Milburnie Dam Demolition Part 2

by - November 19, 2017

Saturday morning, we opted to skip the Christmas parade, and Joe and the kids played video games instead. By 10:30 am, I was chomping at the bit to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather. Joe had not yet seen the Milburnie Dam demolition, so we went out for a hike. I love being in the woods with Joe, because he always finds new things to explore. We went around the dam to the side I had not yet ventured to and came on a cypress grove full of cypress knees, frogs and lizards. Don't let the pictures fool you -- Joe and I enjoyed the nature hike far more than the boys who ended up with mud-caked shoes. Before we were married, Joe and I spent a season working for the NCSU Water Quality Group helping with stream surveys, among other things, and we have developed pretty good wetland walking skills. 

We came through a grassy area covered in Northern Sea Oats, and Wookie and I filled up my jacket pocket with seed pods to start our own patch out by our fire pit. Water was flowing across a wider portion of the dam, which appeared to have been dropped another level of blocks or two. According to a self-labeled "River Rat" who stopped to share his river knowledge with us, there were no more knickpoints between the Milburnie Dam and Falls dam, so most likely the river level would be dropped all the way up to Falls Dam. He was also concerned about the decades of DDT and other chemicals likely store in the sediment behind the dam. Joe and I have decided to go and check out several other points along the river on another weekend in the future to see what the water level looks like. 

Joe had a great question about the future of these floodplain pools. With the water level in the river dropping a few feet with the removal of the dam, the water table would also be impacted, and along with it, these wetlands. We didn't spot any monitoring wells, which would have made for a great study.

We crossed back over the river on the pedestrian bridge and went upstream of the dam where there was an old river crossing and walked out on the beach. The muddy banks seemed mostly devoid of life safe for one tiny sprout. That's another thing we were curious about. Will there be revegetation efforts after the demolition? I thought of scattering some of the oats in my pocket, but decided the wind would take care of seed scattering in its own time.

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  1. Nature is a gift of God, in which ever form it is. Hiking is enjoyable irrespective of age. The pictures uploaded are so tempting I feel like walking in this grassy path. Thank you for bringing a smile on my face.



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