Local News

Nothing to "Dam" up Migrating Fish in Neuse River

Posted May 2, 1999

— Those who fish the waters and scientists are holding their breath as migrating fish make their way through Goldsboro. Two dams that have hampered migrations for generations are gone.

Looking down on the Neuse River just four miles west of Goldsboro, it is hard to believe a dam was ever there.

In 1997,CP&Loffered to take out the Quaker Neck Dam. After 49 years, it was not needed any more. Its destruction was the first of its kind in the country. The environment was the primary reason for re-opening a river.

"We've been anticipating the day when we could catch some fish up stream from Goldsboro. That time has come. Spring is here, the dam is gone and the fish are up there now," said Neuse Stream Keeper Frank Mitchell.

The feds are now studying the migrating fish to see how much of a difference the open river will make. Mitchell says he is already seeing a significant difference.

It is the same story with the smaller Cherry Point Hospital Dam on the Little River just west of town.

The only evidence any man-made structures were there is a pile of bricks that now act as a shelter for small water animals.

"Everybody that is enjoying the river and using the river is real appreciative of them being gone for fishing and just waterway access. It has opened up a lot of water up river for us," said Mitchell.

Striped bass and American shad were coping with the dams before, but this should allow for more movement and more growth of both. Two things that make environmentalists and fishermen grateful for the change.

Scientists say last week's rain should help the fish migration. In some areas, the Neuse was just too low for many of them to make it very far upstream.

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