Rocky Mount Telegram Oct. 09, 2006

Creek work may reduce floodwaters

By John Ramsey
Rocky Mount Telegram

Monday, October 09, 2006

A state ecosystem agency is trying to move forward with a project that will
reduce flooding on Country Club Road near U.S. 64.

The city of Rocky Mount granted land easements to the N.C. Ecosystem
Enhancement Program last month, and officials with the program are
negotiating purchases with a handful of other landowners in the area.

The planned project will redirect the water flow along Country Club Road
near the Moose Lodge and Country Club Coves Apartments.

"We'd be looking at restoring the stream to as close to its original
location as possible," said Jeff Schaffer, eastern operations supervisor for
the ecosystem program. "We expect it would allow the upstream areas to drain
a little faster."

Long Branch Creek takes a hard turn after exiting the culvert near U.S. 64
and another large curve before it drains into Stony Creek. The project would
excavate land to straighten the creek and increase the flow of water.

The plan would also guarantee open floodplains in the area. A conservation
agreement with the EEP requires landowners to give up development rights but
retain ownership of the property.

That would give excess water more room to settle before flooding into other
areas, Schaffer said.

The design phase of the project could begin later this year if negotiations
are worked out, with the construction complete a year to a year and a half
later, he said.

Schaffer estimated the project – which will be funded entirely by the EEP –
could cost upward of $800,000 to $1 million. The land the city granted the
EEP access to was land that was purchased with Federal Emergency Management
Agency buyout funds after the 1999 flood, said Assistant City Manager
Charles Penny.

The EEP was formed in 2003 under an agreement by the N.C. Department of
Environment and Natural Resources, the N.C. Department of Transportation and
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to restore and protect wetlands and
streams.