Introduction to Elkin Town Board Update December 2019

Mayor Bishop and town commissioners…
Thank you for the opportunity to up date you on the
activities of Watershed NOW.
The Big Elkin Creek Watershed
Is home to our greatest natural resource….our water. It is our lifeblood. Our body weight is roughly 2/3 water…
and, if we drink and use our city water, it comes from the Big Elkin Creek. The great environmentalist John Muir, the “Father of our National Parks”, has said that our rivers do not flow past us, they flow through us. So not only do we live in the Big Elkin Creek Watershed, we are part of the watershed. We must protect it. If we love it, it will provide for us. If we love it’s people, they will care for us. But we cannot love the watershed and it’s people until we know them. So Watershed NOW is partnering with the schools and churches, with businesses and organizations, with farmers and landowners and with the Town to learn to love our watershed and, in turn, to be cared for by it.
In our update six months ago, I mentioned the possibility of getting funding for a number of projects. I am excited to report this evening that those projects have received the necessary funding to be realized. I will note those in this update.
In your packet that Brent provided, you have a synopsis of the update. I have also given to you some additional photos that I will refer to during the update.

Elkin Town Board Update December 2019

Elkin Town Board Update December 2019

A first initiative I would like to discuss regards our PARTNERSHIP WITH SCHOOLS
Adopt~a~Stream Program
*It was launched in October.
*The NC Department of Transportation and the town have provided bags, gloves and vests. *Bridges Academy has adopted Carter Falls and the Preacher Field Bridge crossing over
Big Elkin Creek. They collected 4 bags. The Surry chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (Ethan Davis and Randy Mays) has adopted the Yadkin River between Burch Landing at the mouth of the Mitchell River and the river access at the Hwy 601 bridge across the Yadkin. They collected 10 bags. Elkin High School Environmental Club has adopted the Big Elkin Creek from the mouth at the Yadkin River to the library. They collected 2 bags.
*We will be meeting with other interested schools and organizations *Signs are to be placed near segments adopted

Another initiative regards our PARTNERShIP WITH THE TOWN Rain Garden at the Yadkin Valley Heritage and Trails Center
*The rain garden will not only help with cleaning the stormwater runoff from the parking lot and field of the Heritage and Trails Center, but also be an excellent teaching opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of stormwater runoff management. The current stormwater runoff drains to a small creek coursing under the parking lot and then into the Big Elkin Creek. The Rain Garden will filter this runoff before it reaches the Big Elkin Creek.
*NC Department of Environmental Quality Water Resources Development Grant has been approved but no funds have been released yet..Amin Davis, the grant manager for state and local projects, has said that we are 1st on the priority list. It is an award of up to $12,500 with a dollar for dollar match.
*Phillips Van Heusen has donated $4500 to help with match
*The rest of the match has already been obtained, mostly from the Hillsdale Fund. Part of the Match can be in-kind.
*We will be meeting with Lindsey Lengyel of BlueStream Environmental on Dec 11 in Winston to have a construction timeline discussion and set up a workshop for schools interested in helping to maintain the rain garden.
*The Elkin High School Environmental Club is interested in helping with maintenance and other interested schools will have the opportunity to help and learn.
Also, we understand from Leslie that the Watershed NOW exhibit for the inside of the Center is in the finalizing stage with hopeful installation in February or March. This has been completely funded by the Hillsdale Fund.

