Wayne Community College wetland passes first test(s)

Climate Change, Environmental, Neuse River Watershed, Stormwater, Stormwater Restoration Projects, Water Quality

Posted on January 11th, 2024

Though full of stormwater, the berm in the newly reconstructed wetland is visible and doing its job to slow water down.

The constructed wetland at Wayne Community College has passed a gauntlet of weather-related tests.

Several storm systems over the past three weeks have sent plenty of rain into newly reconstructed wetland, and it appears to be holding up well, according to Sound Rivers Program Director Clay Barber, who oversees Sound Rivers’ Campus Stormwater Program. Clay visited the site Thursday morning.

“I was checking to see how our wetland did during all these big whopping storms. We seem to get so much heavier rain these days. The system is still full even though Goldsboro hasn’t gotten any rain the past two days,” Clay said. “These systems are designed to take three to five days to get back down to normal level, so it’s doing what it’s supposed to do.”

The constructed wetland drains approximately 30 acres of the campus.

The recent wetland restoration involved removing sediment that had built up over time, fixing a hole caused by erosion (which allowed stormwater to flow quickly from the wetland and compromised an adjacent roadway), and remove vegetation that had overtaken native wetland species. Clay said even without the vegetation, the wetland is much improved.

“It is functioning as good as it can be during the wintertime. They have covered any disturbed banks with straw and seed and grass is now popping through. We’re just waiting for spring weather to plant the wetland plants,” Clay said. “As plants mature and ground gets aerated, it will soak up water a lot faster.”

Over the holiday, engineers with Backwater Environmental were close to completing the project when the first storm hit. As the wetland filled up with stormwater, it also covered a berm reconstructed in one of the wetland’s bays — likely the reason why the berm had been completely washed away before restoration. The crew stayed on to build up the berm, so the structure can do its job: slow water down.

“We made the decision to build it up. They halted their exit and put down an extra foot or two,” Clay said.

Members of the Wayne Community College maintenance staff are set to attend the Stormwater Control Measure Inspection and Maintenance Certification Course at N.C. State University later this month.

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