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Rains Mill Dam Goes Out With Blast

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JOHNSTON COUNTY — People in Johnston and Wayne counties are still talking about the demolition project on the Little River. The Rains Mill dam in Johnston County went out with a blast on Wednesday. Marines from Cherry Point used 40 pounds of plastic explosives to do the job.

The state is removing the dam primarily so migrating fish can spawn upstream. Officials say the dam used to serve an old mill, which burned down.

"The grist mill has been gone for almost 30 years, so actually it's a hazard, and it makes good environmental sense and common sense to take it out," said Bill Holman, secretary of theNorth Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

This is the third dam in the state to be destroyed for environmental reasons.

The Quaker Neck dam in Wayne County was destroyed in December 1997. It was not only the first in North Carolina, but the first in the country.

Five other states are now doing their own demolitions.

"This is a big message that goes out today from all of you to the United States of America," said Secretary Bruce Babbitt of theUnited States Department of the Interior."Blow it up, and they will come."

Destroying the dam clears up 49 miles of water between Raleigh and Goldsboro. Combined with the other two state projects, 1,100 miles of water are now flowing freely.

All three projects are in the Neuse River basin. State leaders are already on the lookout for number four.

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Brian Bowman, Reporter
Brian Bowman, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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