A second initiative with the town is a revision of the town ordinances as they relate to the Water Supply Watershed Protection Overlay District.
Town Ordinances
*We are working with Sarah and Leslie to revise the Town Ordinances due to changed Water Supply Watershed Protection rules by the State. We have rewritten the new definitions list to incorporate new language. For instance, we no longer will talk simply about Best Management Practices. We will now also use the term optimal Stormwater Control Measures. We are waiting on the state Model Ordinance to be completed before going any further.
A third initiative relates to
Stormwater Infrastructure Mapping
*This was enabled by a NC Department of Environmental Quality 205(j) Water Quality Management Planning Grant of $18,800.
*Cameron Colvin with Piedmont Triad Regional Council reports that the field work in Jonesville is nearly completed and they will be starting in Elkin shortly. Elkin’s infrastructure has largely been mapped. The work in Elkin will involve supplying missing data points such as depth measurements and notes of any maintenance needs. They will also map areas that are missing stormwater data, like the old Chatham Mill complex and identify sewer connections to the stormwater infrastructure system. They will compare this with smoke testing data that the Sewer Authority has. This will allow identification of indirect connections between the sewer system and the stormwater drain system and identify sites for repair.
*This is another step toward a stormwater management plan for Elkin. *This is a link to the current fieldwork map: webmap=e8d73234e7d64aba873217acd0adfb68
A fourth initiative with the town is the potential acquisition of the Lassiter Property. photos 4 and 5
* Palmer McIntyre from Piedmont Land Conservancy told me that the Clean Water Management Trust Fund had provisionally approved funding, pending a passed budget. Other funding has also been obtained. Further funding may be needed.
A fifth initiative with the town relates to the Excess Turbidity of the Big Elkin Creek
In the 5th photo you can see how clear the
water is as it begins it’s course through the watershed.
*Excess turbidity affects the water supply of citizens in Elkin and parts of eastern Wilkes
County. It compromises the area’s development of an ecotourism industry. It adversely affects wildlife habitat.
*A meeting with Wilkes Soil and Water District commissioners was not helpful in addressing the problem Sam, Brent, Stuart Taylor , Bill Blackley and I.

*The intention is to engage farmers and landowners and work with them to decrease the turbidity of Big Elkin Creek after storms and improve the quality of water in the Creek.
*We are planning a meeting with a landowner and farmer with whom we can hopefully partner to address the problem.
*Lon Snider, NC DEQ Regional Supervisor for Water Resources will be taking water samples at various sites in the watershed to help determine where the major contributions to the increased turbidity are after a storm. We’ve identified
sampling sites which we will sample when Lon’s
schedule, my schedule and the weather’s schedule
all coincide to an optimal time.

With regard to..... PARTNERSHIP with LANDOWNERS Big Elkin Creek Project Above Carter Falls
*Recall the flooding and sand inundation of the park and high school ball fields after Hurricane Michael. A good bit of the sediment came from this site above Carter Falls which was the site of a lake in the early 1900s when a dam was built at the top of Carter Falls.
*We initiated conversation with Resource Institute in Winston to apply for Hurricane Michael relief funds available from the state.
* ~$3,000,000 was approved in the NC budget for 3 projects in Surry County including this project. Engineers are working on cost estimates for the 3 projects and I understand this project is the largest.
*Dick Everhart is meeting with Resource Institute to determine next steps, including engagement with the landowners. No easements are required because of the nature of the funding.
*Surry Commissioner Eddie Harris was very instrumental in securing the funds.
Last photo shows what it may look like after the flood plain is restored.

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Elkin Spring Clean Up Weekend on Big Elkin Creek

Please join Watershed NOW, Elkin Valley Trails Association and the Town of Elkin in cleaning up the tangled mess on the stream bank across from the library on Saturday April 6th. We will begin at 8:30. A contractor will cut the brush and vines, but volunteers are needed to haul the branches to the chipper and spread grass seed and plant small plants. Come by if and when you can. Bring gloves and wear long pants and long sleeve shirts. Bring a rake if you have one. Fun time for all for a good cause!

Free Musical Event at the Reeves with Martha Bassett

Please join us on April 14th (Palm Sunday) from 5-6:30 at the Reeves Theater for a unique evening of spiritual awakening to the blessings of water.  This is a free concert featuring Martha Bassett and friends who will be providing musical inspiration around the theme of water. Students from Wake Forest School of Divinity will be offering a multimedia presentation around the spirituality of water. This Palm Sunday event will be sure to inspire us to recognize how much clean, safe water has been and will be to our lives.

NC Trail Days in Elkin May 31-June 2, 2019

Watershed NOW is sponsoring a clean-up of Big Elkin Creek on Friday May 31st during NC Trail Days. Those interested in participating will meet at the G&B Shelter (band shell) in Elkin Memorial Park at 4:30 that afternoon. This should take about 1 hour. Please wear boots and long pants and long sleeve shirts…and bring gloves…and “reachers” if you have them. Contact Woody Faulk @ (336)366-7774 or for further information.