Crews to Begin Work at White Farm Next Week

The DEEP plans to rechannel Allyn Brook from Route 68 to Maple Avenue in Durham in an effort to reduce flooding at the town owned property.


After more than a year of planning, crews are scheduled to begin work next week on a project to restore White Farm in Durham.

Town officials said a permit required by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was approved Monday, clearing the way for the town to move ahead with its effort to prevent the town's most popular open space property from flooding.

Town engineer Brian Curtis presented a brief update on the project at Tuesday night's Conservation Commission meeting.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, he said, will use special machinery to rechannel Allyn Brook from Route 68 to Maple Avenue. The initial work will begin where the brook intersects Route 68, an area that is "completely blocked," according to Curtis.

Curtis estimated that crews would remove about 3,000 yards of sediment and debris from the brook and temporarily stockpile the material on the property. Town officials are still considering their options to remove the material, he said.

Construction crews will access the site from Maple Avenue.

"We're anticipating about six weeks, but that's an estimate," Curtis told the commission.

The White family, which owned the land before selling it to the town in 1966, attempted to buy back the property last year over frustration with the town's management of the property.

Sue White attended Tuesday's meeting but did not comment.

The town has budgeted $215,000 for the project although the cost of the plan was not discussed.

Curtis said the DEEP will create areas for fish habitat in Allyn Brook by burying dead trees on the property along the bank of the brook.

"The plan is to minimize the clearing along the banks of the brook because there's a number of areas where there's trees and shrubs that provide shade," he said.

Some plant species important to native wildlife will be flagged and left undisturbed, according to Curtis. 

Commission members suggested that areas of the brook be designed to allow access to visitors of White Farm and to prevent erosion.

Commission co-chair Robert Melvin also noted that the property had recently been hayed for the first time in recent years.

"Everything sounds encouraging," he said.


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