With erosion becoming an issue in Lincoln County, a committee has been formed to consider a proposed ordinance that would help combat the problem.
Building and Land Development staff members formed the group in September in order to help review how to maintain the overall natural condition of the shoreline.
The soil and erosion committee has 19 members, including Lincoln County commissioners, planning board members, and members of the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation.
Sedimentation, the erosion or depositing of soil or other materials into the water, is one of the largest pollution sources of area waterways.
After reporting to the Lincoln County Commissioners in December, the group is in the process of meeting with members of the state Division of Water Quality in order to determine the best way to incorporate rules.
The committee hopes to meet at the beginning of February to review plans again.
â€œWe wanted to do something a little more in conjunction with what the state is doing,â€ said Brad Dyer, Lincoln County land use coordinator.
If the ordinance is approved, sedimentation laws will be enforced and may include regulation of land disturbing activities and prevention and control of soil erosion and sediment deposition.
With many new subdivisions being developed in the east Lincoln area, soil erosion can become a problem, especially during heavy rainfalls.
Cynthia Jones, a committee member and lakekeeper for Lincoln County, knows first hand what sedimentation can do.
Erosion can have many negative effects on the environment and also can cause problems economically.
â€œI think the ordinance will pass,â€ she said. â€œI hope it will say specifics about what can and canâ€™t be done.â€
Jones said she sees continual problems from developers who do not set up good stormwater areas to slow down water.
One of these developments that has experienced problems is Smithstone development, located off N.C. 16.
â€œSedimentation in water is from poor development,â€ she said.
One of these problems is the buffer zone, which is the natural area that holds the bank on the shore.
â€œIf a development is not put in correctly the bank will just wash out,â€ she said.
Jones said she is not against developing but said that when there are no rules, developers seem to do as they like.
â€œIf it is not built correctly sedimentation runs off, down the street and into the woods,â€ she said.
If it is built correctly, it should slow down the water and hold it in.
Her father, who lives in a development behind St. Peterâ€™s By the Lake, saw the negative impacts when the church expanded roughly a year ago.
â€œItâ€™s important to realize that it is not only the lake that is affected, it affects neighbors as well,â€ she said.
â€œIf there was an ordinance in place that would have saved him $5,000, he had to put a wall in his backyard because of all the sedimentation,â€ she added.
The ordinance, if approved, would protect water quality, fish, wildlife habitat and recreational use of Lake Norman.
It would apply to all lands in Lincoln County zoning jurisdiction within the Lake Norman and Mountain Island Lake watershed districts.
by Amy Wadsworth