Milburnie Dam Public Meeting Q&A

The full, unedited question & answer session with transcribed captions from the Milburnie Dam Public Information Workshop.

The full 3+ hour meeting proceedings are publicly available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7e2Z6CO1XQ

Additionally, a much shorter 6-minute video overviewing the entire project is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSQyVyaf1zs

Transcript

– Now we’re ready to enter the question and answer portion of the evening. A couple of ground rules to set out. When you checked-in, we had people indicate if you wanted to ask a question. Obviously, maybe your question was answered, and if so, that’s fine, you can just raise your hand and say no problem, go to the next one. But we’re gonna take people, we’re gonna call people up to the microphone in the middle so that we can get all this on the record. We’re gonna call people up to the microphone in the middle in the order that you signed in, if you indicated you want to ask a question. Because we have so many folks who want to ask questions, we ask you to keep it to one question per person and we ask you to limit your question to a minute or less. That’s so that everyone can have an opportunity to ask. If we have additional time, once everybody has had an opportunity to ask a question, then we’ll go back and you can ask a second question.

– [Man] Is this considered open forum? It seems to me like there’s been several hours to one side, probably a few minutes from the other side. That doesn’t seem

– This is a public information workshop where we’ll have an opportunity for folks, like yourself, to come up. The purpose of this is to learn more about what’s going on with this proposal and where it stands in the process and for you to raise questions that you might have.

– [Man] And terms?

– Absolutely. Alright, we’ll go ahead and begin. If at any point you have follow-up questions or don’t feel like your question was adequately addressed, Lauris, the person standing in the back is ready to take your information, your complete question, and we will make sure that Restoration Systems or one of the experts gets back to you personally to address that question and make sure that all of your concerns are addressed. So the first question comes from Bob Emmanuel. Is Bob here?

– [Bob] Yes, I have no question, I deffer to the others.

– Okay, thank you, Mr. Emmanuel. The next question is Michael Williams.

– [Michael] No question.

– You guys are making this too easy. Next question is David Rhodes.

– [David] Yes, my name is David Rhodes.

– Can you just come stand at the microphone? Thank you.

– My name is David Rhodes and I live here in Raleigh. In fact, very near here Hedingham, I was wondering about how long we should expect to see the benefits of once the dam is removed, what is the time frame you think we might start to see the benefits of the dam removal.

– [Matt] Adam, do you want to start? Thank you, Dave. Speak up.

– I’m trying. I might be a PhD, but I can’t operate a microphone. To answer your question, it depends on what particular part of the ecosystem you’re looking for a change in. Expect to see habitats start to shift as soon as water’s released from behind the dam and that will be an ongoing process. It’ll happen a little bit more with each flow. Each rain, Spring event, or release from Falls Dam. It will re-distribute some of the sediments into new forms and into new places. That is the basis of most of the change that you’re going to see. That will become the habitat that will then support the biology as it comes back into the impoundment. It’ll take some time. I think that Tim and Matt here can expand on that a good bit. As far as water quality goes, that will be pretty instantaneous. Usually you don’t have these water quality problems in the Winter months, as in the Summer months. So if the dam is removed in Fall/Winter, come Spring and Summer, you won’t have those issues anymore. Anybody else want to expand?

– With the dam removal projects that we’ve been involved in and doing the monitoring of as well as the literature on dam removal that exists throughout the country and the world, some of the fastest responders are those Benthic macroinvertebrates. Why that’s important is that those are gonna be one of the essential basis of the food chain for the fishes and the birds and other things to come in there and be able to take advantage of some of the hallower habitats. While they may not be eating the bugs directly, some of the smaller minnows will also be attracted to those birds, so the Benthic macroinvertebrates responding within the first season is something we’ve seen in the past. They don’t get to their ultimate improvement in that first season, but you already see a dramatic shift because a lot of their lifespan is annual for some species, while it’s several years for some of the longer life. But they’ll be coming in and deposit the eggs and as soon as the flowing water habitat is there and in the ripples, which is one of the most rich habitats in the river ecosystem like that, you’ll start to see the change that Fall and Spring.

– Basically, I guess every dam removal’s different and different systems will respond at different rates. Our experience with the two that we’ve been involved with with Carbonton Dam and the Lowell Dam, the fish community response was fairly quick. Within the first year of monitoring we saw improvement and continued to see improvement through the five-year monitoring period. We didn’t expect the mussels to show improvement very quickly, and that’s mainly associated with their life cycle. They require a fish basis to complete their life cycle. And they’re not very mobile. So it takes them a while to populate new areas. However, with Carbonton, the mussel recovery was quite a lot quicker than we expected. By year three, we’re seeing rare species that weren’t there before show up in low numbers in the form of impoundment. With Lowell, that was a little slower, but we did see improvement by year five with the fresh water mussels.

– The next question comes from Mr. Bob Davis.

– Realizing that we’re not talking about a specific point in time, but a range of time period, I’m just curious what kind of timeframe we’re talking about for the actual removal down the line.

– Do you mean the deconstruction of the dam itself, or the time period from now ’til it will be deconstructed?

– [Bob] I’d like to know when it will be deconstructed.

– How much longer are we looking at before that actually happens?

– That’s kind of a permitting question in our business. That’s always an important question and we’ve learned the hard way of the years that we don’t count on things happening anytime soon. As you can see, we’re at a preliminary stage and we’ve got four years into it. I would say most hopefully by next Fall, but most likely, by the following Fall.

– [Bob] Thank you.

– Thank you. Jim Nelson is next.

– I have several questions about

– Thank you.

– As we said, it’s a simple one. How much would the water level in the river be reduced?

– Great question, and as you can imagine, it’s probably on a lot of people’s minds and I apologize for not including that information in the presentation. My forever reason, my 60 slides didn’t have room for it. The answer is, it depends. I hate to be a broken record because that was my answer to the other question. It depends on where you’re looking in today’s impoundment. The dam obviously, it creates deep water, but the water gets deeper as you get closer to the dam. There’s quite a variation in the depth of that impoundment now. Here at the very top of it, it can be a foot or two right now. If you’re really close to the dam, it could be eight, 10 feet. I think worse case scenario, you’ll see an adjustment under normal flow conditions close to the dam about eight feet now. As you go upstream —

– [Man] The water by the dam will be eight feet shallower?

– That would be my expectation, yes. If you go upstream, you’re gonna find much shallow areas and much deeper areas, depending on where you are because what we’ll see, pools will form and ripples will form and you’ll see a lot of variation in depth.

– How will that be conducive to canoeing and kayaking?

– It should be okay. I’ve canoed the river both above the dam, above the impoundment I should say, and below the impoundment. I think for those that are curious and have access to the river, that’s what I would encourage you to do. Put in above the impoundment, float to the impoundment, and get a sense for what that stretch of the river is like without a dam. Once you get to the impoundment, you’ll know it. It will change enough. It will get slow, it will get deep, it will get a little wider. And then be very careful, forage around the dam, put it below it and float. Float further. And you’ll get a sense, it’ll be different above it and below it. But it’s a rip above it and below it. That should give you some sense as to what to expect.

– Thank you. Camille Warren.

