Ellerbe Creek Watershed Improvement Plan

Ellerbe Creek has a rich history and includes some of the oldest development in the city – some even dating back to the 1800’s. While historical areas are of great cultural value, they can be a problem for our water. Most of the land in this watershed was already developed when regulations and ordinances began requiring stormwater management. This means there are lots of buildings and roads that don’t let rain water soak into the ground. Instead rain travels over those surfaces, picking up pollution as it goes, and hits our creeks and streams in a rush. This can cause problems with flooding and water pollution.

Ellerbe Creek has problems with fecal coliform (a bacteria associated with sewage). Ellerbe Creek is also a source of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus that contribute to water quality violations in Falls Lake. Federal, state, and city rules are all in place to help protect our water. Meeting these requirements is becoming harder over time. The city needed a long term plan to guide its efforts.

The Ellerbe Creek Watershed Improvement Plan was put together through the efforts of city staff and consultants (Brown and Caldwell), to expand an earlier plan developed by the city, Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, and the North Carolina Ecosystem Enhancement Program. A Watershed Improvement Plan (WIP) gathers detailed information about a water body and analyzes it to protect and improve water quality.

Watershed Improvement Plan
The entire WIP is rather long and detailed. Therefore, a summary of the process and its results is provided.