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After Hurricanes, NC College Focuses on Natural-Resource Restoration

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Engineers recently restored an unnamed stream on the campus of Methodist University in Fayetteville, N.C. (Paula Worden)
Engineers recently restored an unnamed stream on the campus of Methodist University in Fayetteville, N.C. (Paula Worden)
 By Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - NC - Producer, Contact
December 8, 2020

FEYETTEVILLE, N.C. -- In recent years, hurricanes and other powerful storms have taken their toll on many of North Carolina's college campuses. One college in Fayetteville has decided to undertake major stream-restoration work on its campus and says the project sets an example of environmental stewardship for students.

Vice President for Planning and Administration at Methodist University Shelia Carr Kinsey said an unnamed stream on the property that feeds into the Cape Fear River was severely eroded.

"And with all of the hurricanes and big weather events we've been having, it was getting worse and was encroaching some on some parking-lot areas that we have. It was endangering a pedestrian bridge," Kinsey said. "So that's what prompted us to begin to look at it."

The more than 3,000 feet of stream-restoration work was done by environmental firms McAdams, Resource Institute and Jennings LLC. The project is expected to be complete by February and was funded by Methodist University and the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund.

Alan Walker, project manager at Resource Institute, said with climate change expected to trigger more extreme weather events, colleges can play a role in preventing environmental damage.

"Being able to demonstrate this to the students, being proactive in taking a look at protecting the environment, making some enhancements to address resource concerns on campus, I think is a very positive thing that a university can take on to demonstrate," Walker said.

He said even small headwater streams can contain excess sediment and experience severe erosion, which can cause problems downstream.

"It has negative impacts downstream for fish habitat, flooding, it raises the water levels, you get shallow water in some areas because you have excess deposition," he said.

Walker said using restoration technologies to control flow from stormwater before it moves downstream can benefit everyone within a watershed.

Disclosure: Resource Institute contributes to our fund for reporting on Endangered Species & Wildlife, Environment, Public Lands/Wilderness, Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
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