Approve the Removal of the Milburnie Dam
  • Petitioned Army Corps of Engineers

This petition was delivered to:

Army Corps of Engineers

Approve the Removal of the Milburnie Dam

    1. Petition by

      Citizens for the Removal of the Milburnie Dam

      Raleigh, NC

We support removing the Milburnie Dam along the Neuse River in East Raleigh, because the project will:

-Prevent tragic drownings

-Restore the Neuse River to its natural state

-Open 15 miles of river to spawning migratory fish

-Improve canoeing, kayaking and fishing opportunities


For more than a decade the Milburnie Dam has sat idle. No electricity has been generated in all that time. It has simply fallen into disrepair and suffered frequent vandalism and trespassing, becoming a dangerous eyesore. 



Small dams like Milburnie are known as “drowning machines” because of the deceptively hazardous conditions they create for boaters and swimmers, especially children. (Martin Doyle, Professor of River Science and PolicyNicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, April 2010)

In July 2012, a 7-year-old boy and 10-year-old girl were fishing at the dam when they went into what appeared to be still water, got pulled under and never resurfaced.

The incident is the most recent in a long history of tragedy at the Milburnie Dam.

In July 2008, two former high school athletes, 21-year-old John Brian Taylor and 20-year-old Michael Patrick McDowell, also drowned while swimming in the area.

The power of the water near the dam is easily under-estimated and can trap even the best swimmer.



Like any dam, Milburnie has a serious impact on the ecology of its river. The Neuse River has been unnaturally flooded above the dam for decades and blocks the migration of fish.

It is the only remaining barrier along the Neuse River between Falls Lake and Pamlico Sound.

Removing the dam will not only improve conditions for canoers, kayakers, and anglers; it will also remove the barrier to migratory fish such as striped bass and American shad.



In 2002 the North Carolina interagency DRTF (Dam Removal Task Force) designated Milburnie Dam as a priority for removal. The project is supported by environmentalists, scientists, and community leaders throughout our region.

The Milburnie Dam is privately owned. Together, the dam owners and Raleigh-based environmental restoration experts, Restoration Systems, LLC, have put forward a proposal to remove the dam, restore natural habitats, and repair the damage made by the dam on the original stream ecosystem.



Currently the proposal is awaiting the approval of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. As soon as the Corps approves the permit, work can proceed on this important project.

By signing this petition and sharing it with your friends and neighbors, you are sending a clear message to the Army Corps of Engineers that we cannot afford to risk another tragedy at the Milburnie Dam. 

Thank you for your support.





Recent signatures


    1. Reached 1,000 signatures
    2. Details for the Milburnie Dam Public Information Workshop

      We have confirmed the details for the Public Information Workshop on the removal of the Milburnie Dam and restoration of the Neuse River.

      Public Information Workshop
      Thursday, December 6, 2012
      6:00 - 8:00 PM
      Holiday Inn Raleigh North
      2805 Highwoods Blvd.
      Raleigh, NC 27604

      Please join us at this important meeting if you can. You'll hear from experts on the environment, river science, wildlife, recreation and safety, and you'll have an opportunity to share your opinion as well.

      Click here to RSVP:

    3. Watch the Milburnie Dam Removal Video

      Restoration Systems has created a short video highlighting the importance of removing the Milburnie Dam and restoring the Neuse River.

      Watch here:

    4. Reached 100 signatures
    5. First responder in Neuse River drownings: Water was unsafe

      JULY 18, 2012 -- WRAL-TV
      RALEIGH, N.C. — A Wake County sheriff's deputy who jumped into the Neuse River Monday afternoon in a desperate rescue effort said the water was rough and murky when two children drowned near the Old Milburnie Dam.
      "I took off my uniform and everything I had on to try to locate them," Master Deputy Kenneth Kay said Wednesday. "Going underneath, we could not see anything."
      He said that currents were so strong underneath the surface, another officer had to push him down to get to the bottom.
      Police say cousins H'Katherine R'Com, 10, and Johnny Nay, 7, were fishing with family members at the dam when they went into what appeared to be still water, got pulled under and never resurfaced.
      Their bodies were found about four hours later.
      READ MORE:

    6. Victim of Neuse River drowning tried to save friend

      JULY 9, 2008 -- WRAL-TV
      RALEIGH, N.C. — Family members say their loved one drowned trying to save the life of a friend.

      Police say three men went swimming Wednesday morning in the murky Neuse River.

      One survived, the bodies of two others were later pulled from the waters off New Bern Avenue in Raleigh.

      At about 2 a.m. Wednesday, three men swam across the river and walked to the Milburnie Dam.

      Just before 3 a.m., the men began to swim back. When one of the men called out for help, the other two men swam out to help but couldn't get to him. Only one man made it out of the water.
      READ MORE:

    7. It's time for the Milburnie Dam to go

      MAY 12, 2010 -- NEWS & OBSERVER
      The time has come to remove Milburnie Dam on the Neuse River for three main and important reasons.
      First is recreation. Our city and county leaders have insightfully made a commitment to complete the Neuse River Greenway, which will soon span 30 miles down the Neuse making connections to Wake Forest, Knightdale, downtown and Umstead State Park. For the first time in a generation, residents will have the opportunity to reconnect with the Neuse River and all of its beauty from a natural greenway.
      READ MORE:


    Reasons for signing

    • Wes Newell PITTSBORO, NC
      • almost 2 years ago

      Removal of the Milburnie Dam represents the best ecological option for restoring streams and rivers within the Neuse River Basin.

    • Ann Latimer RALEIGH, NC
      • almost 2 years ago

      To restore spawning grounds for shad, and other migrating fish. To facilitate kayaking and canoeing. To make the area safer for children.

    • Matt Daniels RALEIGH, NC
      • almost 2 years ago

      Its dangerous and it impacts the environment. The water should be allowed to flow as to not stagnate and promote wildlife growth.

    • nee buntoum RALEIGH, NC
      • almost 2 years ago


    • Daniel Ward WAKE FOREST, NC
      • almost 2 years ago



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