PTRF Launches Environmental Restoration Program
In late 2010, PTRF launched a new and exciting environmental restoration program. Capitalizing on past successes and forward momentum from environmental restoration projects in North Carolina by private firms and state agencies, PTRF is working within the Tar-Pamlico, Roanoke, and Chowan River basins to identify and implement a variety of projects aimed at improving water quality, educating citizens about water quality issues, and reversing current and past man-made practices that have reduced water quality and fish and wildlife habitat within these river basins. Such projects may include wetland and stream restoration, enhancement, or preservation; urban stormwater best management practices, dam removals, fish ladders/passages past current barriers to anadromous fish populations, and even ecotourism related projects.
Richard Andrews has joined the foundation’s staff to help launch this exciting program. Richard has a Masters in Natural Resources with a focus in Ecosystem Restoration from N.C. State University. His technical training and experience is in wetland and stream restoration, and being a native of Tarboro, his passion and enthusiasm for the wetlands, streams, and fish and wildlife habitat within the Tar-Pam River Basin will help PTRF implement this new program.
PTRF is currently working with biologists at the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, N.O.A.A., and the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries to study the feasibility of augmenting spring flows and constructing a fish ladder at on the Tar River at Rocky Mount Mills. The historic dam at Rocky Mount Mills is still a working hydropower dam and is a pleasant feature for the city park; however, it is the downstream-most blockage to anadramous fish species such as striped bass, American and hickory shad, and river herring. Suitable spawning habitat for such species has been identified upstream of the dam and efforts are currently underway create access to this habitat for these important recreational and commercial fish species.
PTRF has received a grant to begin the implementation of a Stormwater Infrastructure Improvement Plan for the campus of Edgecombe Community College. Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMP’s) will help treat stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces on campus to an adjacent wetland and tributary of Hendrick’s Creek, which is a severely impaired surface waterbody listed on the NC Division of Water Quality’s 303(d) list.
The environmental restoration is not solely focused on projects that will directly impact water quality or habitat. PTRF has secured funds and is currently working to implement a series of raised wooden camping platforms along the Tar River between Rocky Mount and Washington. This project will provide recreational users overnight facilities along the river. Future plans may include a system of platforms along Fishing Creek beginning at Medoc Mountain State Park and platforms from the upstream navigable limits of the Tar River downstream to the Rocky Mount Reservoir.
Stay tuned for more updates on grant funding and projects planned and implemented by PTRF’s Environmental Restoration Program by emailing Richard Andrews.