The aqua water off Wrightsville Beach has been recognized by the Natural Resources Defense Council as part of the inaugural class of Superstar Beaches for water quality.
To qualify for the list of 35 beaches lauded by the NRDC for ocean water quality, each location could not exceed the previous national ocean water quality standard by more than 2 percent from 2009-2012, and not exceed the Environmental Protection Agency’s new, more stringent Beach Action Value by more than 2 percent in 2013.
For around 30 years Blockade Runner Beach Resort co-owner Mary Baggett Martin has touted Wrightsville’s water quality as one of the resort’s best attractions.
“Way back from the beginning that was my No. 1 selling point,” Martin said. “You go to all the beaches international travellers have possibly heard of, like Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head, and the water is not as clear and gorgeous as our water.”
Connie Nelson, Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau communications director, said Wrightsville’s water quality is best marketed through the use of photographs.
“The marketing of Wrightsville Beach’s clean water is primarily through images that convey people actively enjoying our ocean and waterways,” Nelson stated in a July 1 email. “Recently Wrightsville Beach marketing efforts also included a press release about the summer season prep, which includes a portion that references clean water.”
Included in that summer marketing press campaign is a section that specifically addresses the town of Wrightsville Beach’s efforts to keep the water clean, Nelson added.
From the years 2009-2012 the NRDC’s research shows that the ocean water tested around Johnnie Mercer’s Pier reported 0 percent readings for the previous national standard. The same 0 percent reading was recorded for 2013 for the Beach Action Value reading, which was developed by the EPA to provide states with a precautionary tool that would act as an early alert to beachgoers if water quality results revealed substandard levels.
In its 2014 Testing the Waters study, the NRDC stated a majority of beach pollution stems from stormwater runoff, untreated or partially treated discharges from sewer systems and wildlife.
Joining Wrightsville Beach on the NRDC Superstar Beaches list for North Carolina are Cape Hatteras, Topsail Beach and Sunset Beach.
For visitors to learn more about Wrightsville’s water quality, Nelson stated her organization produced a video regarding the cleanliness of Wrightsville’s beach strand and waterways that is available on the town of Wrightsville Beach’s website.