The City of Wilmington received an award from the Lower Cape Fear Stewardship Development Coalition on Feb. 24 for its collaborative efforts to reduce the volume of polluted stormwater runoff entering Masonboro Sound.

The wetland in the Raintree neighborhood will treat approximately 2,628 cubic feet of stormwater runoff annually.

The city won the award for a constructed wetland in the Raintree neighborhood of Wilmington. The wetland was built over a stormwater ditch that overflowed and flooded the surrounding properties and streets. The wetland will treat approximately 2,628 cubic feet of stormwater runoff that goes into Hewletts Creek, and eventually Masonboro Sound, annually.

The North Carolina Coastal Federation secured funding from the National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) to work with firm WithersRavenel to design the project.

Geoff Goss, watershed coordinator with the City of Wilmington’s Heal Our Waterways program, said the wetland has been positive because it treats stormwater, prevents flooding and it’s a beautiful addition to the neighborhood.

“We are very, very pleased with how an installation like this can be so much more of an attractive way to decrease the amount of bacteria that goes into our waterways though polluted stormwater,” Goss said.

This project is helping to implement the Bradley and Hewletts Creek watershed restoration plan, developed in partnership with the federation.

As part of this plan, the city has partnered with the federation, N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve (NCNERR), Heal Our Waterways, the University of North Carolina Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach since 2012 to develop similar best-management practices (BMPs) that will reduce the amount of runoff entering Bradley and Hewletts Creeks.

“I think one of the best things about this project is that this was such a collaborative effort,” Goss said.

In addition to the wetland, the NERR grant provided funding to install pervious pavement sections on residential driveways and in the road right-of-way. Permeable pavement allows stormwater to soak directly into the ground instead of flowing off as polluted runoff.

“The federation is very excited about the positive results from the Raintree wetland as well as other retrofits that have been installed throughout New Hanover County,” said Lauren Kolodij, deputy director of the federation. “We hope these awards generate greater interest in these techniques.”

The Lower Cape Fear Stewardship Development Coalition is a nonprofit that has recognized local groups and businesses for their environmental stewardship since 2005. It gives awards to “development projects that demonstrate outstanding environmental stewardship through the protection, conservation, improvement and awareness of our natural resources.”

The federation won an award in 2016 for its preservation of the historic Palmgren-O’Quinn house and for the low-impact development techniques staff implemented at the Wrightsville Beach office.

For more information about the Bradley and Hewletts Creek watershed restoration plan or the Lower Cape Fear Stewardship Development Coalition, please contact Lauren Kolodij at 252-393-8185.