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Boone Creek restoration project begins

streamrestoration_t.jpgBOONE—Work has begun to restore and enhance a 150-foot section of Boone Creek that runs between Howard and Rivers streets in Boone. The affected portion of the creek runs from near the back of Café Portofino to the future location of the university’s Beasley Broadcasting Complex at the corner of Depot Street.

The project was originally planned for properties owned by the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce and Appalachian State University. It has since expanded to include the adjacent S.C.& S. Future Inc. property on Howard Street.

Stream Restoration Project_t2.jpgThis section of Boone Creek near the back of Café Portofino is one of several projects identified by the Kraut Creek Committee for a creek restoration project. Pictured are Jana Carp, left, Patrick Beville and Nancy Reigel, all members of the Kraut Creek Committee. Carp also is an assistant professor in Appalachian State University’s Department of Geography and Planning. Beville is an engineer in the university’s Office of Design and Construction. Reigel is president of MountainKeepers, a local organization that works to preserve the area’s natural resources, culture and heritage. (photo by university photographer Marie Freeman)

This is the first of several possible projects identified in the Kraut Creek Committee’s 2007 feasibility study. The Kraut Creek Committee includes downtown Boone organizations, Town of Boone officials, National Committee for the New River, MountainKeepers, and faculty and staff from Appalachian.

“It’s a great collaboration,” said Patrick Beville with Appalachian’s Office of Design and Construction. “We hope that this will become a showcase that will demonstrate to other property owners along the creek what the end result could be,” he said.

The project grew out of a 2004 project management class taught by Jana Carp, an assistant professor in Appalachian’s Department of Geography and Planning.

Boone Creek locally is known as Kraut Creek because of its infamous smell that was the result of discharge from a sauerkraut plant that used to operate in Boone.

“When the project is completely finished, it’s going to be beautiful,” Carp said. “We have a landscaping plan that will filter storm water runoff, stabilize the banks and incorporate native plants and shrubs that will shade the creek and provide a better habitat for fish, amphibians and birds.”

The project won’t create a greenway, but the work to stabilize creek banks and manage storm water will benefit properties along and downstream from the project. It will take about four weeks to complete.

“This is the first project that developed from the project management class that will let us see what the creek could look like,” Carp said.

The next phase of the restoration project will focus on the area behind Varsity Gym on Appalachian’s campus where the creek is undermining Rivers Street.

“One of the most important things this project will accomplish is to stabilize the property along the creek,” Carp said. “There is tremendous erosion. If we can do that in an aesthetically pleasing way that’s also ecologically healthy, then it’s a win-win situation.”

A grant from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and in-kind donations from Appalachian, the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce and the National Committee for the New River are funding the work.

Adam Williams, president of Brushy Fork Environmental Consulting Inc., and an Appalachian alumnus, is the stream engineer hired to implement the project. The landscape plan was created by Teresa Buckwalter of High Country Conservancy.