New Hanover County’s Airlie Gardens will be closed to the public Monday while the final phase of stormwater improvements are completed.
The project included constructing a larger forebay to capture more stormwater runoff, stream stabilization and restoration, cypress stand planting, dredging of the Airlie Lake and creating deeper pockets within the lake for habitat.
Airlie Gardens, a watershed that takes in millions of gallons of stormwater each year, is within the Cape Fear River Basin and sits at the bottom of a 124-acre watershed that discharges directly into Bradley Creek. The project, part of the North Carolina Coastal Federation’s Hewletts and Bradley Creek Watershed Restoration Plan, was designed to enhance the garden’s ability to handle stormwater and also maintain the historic and environmental qualities, especially the lake’s natural habitat and the pictorial open water.
The project took just over three years and is part of Airlie’s Stormwater Master Plan, which will help ensure the health of the Airlie Lake and the ability of the gardens to handle stormwater runoff in the most effective way possible.
This stormwater project was funded by grants from the North Carolina Land and Water Fund, formerly the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, the North Carolina Department of Justice Environmental Enhancement Grant program and the Airlie Gardens Foundation.
The stormwater project won a 2020 National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award, recognizing it for its innovation and importance for the environment.