JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The Onslow County Soil & Water Conservation District is working to reduce flooding and restore streams across the county.

A $377,335 grant from the NC Department of Agriculture will help restore a large portion of Backswamp and Squires Run Creek. Work began this week and is expected to be completed by the end of February, weather permitting.

A contractor will clear more than 68,000 feet of streams by removing downed trees and debris that impedes water flow.

“These crews are going to go through and they’ll be busting beaver dams out, any downed trees or debris that’s found within the creek channel itself,” Soil and Water Conservation Director Josh Thomas said. “The floodwaters will recede much quicker if we can get this water to flow. When anytime we have a heavy rain event.”

Thomas also this project will help prevent future flooding in the areas around Backswamp and Squires Run Creek.

“These projects are vitally important to flood mitigation in our part of the state,” Thomas said. “Whether it’s debris from storms and hurricanes or from beaver damage, any amount of debris that we can remove from our creeks and streams increases the speed at which flood waters can recede in our communities.”

The work is funded by the StreamFlow Rehabilitation Assistance Program (StRAP), which was created by the NC General Assembly for projects that protect and restore the integrity of the drainage infrastructure of North Carolina’s waterways. This work helps prevent future flooding, restores streams and reduces risks to life and property in Onslow County.

The Onslow County Soil and Water Conservation District also offers agricultural cost sharing, water resources assistance, and other programs to Onslow County citizens by preserving, protecting, and enhancing natural resources.