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Posted: December 31, 2010 12:00 a.m.

Eagle Scout demystifies wetlands pier

Submitted Photo /

Nic Walter has unraveled the mysteries surrounding the pier next to Covington City Hall, and he’s sharing that knowledge with others.

The Eastside High School senior has placed several educational signs on the pier as part of an Eagle Scout service project, including one sign describing the pier’s purpose and several others naming and describing the flora in the Dried Indian Creek wetlands.

"I remember reading in the paper how they were planning to do a man-made wetlands, and I got interested," said Nic, son of Jean Fowler and former County Engineer Kevin Walter, who put Nic in touch with Covington officials. "It was a different kind of project in that it wasn’t a lot of hammer and nails, but was more about education."

The wetland was restored because the Dried Indian Creek was on the state’s impaired biota list, according to City Engineer Tres Thomas. The city managed to trace the damage being done to the wildlife in the creek back to the sediment that gets in the stream — one of the often unseen consequences of stormwater runoff. The plantings in the creek were added to act as a buffer and filter sediment, leaving pure water as the only addition to the wetlands.

Nic researched the flora, wrote up the sign descriptions, ordered the signs from a local company and then put them together and placed them on the pier.

"The biggest thing I learned was to allow for time for life to happen. I had to call three or four sign companies. I thought I would finish a lot sooner than I did. I learned to expect the unexpected," said Nic, who is also an intern for The Covington News.

He also had a chance to improve his people skills and complete a complex project from start to finish. He raised $500, courtesy of Chick-fil-A at Newton Plaza. Wayne Houseman, owner of a local construction company, donated the lumber and helped Nic assemble the signs.

Nic also had a chance to see his classroom science lessons applied in the field.

"I learned about certain bacteria that take toxins out of the water. Certain wildlife can do things better and more efficiently than people. I didn’t expect it to be so direct," he said.

Nic also gathered a group of 10 to 15 people to go to the wetlands and clean up trash that had accumulated.

"I’m really glad I did it. The Eagle Scout part was important, but I was more invested in the project itself. It spoke to me in terms of helping people understand that the pier was more than cutting down trees and a waste of government money."

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