Friends of Big Elkin Creek

The Friends of Big Elkin Creek ("FOBEC") is an alliance between landowners along Big Elkin Creek, local citizens, and representatives of governmental and non-governmental agencies concerned about water quality in the Big Elkin Creek watershed. The FOBEC was formed in partnership with Watershed NOW, and existing 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization focused on stewardship of creeks & rivers that drain to the city of Elkin and serve as its primary source of drinking water.

The main goal of FOBEC is to improve water quality and clarity by reducing sediment and other non-point sources of pollution along Big Elkin Creek and its tributaries by developing stream restoration and stabilization projects throughout the watershed. This will require cooperation of landowners and other stakeholders as well as funding sources. The formation of FOBEC is the first step in a process that will require matching funds from organizations interested in improving water quality and contributing to a great quality of life in the city of Elkin and Surry County.
In early 2017, we plan to apply for a NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund grant that will be used to identify and prioritize potential water quality improvement projects in the Big Elkin Creek watershed. Once secured, this funding would help FOBEC identify needs within the Big Elkin Creek watershed, develop preliminary plans and estimates, and establish a solid foundation for later efforts to secure implementation funding.
FOBEC is launched

Friends of Big Elkin Creek launched

Read the Tribune article about the meeting held at the Town Hall in August, 2016, which introduced the town officials to the formation of FOBEC.

Big Elkin Creek landowner meeting 

Friends of Big Elkin Creek hosted a meeting at Elkin Creek Vineyard on August 25, 2016. Invitations were sent to 100 property owners and 30% attended the meeting. It was an exciting and productive meeting!
Our organization was introduced to the landowners as a group actively seeking partnership that will help preserve and protect Big Elkin Creek, and gather information from the landowners about their hopes and concerns, and their thoughts about the direction of the organization.
Concerns of participants:
35% felt muddy water was primary concern
48% felt achieving clear water would show success of efforts
95% wanted FOBEC to pursue watershed quality improvements
Some expressed a strong interest in consultation regarding a stream restoration project on their property. Since the increasing sedimentation problem related to stream bank erosion and stormwater runoff was ranked as the highest concern, we will begin working on a priority list of projects that will have the most impact on improving water quality. We will seek state funds and local matching monies to assist landowners in addressing these problems as they are identified.


On behalf of Friends of Big Elkin Creek (FOBEC) we write to let you know of the significant progress that has been made since some of us met together at our opening event at Elkin Creek Vineyard on Aug. 25. We were excited about the turnout and about the quality of the interaction of that first gathering. Since the increasing sedimentation problem in Big Elkin Creek was ranked as your highest concern, we began working on a priority list of projects that will have the most impact on improving water quality.

That night we extended an invitation to you to be in partnership with us about how we can work together to preserve and protect this great natural resource that is Big Elkin Creek. Now we want to let you know what our partnerships with you are bringing about. Consultation with area farmers has already generated very significant progress toward reducing the sedimentation problem in Big Elkin Creek. Find a summary below.

52 acres of newly cleared land were conventionally planted to corn and soybeans during 2016.  Thanks to the on-going cooperation of this farmer/ landowner those fields in 2017 will be no-till planted into small grain for a net reduction of 832 tons of soil loss. 70 acres of tobacco have been fall seeded in 2016-17 with small grain winter cover.  The plan is to plant a fall cover crop after tobacco each year.  Ultimately we wish to start a rotation of tobacco and a no-till crop.   This will net a reduction of 485 tons of soil loss. 124 acres of tobacco will be strip cropped with alternating rows of tobacco & grass beginning in the 2017 growing season.  The rotation will consist of 2 years tobacco 2 years grass then alternate the strips.  This will net a reduction of 967 tons of soil loss. 44 acres of tobacco are being placed in a 4 year rotation of 2 years tobacco, 2 years no-till corn and beans.  This will net a reduction of 568 tons of soil loss. Over the life of the rotation cycle (2-4 years) this results in a total of 2,852 tons of soil loss reduction.

We are continuing to work to build new relationships of trust and cooperation with other farmers and landowners so that we can add more acres to our conservation planning and further reduce the sedimentation problem. In addition we are working with the Town of Elkin where we have identified two large sites where water runoff detention systems have failed and are compromising the water quality of Big Elkin Creek. The Town of Elkin is now working with the owners who were unaware of the failures and are cooperating to get these systems repaired.

We look forward to future partnerships with you as work together to preserve and protect Big Elkin Creek. The next planning meeting of FOBEC group will be on Feb. 28 at 2pm at Elkin Presbyterian Church. If you would like to be involved at that level, we welcome your participation.