The Neuse Estuary begins near Streets Ferry (NC 43 highway) and flows to the mouth of the Pamilco Sound (see map monitoring station locations). The estuary is a broad shallow water body with an average depth of 15 feet and is approximately 371,000 acres. It consists of fresh, brackish, and even saltwater at times. In drought periods the “salt water wedge” can migrate to the NC 43 Highway bridge.
The ModMon program field technicians sample the estuary monthly from November through April and twice each month during the warm months, May through October. Water samples are taken at 11 points throughout the estuary, each one measuring the full water column (top to bottom).
The FerryMon program uses the State’s Ferry System to provide realtime data (pH, dissolved oxygen, salinity, conductivity) of the lower estuary each time the ferry travels from Cherry Branch to Minnesott Beach. Due to funding reductions, the sampling/monitoring on the Cedar Island to Ocracoke route and Ocracoke to Swan Quarter route have ended.
The ModMon and the FerryMon programs are the only currently active monitoring/sampling programs.