Stream getting upgrade

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Posted: Thursday, August 30, 2012 1:00 pm

MARGARETTESVILLE — Stanley’s Slough Stream in Northampton County is getting a face lift in coming months with the promise of improved water quality and better conditions for animals.

Tim Morris, with KCI Technologies in Raleigh, said his company is performing mitigation on a property, off Highway 186 on Margarettesville Road, for the North Carolina Ecosystem Enhancement Program — an initiative of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Morris said no endangered species of plant or wildlife has been impacted by the stream issues, this is mostly a question of water quality.

“This is a very positive project,” he said, adding about 4,000 feet of stream channel on 237 acres of farmland has been negatively impacted by agriculture interests and needs restoration. It connects to swamps along the Meherrin River and Morris said the restoration should improve water quality.

According to technical excerpts on the Slough Stream project, the finished work will also improve habitat for wildlife.

The improved shoreline will reduce sedimentation, nutrient pollution and surface runoff.

The technical excerpts document says this stream has a long history of impact from channelization and agriculture. Aerial photos show impact as far back as 1950.

“Since the area was cleared, it has been used for livestock grazing, and the cattle have had unrestricted access to the channel,” the document said.

The finished mitigation will not contain a primary channel, but multiple threads “that will meander through a valley bottom, similar to existing reference systems found at the site.”

Morris said when KCI finishes with the stream bed, they will restore the banks, and the area will be planted with vegetation like Swamp Tupelo, Persimmon, Sweet Bay Magnolia and other woody vegetation that grows naturally in the area.

Native species of common bushes and plants will also be planted to stabilize and restore the area and prevent invasive species.

Morris said when the restoration is finished, North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources will put a conservation easement on the property to preserve and protect it.

He said the property will be monitored for about seven years to ensure the project’s success.

Officials said the Ecosystem Enhancement Program works with willing landowners and provides funds to offset unavoidable environmental damage and to help to prevent pollution from endangering water quality.

Morris said the Stanley’s Slough Stream project will begin within the next year. Once the construction phase has begun, it will take about four months to complete.

Morris said the project will have no impact on local traffic.

“We’ll be back on the farm,” he said. “You probably won’t even see us.”

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