Since 2014 Brushy Fork has been integral in the planning, design, permitting, and construction of 13 stream stabilization projects funded by the Western North Carolina Stream Initiative (WNCSI). The WNCSI is a partnership between the Natural Resource Conservation Service, a branch of the USDA, and Resource Institute, a North Carolina nonprofit which works to enhance water quality by restoring streams, rivers, and wetlands. Brushy Fork works closely with rural, agricultural landowners who are interested in installing agricultural best management practices and stream stabilization structures to address existing stream degradation. Although BFEC has worked with a diverse group of landowners through WNCSI, the degradation of streams on their property can usually be attributed to one (or a combination) of three factors: livestock accessing the stream, lack of a vegetative riparian buffer, and increased runoff due to upstream development.
Brushy Fork uses a combination of natural channel design structures, bank sloping and benching, matting, and revegetating the banks to repair areas of erosion and provide for long term stability. On sites where livestock have contributed to stream degradation, livestock exclusion fencing from sensitive riparian areas is a necessary component of the stabilization project. Alternate watering sources and stable stream crossings are installed where necessary to ensure that livestock have an adequate water supply and to allow the farmer to move the animals between pastures on both sides of the stream.
Interested landowners must put an application in at the local NRCS office, as annual funding for the initiative is limited. Brushy Fork is happy to provide additional information for landowners who may be interested in learning more about WNCSI.