New River Conservancy (NRC) has been awarded $653,500 from the North Carolina Land and Water Fund Board of Trustees to restore 1,620 linear feet of the South Fork of the New River in Boone, North Carolina. The confluence of the East and Middle Forks of the South Fork of the New River is in Boone and all three of these rivers are unstable, with severely eroding banks, excessive sedimentation and impaired riparian buffers (an area adjacent to a stream, lake, or wetland that contains a combination of trees, shrubs.) This restoration project will restore these rivers to stable ones, while greatly enhancing the riparian buffers and banks of the rivers. Stormwater treatment, greenway realignment, and improved public recreational access are also included as components of the project.
“Stabilizing these river channels will reduce erosion and sedimentation leading to improved aquatic habitat, and water quality for this section of the New River. Given the project’s location, the restoration will also have the added bonus of protecting both a drinking water intake point immediately downstream, and the town greenway for the future.” says Katie Krogmeier, Restoration Director for NRC.
Rock structures from completed stream restoration projects will be used to stabilize the banks and help reconnect the river to its floodplain. This project will have additional rock structures, vanes and J-hooks, that will add more access to these streams.
Boone maintains an access to the very popular Boone Greenway at this location too. The erosion along these streams threaten the stability of the greenway. This project will ensure the continued safety of both the patrons of the Greenway Trail, as well as the safety of the wildlife who utilize the river. “This South Fork confluence restoration project has so much to offer the community,” said Will Summer, Executive Director for the N.C. Land and Water Fund. “It will enhance trout habitat, improve a drinking water supply stream, and protect an at-risk section on the greenway. We appreciate the opportunity to partner with the town and NRC to make this possible. ”
Upon completion of the project, educational signage will explain to users of the Greenway why it is important to have healthy riparian buffers for water quality protection and wildlife habitat.
This project is in partnership with the Town of Boone and the Boone Moose Lodge (Lodge 1805) who are both supportive and participating landowners for this restoration project. The Town of Boone recently received a $41,400 NC Attorney General’s Environmental Enhancement grant to go towards helping with this project.
The project is estimated to begin in the spring 2025. New River Conservancy wishes to thank the NC Land and Water Fund Board of Trustees for their partnership to safeguard our state’s water supplies, natural heritage, military mission, and cultural and historic resources, which is critical to protect North Carolina’s environment and economic vitality. Elizabeth Underwood, Executive Director for NRC added “We’re very appreciative of the grant from NC Land & Water Fund Board of Trustees, as well as the working relationships with the Town of Boone, as well as the Boone Moose Lodge (Lodge 1805), in this and other projects coming in the future.”
New River Conservancy is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a mission to protect the waters, woodlands and wildlife of the New River Watershed. All donations are tax deductible. To donate please visit https://newriverconservancy.org/donate/. All photos by Jason Zink of Jennings Environmental PLLC.