Flooding under Castleford Bridge at Todd Island Park

A pair of cars parked at Todd Island Park submerged in South Fork New River floodwater June 9. August streambank restoration efforts at Todd Island Park hope to quell the effects of flooding at the popular recreation area, according to the Blue Ridge Resource Conservation & Development Council.

TODD — Streambank restoration to improve Todd Island Park along the South Fork New River in Ashe and Watauga counties began Monday, Aug. 12, according to Jessica Janc of the Blue Ridge Resource Conservation & Development Council.

“The long-term goal is to repair river bank erosion surrounding the entire Todd Island Park,” Janc said. “This phase should take about 10 days — and will address an 800-foot section of the river on the parking lot side of the island.”

Due to use of heavy equipment causing public safety concerns, Todd Island Park will be closed for periods of time during construction, with most closures occurring during the week, according to Janc.

Riverbanks will be graded to repair existing erosion and reduce future erosion, rock vanes will be installed to redirect water velocity, measures will be taken to improve trout and hellbender habitat and invasive species will be removed, with native species replanted instead, Janc said.

“The public will see some vegetation removal, including trees,” Janc said. “This is necessary to eliminate invasive species, to grade the bank and to prevent bank erosion.”

Similar projects can be viewed along Big Horse Creek at Creeper Trail Park in Lansing, as well as along the greenway in Boone, near Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex.

“The banks will be replanted with native plants to improve soil stability and provide shade,” Janc said. “Kayakers and tubers will be instructed to use the right side of the river around the park during construction periods.”

The park is owned and operated for year-round public recreational use by the Todd Community Preservation Organization, which is funding the restoration project along with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, N.C. Division of Water Resources and N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, according to Janc.

Organizations involved in the restoration project include Blue Ridge Resource Conservation & Development Council, Todd Community Preservation Organization, New River Conservancy, New River Soil and Water Conservation District and Foggy Mountain Nursey, Janc said.

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