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It’s time for Milburnie Dam to go he time has come to re- move Milburnie Dam con the Neuse River for ‘three main and important rea GUEST First is ree feation. Our COLUMN ad county lead- ers have in- sightfully made a com ‘mitment to complete the SIG Neuse River HUTCHINSON Greenway, which will soon span 30 miles down the "Neuse making connections to Wake Forest, Knightdale, downtown and UmsteadState Park. For the first time. in a hhave the opportunity to recon nect with the Neuse Riverand all of its beauty from a natal ‘greenvay, “How cool would it be to ride upthe Neuse River on a "green ‘way” and then back down in a canoe or kayak on a flowing “blue way"? Compare that 10 ‘themilesof lat black water aid ‘forced portage to get around the dam. The natural experi= ence of a swiftly moving stream for canoes or kayaks ‘ould be worth milionsin tour- ism dollars and an incredible ‘opportunity for residents. Second is the environmeii- tal integrity of the stream. Damming streams is never a” ‘food idea from an ecological perspective, becauseit severe- ly alters natural habitat and water quality, Natural streain aquatic life such as freshwater mussels, abundant naturally in North Carolina, cannot live inthe standing water behind Milburnie Dam. Also stream. bank ecosystems are designed for flowing streams and tem- porary flooding and not the miles of backed-up, stagnant water, The good news is that ‘once the dam is removed, the ‘aquatclife will return, andthe stream banks will eal, te-¢5 {ablishing the natural ecosys- tem. ‘Tae third and final reason is migrating fsh populations. At ‘one time, our shad ran as ‘abundant as the salmon of the Northwest, until dams put an end to the natural fish migra tion. Fortunately, this is changing. With these dams seen as obsolete and danger- ous for swiramers and with ‘the inereasing recognition of ecosystems and healthy streams, these dams are being removed: Infact, the only dam left between Falls Lake and the ocean‘is Milburnie Dai With its removal, an addition: al 20 miles of river and Streams can re-establish fish and aquatic-life migration, ‘which means for the frst time in a century we could see the annual return of shad, striped bass and other migrating fish all the way to Falls Lake Dam. “The removal ofthe damis the rightithing-to do for many tea- sons, including aquaticlife mi- gration, ecosystem restoration and recreation, This dam has clear outlived its usefulness, and now it time for us to tip ‘our hats back to nature by say- ing, It’s your time, Mother Na ture, to'thrive along these stiors as you have done since thebeainning of time; short the Jast hundred years.”