Kinston Free Press Aug. 5, 2008

Adkin Branch restoration delayed

David Anderson
Staff Writer

Although project managers had expected to begin the construction phase of a 5-year-old effort to restore a section of the Adkin Branch this spring, a few snags have pushed construction back to at least the end of this year.

Steven Miller, Kinston's water resources manager, told the members of the City Council Monday that officials with the various state and federal agencies involved - the state is covering the entire $2.7 million cost - have given the project leaders more tasks to complete before construction begins.

The Ecosystem Enhancement Program, part of the state's Department of Environment and Natural Resources, is overseeing the project. The N.C. Department of Transportation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are also involved.

Miller, along with City Attorney Jim Cauley, also told the council that some of those who own or hold liens on properties along the stream are reluctant to sell their land. The project cannot proceed until the EEP has all properties in hand.

The city owns the majority of the 200 properties in question and private owners hold the rest. The private owners must sign a conservation easement to allow for the use of their land in the restoration project. The EEP has obtained all of the city properties and most of the private properties.

The project covers a 1.5-mile length of stream between N.C. 11 and Lincoln Street. Workers will reshape the stream banks, remove flood control walls and plant vegetated buffers along the banks. The project is designed to restore the stream's natural flow and mitigate flooding, plus prevent runoff pollution.

"When there is a rain event and the water starts to rise, it has an area to flood naturally," Kristie Corson of the EEP told the council last August.

Miller said that project leaders expect to solicit bids later this month, award a contract by October and begin construction by November or December.

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