Stream project restoring Cat Creek to natural state

Thursday, 19 November 2009
Cat Creek is situated in the Holly Springs community east of Franklin.

A stream restoration project designed to stabilize eroding stream banks and improve habitat for fish and other wildlife is underway on Cat Creek in the Holly Springs community east of Franklin.
The project will restore and protect more than 1.6 miles of stream through four properties, three owned by the N.C. Department of Transportation and one by Sue and Jim Waldroop of Holly Springs.
Along previously straightened and severely eroding parts of the stream, the project will move the creek back into its original position in the floodplain and give it a curvier, more natural course. Construction along more stable sections of the stream will lower stream banks and enhance fish habitats such as pools and small rocky rapids.
“This is a really interesting project that will be a big improvement for Cat Creek. We’re excited that it is almost complete,” said Jenny Sanders, director of the Franklin-based Little Tennessee Watershed Association (LTWA). “I walked the site recently with the design team, and I was really impressed with the results.”
The Ecosystem Enhancement Program, an initiative within the N.C. Department of Natural Resources, oversees the Cat Creek project. The project is funded by N.C. Department of Transportation to compensate for unavoidable environmental damage caused by transportation-improvement projects, as well as fees paid to compensate for environmental impacts from other development projects within the Little Tennessee watershed.
The project also will restore wetlands along portions of Cat Creek by removing fill dirt from a golf course that formerly used portions of the project site, restoring the original wetland soil elevation, and allowing wetland plants and wildlife to thrive.
To control erosion, materials such as matting, grass seed, and straw mulch are used to stabilize bare soil daily, and contractors will plant grasses, wildflowers, shrubs and trees this winter in order to provide shade and stabilization for the creek and wetland areas.
The Raleigh office of Earth Tech-AECOM designed the project, and Raleigh-based Fluvial Solutions is handling construction. The state Department of Administration chose the construction firm through a competitive bid process, which was open to all contractors with a highway or unclassified grading license.