– Hi, I’m Camille Warren, and I’m a kayaker. I’m a member of two paddling clubs based here in the triangle. And did notice that sone of the factors that are considered are recreational factors and my interests are historical and recreational. I’ve done a lot of research on the web about the dam and it’s got some very interesting history. The original dam was built as an eight foot timber dam before the Civil War. And then around 1900, the current Granite Block and Mesa Route Dam was built to a height of 16 feet The granite blocks were locally poured and given that and the fact that the dam is so much history of this area, I really feel like they belong to Raleigh in Wade County and it would be really wonderful if the blocks would be donated to the City of Raleigh for it to use as it sees fit in the Milburnie Park that it will build some day. The other thing is as a paddler, I enjoy flat water paddling and have enjoyed paddling in Flat Waters Bridge above the dam, but I also do white water paddling, and have enjoyed that. In some of the old historical references I have read about Milburnie Dam, some of the very old things I found refer to even older documents that talked about Milburnie Falls. And of course, we all know, these dams that were built for power generation to run mills or whatever, were often built at falls because they could take better advantage of the fall of the water. There are places in the country where dams have been removed strategically, in such a way as to create really nice white water features, and in fact, in San Marcos, Texas, dam removal was done in such a way that created this beautiful river park with white water features. Given the fact the dam is coming down, there’s very likely some interesting, natural white water features there. Nobody knows, it’s been 150 years. It would just be a real shame to pass up the opportunity to take advantage of that using what’s there and perhaps, even some of the blots to create a wonderful white water paddling location. And so that’s not really a question.

– No, but I think —

– No, that’s a fine comment though. I’m glad the corps of engineers was here to see it, that there’s public support for doing that. You could imagine, when we do that, it tends to just complicate the plan because we’ve got a particular objective we’re trying to reach. But if it can enhance the plan and make it more attractive to have it removed, and help please our regulators, then of course we would consider that. We’ve already done a lot of work with Elizabeth Gardner and her club. And we’re actually gonna be contributors —

– [Camille] I belong to that club.

– Yeah, and we’re gonna contribute to the white water park, and we’re gonna follow what we feel we’re a part of that river’s community. Whether we do something on the site, possibly as a result of your comment and interest of the corp, or whether we’re working upstream with the paddling groups, that’s one of our objectives. We want to make recreation better on the river and very much appreciate your comment.

– [Matt] Thank you.

– [Camille] Thank you.

– [Matt] Betty Rhodes is next.

– I’m really concerned about the area around Hedingham and that was answered for me.

– [Matt] Okay, thank you. Ed Brandle.

– Good evening, my name’s Ed Brandle, I live in the Foxcroft subdivision and like many others here, I feel like we’re kind of being short changed by the brief time we can spend up here. I want to ask several things, but under the conditions that prevail, I don’t think I can. One question I wanted to ask, though, and I had several.

– [Man] Mr. Brandle, please ask all the question you’d like. We don’t have as large a group as we might’ve thought. If you’d like to ask a couple of questions, go ahead.

– Well, that’s good to note. Have you considered a fish ladder? Because there are several of us who would be glad to fund a fish ladder to begin with if that was one of the main problems that you were facing and the reason you want to take the dam down. Was it because of the shad going no further? They come 120 miles, I don’t think 15 miles is gonna make that much difference to the shad.

– And likely, there are a couple of things going on and one is a little bit like putting dance shoes on a cow, you know. You’ve got an ugly, decrepit facility there. Well, ugly in some people’s views and not in others. But it’s a decrepit facility, which is continuing to gray, continuing to get older, continuing to get less stable, and to take a very sophisticated thing like a fish latter and make it an integral part of it is taking something that is very unstable and uncertain and putting a modern device on it, which it seems unwise. Second, as an economic proposition, it might be a good idea if you get past those concerns, but that wouldn’t produce the credit sufficient for us to probably either fund the fish latter or make it worthwhile. We don’t get the same number of credits for doing such an action as we would for what we’re doing here.

– I thought that was one of the main reason getting the shad a little further up the river and toward the dam. It is, there are actually four different things we have to achieve to get the credits that we’ve defined. If we only achieve that, it’ll be one fourth of the value of the project.

– I’ve been down that river a lot of times in my boat, in thoseareas and so forth, wetlands. My opinion is that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. There’s a lot of wildlife in there that’s going to be destroyed, just a lot of wildlife. We had docked too to go to down to the Laurel Lake Dam. And I’ll tell you, those people down there, they are hot. I mean, I wouldn’t even wanna show up to go through that town now, ’cause they’re hot. They didn’t like the results of it at all. We went down there and walked up around the lake, the river, that is, you see a tire over here and that, this, and the other. The mayor, they were just hot under the collar. They were just ready to boil over. I hate to think that this would be left the same way and who’d clean up the debris upstream?

– We’ll work with the agencies on that. There’s always some concern. They consider the woody debris in there to be a benefit to wildlife, so we’ve got to be careful. I think we can work out something where we can get passage through, if there is an adequate passage. We don’t know what it’s gonna look like yet. But nature will take care of it for one thing. The Lowell Dam has got nothing but better and better behind it. It gets continually cleans itself out in a natural manner and I imagine this river system will do the same thing.

– I just know that there’s a lot of junk. I fish the river a lot too. Batch of springs andand everything else around there, so there’s a lot to be considered in the clean up if you go that route.

– Just remember, all that’s in there right now, it would be an aesthetic thing to take it out because whatever environmental damage or toxic damage and that kind of stuff, that’s going on right now. So this not only gives us a chance to clean it up that we don’t have while the dam’s there.

– So you’d clean up everything that’s exposed?

– I can’t commit to that now, not to clean up everything that’s exposed. Again, if it’s woody debris and that type of stuff. But if there’s an old Model T sitting down behind the dam, I guarantee you, we’ll drag it out.

– Well, I guess you would. By the way, I want to say something to the people, or Howard’s family. I knew Howard for 50 years, he was a good man and I appreciate him a lot. I was in Jaycees with him and so on and I was with him a week before he died. I’m gonna miss him.

– [Woman] Thank you.

– I know you do. I’ll deffer to the rest of the people. But I’d stay out of that area, down there in Laurel Dam. You won’t be safe, I don’t think.

– Take a look at the Carbonton Dam. It’s a larger river and kind of more similar to this one. If you ever make it down there, it’s only about a 45 minute drive and it’s quite attractive.

– [Ed] Thank you.

– Next question is Mr. Bill Jones.

– [Bill] My question’s been answered.

– Thank you, sir. John Connors.

– Hello, I’m John Connors. As a wildlife biologist, I appreciate what you do. In this particular case, I have to admit I’m a little skeptical of the benefits and here’s why. We’re trading ecosystems here, I think. So there is a functional, vibrant, as Ed said, wildlife rich environment that’s there right now, up above the dam. My concern is when we take the dam out, which I would normally support, the river system that’s up above from there to the False Lake Dam, the City of Raleigh made a decision when we put Falls Lake Dam in to infill that flood plain, that watershed. And that is one of the heaviest, neighborhood development that took place in Raleigh. So all the streams that we’re talking about, a percentage of them like Perry Creek, which I’m very familiar with, these are highly impacted streams. And so, sending the shad upstream to breed in these areas, you know, it’s a little bit wishful, I think. I can deffer to my friend Mike and Tim, maybe you can tell me more to reassure me that this will actually work. That the shad will go up there and have success breeding. A measure of them making it to False Lake Dam, is not a measure of success. It’s a measure of success of breeders surviving up to there, but we really should measure whether they successfully spawn and whether their young make it back downstream.

