12/28/11 — Trees planted at Stoney Creek

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Trees planted at Stoney Creek

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on December 28, 2011 1:46 PM

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Espaisa Flores laughs at a co-worker while planting trees in Stoney Creek Park. Twenty-seven workers from Bruton Natural Systems of Fremont spent last week planting about 26,000 trees along the banks of the creek. Many types of trees are being planted, including bald cypress, water tupelo, iron wood, paw paw, and button bush, all as part of the Stoney Creek Stream Enhancement Project.

About 26,000 trees have been planted alongside Stoney Creek this month as part of the city and state's continued efforts to restore the stream to its natural state and improve the quality of the water it empties into the Neuse River.

The project, funded by a grant from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, is designed to decrease erosion on the stream's banks and will also include the construction of wetland sloughs to filter the water during rainy periods.

Charlie Bruton, of Fremont-based Bruton Natural Systems, said the hardwood trees, which include sycamores, birch trees and bald cypresses, will help secure the soil near the stream.

"They're going to contribute a lot of stabilization to the soil and earth," he said.

The tree species, which City Engineer Marty Anderson said were too many to count, will replace invasive plant species that have grown up near the stream.

Workers spent two days planting the trees, which included stabbing about 10,000 live stakes into the earth. The stakes are actually the beginnings of trees.

The sloughs were constructed by Fluvial Solutions out of Raleigh. Company president Peter Jelenevsky said the earth work was all begun in April and included moving 20,000 yards of dirt out of the floodplain.

The nearly $1.4 million dollar project, however, is just a phase in the overall restoration of the stream that is planned, eventually, to span from near U.S. 70 to the Neuse River. The project has included the design, construction, observation, construction contingency and monitoring of the water -- all of which was covered by the grant.

The city will again apply for a grant this year to continue the project. Applications for the 2012 Clean Water Management Trust Fund grant are due Feb. 1.

Anderson said he anticipates that the city can once more avoid paying its 20 percent match through granting an environmental easement since it owns the land along the creek. The next project, which should cost about $500,000, is not as extensive as the previous one, he said.