Kinston Free Press Mar. 15, 2009

Adkin Branch restoration offers benefits to city and region

David Anderson
Staff Writer

Adkin Branch restoration offers benefits to city and region
David Anderson
March 15, 2009 - 7:30PM
After spending six months restoring his home following Hurricane Floyd's floods during 1999, Henry Dove was willing to contribute part of his property to the N.C. Ecosystem Enhancement Program's Adkin Branch restoration.
"I'd been here 20-some years and it never flooded before, so I'm hoping this project's going to keep it from flooding anymore," Dove said.
He said he also expected the project to bring economic benefits to the neighborhood.
"Down the road, yes, when everything is back to what it should be," Dove said.
The restoration has impacts beyond Kinston, though. The EEP was created during 2003 to take on "environmental mitigation" efforts to allow the N.C. Department of Transportation and other economic developers to proceed more quickly.
The EEP's projects give developers a pool of mitigation credits to speed up the environmental permit phase, director Bill Gilmore said.
"We're pooling and compiling and banking that resource in the Kinston area, to be allocated to existing development that we've already accepted, and future development," he explained.
Those mitigation credits can be applied to any highway, school, military or residential development within three to five counties around Kinston.
Homeowner Gerald Bowens, also a 30-year resident, said the restoration should have happened sooner.
"If they had corrected it years ago all of these houses would still be here," he said, indicating properties vacated after the flood.
Bowens said he remained optimistic, though.
"I like the neighborhood and I'm just interested to see what they're going to do with that Adkin," he said. "I think it's going to be nice."
The N.C. Ecosystem Enhancement Program was created in 2003 as a joint effort between the NCDOT, the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

David Anderson can be reached at (252) 559-1077 or danderson@freedomenc.com.