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Stream Restoration Project Improves Surry Co. Recreational Hub

Fisher River Park in Surry County is a popular spot for kayaking. (Adobe Stock)
Fisher River Park in Surry County is a popular spot for kayaking. (Adobe Stock)
March 31, 2020

MOUNT AIRY, N.C. -- Conservationists have restored more than 3,000 feet of eroded streambank along the Fisher river in Surry County. The river runs through the county's only state park, which provides an outdoor-recreational space for more than 70,000 North Carolinians.

Surry County Commissioner Ed Harris said the restoration work comes at a time when more residents are seeking outdoor physical activity and ways to practice social distancing.

"These resources are really valuable to Surry County, especially now in the height of a pandemic," Harris said.

The 60 mile long Fisher River is heavily used for kayaking and fishing. The project was led by Surry County, Resource Institute, and several other environmental organizations.

Harris said the area surrounding the river had become unsafe.

"We actually had to tape it off with a barrier to prevent anyone from getting near the stream," he said. "And it was several hundred feet that we restored, and it was right in the main part of the park."

Jake Byers is a senior water resources engineer with Ecosystem Planning Restoration. He said the improvements to the Fisher River mean cleaner drinking water for residents living downstream.

"Sediment is the biggest pollutant in North Carolina," Byers said. "And this river system was contributing a large amount."

Byers said the changes will improve aquatic habitat, restore floodplain connectivity and boost the biological health of the waterway.

Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - NC