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Walnut Creek Watershed Action

Collaboration on environmental justice and  improvements in the Walnut Creek Watershed began in South East Raleigh, with Partners for Environmental Justice and later joined by the Walnut Creek Wetlands Community Partnership. The stories of care and attention from this downstream corner of the watershed has since inspired action across the entire watershed.

What is the Walnut Creek Watershed?

A watershed is an area of land that contains a common set of streams that all drain into a single large body of water such as a river, lake or ocean. The Walnut Creek Watershed is the area of land that eventually drains into Walnut Creek. Rain that falls on Fenton in Cary, NC State University, or downtown Raleigh flows into Walnut Creek. What we do on the land across this watershed impacts the aquatic life in the creek, the animals that depend upon it, and the people who live near its waterways.

Walnut Creek is on the impaired waters list, meaning stressors are affecting aquatic life within the stream. Early land clearing negatively impacted the stream banks and an increase in hardened surfaces in this urban watershed have increased stormwater flows and pollution. These stressors harm aquatic life and contribute to flooding. The US EPA requires a watershed to have a plan before qualifying for some restoration funding sources. A watershed plan provides guidance for restoring an impaired water body. 

Walnut Creek Watershed Action Team (WAT)

The Walnut Creek Watershed covers a large area with different municipalities and organizations  working toward similar economic, environmental and social goals.The WAT is a group of people from these organizations who coordinate efforts and provide opportunities to collaborate and leverage resources. They review and advance implementation of the watershed action plan, provide technical assistance and education. The WAT is coordinated by NC Division of Water Resources staff.

Walnut Creek Watershed Action Plan

The Walnut Creek Watershed Action Plan (WAP) is an online watershed plan. This tool helps in identifying and prioritizing areas for improvement projects, developing implementation plans and tracking water resource improvements across the entire Walnut Creek Watershed. NC Division of Water Resources hosts this plan. The plan includes interactive tools for adding information about water quality, potential and completed watershed improvement projects.

The Action Plan goals are to reduce flows in Walnut Creek and restore stream health, while addressing social and economic goals. Improvement efforts are concentrated into focus areas, small sections within the watershed that contribute to the overall health of Walnut Creek.

Current Efforts

Three focus areas are currently working toward improvements

  • Dana Drive, Dorothea Dix Park, and Rochester Heights Creek
  • WAT meetings are held quarterly (Next meeting will be in early 2021)
  • To get involved, email Amin Davis.

Watershed Action Team