On a recent frosty December morning, we planted the Neville Farms Mitigation Site with over 2700 native hardwood plants. The work went smoothly and the planting conditions were good. Planting in the winter allows the trees to start establishing their root system giving them a head start for the spring when they’ll help restore natural habitat in the floodplains feeding Jordan Lake.
For years, Jordan Lake has been plagued by excess flows of nitrogen and phosphorus that have led to excess algae and water quality conditions that do not support the uses it should. Lake clean-up plans were approved by the state in 2009 but actions by the NC legislature have delayed their implementation and prevented broad, pollution reducing actions from being implemented.
The Neville Farms project was developed as part of the original clean-up strategy passed in 2009. The trees planted at this site will restore natural functions to the floodplain, slowing flood flows and allowing polluting sediments and nutrients to be deposited in the floodplain where they’ll serve as nutrients for newly planted trees and shrubs.
It felt good to get to this stage of the project. Even if the Jordan strategy isn’t fully implemented, this restoration project will continue providing beneficial functions. It will take, however, implementation of many more pollution reducing projects like this, and commitment from the State to show measurable water quality improvement in Jordan Lake.