Two chapters of the national conservation organization Trout Unlimited (TU) have partnered with the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) to improve a section of the Davidson River.
Decades ago, when lumber mills operated on the Davidson River, this section was straightened and larger rocks removed to allow cut logs to be easily transported downstream to the mill. Today, this section downstream of the NCWRC Bobby N. Setzer Fish Hatchery is dominated by shallow river habitat known as riffle. In addition to creating more diverse habitat, areas currently experiencing shoreline erosion will be stabilized and planted with native trees and shrubs.
The project is set to begin in early August and take two weeks. Under the supervision of TU Pisgah Chapter volunteers and USFS staff, contractors will install boulders and logs following a specific plan designed by USFS hydrologists. This work along 600 feet downstream from the Pisgah Center entrance will create areas of deeper water, increase water flow, and provide habitats required by many river animals.
Hellbenders are protected in North Carolina and are one of the largest species of salamanders in the world. Long-lived, hellbenders create dens under submerged rocks and logs. In addition, habitats created by this project will benefit fish including trout.
Trout concentrate near the deeper pools that the project will create, enabling anglers to experience better fishing at this highly popular section. The Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education parking area provides easy access to this section and fly fishing classes conducted by Pisgah Center staff will also benefit from habitat improvements.
The project will also improve designated locations for anglers to safely access the river. Designated access points protect shoreline vegetation that stabilize banks, reduce sedimentation, provide habitat for birds, and shade the river maintaining lower water temperatures required by trout and hellbenders.
To ensure public safety during the two week project, the public is asked to avoid accessing the river and work site until construction is completed.
This is a large project for our chapter, please donate to enable this and other projects like it in the future.
Project Starts near kiosk (above) and continues for 600 feet downstream.
Project Preliminary Drawing. Log vanes will be replaced with large boulder structures.
Area to be enhanced.
Access Points to be removed.