Tar-Pamlico River Basin

Only four rivers are contained entirely within North Carolina. The Tar-Pamlico is one of them.

The name is confusing – one river with two names. The river was first surveyed when North Carolina was still an English colony. Surveyors began at either end. Each named the river differently. Cartographers stubbornly refused to surrender one name or the other after all 180 miles of the river was mapped. Instead, the name changes at the bridge crossing the river at Washington. That’s the local story, anyway.

The Tar-Pamlico Basin is rich farmland. Pitt County is the largest tobacco-producing county in the state, Beaufort County the largest producer of corn, wheat, and sorghum.

The basin also has a history of environmental degradation resulting from the discharge of wastewater treatment plants, farming, and timber operations into the water. Increased levels of nitrogen and phosphorus contributed to the growth of algae and plants that reduced the levels of dissolved oxygen in the water, resulting in disease and fish kills.

A lot has been done to improve the water quality of the river, but it requires constant vigilance to safeguard. That’s why a percentage of the profits from this site are donated to Sound Rivers and the Tar-Pamlico Riverkeepers.

Cherry Run is one of the most interesting examples of a blackwater creek that I’ve explored extensively. It’s both a lovely creek and almost in my backyard.

Map of the Tar-Pamlico River Basin

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