– [Man In Audience] You want me to —

– Go ahead and take a shot.

– I think when they did, success criteria they will be required to measure —

– [Man In Black Shirt] Mike, I’m sorry, go ahead and introduce yourself.

– I’m Mikewith the Fish and Wildlife Service. I think with a — They will be required — So they will be required to do that. I think if you look at most of these fish, the striped bass, American Shad, and you know, there’s a couple of species of sturgeon too. The sturgeon get up and we don’t really know how far they go up, but they might make it up there. But if you look at the trail ways of Falls Lake and look at the water coming over the lake. It’s fairly clear, it’s good water quality. I suspect the bulk of the actual productivity to augment the population will be proximate Falls Lake. So the thing about these fish is that they have, you know, very high fecundity and you know, you might have one individual that has a half million. Depending on the species, several 100,000 eggs. That’s where I think the real benefit if gonna be, not so much up the trips at all, but you know, getting right in that clean water coming off the trail ways of falls. But you’re right, at the end of the day what we really want to do is get these where people might be able to see a sturgeon in North Carolina. Most North Carolina natives have never seen one. They’ve seen them back up in Richmond, you know, there are guys who have lived there for 40 years and are seeing six-foot sturgeon swimming under the bridge, it’s kind of neat.

– [Man] Why was the dam removed?

– [Man] Well, because of habitat restoration. I think, you know, they’ve done some spawning. They’ve done dam removal there too, but they’ve done a number of things there. That’s what we’re shooting for.

– Is there any value in releasing those little fingerling shad that they’re doing now? People are raising them, releasing them to recolonize. Will there be any value in actually doing a test run? Like letting some of those things go off into Perry Creek or some place upstream and see what the survival is this year.

– [Man] We’ve got the national fish hatcheries. We’ve got a fish hatchery in We realize that the production and the natural system exceeds what we can possibly produce in our fish hatchery system. In other words, if we can get the Neuse working, we could do the productivity of four or five national fish hatcheries.

– My question is really like, the macroinvertebrate populations in those head water streams is very low. So there’s not very much for these shad hatchlings to eat.

– [Man] The food form is small larvae, the fish, you know, when it’s fertilized, you’ve got the egg sack and then they exhaust that and then they’ve got the food. Really what you’re doing is inoculating the downstream area. If you look at the distance between Falls Lake and the ocean, or the, really you’reareas you’re really inoculating that with a larvae and stuff that use that habitat that’s all those miles down stream.

– [John] Okay.

– Then important thing to think about, John, is that — I mean, Hightower would be a really good one to say this, but he would say, molten volcanic rock is basically a rocky riffly area, and if you look at the Neuse, you’ve got some around Smithsville, you’ve got some around Hillsborough. But then, when you’re really getting into Raleigh, that’s where you’re really getting in the rocky bottom of the Neuse. But you go up towards Falls, if you’ve been in that stretch, that’s really primo habitat. So by getting the fish, there’s plenty of area there to produce enough spawn to really utilize the nursery area of habitat in the main stem Neuse. But there’s not spawning habitat in all those miles of the coastal plain. It’s just not suitable spawning habitat.

– That helps.

– Thank you. Next question. Oh, sorry.

– I’d like to add a little bit to what Mike was saying. As far as even if Perry Creek was a good quality creek, probably wouldn’t expect American shad to go up into the small creeks. It’s kind of a river spawner. And then, one other point to make is, the migratory fish is just one component of the aquatic restoration. If you look at our baseline studies, our upstream control sites and our downstream control sites, the fish community at the control sites was much more what we’d expect in a free flowing river than what’s in the impoundment. To give an example, the fresh water mussels, as far as abundance, we measure abundance by how many we find in a certain period of time, how many per hour. The six sites within the impoundment, I think where you’re looking at eight or nine mussels per hour, whereas the downstream control sites were up in the 100s per hour. Upstream control right near the Falls tail areas, we’re looking at 70 individuals. There’s definitely an adverse effect to those communities from existing dam.

– Next question is from Janet Busset.

– [Woman] Busset.

– I’m sorry.

– Hello everybody. I’ve been following this dog and pony show for two years. I live in Foxcroft, which borders the impoundment. The neighborhood is 180 acres. It’s Raleigh’s little secret. It’s full of nature. You come in there and there’severywhere. Turtles that are 40 years old. What I would ask as part of the process, is somebody coming there and sample our neighborhood see what we have before this happens and after it happens. I do want to say thank you to Mr. Rigsby, Martin Dole, I’ve been following your work for several years.

– [Martin] Thank you.

– Actually, I read your thesis this week. Gave me a headache, but got through it. I have some first hand experience, like you, with the Lowell Dam. And I chime in with Mr. Randall. I’m not gonna repeat what he said, but what was interesting, was that it was your own hope that your research would help with future dam stream mitigation projects. , I think that’s great. I’m not gonna fight or say the dam going away, I’m not gonna go there. I’m gonna go a different angle. Use that working hat, I think it’s great. It’s not scientifically defensible because it’s based on standards that you came up with. It’s all research. But it’s something that nobody else has probably done yet. What I think we need to do here, and I thank you that we have this opportunity to come together and get this out on the table. I’ve been into this for two years and I’m getting a headache. So it’s about time that all these leaders and everybody in the community got it out. Now, this is what I see. I have enough evidence so far with Lowell Dam, all these other dams, but especially with what Mr. Rigsby said. He saw from the approach that you took, didn’t go in there and do the blown Pretty much punctured a hole in it, April you let out some water twice. You meet in December and let some water out twice. Issue was, they didn’t bank on, they had a high precipitation event. Then it rained again in January. They had a lot of downstream flooding. Of course, that’s been documented. I’ve gotta control my hands ’cause I don’t want you to get distracted. The difference between Johnston County, and that’s where I got a little bit of this twang from, ’cause I used to work for the mayor down there. The difference between where the Lowell Dam is and where this dam is, is almost like night and day. This is a highly populated area, down there is not. I’ve been there, I’ve walked all around. What else I don’t see in this plan? What’s the emergency plan? What’s the contingency plan? What are the site protections? What kind of bond are you gonna put up? And five years is not good enough for me. I think it ought to be into perpetuity or at least 10 years at a minimum. And I think something needs to be coordinated with the City of Raleigh to protect these people downstream and it needs to get out on the table.

– [Man] I’m sorry, protect them from what?

– From potential flood, like Adam’s document. heard anybody when all that flooding happened. It was 13 days straight. Are you gonna correct me?

– I’ll respond to it.

– You’reon that. I’ve read your paper, am I wrong?

– I can tell, I can tell, great detail.

– I think we need to do something. That’s all I’ve got to say.

