WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WECT) - The North Carolina Coastal Federation is working in conjunction with state and local officials to protect coastal water quality with stormwater projects in Wrightsville Beach.
The various techniques mimic the natural hydrology of the land by capturing stormwater and directing it to soak into the ground. Other techniques collect the rain, so the water can be re-used.
"We are showing simple and cost-effective ways to reduce stormwater," said NC Coastal Federation Deputy Director Lauren Kolodij. "Our goal is to reduce swimming advisories and have waters healthy for shellfish. This is a great example of the impact people can have when they partner toward a community goal."
The organization hosted a tour of these current and recently completed projects on Thursday:
- Wrightsville Beach Cisterns (public safety building and soccer field): These five 3,000 gallon cisterns and one 10,000 gallon cistern capture and re-use stormwater from the roof of the Town's 15,000 square foot public safety facility. The town re-uses the water for irrigation of the soccer field and landscape areas, and to wash town vehicles.
- Median Curb Cut and Swale (Causeway Drive fronting Mellow Mushroom Restaurant): The Town's landscaped area in front of Mellow Mushroom has been simply re-graded to provide more storage and additional infiltration of runoff flowing through the existing curb cut. This also helps to reduce the flooding from this area.
- Raised Inlets and Curb Cuts (between the inbound and outbound lanes of Causeway Drive): This technique directs roadway runoff from Causeway Drive into the median, which has been deepened to hold more water. Captured runoff now soaks into the ground instead of flowing into drainage pipes and into nearby Motts Channel. This median now treats runoff from over 8,700 square feet of roadway.
- Reversed Stormwater Inlets (along outbound Causeway Dr.): This technique diverts polluted roadway runoff into the grassed area between Causeway Drive and the Arboretum. Runoff that flowed directly into drain pipes and out into Motts Channel now soaks into the ground.
- Native Plant Rain Garden (intersection of Municipal Lane and W. Salisbury St.): This earthen bowl planted with native plants collects and absorbs stormwater that used to flow through drainage pipes and straight into the adjacent waters of Lee's Cut.
- Grassed Swales and Earthern Check Dams (W. Salisbury Street between the Federation's Coastal Education Center and Municipal Lane): These simple swales and earthen dams slow down the flow of stormwater so it can soak into the ground, and not reach the estuarine waters of Lee's Cut.
- Coastal Education Center (309 W. Salisbury St): This site features rain gardens, permeable paving, cisterns, rain barrels, native landscaping, permeable pavers, grass cell pavers, and infiltration cells.
- Wrightsville Beach Park and Recreation Area Parking Lot: Features two 40' x 40' areas where existing asphalt was removed and 6" thick pervious concrete was installed to provide areas for stormwater runoff infiltration.
"We had about 50 participants to join us," said Kolodij. "We've recently partnered with Wrightsville Beach, Wilmington, the NC National Estuarine Research Reserve, UNCW, NC Department of Transportation, NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, NC Attorney Generals Environmental Enhancement Grant Program, New Hanover Soil and Water Conservation District, Withers & Ravenel and Coastal Stormwater Solutions to install a series of projects to reduce polluted stormwater runoff from entering Bradley and Hewletts Creeks."