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Approve the Removal of the Milburnie Dam

This petition had 1,096 supporters

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.





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