Kinston Free Press Mar. 1, 2010

Residents worried over stream buffers

David Anderson
Staff Writer

As a child, Edwin Jones could ride his bike along University Street, past houses and Kinston College dormitories — and even the Peachtree wastewater treatment plant that made up his once-vibrant East Kinston neighborhood — during the 1950s.
Today, more than 10 years after Hurricane Floyd’s floods destroyed much of Lincoln City, the street leading back toward Peachtree is overgrown with trees and brush; the neatly-manicured United American F.W.B. Tabernacle campus covers land where houses once stood and that segment of University Street has been re-named J.E. Reddick Circle.
“It’s real nice and serene, but when it gets like this, people throw trash there,” Jones said Friday, indicating the tall brush that abuts the church property.
Jones and his family lived on University from his birth in 1946 until they moved to Rochelle Boulevard in 1957, where he still lives today.
Jones and other neighborhood residents are worried that if the proposed stream buffers — part of the state’s ongoing Adkin Branch restoration — are allowed to grow unchecked as project managers expect them to, those parcels of land will resemble Lincoln City a decade from now, becoming a haven for wild animals and litter.
“To allow an area close to the stream to grow up is not in the best interests of the community,” Jones said. “We’re just hoping they can at least plan to put something in there so it doesn’t grow large or try to keep it manicured.”
Kristie Corson of the N.C. Ecosystem Enhancement Program is project manager for the stream restoration.
She said the buffers along the stream bank will be planted with native vegetation so they “mimic a coastal plain forest,” and allowed to grow naturally to reduce sediment flowing into the stream and filter out harmful nutrients from stormwater runoff.
“Virtually all research that has been conducted on vegetated riparian buffer strips shows a substantial decrease in pollutants such as nitrate-nitrogen, phosphorus, chloride, ammonium and sedimentation,” she wrote in an e-mail.
Corson said that, while the buffer must be allowed to grow naturally, public access will not be restricted, except to vehicles and hunters.
“You can fish, you can walk, you can catch butterflies,” she explained.

David Anderson can be reached at 252-559-1077