Campus Stream Restoration Projects
Morgan Creek Floodplain Restoration Project
UNC and the EEP Program have signed an agreement that will allow the EEP to conduct a feasibility study for the ecological restoration of approximately 20 acres of floodplain and 2,300 feet of stream enhancement along Morgan Creek on a portion of The Mason Farm Biological Preserve within Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
The project is intended to re-establish floodplain functions along a portion of Morgan Creek on the Mason Farm property. The project effort will include removing portions of the existing berm along the southern boundary of Morgan Creek. This project will also include stream enhancement practices by planting a vegetated riparian buffer along one side of Morgan Creek adjacent to the floodplain being restored.
The feasibility study is nearly complete, and a decision is pending on the final design for the berm removal.
Purpose of These Projects
These projects will be two of many implemented within the Morgan Creek/Little Creek Local Watershed Planning area. These projects are intended to promote the public’s knowledge and understanding of the natural resources of this state-owned property as well as promote the public’s understanding of the purpose of stream and riparian enhancement and floodplain restoration.
Chapel Creek Stream Restoration Project
The North Carolina Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP) has signed an agreement with UNC to undertake the ecological restoration of approximately 1,400 linear feet of stream channel and approximately 5 acres of riparian buffer restoration along Chapel Creek on an unused portion of the old Finley Golf Course within Chapel Hill, North Carolina. At this time the creek channel is deeply incised and contributes sediment during high flow events. A new channel will be constructed for a portion of the creek and bankfull benches will be created in some areas. The new channel design will allow the creek to access its floodplain again, and the channel will allow the stream to meander in a natural way.
The area will be monitored by EEP for five years after project completion to ensure that the new stream channel and vegetation are stable. The project is intended to improve water quality and provide educational opportunities in stream restoration processes. The actual construction of the project began in 2008.
The Chapel Creek Restoration project is underway and progressing quickly. The project is being financed by the North Carolina Ecosystem Enhancement Program, was designed by Ward Consulting Engineers and is being constructed by River Works.
Chapel Creek Progress Updates
A variety of plants were also planted along the stream bank. The roots of these plants do a good job of stabilizing the stream bank. In addition they provide shade during the summer months for fish. Plants in this area include possumhaw vibernum, tag alder, highbush blackberry, buttonbush, elderberry, silky dogwood, witch hazel, and yellow root.
The rest of the site is called the riparian buffer zone. Plants in this area were selected for their ability to handle periodic flooding as well as create wildlife habitat. Plants in this zone include willow oak, sycamore, green ash, ironwood, spice bush, arrowwood, sweet shrub, deciduous holly, and hackberry.
Signs were also installed around the perimeter of the site indicating that the area is a conservation area.
Root wads and log vanes were recently installed in the new channel. Both of these structures, like the rock vanes, help to stabilize the stream channel and provide habitat for aquatic organisms. Unlike the rock vanes which were brought to the site, the root wads and log vanes were constructed from material that was found on site.