In the coming year, Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association (ECWA) will be conducting a stream enhancement project at Pearl Mill Nature Preserve, along a 500-ft stretch of South Ellerbe Creek and the Strayhorn Branch, which flows into it. These two streams have become severely eroded and polluted over the years, since they drain 11 acres of downtown Durham, and each new storm carries more sediment, debris, and pollution into the waterways.
“The good news is that we can intervene to help slow down the flow of stormwater, reduce erosion, and make the streams cleaner and more hospitable for aquatic life,” says L.A. Davis-Durante, ECWA Community Engagement Coordinator. The stream enhancement project will stabilize the eroding stream banks, plant native pollinator-friendly species, and build a trail so that we can view and enjoy the stream more closely.
Construction will begin in early- to mid-2023 and should last ~3 months. Neighbors and trail users should expect some disruption when construction gets underway. We may see heavy equipment used for moving soil and regrading the stream banks. We’ll also notice some vegetation being removed, with new plantings taking some time to become fully established.
“We want neighbors to know that any disruption you’ll see is temporary and is for the good of the stream. Invasive plant species will be replaced with pollinator-friendy native plants. We’ll minimize erosion during the regrading process, using sediment control practices designed specifically for stream enhancement projects. And the project will not create any new impervious surfaces (like roofs or roads) that increase stormwater runoff.”
Thanks to ECWA for taking these big steps to improve our waterways!
For updates about this project and other news and upcoming events, follow ECWA on Facebook: @EllerbeCreekWatershedAssociation and Instagram: @Ellerbecreeknc