The Town of Chapel Hill’s Creek Restoration Project
The following information is an excerpt from the Bolin Creek Watershed Restoration Initiative Final Report. Click Here to access the full report and read more about the project.
Bolin Creek was found to be meeting its intended uses in 1986, but became impaired by the next round of monitoring in 1993. The length of impaired stream has only increased since then. As of 2012, Bolin Creek continues to be impaired for biological integrity, the impairment starting about halfway through Carrboro and extending through Chapel Hill.
The local community has a fond relationship with the creek, and at the same time, a growing body of evidence over the past several decades has documented that the aquatic life of Bolin Creek and its tributaries is threatened and impaired from the human activity occurring within its watershed. The causes of the impairment are both simple—land disturbance and development—and complex: alterations in hydrology, erosion and sedimentation, introduction of toxic contaminants and other pollutants, and habitat disruption. The bottom line is that the concern is also an opportunity for restoring the creek to a healthier status.
To investigate potential stressors and causes of impairment in the Creek, assessments of the watershed were conducted in 2002 and 2003 by the Watershed Assessment Restoration Program. The study indicated that several effects of urbanization, including habitat degradation, riparian degradation, channel incision, high embeddedness, low base flow, and toxicity, are believed to be the primary factors stressing this watershed. The study recommended that feasible and cost-effective stormwater retrofit projects be implemented to mitigate the hydrologic and potential toxic effects of existing development.
Staff from the Carrboro Planning Department, Chapel Hill Stormwater Management Division, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NC DENR), and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began meeting in April 2006. Together these organizations formed the Bolin Creek Watershed Restoration Team (BCWRT) to participate in EPA’s Watershed Restoration Program in restoring and enhancing Bolin Creek and its tributaries. The Bolin Creek Watershed Restoration Initiative was started to provide organization and support for the Towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro to participate in EPA’s Watershed Restoration Program.
The overarching goal of all Bolin Creek Watershed Restoration Team projects is to restore the aquatic health and water resource quality of Bolin Creek and its tributaries.
- Check out the Bolin Creek Restoration Team’s website for more information about the project!
- Click here to find out how NC State is helping the Town of Chapel Hill implement watershed restoration practices and water quality monitoring.
- Watch this video featuring Patricia D’Arcante detailing the Baldwin Park restoration completed in 2011, repairing badly eroded stream banks and the takeover of invasive plants.