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Dead trees at Jordan Lake are an example of nature and human engineering at odds

By Megan Lynch
Posted Thursday, August 14, 2014

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Pittsboro, NC - The dead trees at Jordan Lakeare an example of nature and human engineering at odds. A “natural” cause if there ever was one.

The area of which you speak is called a sub-impoundment. Several waterfowl sub-impoundments were constructed to replace the habitat and hunting opportunities that were lost when the reservoir flooded the Cape Fear River Basin. This sub-impoundment is connected to the main lake by a culvert that passes under highway 64.

When the lake rises or falls, the water will flow through the culvert to equalize the levels of both water bodies. A certain type of engineer dislikes the sound of running water…they are programmed to stop it. It so happened that our native engineer, a beaver closed off the culvert a few years ago (5+/-). Water started to back up and rise in the sub-impoundment flooding the area. It rose in stages leaving the tiers you see. Most of the trees you see are pines which cannot stand wet feet, thus dying. Pines can stand intermittent flooding, but these had roots under water for years.

One day human engineers noticed a sink hole opening up in the median of highway 64 . ( ook for rip-rap in the middle south side grassy median across from the sub-impoundment) Oh, oh!! The beaver might think the highway 64 causeway makes a nice dam, but the human engineers know the fill dirt used was probably not designed to hold back all that sideways water pressure.

Recently the sub-impoundment was drained, making the dead trees more visible, and the road safe. This to me is a prime example of nature vs man and changing the way we view things. A new habitat has been created. One which we might not expect but serves a purpose for other creatures. The dead trees might not fit our definition of beauty, but they are needed and used by other creatures.

So, no sinister causes here. Just the timeless competition of native residents against us transplants.

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Dead trees at Jordan Lake are an example of nature and human engineering at odds

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