Tar Heel Bus Tour

New faculty members at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill spent the week after Commencement on the Road, getting to know the state and its people a little better.  May 12th – 16th marked the 11th Annual Tar Heel Bus Tour.  The idea of the bus tour is a way to teach new faculty about NC, its needs and where most of Carolina’s undergraduates grow up.  This year the Institute of the Environment department at UNC was able to choose a site to visit.  They chose RS’ Carbonton Dam project site.


Present day Carbonton.


The bus arriving at Carbonton Dam Park.


George Howard addressing the group


Dickie Harrison of Deep River Parks Association (keeper of the Carbonton Dam Park), Uncle Larry and Barrett Jenkins.


Adam Riggsbee addressing the group.

Dam Removals Benefit Migratory Fishes in Little River, NC

In the spring of 2007, North Carolina State University researchers set up a resistance board weir at the former Lowell Mill Dam site to monitor upstream and downstream migrations.

Continue reading for the study-

Little River

The Little River originates in Franklin County, North Carolina, and flows into the Neuse River near Goldsboro

According to an article on Focus Fishing, three dams have been removed since 1998, while a notched and impassable dam still remain

Both anadromous species, such as American shad, and year-round resident species, including suckers and gizzard shad, have annual spawning migrations in the river

The Study

In the spring of 2007, North Carolina State University researchers set up a resistance board weir at the former Lowell Mill Dam site to monitor upstream and downstream migrations

Upstream electrofishing provided additional information on fish locations

American shad abundance was compared to two “rule-of-thumb” estimates of run size for a restored population (conservative: 7 adults/ha; optimistic: 124 adults/ha)

Eggs and larvae were collected with plankton nets on the Little River and one Buffalo Creek site.


Migratory American Shad (502), gizzard shad (302), notchlip redhorse (58) were the most abundant fish collected in the weir

Largemouth bass, sunfishes, channel catfish, and additional species were also sampled

American & gizzard shad migrated to Atkinson Mill Dam, the maximum extent of restored habitat

Flow was important for migrations, as species migrated in highest numbers during increased flow periods

Total American shad abundance (508) was higher than the conservative estimate but drastically lower than the optimistic estimate for the reach below of Atkinson Mill Dam

American shad spawning was confirmed by eggs and larvae collected both downstream and upstream of the weir site


Fish, especially migratory species, are utilizing restored habitat following dam removals on the Little River

Since dam removals began in 1998, it may be too early to see overall population responses

River flow may annually influence the extent that fish migrate upstream and use restored habitat

For 2008, the weir will be moved downstream in order to sample the entire river

In addition, fish will receive permanent PIT identification tags.  Passive and active tracking of these fish will provide detailed information about migration and spawning habitat

Finally, fish passage or hindrance at the notched dam will also be evaluated

Produced By:

Joshua K. Raabe, Graduate Research Assistant., PhD candidate

Joseph E. Hightower, Professor, Assistant Unit Leader



NC Ecosystem Enhancement Program Wins New Praise

I received an email yesterday from Tad Boggs with the NCEEP announcing that the program has been named among the top 50 governmental innovations in the nation by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.  We congratulate the EEP on this impressive honor.  Please read below for details on the award and its history.


The Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government today announced that the N.C. Ecosystem Enhancement Program has been named among the top 50 new governmental innovations in the nation.  The designation qualifies EEP as a semifinalist in the 2007 Innovations in American Government Awards, known as the “Oscars of government awards,” in which nearly 1,000 programs nationwide were competing. 

This is the second time in the past three years that EEP has advanced to this level of the competition. According to the Innovations awards committee, the top 50 programs represent government agencies at the federal, state, county and city levels.  Initiatives were selected for their novelty and creativity, effectiveness at addressing significant issues and their potential to be replicated by other jurisdictions.  

On May 2, 18 finalists will be selected for site visits by the awards committee, leading to the designation of seven winners later this year.   

More information on EEP’s recognition is available under “Hot Topics” at    

Tad BoggsDirector of CommunicationsN.C. Ecosystem Enhancement

Now Showing at the Lowell Dam…

I drove down to the Lowell Dam, uh, former Lowell Dam, to see how the restoration of the river and dam site were progressing.

Here is a panorama photo of the dam in the summer of 2004:


And here is site of the former dam today from left to right…




I apoligize for the changes in perspective (and we are working on the ability to enlarge photos) but I think you can get the picture. It looks pretty good. The river is restoring.

Here are some more photos. Remember, the dam was 11 feet high and upstream was an 11 foot deep lake — for two centuries.