Update From NC Wildlife Biologist Chad Tomas:
Oxygen levels continue to remain at 0 milligrams per liter in most of our coastal systems. The fish kills are ending, as most fish within the impacted areas have now died. Decomposition at these water temperatures occurs quickly, and carcasses will be less frequently observed by boaters. Return to normal oxygen levels will only occur as water temperatures cool, and/or if we get some rain (but not tropical storm amounts) to help push the dead water out of the systems. We anticipate this may take several more weeks. We are monitoring the gauges on the Roanoke, and NC State has employed water quality monitors on a few creeks. As oxygen conditions begin a return to more normal conditions I will let you know. In the meantime, anglers should be advised that if they launch in areas where dissolved oxygen levels are very low, and then travel significant distances (or to other systems) to catch fish, any fish released back at the launch will likely die within a few hours. Hopefully fall will come quickly and the major portions of our rivers will be inhabitable by fish again. Our staff will begin post-hurricane fish sampling in late October.