In response to the Oct. 21 editorial “ Park priority” and the Oct. 9 news article “ Whitewater park could cost $3.6M”: I am not necessarily opposed to such a park. I am sure there could be some economic benefits for the city and county. But I am opposed to moving forward on the park without adequate consideration being given to the anadromous fisheries that exist in the Neuse River, especially considering that Milburnie Dam will likely be removed in the near future.
When the dam is removed, it will open nearly 20 additional miles of river to anadromous fish spawning. Fish like American shad, hickory shad and striped bass spend their adult lives in saltwater, returning to freshwater rivers to spawn in the late winter and spring. Many will no doubt swim to the base of Falls Dam to spawn. These fish are valuable to both recreational and commercial fishers but exclusively to recreational fishermen once they re-enter freshwater.
I urge city, county and parks officials to give due consideration to fish and fishing when planning and constructing a whitewater park facility. Recreational angling is already big business for our state. We should recognize that and do all we can to boost its economic impact by considering the value of anadromous fish when we consider altering a natural river course.