Bradley, Hewletts Creeks Get a Hand
This week the Wilmington City Council voted unanimously to adopt a restoration plan for Bradley and Hewletts creeks that will strategically reduce the amount of stormwater runoff flowing into the tidal creeks after each rain. Measures included in the plan are meant to cut the volume of surface runoff to equal what was generated in 1981, when the creeks were clean enough to harvest oysters and other shellfish.
The plan sets an ambitious goal that will not be reached overnight but the city’s commitment to moving the plan forward is impressive and true. Not only have they adopted the plan, but the city officials are hiring a watershed coordinator to implement its strategies.
The federation in 2010 received an EPA grant to help develop the plan. We worked with Wilmington; the N.C. Division of Water Quality; Wrightsville Beach; Withers & Ravenel, an engineering firm; and the University of North Carolina-Wilmington to come up with a comprehensive, workable and voluntary strategy to decentralize stormwater and infiltrate it back into the landscape.
The plan should reduce stormwater flowing into Bradley Creek.
Knowing that stormwater runoff is the primary cause of water-quality impairment, project partners discovered that the only way to restore the waters was to replicate what nature had provided in the first place, a landscape that could soak up and store the rain.
Serving as a model for other communities wanting to tackle their water-quality issues, the Bradley and Hewletts plan promotes widespread and cost effective techniques like rerouting gutter downspouts, installing rain gardens and creating and maintaining partnerships to get the job done.
We commend Wilmington for a job well done and look forward to our continued work together.
The federation has joined the city in their commitment to restoring water quality. We have gotten more grant money from EPA and the Attorney General’s Environmental Enhancement Grant Program to install stormwater reduction measures, reduce impediments to implementing low-impact development, develop a program for implementing widespread stormwater reduction measures and to work with commercial and affordable housing developers to look at cost effective and water quality friendly stormwater management techniques.
There is much work to be done but together we have set a course for action and are moving full steam ahead.
-- Lauren Kolodij, deputy director