New Hanover receives $4M to remove Florence debris from creeks

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Smith Creek park on Oct. 15, 2019. (Photo: Tamara Norman)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — More than a year after Hurricane Florence, New Hanover County has been awarded more than $4 million in federal assistance to remove debris and sedimentation from streams and waterways.

Through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program, this will improve watersheds that were impacted by Florence debris, increasing water flow and reducing flooding threats to properties.

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New Hanover County applied for this federal funding in October 2018 and received the award letter in October 2019.

75 percent of the total funding is through the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), a branch of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA); and the remaining 25 percent of funding is through the Division of Soil & Water, a branch of the NC Department of Agriculture.

“Hurricane Florence caused a significant amount of trees and debris to fall into the county’s streams and creeks, preventing the water from flowing adequately and creating potentially hazardous flooding conditions when we have large rainfall events,” said Soil and Water Conservation District Director Dru Harrison. “Immediately after Hurricane Florence, county staff began working on this effort and applied for funding. It is a significant amount of work, and we couldn’t start until we received our award letter and then signed an agreement with NRCS. We are in that process now, and will be working hard over the next nine months to have all of these watersheds clear of hazardous debris.”

New Hanover County Soil and Water Conservation District will collaborate with the county’s Engineering, Finance, and Hurricane Recovery departments to schedule the work and receive engineering design services, real property rights, permits, construction contracts and in-kind services, and construction inspections.

The county plans to sign the agreement with NRCS by the end of October, and then all work will be completed within 280 days of the finalized agreement. Funding will be reimbursed after the work has been completed and inspected.

A map of all impacted creeks and watersheds can be found here and on the hurricane recovery website, and a list of locations and the amount of funding received is below:

  • Dock Creek: $51,796
  • Everette Creek: $249,384
  • Futch Creek: $84,402
  • Howe Creek: $202,011
  • Motts Creek: $473,375
  • Ness Creek: $263,346
  • Pages Creek Watershed: $579,309
  • Prince George Creek: $772,546
  • Shipwatch Dr-Cape Fear River: $3,600
  • Smith Creek: $989,147
  • Sneeden Drive-Pipe: $9,430
  • Whiskey Creek I: $181,246
  • Whiskey Creek II: $536,904