– Thanks for the comment. Two things to go out there. One is, we did learn a lot from Lowell and we’ve learn a lot from other dam removals that I did not participate in and that we are fortunate enough to have a rich literature to go by. And when I say we’ve learned a lot from Lowell, these two guys, to my right in particular, they’re the ones who did a lot of the science that supported the mitigation project. My dissertation involved following flows through the reservoir after the dam was removed. The dam did not add flows. I think that’s an important distinction. The removal of that dam did not cause a flood. I monitored the movement of sediment and nutrients through the old impoundment during flood events. So what I was curious about, and with the help of Martin and Doyle and a few of my colleagues, there you can see, was once the dam’s removed, we know that’s a susceptible time for that impoundment, as you noted, it’s sensitive. We were curious what happens. What ends up leaving the impoundment has been stored over 100 plus years and where does it go. We monitored dozens of miles of river and we followed what I referred to as a flood wave in my paper, but it was not a flood, it never left the banks of the little river. It was simply a pulse of water with some sediment and some nutrients. I need to make that distinction and I’ll gladly answer question about it as this is important. Removing Milburnie Dam is not gonna cause flooding downstream. Not during the process and not because there’s a rain event after the process. We will not create a flood downstream. Now what may happen and what you’re referring to in that paper, is something that I did call a flood wave and I wrote that out. Now, I’m second guessing the use of that term. Six years later. But what it was, it was during the dewatering process, you’re right, I released it twice. It was during the dewatering process, they opened the gates up and there was, what I should’ve called, a pulse of water and material that moved downstream. So there’s stored water behind the dam, it then enters the little river and then moves downstream. It never left the banks of the little river, so it was not a flood, that is — Martin, you deserve to be reprimanded for letting me write that in that paper. It was not a flood wave, so I apologize for that. To summarize, two quick distinctions. You’re right, Lowell is not Milburnie. We did learn some lessons at Lowell. We learned some lessons at Carbonton. But there were several more, thanks toRivers, we saw this flood. Thousand other dam removals out there from which we can work. And we can avoid making mistakes that have been made over a 1000 over dam removals. So there’s a lot going in there. And it’s not gonna flood downstream because we dewatered Milburnie. It’s an important distinction.

– Next question is Terri Benton.

– Thank you, a lot of questions have been answered and I guess not answered this evening. But I guess at this time we’ll have to take that. But I appreciate you being here tonight. A couple of questions from the homeowners along the Neuse River. Ed touched on it, will the debris be cleaned up from the river because when we watched the videos from my friend, Jeanna went down and she shot them, we found there’s a lot of debris on the river bank and left a mess and people were very unhappy. Will the banks be seeded? And with Restoration Systems will be able to post a bond to compensate homeowners for lost wells. Our other concern, as I live in Riverbend Plantation. When this first started coming around, people from Restoration Systems apparently went and spoke with our neighbors about the Stoud Way and they expressed to the neighbors that when the river, the dam goes away, there’ll be no flooding in our neighborhood. So I’m concerned about the level of the water in Stoud Lake as well, which is in our subdivision, which is Riverbend. We’re concerned. Can you address whether that lake level will be affected if the dam is taken out?

– I can give you very general answers. I am not familiar with that lake. I don’t know how it’s formed. Obviously, I would imagine there’s a dam. It’s probably not a natural lake.

– [Terri] Right.

– I don’t know the nature of that dam. I don’t know where it’s located relative to the Neuse River, and so honestly, I can’t give you a good plan of action.

– So that would be a question that I could pose and send in and give you coordinates.

– Yes, ma’am, I will gladly look into that.

– And how about the wells that most of my neighbors are on as far as damage to the wells if the dam goes away?

– You know, that is a common fear with dam removal, is that — And it’s a logical concern. Is that if you lower the water level of the river, do you affect the local ground water table, the depth of that table? Its placement in the soil. In some cases, yes, locally you can see that. I’m not familiar with each individual well. We didn’t see that problem at Lowell, and we didn’t see that problem at Carbonton. To order, John, were you ever called by somebody who couldn’t draw on ground water because you removed the dam? So I think that ground water is affected to a certain extent. The depth at which we usually drill in order to get ground water for drinking water purposes, is much greater than the dam is gonna cause and affect it. In other words, the straw goes so deep down to tap into the ground water that I don’t think the dam is going to have an effect.

– I’m sorry our neighbor and good friend, Ed Small couldn’t be here tonight, because he really is, I’m sure you’re very familiar with Ed. He has a science behind him he can really listen to what you’re saying and make sense of it and he can ask questions. I wish he were here. I did bring a copy of the letter that he wrote in response to the public. I’d love to hand it out if I could. They probably have it at corp, but he had so many questions that I’m not sure really, some been answered.

– I will gladly, please leave your information.

– Okay.

– So that I can contact you.

– Lauris is right at the back of the room, you can leave all your information. Next question is Ted Dunn.

– My name is Ted Dunn, I live in the Woods Creek subdivision which is adjacent to Foxcroft. I think you’ve done an excellent job in your presentation. It’s provided much more information than what I heard before. I guess my position would be that, I think that whenever we would extend the natural habitat of the Neuse River for an additional 15 miles, that’s very appealing. As I listened to everything, I realized the Army Corps of Engineers can’t say they’re either for this or against this, but they have to remain neutral. But I think that for the neighbors, who may not be exactly adjacent to the river or the dam, but are in the vicinity and have these legitimate concerns, that you work through the process, as you’ve obviously done so far to address our concerns, but one of the things that was touched on briefly that I think that in addition to extending the natural habitat of the river to what it used to be is that we have a structure that no longer serves its original purpose, and with the extension of the Greenway by the Raleigh Park System, it seems that we have what is, I’m not an attorney, but I think it would be referred to as almost like a public nuisance in the sense that you have a dam that has taken lives before. I know from where I grew up, that’s what dams do. Like you said, they don’t kill one person sometimes, they kill two people, or the number of people that go to rescue the original victim. So that if the current owners of this dam want the liability to go away and they don’t want the risk of future deaths on their property because of the proximity to the Greenway, it’s almost, if I was an attorney, we talk about scales of justice, and rarely is anything ever 100% and it’s obviously isn’t going to be 100% in your favor because of the concerns of the neighbors in Foxcroft and Woods Creek and perhaps heading down. That would seem like they would consider the life safety issues and so many other things that we’re talking about here that you would still tip the scales in favor of what you want to do. I am so impressed with what you’ve done. Attending this, I’m more likely to support what you’re trying to do, but hope that you will for the neighbors, continue to address their individual concerns. Thank you.

– [Men] Thank you.

– The next question is from Cheryl Gregory.

– [Cheryl] I didn’t have a question.

– Oh, okay, great. Next question, John Holly.

– Listening with a great interest to a lot of the information that’s being presented and one thing that I didn’t hear a lot about and just encourage you to take a look at, if you haven’t already, is potential for head cutting erosion in some of the tributaries that feed now into the open water. A lot of that is directly adjacent to or actually bordering on private land and there could be some property damage that is a part of that erosion process that’s gonna naturally occur. And so some of that may need to be addressed structurally, in the process of taking the dam out and doing som work to correct erosion. I would encourage that to be looked that. My question I guess would be, how much has that been looked at and have you anticipated some potential problem areas?

– Thanks for bringing that up and that is obviously a concern that you have when you move a dam. Head cut migration is fairly common to see. In certain situations, you want to see that. In other situations, like you just noted, you don’t want to see that. My biggest concern for head cuts right now is that open water area just belowDam Lake. And we’re working to develop a strategy so that we don’t have that problem there. Other areas that I have noted.

– We were out there today.

– Yeah, in fact we were. Other areas I’ve noted, seem to have some hardened structures, they’re dams with lots and lots and lots of riff raff that connect the tail of the dam to the river. That’s good. I mean it’s not great habitat, but that’s great for a concern like you just voiced and that we certainly share. And that will be part of the process to identify those spots and see what we can do to avoid the problems. Because, we want to avoid problems like that, that’s important.

