RALEIGH, N.C. (April 16, 2014) — The Land Use and Access Committee of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission voted yesterday to direct staff to coordinate with consultants to repair and improve the dam at Rhodes Pond near Godwin in Cumberland County. The plan was one of three options considered by the committee, which voted unanimously to pursue a course of action that would meet new dam safety requirements imposed after the dam was overtopped during Tropical Storm Andrea in 2013.
The Commission will increase the height of the dam by two feet and replace an existing spillway — a project estimated to cost between $1.5-$2.5 million. The Commission plans to use federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration funds to pay for 75 percent of the project costs. The 25 percent balance will come from non-federal matching funds. Of the two rejected options, one incurred a cost estimate of almost double and the other involved permanently draining the 461-acre lake, and removing the dam and associated infrastructure.
“Rhodes Pond is a wonderful resource not only to the people of the area, but to the entire state,” said Committee Chairman Tom Berry. “Where else do we have the opportunity to own and operate such a treasure? We should work immediately to develop a plan to improve the dam and find the necessary funding to complete the work.”
State Representative John Szoka approved the Commission’s decision to repair Rhodes Pond’s dam and restore the lake.
“Rhodes Pond is an asset the state should work hard to protect,” he said. “I am glad to see the Wildlife Resources Commission recognizing the importance of the lake to both area wildlife and the community.”
Commission staff will work with a consulting firm to finalize plans for the required improvements. Those plans will be shared with local residents and community leaders before construction begins. There is not a timeline for completing the improvements at this time. Until improvements are completed, Rhodes Pond will remain drained.