The Transylvania Times -

By Mark Todd
Staff Writer 

County Funds Log Jam Removal


County commissioners have agreed to spend $12,000 in local funds to help with the removal of the giant log jam in the French Broad River that endangers the safety of boaters on the river and could cause additional flooding when it rains.

The state will provide $25,000 in financial assistance to help in the removal of the log jam, located near the Transylvania County Airport. County staff is providing the rest in local services.

Work is scheduled to begin in May.

The debris is diverting the river’s flow and causing severe stream bank erosion. With the county’s help, the Transylvania Soil and Water Conservation Board will match these funds to complete the restoration.

The log jam occurred more than a year ago when river currents eroded soil around the bases of large hardwood trees next to the river, causing the trees to fall. Timber and other debris are now stacked more than 25 feet high and 75 feet wide across 150 feet of the river, creating a safety concern for boaters.

The blockage has eroded more than 2,000 tons of soil, causing a loss of productive agricultural land, as well as harm to water quality and aquatic life with the resulting sediment.

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources is providing more than $600,000 to fund debris removal from streams and drainage ways throughout the state. The bulk of the money is going to eastern North Carolina and counties ravaged by Hurricane Irene.

Jeff Parker, director of the local soil and water district, wrote a grant application for this assistance.

County Manager Artie Wilson said he wants to thank former N.C. Rep. David Guice and the governor’s office for their help securing the funds.

Mike Hawkins, chairman of the county commission, said river management is a long-term issue.

“In the future, how do we identify these problems and deal with them before they become so destructive?” he said.

Hawkins said this would probably require a joint commitment from property owners along the river with assistance from community and government organizations.


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