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BCCC & Sound Rivers to start construction on new wetlands

BCCC Wetlands project
BCCC Wetlands project(WITN)
Published: Aug. 21, 2020 at 8:03 PM EDT
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BEAUFORT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - Beaufort County Community College and Sound Rivers will break ground Monday on a new wetland on BCCC’s campus to help clean and slow stormwater.

The two institutions have partnered since 2017 to study ways to slow and clean the water coming off its rooftops and parking lots during heavy rainstorms.

The project will be located on the west side of campus along an existing creek.

The project will cost $150,000 and is funded through an Environmental Enhancement Grant.

The N.C. State University Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department evaluated the campus to develop a comprehensive plan to address stormwater on campus.

BCCC’s 100- acre campus sits in the watershed of Broad Creek, which flows into the Pamlico River. While the watershed closest to the creek contains mature forests that are ideal for cleaning stormwater, the large rooftops and parking lots on campus produce runoff created by rainfall. These parking lots and rooftops can create problems in smaller creeks because they can overwhelm them with polluted water.

The college says, “Stormwater infrastructure can take different forms. Rain gardens, bioretention cells and stormwater wetlands can not only clean and slow water; they can also serve as wildlife habitat and beautify campuses. They transform uninspiring ditches into pleasant landscaping. The result will help make the Pamlico River fishable, swimmable and drinkable.”

Sound Rivers’ Campus Stormwater Program has 24 K-12 and college campus partners across the entire Neuse / Tar-Pamlico region. The organization has previously worked with Edgecombe Community College and East Carolina University to set up rain gardens and constructed wetlands. Students there can now incorporate the green infrastructure into their coursework as an outdoor classroom. Sound Rivers recently constructed a 10,000 square foot wetland at Havelock High School and installed two rainwater storage cisterns at New Bern and West Craven High School. They plan to work with Nash County Community College next year to develop similar projects.

BCCC has agribusiness and biology classes that will take advantage of the structures. The current project is the largest component of the stormwater plan. Smaller rain gardens and swales will be added in the future.

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