Less Little River Dam

Breached Little River Dam. August 2018.

Hurricane Matthew’s impacted many North Carolina communities in 2016. One community, Zebulon, saw a historic dam on the Little River breached by the storm’s abundant rainfall.  The breach has forced the town to reflect on the dam, its repair cost, and whether it should continue to stand along the river.

Repair, replace, or remove?  Zebulon’s City Council has considered what to do with the dam voting not to repair. The costs for keeping the dam through repair are considerable.  Vegetation has taken root in the mortared cracks throughout the structure compromising the dam’s integrity.  Fixing the dam would mean removing the vegetation, replacing the mortar, and repairing the breached area with the town bearing much of the cost.

Sticking with their vote would be to allow the river to return to a more free flowing state. It would also allow use federal funding to make improvements to the park surrounding the Dam.  This approach would also result in ecosystem benefits similar to the recent removal of the nearby Milburnie Dam on the Neuse River.

If the council sticks with their decision, there should be some positive improvement to both the Little River’s ecosystem and the town’s park.

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