– I just want to add, John. I actually spoke with Mel Nevils this morning, who I believe you work with and I was speaking with him on another matter. He brought this up too and I committed to sit down with you guys at Land Resources and go on over it in some detail.

– I believe this particular project would end up with the city jurisdiction. The city has a localcontrol over. Of course, it’s delegated to them by us. So we would be working hand-in-hand —

– Well you all are experts too. We would involve the city as well.

– Thank you, Mr. Holly.

– Jay Saint Claire.

– Hey guys, this gentleman over here hit on the first question I had too. The first one was, I was curious, is it a rumor or is it true that people have drowned here and so how many people have drowned as a result of that dam.

– Well, thanks, Mr. Saint Claire. We got interested in that question after the two deaths this Summer. And I asked a young fellow that works for us to go down to the Neuse Observer and look it up. It didn’t take him too long. I think we identified 11 deaths that were in the paper that he was able to pull notice some of them quite horrifying. Four of eight of those were doubles. In other words, there were four instances where two people died, including a, I don’t mean to be dramatic, but a one armed vegetable produce merchant who went in after his wife, who never swam a day in his life. And yet he had one arm and went in after and he went down, and that was on the cover then. And what we figure is that there are more single drownings out there that didn’t get picked up by the paper, because it’s not as newsworthy when two die. You’d have either always kills in two’s, which is unlikely, or there are many more drownings than just the 11. So, there’s 11 known, and only four of those in the last five years. And I suspect that going back, it would be many more and above 20.

– [Woman] There’s a small park there that Carolyn and my father came gave the city of where people can go that’s public, a little public area. And there’s postings and stuff about swimming, but it’s hot, it’s 95 degrees in the Summer and a five year old isfishing. It’s just inevitable when someone’s gonna tempt fate.

– That’s an excellent point. And it brings up the Greenway part. If you say that the number of people that drown or get in trouble out there is a function of how many people visited in the first place, which would seem logical, that was a very obscure location in Raleigh. As you know, you can talk to a lot of people who live in Raleigh, some of them their whole lives and you bring up the Milburnie Dam and they’ve never seen it, that’s not going to be the case after they open up a full Greenway to the Neuse Blueway. There are going to be thousands upon thousands of new visitors that never would have known that place was there. They’re gonna find a new swimming hole and that’s gonna serve as an attractive nuisance that the Twiggs no longer want to maintain.

– We put signs up, they rip them down. They rip through fences. It’s just an impossible thing to keep up with.

– [Man] And it’s only gonna get worse.

– [Woman] Right. What’s scary too is that the water on the surface looks calm and still and underneath it is where the strong current is. It may look innocent, but it’s not.

– Right.

– Second question, I’ll try to make this quick is for Mr. Rigby. You did a good job talking about, I think, the theory behind some of the negative impacts that are a result of a dam being put into a And you also talked about some of the ecological benefits that can come from removing the dam. So my question for you is, as part of this, yourself, what have you witnessed and specific documented. Maybe some of the highlights of dam removals with this group.

– In terms of ecological changes.

– [Man] The changes.

– I think the most remarkable accomplishment, if you will, or benefit, was the Cape Fear Shiner and the Deep River. It was one of the only ecosystem restoration projects on the East Coast that I’m aware of where we got federally protected species to recolonize and a significantly long stretch of river. 10 miles, plus additional miles in some of the larger tributaries. In fact, Tim continues to go back and document new occurrences of the species and further and further back into the, which I think is just fascinating. We’ve also seen some great shifts in habitat. I mean, these guys have been through the river a lot more than I have, to be honest. Because both those removals took place while I was conducting my dissertation research and I did study them. But then I left in 2006 and these guys just kept going back year after year after year. So if they want to expand, I certainly pass it along.

– I mentioned that the Benthic macroinvertebrates are one of the first to change and that’s what we observed at both of the removals that we were involved in. With them being the base of the food chain, it supported, I think, the fish species change that Tim will be able to comment on. And then ultimately, the fish are believe the host for mussels. That’s why the mussels are the last step in that process. We also had, you know, when the water goes down, the river bed didn’t always change as much. I mean, there’s some sudden deposition, but then you also see you know, when the water goes down, the riffle and pool sequence gets reestablished and say you have periods of shallow, fast water within deeper slow water. And those were there immediately in the first year. But even over successive years of monitoring, extra ones would pop up as sediment was getting cleared out of those. Seeing those habitats established was really great. I always had to be safety conscious with our crews, but they loved going through those riffles on their canoes and stuff. And I go, you have $15,000 worth of gear in that boat! Seeing that and then you know. I’ve heard several folks say that there are great wildlife and you know, I totally understand that and agree with that and I think you’re gonna see that you are going to continue to see great wildlife and you’ll see a lot more birds all the way down along the creek. Wading birds fishing and I think that those things will continue.

– Just add to that, as an aquatic ecologist, I love great flowing rivers. In the presentation I’ve done about the Carbonton Dam removal, got a shot of me standing at a ripple spot and I tell the story, when we did the pre-removal baseline surveys, it was 17 feet deep at that spot. We had to scuba dive to sample the bottom, whereas, we were doing it wading. And ripple habitats are very species rich, very diverse, and as an ecologist, that’s what you look for.

– [Man] Right, thanks Pat.

– [Woman] There really isn’t a free flowing river, though. The corpscontrol of the lease. Is that not true?

– It seems to be a going point, and it’s something worth pointing out, but keep in mind, that’s true for every river in North Carolina. If you’re on the Roanoke, you’re controlled from the Carl Lakes Dam, whatever they call that. If you’re in the Cape Fear at any point, there are 17 dams on the Cape Fear. So that every point along the Cape Fear is controlled. Moving along, I think there’s no major river that reaches into the Piedmont, North Carolina that isn’t controlled. That said, I think it will put significant pressure on the corps. You’d think it’d be prevailed upon to probably do more nature like releases there.

– I think we know that this provides the waters from Raleigh.

– [Man] That’s right.

– Considering the fact that the environment’s changing dramatically as it is and there’s bound to be a drought. A drastic drought, adrought. Probably in our near future, maybe in our lifetime, certainly. When the people need water more than the river needs water, what’s gonna happen?

– Well, just remember that the people who live in Smithfield, have been dealing with the natural water level in that river and it’s never gone dry. You’ve never heard them say —

– [Man] Smithfield is a lot smaller community.

– Right, but the rivers continue to flow. The Neuse has never gone dry below the dam. There’s always been a flowing river, even during the 2007 drought. Right? There’s a minimum release. There’s a wall that says thatthere is serious.

– [Man] Not a wall.

– Not a wall?

– [Man] No, it’s an agreement.

– Okay. An agreement that they have to release a certain amount of water for ecological purposes.

– Folks, can we just ask anyone who’s asking a question, since we are recording this for official U.S. Army Corps of Engineer records, that you ask your questions at the microphone. And we have one more person who registered that they want to ask a question, so I want to get to them.

– Matt, it’s okay, we’ll wrap this up and get to the next person.

– Okay, please.

