02/01/04 — Neuse River study would include Wayne

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Neuse River study would include Wayne

By Don McLoud
Published in News on February 1, 2004 2:01 AM

The central section of the Neuse River basin, which includes Wayne County, has been selected for a study designed to protect the water quality of the river.

North Carolina's Clean Water Management Trust Fund has awarded $300,000 to the Conservation Trust for North Carolina to create eight new river corridor conservation plans, including one that will protect water quality in the Middle Neuse River Basin, which includes Wayne County.

The plan, which will be completed in about two years, will help identify key waterfront parcels for protection and restoration and will be the first of its kind to be done in the central section of the Neuse Basin.

It will help improve water quality in the Neuse River by providing a blueprint for land conservation designed to maintain sections of trees and vegetation along the waterway. Such areas, called riparian buffers, help prevent sediment and other forms of pollution from entering the river. These riparian corridor plans are used by land trusts and other nonprofit organizations to guide land conservation efforts.

"I am extremely excited about this plan and what it will mean for the central Neuse River Basin," said conservation trust fund trustee Phil Baddour of Goldsboro. "The plan will provide a detailed analysis of the land and water conservation needs in this area -- that's something that's never been done before."

The conservation trust will contract with the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust to draft the plan.

"This plan will provide us a road map to help in our efforts to offer land owners conservation options to protect their family farmland and woodlands while protecting and restoring water quality as well," said Camilla Herlevich, executive director of the Coastal Land Trust.

The conservation trust fund was established in 1996 to help finance projects that enhance or restore degraded waters, protect unpolluted waters, and contribute toward a network of riparian buffers and greenways for environmental, educational and recreational benefits. The fund estimates that over $10.5 billion is needed to protect and restore water quality in North Carolina.