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Pre-restoration photo of Linville River


Various shots of Linville River before and after restoration efforts
Linville River before (left) and after (right)

The restoration of the Linville River had its beginnings in 2012 when the NC Forest Service concluded the portion of the river flowing through Gill State Forest could be improved for aquatic habitat and the fishery. Along with the river restoration, an unnamed tributary flowing into the river and on state-owned property was designated for enhancement. In 2013, the agency applied for grants from the N.C. Division of Water Resources and the Clean Water Management Trust Fund. That quest for restoration funding was ongoing until 2016 when all necessary grant funds were secured. The agency then partnered with Resource Institute (RI), a not-for-profit organization based in Winston-Salem, that specializes in stream and river restoration.

The river reach to be that was restored is currently degraded due to had excessive sedimentation from bank erosion, low quality in-stream habitat due to historical river channelization and over-widening, and poor connectivity to adjacent floodplains. The aquatic insects community in the river that has been macrobenthic (aquatic insects) community periodically measured by the NC Division of Water Resources is classified as “Fair”, meaning improvements in the channel design and flow will also improve the stream bottom habitat where the insects spend part of their life cycle. Improving this biotic community would will also improve the trout fishery due to increased food availability. The unnamed tributary needs received additional vegetative plantings on its banks.

Visitors and fishermen should stay on designated pathways along the restored river. Avoid tripping over the live-stakes and planted seedlings, and do not pull them up.