Crooked Creek

Land that drains into Crooked Creek is known as its watershed. The Crooked Creek watershed is in the southern portion of the city. Its boundaries are close to Fayetteville Street to the west and north, Barbee Road to the east, and Herndon Road to the south. Crooked Creek is also known as Southwest Creek. Crooked Creek is one of the smaller watersheds in the City of Durham.

Water from Crooked Creek flows into Jordan Lake. From there it flows into the Haw River and then to the Cape Fear River. This river is the only one in North Carolina that empties directly into the Atlantic Ocean.

Stream Water Quality


The health and cleanliness of the watershed is reported in Durham’s State of Our Streams Report. In 2015, one site was monitored in Crooked Creek. Crooked Creek received a score of 72 which is equal to a grade of "C". Higher bacteria and turbidity levels contributed to this score. 

Water from Crooked Creek flows into Jordan Lake. Jordan Lake has recently had problems with algae caused by extra nutrients (such as nitrogen and phosphorus). The state has created a plan, also called a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) (PDF), to help reduce the nutrients in the lake. Because of this, the city also carefully tracks nutrients in Crooked Creek.

Stormwater Projects in Crooked Creek


Water Pollution Investigations

Stormwater Services investigates water pollution reported by other city employees and Durham residents. In the 2015-16 reporting year, staff found no pollution sources. Stormwater Services encourages neighbors to discuss and discourage putting trash, wash water, grease, or other pollution into storm drains. Anything that goes into storm drains does not get treated and, in this watershed, eventually washes into Crooked Creek and Jordan Lake. Residents can also call the Stormwater Hotline (919-560-SWIM) to report water pollution.

Watershed Improvement Plan

The Public Works Department is working on the Northeast Creek and Crooked Creek Watershed Management Implementation Project. The City has contracted with Brown and Caldwell Environmental Engineers to work with city’s Engineering and Stormwater Services Division to prepare an engineering study and assessment of the Northeast Creek and Crooked Creek watersheds. Find more information here

Get Involved


There are many ways for you to help protect the health of Crooked Creek. Adopt a portion of the creek or volunteer to label storm drains. There are also 2 major stream clean-ups each year. Big Sweep is the 1st weekend in October, and Creek Week is the last weekend in March. Email the public education coordinator for details.

Haw River Assembly


You can also join some of the many groups dedicated to protecting the health of our rivers and streams. The Haw River Assembly is active in this watershed.