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Dam Destroyed to Nurture Neuse

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A wrecking ball is brought in to break up the dam.
GOLDSBORO — One of North Carolina's sickest rivers is feeling a little better, thanksto the work of a wrecking ball. The state began knocking down the QuakerNeck Dam Wednesday, which sits in the Neuse River near Goldsboro. For 45years, the dam has interfered with wildlife along the Neuse river.

No one realized the seriousness of it until a federal study in 1989.The wall kept migrating shad and striped bass out of areas upstream, andforced populations of the fish to drop. Now the dam is being broken, andNorth Carolina's most notoriously damaged river is a little closer tohealth.

Bruce Babbitt of the Department of the Interior says that destroying thewall now should replenish the waters quickly and completely by restoringits fisheries.

The dam's destruction is getting national attention. Dams like theQuaker Neck aren't torn down every day. The opening will restore accessfor fish and boaters to more than 900 miles of tributaries.

"We're going to have an immediate return here, and it's real, theecological benefits of this are real," explains Secretary Wayne McDevitt. "We're going to see those, but it's also a great symbol that goes beyond this state today and indeed all across the nation."

The American shad and striped bass tend to migrate up the river from Marchuntil May. The state is hoping that will happen this year on the Neuse.

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