What is Degrading Our Urban Streams?   Nora Deamer

Threats to urban streams include increasing impervious surfaces which result in lower groundwater infiltration and higher stormwater runoff volumes, resulting in a decline in water quality and aquatic habitats. Increased instream fecal coliform bacteria, an indicator of human or animal waste, are often found at much higher concentrations in urban stream. DWQ is address these issues by working with local watershed groups, developing total daily maximum load (TMDL) estimates and/or implementing strategies to reduce the contribution of the problem pollutants such as the Jordan Lake Nutrient Management Rules. This talk will touch on several factors contributing to the decline of water quality and the aquatic habitat of NC’s urban Piedmont streams.

Our Local Streams, Bolin and Morgan Creeks: Typical or Exceptional?
Rob Breeding

Over a decade ago, watershed managers recognized the need to better understand the causes of degraded water quality and declining habitat in Little Creek and its tributaries Bolin and Booker Creeks. For three years, the WARP program collected and analyzed information to identify problems in those streams and developed recommendations that could make the watershed a healthier system. WARP identified reasons behind the poor aquatic organism communities (like bugs & fish) including chemical pollution (like fertilizers & pesticides) and habitat degradation (like sediment accumulation from collapsing stream banks). These findings along with information from more recent research are the focus of this presentation on the past, current, and future condition of Bolin and Morgan creeks.

 Bolin Creek Watershed Planning and Restoration – A Case Study
Trish D’Arconte and Randy Dodd

 Staff from the Towns of Carrboro and Chapel Hill have been working diligently in cooperation with local, state, and federal partners to address the problem of biological impairment in Bolin Creek since 2006.  This has included technical analyses of water quality problems and their sources, and identification of methods to correct or mitigate these problems.  The distributed nature of water quality impairment in urban areas requires a watershed-wide approach to functional restoration of Bolin Creek’s biological community.  Pilot projects to address water quality problems are underway; a variety of opportunities and constraints for future work to restore the creek’s health have also become apparent.  This has pointed to the need for full engagement of the public, stakeholders, and private entities across the watershed in understanding the nature of the challenge, setting priorities and goals, and in actual implementation to restore water quality and the integrity of aquatic biota.

 Stream Stewardship: What we’re doing well and ideas from other communities.
Kimberly Brewer, AICP Tetra Tech

Over the last 30 years, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Orange County and UNC have enacted progressive standards and programs to protect our streams and lakes, including stormwater management, streamside buffer, tree protection, and drinking water supply protection standards; a conservation design ordinance; the Urban Services Boundary and Rural Buffer; our Land Legacy program for land conservation; and more. These strong programs can and do serve as examples for other communities across the country.

Despite these actions, our streams are degraded. To be more successful, we need to address pollution runoff from development built prior to protection requirements, be realistic about what can be achieved in restoring our urban streams, build on our strong performance standards for new development, consider greener approaches to achieve those standards, and select stormwater management practices that provide multiple community benefits. The presentation will address some other communities’ innovative approaches to these issues that we may wish to consider.






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