N.C. Zoo to Construct Wetland
The North Carolina Zoo has been awarded a $406,000 grant from the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund to construct a wetland that will filter pollutants in surface water runoff from the zoo's North America parking lot.
The wetland will be located adjacent to an 11-acre lake and associated picnic area near the North America entrance. The project will feature an observation deck and group catering deck for visitors to experience the wetland firsthand.
Educational graphics at the site will explain the water quality benefits of wetlands and allow school groups to study and learn about wetlands.
"The Zoo is thrilled to have the opportunity to show our 700,000 annual visitors and school groups a wetland and how it works to improve water quality," said Mary Joan Pugh, zoo chief of staff. "Most wetlands are located in out-of-the-way areas where no one can see them."
The wetland will be constructed in partnership with the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT). The agency conducted a feasibility study for the project and will also provide the construction design.
"This project would not be possible without the wonderful partnership with NCDOT," Pugh said. "Their expertise also will be used in a water quality monitoring program that will evaluate how much the wetland improves the surface water runoff."
The N.C. Zoo Society will be contributing funds for construction of the group catering deck to be built over the wetland. Plans call for the wetland to be constructed and operational by next fall.
The N.C. General Assembly provides funds to the Clean Water Management Trust Fund to protect and restore surface water quality in the state. The demand for funding is high, with 150 local governments, state agencies and land trusts requesting $244 million this year.
The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, William G. Ross Jr., Secretary; Michael F. Easley, Governor.
For information call 1-800-488-0444 or visit the zoo's Web site at www.nczoo.org.
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