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River Bend residents ask BOC for help with silt

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    The water depth in 2014 allowed for a 24-foot pontoon boat to easily navigate the cove. CONTRIBUTED
  • Article Image Alt Text
    The water level in 2019 shows the results of severe silt erosion that residents believe came from silt runoff caused by construction activities on the surrounding land. CONTRIBUTED

A group of around 10 residents from the south lake area attended the Putnam County Board of Commissioners meeting July 21 to discuss concerns about silt buildup and debris causing issues in the coves around their homes.

Residents from the area came together after discussing the growing issue on the Nextdoor app and decided to attend the BOC meeting together to explain the issue to the board.

After East River Bend resident Marian Buckley’s fruitless attempts to contact previous district commissioner Alan Foster in 2018 and issues finding the correct department to speak with in 2019, residents approached the BOC for help last week. They explained their inability to use or enjoy the lake, property damage from debris and declining property values caused by hunting clubs in the area.

Buckley said that the landowners in the area own around 1,400 acres of land. She said they cleared trees for feeding plots, created road infrastructure and built a fence surrounding each of their properties. The residents believe this activity has caused silt and debris to fall into their coves and reduce the water levels near their homes.

“When this lake was built, the cove off of East River Bend had been between 8-12 feet of water depth. Over 35 years, that depth was stable,” Buckley said. “Since 2015, when the land belonging to TAC Southern Pines and DWD LLC had cleared, that 8-12 feet of water depth was reduced to only inches.”

Buckley also stated, “It’s my opinion that the silt in the lake has become somewhat dangerous. It’s ankledeep out there.”

Fellow resident Susan Clark said, “This seems a solvable problem. We are looking to you as our elected officials to reverse and stop this problem. We would like to work with you and the property owners to stop this erosion and contain the sedimentation as it leaves their property.”

The residents are requesting that the companies that have been using the surrounding land be held responsible for the erosion issues and build retention ponds.

District 3 Commissioner Bill Sharp has since contacted the residents that spoke at the BOC meeting and is planning to meet with them in early August to further discuss the problem, assess the situation and hopefully find a solution.