the litter in commercial roaster houses. Whereas the control treatment received up to 0.49 kg/ m2 to the brood chamber, the high, medium, and low treatments received up to 1.46, 0.73, and 0.49 kg/m2, respectively, to the whole house. Ammonia-N emission decreased and N removed in cake and litter increased with SBS application rate. Nitrogen output components were averaged over the 4 treatments and expressed as percent of total N input or per unit mass of live weight (LW). Ammonia-N emission during grow-out, bird N exported, and cake and litter N removed accounted for 17.3% or 11.2 g/kg of LW, 38.9% or 25.1 g/kg of LW, and 22.4% or 14.4 g/kg of LW, respectively. We accounted for 79.1% of the total N inputs, with NH3-N losses during layout probably constituting the bulk of the unaccounted N. In addition to uncertainties in measurements of inputs and outputs, other factors that limited the ability to close the N mass balance were exclusion of feathers during cake and litter sampling, soil N leaching, and nitrous oxide emissions. © 2013 Poultry Science Association, Inc.

News Article | October 26, 2015

Through his job with the university's Plant Disease and Insect Clinic, Bertone regularly comes face-to-face with many different types of spiders. Most of the people who use the clinic are farmers, gardeners and North Carolina Cooperative Extension agents who want to know what disease or insect is causing crop and plant damage. However, homeowners, doctors and others concerned about spiders and spider bites frequently turn to him to get proper identifications. In addition to being a university Cooperative Extension scientist, Bertone is also an accomplished photographer who enjoys getting close to spiders and insects that he finds not only fascinating but beautiful. Here, he answers a few spider-related questions. The Abstract: What do people ask you about spiders? Matt Bertone: "A lot of people are worried about dangerous or venomous spiders or foreign spiders. People will contact us if a spider bites someone and they want to make sure it's not a brown recluse," he says. "But it's almost always not. Brown recluse spiders are probably the most feared spiders, but they are also among the ones least likely to be encountered here." In North Carolina, brown recluses are native to only the western tip of the state. "Sometimes people inadvertently bring them into the state, and they end up living in homes," he says. "But they are very, very rarely encountered in North Carolina." TA: Are black widows and brown recluses the only venomous spiders found in North Carolina? Bertone: "Almost all spiders that you encounter have venom, but for a spider to be dangerous, it has to have fangs large enough to pierce the skin. Many spiders have fangs that are just too small. And for many spiders, if they were able to pierce the skin, the reaction to the venom would be like a mild bee sting," Bertone says. As a child, Bertone was bitten by a wolf spider that he'd grabbed out of a bucket of water. But he says that spider bites are "actually extremely rare." That's because spiders tend to run away from people and only bite if they feel threatened. "People like to blame every red, bite-like thing they see on their skin on spiders, but chances are it's some other kind of skin infection or in-grown hair or something," he says. In the rare case when a spider does actually bite a person, it's even more rare for the bite to be fatal, Bertone points out, even if the bite is from black widow or brown recluse. (Of course, people who think they've been bitten by one of these venomous spiders should do their best to collect the spider for identification and seek medical attention.) TA: You say that spiders are beautiful, but are there any that you find even the least bit spooky? Bertone: "Yes, the net-casting spiders. They are also called ogre-faced spiders. These spiders spin rectangular webs that they hold in their front legs, then they look out with these huge eyes, and when they see prey, they use the net in their legs to catch the prey," he says. "I have yet to see one, but I really want to. They creep me out a little bit, but they are really cool." TA: It's been said that no one is ever more than 10 feet from a spider. Is this fact or fiction? Bertone: "It's not true, but it's also not far-fetched," Bertone said. A few years ago he worked on the Arthropods of Our Homes project, going into 50 houses to catalog every insect, spider and related creature he could find. Spiders turned up in every single home! And cobweb spiders were found in 65 percent of rooms. "Basically, the majority of the rooms in a home have at least one spider, living or dead," he said. "That might be scary to some people, but I say the fact that people don't even realize that just goes to show that spiders don't interact with people much. They are leaving us alone, and we are leaving them alone." Explore further: Got brown widow spiders? Entomologists seek the public's help for a summer research project

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