Morgan and Little Creeks Local Watershed Planning Initiative

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Executive Summary
Morgan and Little Creeks Local Watershed Plan
Ecosystem Enhancement Program
September 2004

The Morgan and Little Creeks Local Watershed Plan addresses the need for action in the Upper New Hope arm of Jordan Lake, within a local watershed area which includes the towns of Carrboro and Chapel Hill and portions of Orange County, and Durham County, N.C. Specific drainages in this local watershed planning activity include upper Morgan Creek (30 square miles, potential habitat degradation), lower Morgan Creek (19.9 square miles, 6.5 miles impaired stream) and Little Creek (Booker and Bolin Creeks, with 24.6 square miles, 12.7 miles of impaired stream). These creeks exhibit or are threatened with habitat degradation, excess nutrients, sediment, fecal coliform bacteria, toxicity and low dissolved oxygen. With the exception of upper Morgan Creek, each was on the Section 303(d) list for year 2000 and is within water supply watersheds. Morgan, Bolin and Booker Creeks are in the Jordan Lake watershed, a drinking water source that North Carolina is currently developing a nutrient management strategy, and the Upper Morgan Creek watershed is in the University Lake Water Supply watershed. Urban runoff and effluent from wastewater treatment are possible sources of degradation. In upper Morgan Creek, agricultural activities are also a possible source of degradation.

The Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP) combines an existing watershed restoration initiative (previously referred to as the N.C. Wetlands Restoration Program) within the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources with ongoing efforts by the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to offset unavoidable environmental impacts from transportation-infrastructure improvements. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) joined as a sponsor in the historic Memorandum of Agreement that established the program on July 22, 2003. As part of its mission, EEP works to develop Local Watershed Plans (LWPs) to proactively identify project opportunities that can offset unavoidable impacts well in advance of those impacts occurring. In a two-year LWP study of the Morgan and Little Creeks Local Watershed, EEP partnered with Tetra Tech, Inc., the Cape Fear River Assembly, the N.C. Division of Water Quality (DWQ) and local stakeholders to identify priority opportunities for watershed restoration and protection. The Local Watershed Plan recommends restoration and preservation projects through the implementation of:

•25 Best Management Practice (BMP) projects to treat water quality in 600 acres of priority subwatersheds;
•11 stream restoration projects to gain 28,000 linear feet of restored stream; and
•137 priority preservation parcels to protect over 600 acres of priority habitat.
In addition, proposed changes to local rules are advocated to support Low Impact Development and to prevent future degradation in the watershed. Assessment data and information supporting these recommendations described in detail within the Preliminary Findings Report, the Detailed Technical Assessment Report and the Targeting of Management Report. (Read these reports)

To read the Morgan and Little Creeks Local Watershed Plan Summary in its entirety, click here.

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