– In the document, there is a hydrological analysis because that’s required by the corps. In other words, will there be a sustainable flow regime to support the ecosystem we are proposing to restore. And our analysis indicates that yes, there should be. Now, extreme events are extreme events. The Neuse would run dry if we were in that type of drought as you indicated, regardless of where the falls are as they are not.

– [Man] We talked about Milburnie Dam, it still be above —

– Well it too would run dry if it was such an extreme event. Milburnie doesn’t create water, it just holds on to it, which it evaporates, goes downstream, whatever the case may be. In this case, George was mentioning an agreement that Smithfield has with the Army Corps of Engineers and the state governments to release water for water quality purposes downstream. In other words, I believe it’s Smithfield that has a waste water discharge. If there’s not enough water being released from falls, it’s heavily concentrated pollution. High amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus. They want to avoid that and they want to avoid the smell that comes with it. So that’s why you see a fairly reliable release. And again, I wrote this document so long ago, I don’t recall the details immediately, but it’s in there. It’s under hydrological analysis section. And if you have questions after reading that, please get back with me or follow up with me again and I will have read it more thoroughly and will be able to more accurately answer that.

– I’ll just add one thing to your question about is it a free flowing natural river. It’s not natural, as George mentioned, it is regulated, but our control sites, which are upstream of the current impoundment, we show that the fish fauna, the fresh water mussel fauna are kind of what you’d expect from a free flowing river system. So we expect those species to recolonize the impoundment that is created by Milburnie.

– [Woman] It’s unfortunate, I understand thepoint of view that they want to get rid of the dam. I know there have been several people that have said that have said they would speak with them on a private basis, in fact,in Winston-Salem to speak with Carolyn Fox and he was intercepted by Mr. Howard, he didn’t want to allow that conversation to go on.

– Man, that’s not true.

– [Woman] That’s not true?

– No, I went down with him, greeted her with him. She asked me to come with him because she felt a little bit intimidated that someone wanted to come and talk her out of something.

– That’s not intimidating. He said he felt

– She wanted me to come there and be with her. I didn’t intercept and we rode down the elevator together, welcomed her back to her room and I did my best to answer questions that she couldn’t answer.

– [Man] Did he limit the number of questions that Mr. Howard could ask?

– [Man] No.

– Alright, next. Our final question that someone had indicated ahead of time and then we can take a few more while we have time available. Jeff, and I’m sorry if I get this wrong, Destreach.

– A follow up I think on the hydrological question. Is there any hydrological effect on the nine miles above the pool? Are there any shock absorber effects from having that pool down there? Or a rate change?

– [Man] Rephrase that question for me, I’m sorry.

– On the section of river above the pool, the pool water.

– Which is the impoundment?

– Above the impoundment.

– Between the impoundment and falls, is there gonna be any hydrological change for that? Is the flow gonna feel faster or —

– You know, I expect the answer is inforseeably yes. Impoundments we have to draw a line and say the effect stops here, but that’s not necessarily true. Because there are secondary effects. I think yes, it could get a little bit faster, but I don’t think that you would notice, to be honest.

– Alright, and I believe we have time for two more questions. Sir.

– I indicated I wanted to ask a question. I’m Jim Hayden from Foxcroft. My interest in the river is that I knew the river with my children and my grandchildren, so I really enjoyed the, because I couldright down to where my property is. But my question is, the real reason for taking down the dam is to receive the mitigation credits and the goals that you have are to achieve or to measure how much credits you get. I notice you guys sitting at the table here are pretty much of the same community. You’re interlinked to some degree. And I suppose in monitoring the river, that those monitoring studies are paid for by RS, is that correct?

– [Man] Mmh hmm.

– Now, my question is how do you maintain your independence when your client is gonna be the person who benefits from your results. Who monitors your independence is my question.

– I’ll be glad to take a shot at that. And obviously Restoration Systems is a sponsor of the mitigation bank. As you’ve heard from the owners of the dam tonight, the dam is their private property, they wish to see it removed. We’ve been engaged in the effort with them to go through the permitting process. The team of consultants we have up here tonight does work for many other clients, much bigger and more powerful than Restoration Systems. And their projects have to be reviewed by the Corps of Engineers too. I think that in the spirit of a positive discourse, you shouldn’t cast dispersions on the team of consultants we have up here tonight or the quality of their work because if there was a made as instructed type of work product, they would not have any credibility with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for other clients. And instead, they have a great deal of credibility based on their track record, of long successful projects.

– Anyone want to speakintegrity

– I understand why you asked the question, I get it. I’m sure you understand the response I’m about to give you, which is, I like to be a person of integrity. I went to school studying systems that I love and I hoped that when I got out, I could be a part of something that was giving back and I wasn’t taking paychecks and that was the only concern. I like to get paid, I’ll be honest, I do have two small children, and a wife, and a house. So I do have to pay the bills, but I don’t do it at the expense of my integrity. And I don’t think these guys do either.

– I’ll just add to that. We are contracted by Restoration Systems, but the amount that we get paid has no bearing on whether they receive maximum credit or no credit. We’re getting paid the same amount regardless. If the dam’s removed and Restoration Systems aren’t awarded any credits, we’re still gonna be expecting our paycheck.

– [Man] We’re not being paid by the shad.

– [Matt] Alright, we have time for one final question.

– [Man] I believe I put my name, or I put a check mark.

– I’m sorry, it looks like we missed a couple. Please come on up. Could you just state your name when you get to the microphone.

– My name is Ferrel Benton, I live right on the river. I enjoy the river the way it is. I’m wondering why the leak, depth in species, they’re such a bad thing. Looks like they’re all gonna go away again. In return you’ll get one, maybe two week opportunity to watch the shad swim by and that’s some wild catching. Also, I didn’t realize they were an endangered species. I also understand that they are commercially fished, I can’t imagine that would be allowed if that were in fact the case. The other thing is, our neighborhood, we have a little lake there, we spend a lot of money to maintain the lake. It’s a lake called Lake Iris. I’m surprised you didn’t notice it, it backs right up to the dam.

– [Man] I’m sure I noticed it, I don’t know which one is yours, that’s my problem. Sorry about that.

– When the water level in the river comes up due to flooding or due to releases from the dam, False Lake Dam. Our neighborhood floods, and it doesn’t flood by coming back over the dam. It seeps up through the sand. So we know that the sand is coarse enough to allow water to come up through it. Obviously it’s gonna be coarse enough that the water goes back down through it. So when that level goes down, our lake’s gonna go away. I’m 99% positive for that. I’m just wondering how we’ll be compensated for that.

– A lot of questions there. Tim, will you address the species questions?

– Yeah, the lake adapted species, they won’t disappear. They’ll inhabit pools. As Adam mentioned earlier, rather than homogeneous river of just deep, full habitat, you’ll have ripple runs and pools. And so those species that are there now, we expect them to continue to be there. Just not totally dominating. It will be more ecologically diverse fish bottom. The bit about the American shad being endangered, it’s not an endangered species. There are state, endangered state threatened species that do occur in the Neuse River and we hope to see a benefit to those species from removal and that’s maybe where the confusion came from.

– Again, in reference to the dam. I certainly follow up with you guys on that. That is the same lake, correct? So we’ll follow up with you on that. Again, I don’t know the location exactly. I do know the soils fairly well in that flood plain area along the whole impoundment and it’s not as much sand as you think. Now your location may be completely different story and I haven’t seen it and haven’t been on the ground yet, but what I know going up and down that impoundment is a whole heck of a lot of fine sediment. Fine sediment doesn’t actually allow for a lot of flow up and down. It traps water and holds on to it very effectively. That’s just my observation across the region as a whole. I’m not trying to discredit or challenge your observations over time. You know your place better than I do. I’ll gladly make a visit and we’ll learn what I can learn and I’ll share with you what I learn.

