At downtown Swansboro’s Ward Shore Park there are eight new parking spaces built using material that lets stormwater soak through, one of many taking steps the town is taking to improve water quality.
The town worked with the North Carolina Coastal Federation and used funds through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act Section 319 grant program for the project to install eight parking spots for public access that were designed by Coastal Stormwater Services Inc. and built by Task Contracting.
For the project, sections of asphalt and compacted turf were removed and replaced with rock-filled permeable paving grids that allow stormwater to soak into the ground to help reduce runoff.
“With this funding we were able to create an environmentally sound parking area instead of resorting to the conventional asphalt projects that are typically installed,” said Town Manager Chris Seaberg in a statement. “We now have three permeable parking areas in the town and hope to install more in the future as part of our effort to implement our watershed restoration plan.”
Swansboro’s watershed plan was approved in 2017 and focuses on ways to reduce the volume of stormwater runoff with techniques that infiltrate the rain. The plan sets a framework for reducing runoff to the White Oak River and Queens Creek. The overall goal is to reduce nuisance flooding and restore water quality, according to the federation.
“This project adds to the six projects we have partnered with the Town to construct on over the past few years. Those included two permeable parking lots at town hall, two cisterns at the public works building and fire station and two rain gardens at Town Hall, all collectively reducing runoff in the Town,” said Bree Charron, coastal specialist with the federation. “It’s great when you can add parking without increasing stormwater loads to nearby waters. We do this by giving it the space to infiltrate.”
The federation works with local governments, businesses and coastal communities to embrace nature-based stormwater strategies to reduce flooding, improve water quality and help balance economic development with natural resource management. Learn more at the federation’s website.