WNCT News, Mar. 9, 2009

Groundbreaking takes place for stream restoration project

By JIM NIEDELMAN
Weekend Edition Anchor
Published: March 9, 2009
A massive earth-moving project started to take shape in Lenoir County Monday.

It covers 10,000 feet and 40 acres with an end game of controlling flooding and pollution around the Neuse River Basin.

It’s cleanup work that requires a lot of digging.
You could also call it a down and dirty watershed moment.
“The project is gonna cleanup all of those types of things and pollutants and just trash that’s in there,“ said Bill Gilmore, North Carolina Ecosystem Enhancement Program Director.
That would be the Adkin Branch Stream in Kinston.

The water system has fallen victim to erosion and pollution.

The state Department of Transportation is paying to improve the stream. FEMA helped acquire a lot of the land necessary for the project after Hurricane Floyd.

That means digging deeper channels to stabilize the banks, reduce flooding and help drainage.

It also crews will add a new filtering system to cut down pollution flowing into backyards and city streets.

It won’t look good at first.
“A real mess, like a bomb went off because they’re gonna come in here and basically wipe everything out,“ said Kevin Williams, Project Lead Design Engineer.
Then, it’s the restoration, which could take years to come to fruition.

Crews will plant new grass, trees and other vegetation to recreate a natural habitat for wildlife.

“To improve a stream ecosystem community is, is one of the best things we can do for our environment and this will be an immediate impact once the construction activities wrap up,“ said Williams.
Project leaders also say the environmental work will have a positive impact on the local economy.

The Adkin Branch restoration should provide about a hundred jobs.
Construction crews could take up to two years to move all the dirt necessary to solidify the stream.

The stream will eventually have new pedestrian bridges.

All of this marks the first steps along the path to a safer and cleaner waterway.