There's a good article following up on two initiatives we've taken regarding problems at or near the NC Finishing property on the Yadkin River in Today's Salisbury Post: Dredging project shifted 500 feet as Alcoa, Carolina Sand work to p....
1. Carolina Sand had applied for a permit through Alcoa and FERC for a new sand dredging area which initially would have extended past the Beard Bridge and into the National Register eligible Yadkin River Crossings Historic District. It would have endangered both the Beard Bridge remains and the archaeological field of the Civil War Battle at the Yadkin Bridge. I enlisted the support (in terms of a requested resolution) from both the Town of Spencer and the Uwharrie Regional Resources Commission. Both Alcoa and Carolina Sand were very receptive as soon as they learned about the oversight, and amended their application so that the sand dredging will stop 500' above the Beard Bridge site. (BTW, I didn't say there was any lapse in federal government approval. It was all the State Historic Preservation Office's oversight in not informing Carolina Sand's consultant of the presence of the district.)
2. I also sought resolutions from the Town of Spencer and the URRC to look into the availability of funds to do remediation of the old contamination on the N. C. Finishing property, as well as the more recent mill demolition debris field, and some funding has been identified.
I'd like to thank Spencer Aldermen Jeff Morris and Reid Walters who have been very supportive. I'd also say that I'm the only person who has tried to use the URRC constructively to do anything other than bash Alcoa.
There's one dipstick comment so far on the story, probably from a redneck relic hunter who thought Carolina Sand's dredging would be the best way to recover artifacts from the river bed. Since I can't comment on the Salisbury Post site, let me answer it here. To begin with, buried under the river's sand is a very good place for artifacts. When air can't reach them, they don't decay. (We're also interested in looking for any remains of the original bridge.) In the second place, Carolina Sand has no expertise whatsoever in doing archaeological work, and wouldn't be able to help damaging them, losing them, and certainly losing all context of where they were found. (Carolina Sand sucks the sand up and sends it through a pipe upriver to their base near Grant's Creek.) I'd prefer to have a trained underwater archaeologist do the work, thank you! East Carolina University has an underwater archaeology department, and I've spoken to Dr. Larry Babits there. This Amateur-Night-in-Dixie suggestion also ignores all the damage the dredging operation would likely do to the Beard Bridge piers. Besides that, the permit application has already been amended, and the floor is not open for comments from the Peanut Gallery.