Rhodes Pond Updates

 

 

January 2024 Update

Wildlife staff were on site Monday December 18th following the rain event that occurred on the 17th and witnessed the pond beginning to overtop the new labyrinth spillway. Overtopping of the spillway is an important milestone as this marks the pond reaching full depth for the first time since the dam was breached in 2016. Over the last month staff have continued to monitor the impoundment and water level has remained steady. A WRC construction crew completed installation of floating dock sections at the boat ramp as well as placement of a new public fishing pier. With these amenities installed the Rhodes Pond site is officially reopened for use by the public. Boaters are reminded that gasoline powered motors are not allowed within Rhodes Pond.

 

December 2023 Update

Wildlife officials continue to monitor the water level in Rhodes Pond and are pleased to report the level has risen to within about 1.5’ to 2’ of the normal pool elevation. Review of local rain gauge data for the 4 months since the gates were closed shows rainfall has been approximately 40% below the recent average for the same period, this has limited the rate of impoundment. However, water level has risen significantly since August and continues to rise. While the gates remain closed, design elements in the dam allow for small flows to be discharged to the downstream channels to maintain health of the river while still restricting flow to promote the impoundment of water. With more rain within the watershed, the water level will gradually increase until the spillway is overtopped. At that point the impoundment will reach a point of equilibrium where inflow equals outflow and water level should remain fairly steady. Wildlife staff are prepared to install floating docks and a floating fishing pier when a suitable water depth is reached.

 

August 2023 Update

Recently representatives from NC Wildlife met at Rhodes Pond and officially closed the gates of the new dam at Rhodes Pond. With the gates closed the impoundment will gradually refill with water, once water reaches a suitable depth, NC Wildlife staff will reinstall floating docks at the boat ramp and fishing pier. Over the next year, NC Wildlife plans to stock catfish, redbreast sunfish, and largemouth bass in Rhodes Pond.

 

April 2023 Update

Sequoia Services has completed construction on the Rhodes Pond Dam. At this time Sequoia is demobilizing from the site and preparing closeout documents for submittal to WRC and our design team at McGill Associates. Once all documentation is collected, WRC and McGill will make an application to NC Dam Safety to inspect the new structure and issue an Approval to Impound. The water control gates will remain open until Approval to Impound is issued by NC Dam Safety. While we await final approval, WRC will mobilize a construction crew to the site to prepare site amenities for public access. WRC Inland Fisheries division is also currently planning for the restocking of fish in Rhodes Pond. We are currently planning to stock largemouth bass in June (pending Dam Safety approval) and redbreast sunfish and catfish in September or October.

 

November 2022 Update

Sequoia Services continues to make good progress on the construction of the new Rhodes Pond Dam. The main portion of the primary spillway is complete and construction crews are working on the downstream baffle chute, as well as wingwalls to tie the primary spillway to the adjoining embankment. Near the end of November we expect that Phase 1 of the construction will be complete and control of water will be altered to begin flowing through the new gate openings, this will allow work on the west end of the spillway to be completed. Due to Hurricane Ian, and a few other heavy rainfall events, the project completion date is now before the end of February 2023.

 

August 2022 Update

Following review of funding, FEMA has approved the increased cost for the project and work is well underway. Work completed to-date includes removal of the existing spillway, construction of water control berms and retaining walls, excavation of primary spillway area, and installation of lowest foundations. The work completed so far is all necessary to make construction of the spillway possible and constitutes roughly 40% of the project. Sequoia Services most recent construction schedule projects the project to be completed on-time in January 2023. After completion of the construction contract the gates will remain open and the dam will undergo review by NC Dam Safety before approval to impound water is issued. Once approval is issued the gates will be closed to begin the process of filling the impoundment.

 

July 2021 Update

During a recent cost increase request review process, FEMA decided to take a fresh look at the entire Rhodes Pond Dam project. During this review, FEMA determined that possible errors were made by their staff during the initial evaluation process for Rhodes Pond. (Funding approval for the project was granted by FEMA in 2016. The funding approval letter is attached.)

