Cape Fear River Basin Action Plan & Rock Arch Ramp

— Written By Diana Rashash
en Español / em Português

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Before and after installation of rock arch ramp.

Before and after installation of rock arch ramp.

On May 30, the Cape Fear River Partnership, a coalition of state and federal natural resources agencies, academic entities, and private and non-governmental organizations, released the final version of the Cape Fear River Basin Action Plan for Migratory Fish — a blueprint that provides long-term, habitat-based solutions for the most pressing challenges to migratory fish in the Cape Fear River basin. The plan was unveiled during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Cape Fear River Lock and Dam No. 1, near Rieglewood NC. This is the first rock arch ramp in the eastern US.

The rock arch ramp is expected to improve passage of anadromous fish such as striped bass, American shad, river herring and sturgeon, during their spring migrations to reach historical spawning grounds. Post-construction, an evaluation will assess fishes’ use of the ramp over a two-year period. Plans to install rock arch ramps at Lock and Dam No. 2 and No. 3 are already being discussed, to provide these species with unimpeded access to their historical spawning grounds in Harnett County. Providing fish passage beyond these two barriers is critical to re-building migratory fish populations in the Cape Fear River and is a top priority of the action plan.

In addition to providing a blueprint for restoring fish access and improving habitat and water quality, the action plan will assess the community and economic benefits of improved migratory fish populations on tourism, recreation, fishing, and other commercial uses. In 2011, North Carolina anglers spent more than $1.5 billion on fishing related activities. A short factsheet on the economic benefits of the Cape Fear river is available.

Read the final version of the Cape Fear River Basin Action Plan for Migratory Fish or visit the Cape Fear River Partnership page for more information.

About the Cape River Fear Partnership
The Cape Fear River Partnership was established in 2012 to help improve the health of the Cape Fear River for migratory fish. Signatory partners, or organizations that played a role in developing the action plan, are:  American Rivers, Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, Cape Fear River Assembly, Cape Fear River Watch, the City of Wilmington, Dial Cordy and Associates Inc., Fayetteville Public Works Commission, the Lower Cape Fear River Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Natural Resources Conservation Service, New Hanover County, N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (Division of Soil & Water Conservation and North Carolina Forest Service), N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (Divisions of Coastal Management, Marine Fisheries, Water Quality, and Water Resources and the N.C. Natural Heritage Program), North Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit N.C. State University, N.C. Cooperative Extension, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, Duke Energy, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the University of North Carolina – Wilmington.