– If the water level changes there changes that dramatically in the near future …

– Is there a dam in place now, sir? Okay, so chances are good. And again, I’ll learn more once I’m on the ground. Chances are good, someone built that dam to hold water that was coming up slow. That’s what dams are for. They didn’t build the dam to hold water that comes in underground. Because you wouldn’t need a dam if it simply exchanged underground. A dam usually traps surface water, not ground water. It’s not always the case, but the position of the dam, I’m just assuming based on what I learned here tonight, suggests to me is capturing water coming from up slope along the bank and then it’s holding it in place. Your experience, and again, I’m not trying to argue.

– [Man]I couldn’t tell you whether

– I’ll be glad to take a look, and everything I learn, I’ll share.

– [Matt] Alright now.

– [Mike] I wanted to add, I think then on one thing to think about, I work with the Fish and Wildlife Service, so I’m a civil servant to the population to this state and city and locals. The way I look at it is that I think there’s a real misconception about why I would support this type of thing. If you just look at the stretch of river from the dam, you know, past your property or even up to the lake, and the benefit that people have seen the fish, American shad, sturgeon and whatever, as it relates to that property, is relatively finite. It’s like you said, what’s the benefit if I see a shad or even if there’s 10 people fishing for them. What’s the big deal? There’s not a big a deal about that. The thing you’ve got to bare in mind is the fish that spawn in this area are the same ones that feed the speckled trout, the puppy, the flounders, the blue fish, the tunas, the mackerels, the dolphins. When you get down to Oriental, get down to Atlantic Beach, if you look at the recreational fishing industry in North Carolina, it’s a $1.4 billion industry. There’s a lot of people who make their living doing that. A lot of people’s children have their jobs. It’s a state and federal resource. If it was a private farm pond, or a private lake, absolutely. But the thing is, I think there’s a problem and that some people consider the river their lake. It is very important to the populace of the state and the country and that’s the reason we’re interested in it. If it wasn’t a huge benefit, I would personally never support it, because obviously, some people love the dam and think it’s pretty and that kind of thing.

– The question I have about that is to have the least impact, why wouldn’t a fish ladder be just as effective?

– We’re building a fish ladder. The Corps of Engineers is locking them number one as a $13 million project. Now we’ve got steep pass ladders that hold like — In other words, that’s one of the things that I interact with, building fish ladders. To build a fish ladder on Milburnie Dam would probably cost several $100,000. We’ve been trying to get funding to build a fish ladder at Carbtree Creek, which is owned by the City of Raleigh, they’re pretty sweet on it. I mean, they’ve got no objection. The homeowners there, that are the controlling interest in last year’s Mill Dam, and I talked to people, they were at the dam. I feel fairly confident in dealing with these type of things before. If we built it and looked nice and keep it with that historic structure, they’d be fine with it. The problem is there’s no money to do things like that. I think the notion that fish ladders are relatively inexpensive is generally and not true, they’re fairly expensive.

– Several million dollars make in credit stuff available to …

– In core speak, that would be an alternative. And the alternative wouldn’t work for two reasons. One, Mike was getting in it, it’s expensive. Just because we pass shad over Milburnie, doesn’t mean it generates enough credits to pay for the fish ladder, in fact, it probably doesn’t. That’s the least productive ecological component of this project in terms of credit potential. We have to think like that. This is a project that has a budget. And whatever credits we generate, we have to be able to sell to recoup the cost. The other thing is that it probably increases their liability at the site. They still have a dam in place, that hasn’t gone away, and now they probably added another nuisance on top of it. Now you’re gonna have the potential for people to climb up and down a fish ladder. That sounds like you just increased —

– [Woman] On an old structure.

– On an old structure. Right, and George brought that point up earlier that you know, you’re putting some new, nice piece of technology on top of a very old, old foundation.

– As far as that goes, as far as where there’s a concern for safety, now taking that dam down, it’s just gonna expose more areas of rocks and places where a current isn’t obvious all along the river bank and that together with the Greenway, I would think the safety issue is going to be disbursed, it’s just gonna be

– The simple fact is the owners don’t perceive it that way and they’re the ones that are bearing the cost and the anxiety for your aesthetic pleasure. And I don’t mean that as flippin’ as it sounds, but that’s what’s going on now. They’re no longer willing to bear that. Even if some other alternatives, their opinion is the most important opinion in the room. If they didn’t want the dam removed, we wouldn’t be here.

– But we’re open for other people to purchase the dam. I mean, that’s certainly a conversation.

– There are more than one concern. What I want to say is, I really honor and appreciate your long patience with this long process. And I also understand that you have private concerns for your private property because it’s going to affect your private property. As I try to say, and I’m not a public speaker, but my father did not go into this without thinking this through. He was a citizen of Raleigh in a big way. He cared deeply about the public. And he chose these people because he knows that they were going to do something that was going to have the least negative damage as possible for everybody else. The only thing that I want to say is, I honor and hear your concerns and it is my hope that this process, what you’ve seen, will at least alleviate some of your concerns. There will be change, change is inevitable, change will happen. Change is hard and there’s gonna be pros and cons for everybody. And I have to reiterate what George said. Honestly, I’m really just following through with my father’s wishes, I’m not been that involved in the process, although he talked to me a lot about it. I’m seeing why he wanted to make this decision. He had grave concerns for Carolyn and her family, as you can imagine. In addition, he was very concerned about liability. And he did have an environmental concern. It’s on several levels, it’s not just about shad, it’s not just about lake bubbles. It’s about so many things. And my hope is that although it will change the area, it will still be really beautiful. I think it will still be really beautiful and I don’t think my dad would have chosen this path if he thought he was going to leave a mess for other people. I just see he wasn’t that person. I really don’t think that’s gonna happen. And I hope the hard work of these people’s presentation has certainly impressed me, and I hope, you see, there really is a genuine effort. Money will be made, there’s money in this process, that’s how it’s gonna work. But, it’s not about coming and just raping the land and rolling over people and taking the money. It’s really not.

– [Woman] We love the river as well, we’re out there every yearit.

– I know.

– [Woman] We’re very much participating …

– I know, and I appreciate you guys being so participatory.

– Another thing about the dam going away, that’s going to make the river accessible to canoers and kayakers. People who now can take advantage of miles of the river by going in another boat other than the kayak boat commute will lose access to that river. I have elderly uncles, elderly step-father-in-law that really very much loves to come and go fishing there. That’s gonna go away for them. There’s no way that they’ll be able to access that big mile stretch. And I’m just wondering if there aren’t other people who are not as well and abled. You guys are gonna be old someday and maybe would like to have something like that available. It’s just a comment and I think it’s a fair comment. So you’re taking something away other than monetary value.

– [Woman] I think that …

– [Mike] I work around dams a lot. I have the unfortunate task of sometimes talking to parents who’s children have died in dams. Apex Fire Department that pulled out the two kids that drowned last Summer. It’s hard for somebody like me. I may have liabilities working on fish ladders and helping with people’s drownings, but liabilities don’t drive somebody like me, but what does drive me is that if I know that you’re doing something that will ultimately result in a child’s death that was avoidable, that’s a very driving thing for somebody like me.

