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
Stormwater Services tracks water quality at two sites in Crooked Creek. The health and cleanliness of the watershed is reported in Durham’s State of Our Streams Report. Crooked Creek has problems with low oxygen levels in the water (which is bad for fish and other creek life). These problems occur during the dryer summer months. It is common for high temperatures and low water flow to decrease oxygen levels.

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 2014-15 reporting year, staff found pollution sources in one investigation. This investigation was a sanitary sewer overflow. 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. Citizens can also call the Stormwater Hotline (919-560-SWIM) to report water pollution.

Watershed Improvement Plan
The city is working on a combined water quality improvement plan for Crooked and Northeast Creeks. This plan is designed to prevent future water pollution and identifies special projects that can help repair current problems.

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.