The Milburnie Dam is privately owned and the owners are working with Restoration Systems to have it removed.
During the removal project the water held behind the dam will be slowly and carefully drained before the structure is removed. The removal will not result in any downstream flooding.
In the future, the risk of upstream houses being flooded during weather events like hurricanes will be permanently reduced.
At most, the dam powered just 250 homes. Restoring and operating for power generation is uneconomical… it’s why the dam fell into disuse.
In terms of the environment, the cost of this ‘clean’ energy was the drowning of 10 miles of river, blocking of fish migration and loss of our country’s dwindling natural river ecosystem.
Here’s an interesting thing about the dam. Historically, the most popular spot for enjoying the river wasn’t in the lake behind the dam, but downstream of the dam.
The nearly-forgotten ‘Raleigh Beach’ was a popular recreation area on hot days for families from all over Wake County. That was until the area was made inaccessible to keep people away from the dangerous dam.
In fact, the dam has contributed to the deaths of at least 11 individuals, including 2 athletes in 2008 and two young children in 2012. The power of the water coming over the dam is easily under-estimated and can trap even the best swimmer.
No… the narrow lake above the dam will be restored to a naturally free-flowing river. The best way to imagine what it will look like upstream of the dam’s current location after removal is by picturing what the Neuse River looks like below the dam today.
Restoration Systems will be paying. It won’t cost a cent in taxpayer money. How? Because a mitigation bank generates ‘mitigation credits’ which are sold to offset the ecological impact of developments in the Upper Neuse River Basin.
Spanning the Neuse River in East Raleigh, the dam is about a mile upstream of the old US-64/New Bern Avenue bridge.
The Milburnie Dam is not the dam at the Milburnie Fish Club across Old Milburnie Road… the fish club dam and lake will be unaffected by the removal.