The city of wilmington’s emergency watershed protection project complete

The City of Wilmington’s Emergency Watershed Protection Project Complete

Helping Restore a Coastal Community Post-Hurricane

People cleaning stream
Cleaning up a stream

McGill was a part of the team that recently completed an emergency watershed protection (EWP) project for the City of Wilmington. Find out the project details below.

Pile of trees
A pile of collected fallen trees

Damage from Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence – the powerful hurricane from September 2018 that greatly affected North Carolina and other surrounding states – is still causing difficulties in some North Carolina communities, the City of Wilmington being one of them. The hurricane caused many drainageways in Wilmington to become blocked with debris and fallen trees, resulting in even worse localized flooding and environmental destruction than was typical for a storm or large rain event.

EWP Recovery Grant Funding

Worker with a boat full of tree branches
A worker with a boat full of tree branches

After the hurricane, the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), North Carolina Department of Agriculture (NCDOA), and City of Wilmington staff came together and decided on six drainageway areas for EWP recovery grant funding approval, with the purpose of removing the debris. The locations were selected after site reconnaissance and access due diligence.

The six final drainageway areas included:

  • Camberly / Windemere Drive
  • Kelly Road / Casa Court
  • Burnt Mill Creek
  • Rose Avenue drainageway
  • East Westwood / Military Cutoff drainageway
  • McClelland Drive
Stream with debris
Kelly Road Site: Before
Stream free of debris
Kelly Road Site: After

Removal of Debris

In November 2020, the physical work began. Bell’s Tree Service coordinated access routes, performed clearing and snagging in drainage channels, as well as selective tree and debris removal, utilizing heavy equipment – when needed – to transport the material out of each area, when a boat or wheelbarrow was not large enough for the job. All work was performed consistent with NRCS standards and in accordance with USACE and NCDEQ permits. The project presented unique challenges with most activities primarily performed within residential lots. Through close coordination and a cooperative spirit between the contractor and McGill field staff, the project proceeded on schedule with minimal impact to the public, including several City-requested change orders.

Stream free of debris
Burnt Mill Creek Site (Wayne Drive): After
Stream with debris
Burnt Mill Creek Site (Wayne Drive): Before

Because of the hard work of all involved, the drainageways in Wilmington are once again free flowing. The project has since been fully accepted by the City and NRCS and final close out is underway.

McGill’s Part in the Project

McGill was responsible for property owner contact and right of entry acquisition for over 250 individual lots, design, permitting, preparation of bid documents, construction observation, and grant administration. It was a combined effort between Raleigh and Shallotte office staff.

Contact McGill’s Water Resources Team

This project was performed as a part of McGill’s on-call contract with the City of Wilmington Department of Public Services. We enjoyed working with the City to eliminate these long-standing issues caused by Hurricane Florence.

Michael hanson
Michael Hanson, PE, LEED AP

If your community has suffered from stormwater-drainage-related issues, read about our water resources engineering services, then contact Michael Hanson, PE, LEED AP, Director of Water Resources, at 919.378.9111 or

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