As a result, FEMA is reconsidering the funding eligibility for the entire project. At this time, FEMA has placed the project under review until a final determination can be completed. FEMA has also requested additional information from WRC. We estimate the amount of time for this review to take place is a minimum of 4-12 months. Due to the funding issues WRC will be making decisions on how to best move forward. The contractor has mobilized onsite and initial phases of work are already underway. 

 

Groundbreaking Ceremony (May 2021)
NCWRC staff, local officials, state dignitaries, community partners and residents attended a groundbreaking ceremony in Dunn.

 

Permit Approved (December 2020)
An intensive Individual Permit process by the US Army Corp of Engineers was conducted and the permit was approved with the State Construction Office plans approval.

 

Public Meeting in Godwin (April 2019)

 

Design engineering firm hired (March 2019)
McGill Associates was awarded the contract amendment was approved by N.C. Dam Safety to proceed forward with design to a revised and higher standard.

 

FEMA Funding Request (2017)
Request for funding approved. The project, which initially was intended to cost around $8.7 million, will be funded with $6.3 million by FEMA. The remaining cost will be funded by the Commission and a federal grant.

 

Hurricane Matthew (2016)
Creating overtopping protection was determined to be a cost-effective way of bringing the dam into compliance. Scheduled to be completed in December 2016, the repair project was progressing well. Then the weekend of October 8, 2016 disaster struck when Hurricane Matthew rolled into the area.

The first Category 5 Atlantic hurricane, since Hurricane Felix in 2007, Hurricane Matthew’s total rainfall within Rhodes Pond Dam’s drainage basin was estimated to be as high as 15 inches. For reference, the 100 year – 48-hour design storm required by North Carolina Dam Safety for high hazard dam design is approximately 10 inches. This high level of rainfall resulted in overtopping of the dam crest and breaches on both sides of the existing concrete primary spillway. Both I-95 and US 301 were shut down due to flooding.
Damage to the earthen portions of the dam were extensive with several small breaches and one very large breach. The 50-foot+ breach on the north end of the primary spillway revealed very poor-quality soils filled with sand, bricks, chunks of concrete, I-beams, lumber, etc. These soils will need to be removed then replaced and compacted with clean soils with a higher clay content.
The primary spillway, what most would refer to as “the dam”, sustained damage as well. The wall at the north end of the primary spillway shows evidence of shifting where the largest breach occurred. The breach also revealed large root infiltration into the concrete structure — a structure built in the early 1900’s, likely poured with cold seams and without steel reinforcement.

 

Tropical Storm Andrea (2013)
During Tropical Storm Andrea in 2013, the pond’s water level rose overtopping the dam causing erosion around the spillway. The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Dam Safety Program inspected the dam and sent the Commission a notice of deficiency changing the dam’s classification from intermediate hazard to a high hazard, requiring The Commission to drain the pond until investigation and repairs could be made. 

 

Property Transfers to NCWRC (2009)
After a site visit by Commission staff, Rhodes pond was recognized as a wonderful resource for our constituents and local and state residents. The Commission felt if the dam was not repaired and the pond was drained, it would be a great loss to the citizens of North Carolina. In 2009, after coordination with the State Property Office and N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT), the property was transferred to The Commission. The NCDOT also transferred $150,000 of funding towards the repair of the dam gates.

The Commission spent an additional $350,000 replacing dam control gates and providing free public access opportunities, including development of a new boat ramp and floating docks, a floating fishing pier, road improvements, wildlife observation deck and parking lots. These handicap accessible facilities are free and open to the public 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The Commission also stationed a construction crew at Rhodes pond to perform maintenance and operations, in addition to construction activities.

The Commission partnered with the City of Fayetteville’s Parks and Recreation to provide onsite programs, such as fishing, kayaking, hiking and boating opportunities. The Commission also held public meetings to discuss plans and concerns with residents and Town Officials.

 

NCDOT and NCWRC Meet to Discuss Rhodes Pond Property (2005)
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission was contacted by the NCDOT about Rhodes pond in 2005. At the time, the pond’s dam gates were in a state of disrepair and an inspection by the N.C. Land Resources Dam Safety Division noted several deficiencies needing correction. Investing in the dam’s repairs was not in NCDOT’s interest, so NCDOT’s options were to drain the pond or sell the property as surplus. As such, NCDOT and Commission officials met to determine if the Commission would be interested in the property.