North Fork Dam

Client: City of Asheville

Equinox is working with the City of Asheville, Schnabel Engineering, and McGill Associates Engineering to make improvements to the North Fork Dam, located in Swannanoa River Valley, Black Mountain, NC. The North Fork Dam and a smaller saddle dam were constructed during 1952-1954 to impound the North Fork Swannanoa River to create Burnette Reservoir, a 334-acre lake that provides high quality drinking water to City of Asheville.

In 2013, Schnabel Engineering completed an engineering study for the City of Asheville to document safety deficiencies on the North Fork Dam. Three main concerns and remedies were identified. The conduits that remove water from the reservoir will be repaired to increase structural integrity. A new spillway will be constructed to increase capacity and reduce the risk of breaching the dam during a flood event, and the dam will be buttressed to increase its mass sufficient to resist a more probable seismic event than it currently is.

Equinox’s role is to document the current environmental conditions and potential project impacts of the North Fork Dam Project and to complete all the associated environmental permitting. An archaeology and historical preservation investigation was completed to determine what cultural resources would be impacted based on the proposed disturbance areas. This included site reconnaissance as well as communication with local agencies, including the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and the Catawba Indian Nation. Equinox also performed wetland and stream delineations to determine what natural resources would be impacted during the construction process. A rare/threatened/endangered species habitat assessment was also conducted to determine if any watch list species would be affected within the project area. An invasive plant inventory was conducted to determine where nuisance species are located and a management plan was developed to determine the best way to remove these species after construction. Equinox will also be responsible for the long-term maintenance associated with treating and identifying non-native invasive plant species throughout the site. The improvements of the North Fork Dam are anticipated to be completed in the winter of 2019.

Ecological Monitoring  |  Invasive Exotic Species Management  |  Regulatory Permitting  |  Stream and Wetland Assessment