– More kids draw in buckets than drown in a dam.

– [Mike] If the hydraulic beneath Milburnie Dam, underneath the tail ways, esisodically is such that I couldn’t swim past it. I don’t think anybody could swim through it. I’ll take you out there and show you sometime if you’d like to. It’s a death trap. It’s not a situation where somebody can’t swim, it’s not what it is. I’ll be happy to show it to you if you’d like me to.

– Alright folks, I think —

– Any kind of water is a death trap.

– [Mike] Absolutely.

– [Mike] Children or not.

– I’m talking about …

– [Mike] That’s not correct. I mean the potential to drown and anything is there, this curler hydraulic, it’s a death trap.

– Alright, I want to thank everyone for coming out tonight and staying a lot longer than we all originally planned.

– [Man] If we have more questions, who do we …

– Yes, if you have more questions, Lauris is at the back of the room.

– [Man] Let me explain something.

– Please go to him and you can register you name, contact information, and who you think would be the best person from the team up here to respond to you and we will get back to you. Thank you all.

– Special thanks to Tiffany

– [Woman] Thank you, Tiffany, thank you.

Milburnie Dam Informational Video

Click on the title above to watch the Milburnie Dam Informational Video.

 

 

 

 

Raleigh based company trying to remove dam on Neuse River

RALEIGH— A dam on the Neuse River that some say causes hazardous conditions in the water could be removed.

Triangle News 14 Content – RS Interview

Another proposal has been made to take down the Milburnie Dam, near where two children died this summer. While some feel the move is necessary to make the Neuse River safer, not everyone agrees.

It’s a view Reginald Lee says allows him to escape the stresses of the day. Lee describes it as “serene and peaceful.” The 16-foot Milburnie Dam was built on Neuse River in 1855.

It has become an attraction for fisherman who use the river, but John Preyer with Restoration Systems believes it is time for the man-made resource to go.

“It creates a number of conditions behind the dam in the impounded state including the dissolved oxygen which is bad for fish, bad for mussels bad for everything that’s in the water,” said Preyer.

Restoration Systems submitted a proposal two years ago. However the Army Corps of Engineers denied it because they did not include enough details. Now the plan has been revisited after they turned in another one.

Their main goal is to restore the river back to its natural state.

“We’re going to generate stream mitigation credits which are going to be used within the Neuse River basin to offset stream destruction,” said Preyer.

Lee hopes the plan to bring down what he calls a community landmark gets washed away.

“It’s been here it’s stood the test of time why bother now?” said Lee.

Preyer said the conditions on the river are deceptively dangerous. In 83 years, 11 people have died. The most recent, two children this past July.

“My heart goes out to the families who lost their loved ones but at the same token, it’s not the dam’s fault,” said Lee.

There will be a public workshop on the dam removal project Dec. 6. Restoration Systems expects to issue permits some time next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First responder in Neuse River drownings: Water was unsafe

RALEIGH, N.C. — A Wake County sheriff’s deputy who jumped into the Neuse River Monday afternoon in a desperate rescue effort said the water was rough and murky when two children drowned near the Old Milburnie Dam.

“I took off my uniform and everything I had on to try to locate them,” Master Deputy Kenneth Kay said Wednesday. “Going underneath, we could not see anything.”

He said that currents were so strong underneath the surface, another officer had to push him down to get to the bottom.

Police say cousins Katherine Rcom, 10, and Johnny Nay, 7, were fishing with family members at the dam when they went into what appeared to be still water, got pulled under and never resurfaced.

Their bodies were found about four hours later.

Kay and two Raleigh police officers were among the first to arrive on the scene. All three jumped into the water, despite the dangerous currents.

“I have got a little girl at home and I kind of look at it the same way – if my kid is in there, I’m going to stay in there,” Kay said

Jeff Hammerstein, district chief for Wake County Emergency Medical Services, said that, when it comes to bodies of water, looks can be deceiving.

Though the water appeared still where the children went in, currents whipped up by the Old Milburnie Dam, churned by objects underneath, make the area especially unpredictable.

“(The currents) can easily pull a person under and hold them under,” he said.

He added that swimming in moving, unfamiliar water is never a good idea.

Fishermen who frequent the river say the rushing water near the dam is too dangerous for swimmers.

In July 2008, two men, John Brian Taylor, 21, and Michael Patrick McDowell, 20, also drowned while swimming in the area.

http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/11330008/

 

 

Two children drown in Neuse River

RALEIGH, N.C. — After a 4-hour search Monday, dive teams found the bodies of two children who drowned in the Neuse River in Raleigh, police said.

The 10-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy, who were cousins, were fishing with family members at the Old Milburnie Dam, just north of the New Bern Avenue Bridge, on Monday afternoon.

At some point, the children went out in the water, went under and never resurfaced.

“The little boy, who I believe was 7 years old, wandered out into the water, got too deep and went under,” Maj. J.C. Perry. “His 10-year-old cousin went to reach for him, went to get him and she, too, was pulled under the water.”

The children’s bodies were found close to the bank around 8 p.m., Perry said.

The boy’s father was supervising the group, which consisted of his son and three nieces – the 10-year-old, a teenage girl and a toddler.

The father and teen girl both tried to rescue the children, but were unsuccessful. Perry said the teen was almost pulled underwater as well.

Beneath the surface, the water was moving very quickly.

“Four Raleigh police officers, upon arriving here, along with one Wake County deputy, jumped in the water and swam for a period of minutes and were exhausted,” he said. “They said the current was pretty powerful.”

A 911 call came in around 4 p.m., Perry said, and search teams from around the area were dispatched to scour the river near the intersection of Raleigh Beach and Allen roads.

They used dogs, divers and SONAR equipment to try and find the children, but murky water and strong currents made the operation difficult, said Jeff Hammerstein, district chief for Wake County Emergency Medical Services.

“Despite the rescue effort, every precaution has to be taken so that we don’t end up losing rescuers as well and adding to the tragedy,” he said. “So, it’s long and drawn out. Once you get into the water, you can’t see where you’re looking.”

Hammerstein said rescuers have to remain focused on the search, even when the outcome is bleak.

“You need to find them – that has to happen – but it is absolutely heart-wrenching when you do,” he said.

The Apex Fire Department, Wake County Sheriff’s Office, Raleigh Fire Department, Rolesville Fire Department, Wake County EMS, Eastern Wake EMS and New Hope Fire Department assisted Raleigh police with the search.

http://wral.m0bl.net/r/1485e9

 

 

View the actual Milburnie Dam Removal Project Prospectus

 

 

Milburnie Dam Removal Project Prospectus

WRAL: Milburnie Dam Drowns Two with Deadly Undertow

River dams like Milburnie have an unfortunate and well deserved reputation for drowning swimmers and boaters. In 2008 the Milburnie Dam contributed to the deaths of Michael McDowell (20) and John Brian Taylor (21), both former athletes at East Wake High School.

Have your say

Do you live in Wake County and  have questions about the removal of the Milburnie dam? Perhaps you’d like to find out more about mitigation banks and the environmental benefits? Or maybe you’ve got a vision for how the new unified park should be developed?

All we ask is you keep it clean and respect your fellow commentors!