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Pleasant Green Road Dam at Eno River State Park to be Demolished

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Michael F. Easley, Governor
William G. Ross, Jr., Secretary

Release Note: 
Charlie Peek
Release Date: 
Monday, February 19, 2007

Pleasant Green Road Dam at Eno River State Park to be Demolished

RALEIGH -- The Pleasant Green Road Dam in Eno River State Park will be demolished beginning Feb. 21, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. A 21.8-acre impoundment behind the structure was drained in 2006 in preparation for the project.

The dam removal project will restore free-flowing characteristics to a 1.5-mile reach of the Eno River, improving habitat for both common and threatened species of fish, mussels and other aquatic wildlife. The project is a cooperative effort of the state parks system, the N.C. Division of Water Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

A 2001 study of the dam, which is 122-feet long and 12 feet high, determined that its failure was likely since weir gates were inoperable and there was evidence of seepage and structural weaknesses that posed safety and liability issues for the state park. The dam was built in 1915 by Duke Power Co. to provide cooling water for a steam generation plant. The plant was dismantled in 1958.

The cost of dam removal, restoration of the river's banks and restoration of wetlands at the intake area of the former steam plant is estimated at $150,000. Contractor for the demolition is Eastern Builders of Carolinas Inc., of Jacksonville.

A detailed environmental assessment of the project concluded that removing the dam will expand the local habitat of rare fish species such as the Carolina darter and Roanoke bass as well as endangered mussels, including the Atlantic pigtoe mussel and yellow lampmussel, that are vital in protecting water quality. The mussels depend on the migration of fish to carry their larvae. The assessment also noted that dam failure could suddenly release sediment trapped behind the dam, and the resulting plume would threaten wildlife downstream.

The park's Pleasant Green Access on SR 1567 northwest of Durham in Orange County will be closed during the demolition project.