swartley

N.C. Forest Service Hydrologist Bill Swartley speaking at the meeting on Thursday, Aug. 8. The project will improve a section of Linville River.

CROSSNORE — The N.C. Forest Service hosted a public meeting at the Mountain Training Facility in Crossnore on Thursday, Aug. 8, to discuss the upcoming restoration project on a section of the Linville River.

Hydrologist Bill Swartley led the meeting with a brief presentation about the project that seems to improve the river by making the area more habitable for wildlife.

An example of an undesirable section of river Swartley showed at the meeting was of a serene, clear and straight expanse of river. Swirls, rough patches and varying water speed oxygenate the water and create better habitat for fish and insects.

“It’s just over widened. It’s very still, it’s very shallow and that’s not desired habitat,” Swartley said.

Decaying plant matter from leafy branches in the water provides a source of nutrition for insects to thrive, which in turn become a source of food for the aquatic inhabitants of the river.

The project is being funded by Clean Water Management Trust Fund and the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Division of Water Resources. The grant from NCDEQ funded the design and permitting while the trust fund is funding the construction. Swartley said funding for the two parts of the project cannot commingle.

The project will include a six-week construction phase to improve the waterway. The Linville River runs directly under the bridge at the entrance to the training facility near where construction will begin.

Swartley said this is the largest project the service has undertaken and there will be a six-week construction phase. The project will not affect privately owned banks of the river. Construction is expected to begin in early September and the project is to be completed by Oct. 15 to not impede trout spawning.

Swatley said there will be hiking trails established for access to fishing and recreation with kiosks along the trails with information on structures in the stream and their benefits.

The stream will not be rerouted as part of the project.

There are informational stands about the project posted at the training facility for public viewing.

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