Little Lick Creek Watershed
Read the 2016 Report.
Watch the 2016 video summary of the health of Little Lick Creek.
Land that drains into Little Lick Creek is known as its watershed. The Little Lick Creek watershed includes areas east of the city limits between U.S. Highway 70 and Falls Lake. N.C. Highway 98 and U.S. Highway 70 are prominent features of this watershed.
Water from Little Lick Creek flows into Falls Lake. Then it flows into the Neuse River and then the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound before emptying into the ocean.
The health and cleanliness of the watershed are reported in Durham’s annual State of Our Streams Report. In years when staff is able to take a wide variety of tests, the watershed is also given a score. Little Lick Creek was last given a score of 69 in 2017. This compares to a "D" letter grade. This is up from 68 in 2016. This score was due to:
- Poor bacteria levels
- Fair nutrient levels
- Fair turbidity levels
Water Quality Investigations
Stormwater Services staff investigates water pollution reported by other city employees and Durham residents. In the 2017 reporting year, staff found pollution sources in 11 investigations. These included:
- yard waste
Stream Bank Plantings
This project involved planting more than 200 trees and shrubs along river banks in the Lick and Little Lick Creek watersheds. Plants along stream edges help keep banks stable. They naturally filter pollution out of the water running into the stream. Trees shade creeks and keep them from getting too warm and provide important habitat. Plants along the water’s edge are known as buffers. Learn more about how to improve buffers on
Watershed Restoration Plan
Little Lick Creek is part of the Neuse River basin. The Upper Neuse River Basin Association (in partnership with the city and many other groups) created a watershed restoration plan (PDF) in 2006 for Little Lick Creek. This plan includes information on pollution sources in the Little Lick Creek watershed and ways to improve its health.
The city has contracted with Wildland Engineering to work with the City's Stormwater and GIS Services Division to prepare an engineering study and assessment of Little Lick Creek Watershed. Find out more here.
There are many ways for you to help protect the health of Little Lick Creek. You can 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.
You can also join some of the many groups dedicated to protecting the health of our rivers and streams. The Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation is active in this watershed.