DWR’s Ecosystems Branch coordinates statewide monitoring and special studies of water quality, algae blooms and wetlands.

The branch’s monitoring team is the hub for North Carolina’s stream, river and estuary water quality monitoring programs. Monitoring activities are coordinated among seven regional offices, Raleigh-based planning and permitting staff, and two state chemistry laboratories. The branch also partners with six monitoring coalitions comprised of NPDES-permitted wastewater facilities. Monitoring team members offer logistical support, quality assurance, data management, statistical analysis, and assistance for public users of our data.

The branch’s algae team is comprised of scientists (phycologists) that identify and evaluate aquatic algal species using advanced microscopy techniques. They also deploy rapid diagnostic testing for algal toxins during bloom events. Samples are analyzed in support of routine monitoring, special studies, and in response to citizen reports. This team also coordinates with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and local health departments to address public health risks associated with algal blooms.

The branch’s wetland science team conducts wetland monitoring and research, develops wetland education materials, and provides wetland data and information to other state agencies and the public. The team advances North Carolina’s overarching Wetland Program Plan, which aims to improve science and management of these critical ecosystems statewide. Results from more than 20 research projects have been used to inform the state’s wetland protection and mitigation efforts. Finally, the team’s award-winning website (ncwetlands.org) contains many valuable resources including an interactive state map of publicly accessible wetlands and straightforward information for property owners.

Staff Contacts:

Tammy Hill Ecosystems Branch Supervisor 919.743.8413
Elizabeth Fensin Algal Ecologist 919.743.8406
Kristie Gianopulos Wetlands Specialist 919.743.8409
Susan Gale Water Quality Analyst 919.743.8408
Randy Sloup Quality Assurance Coordinator 919.743.8429
Leah Rittenburg Wetlands Specialist 919-743-8426
Vacant Wetlands Specialist  
David Huffman Ambient Monitoring System Coordinator 919.743.8411
Mark Vander Borgh Monitoring Coalition Coordinator 919.743.8431
Dan Wiltsie Algal Bloom Response Coordinator 919.743.8434



The mission of the Water Sciences Section is to provide the Division with accurate information pertaining to waters of the state. Excellent service along with water quality monitoring and certification programs and analytical laboratory analyses that provide scientifically defensible data are the section’s main avenues for accomplishing this mission. These activities support the management and protection of North Carolina’s water resources for the health and welfare of the citizens of North Carolina and the economic well-being of the state.  

 Water Sciences Section 1621 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699-1621

919.733.3908 (Chemistry)