Preserving a ‘black water’ river east of Charlotte: Drowning Creek

In the far southeastern tip of Montgomery County, where Moore, Richmond and Montgomery counties all converge, a stream with an evocative name flows: Drowning Creek. Drowning Creek is a high quality stream, which means it has little pollution and good aquatic diversity. The creek flows southward into the Lumber River, which was originally called Drowning […]

Paddlers on Stumpy Pond near Great Falls, S.C. Photo: Nancy Pierce

‘A wilderness experience’: Do rivers hold the key to rebirth for these towns?

Where the hard rock of the Piedmont gives way to the sandy Coastal Plain, two company towns that lost their companies are looking for economic revival to the rivers that put them on the map. Great Falls in South Carolina and Badin in North Carolina grew up along the geologic fall line beside wild, majestic […]

Celebrating creeks, the ‘capillaries’ of our water system

Think of an important waterway: You’re probably picturing a rushing river, a huge lake or a roaring waterfall. But what about the humble creek running through the woods near your house? That’s where most of our waterways start, and if those creeks aren’t healthy, our larger waterways won’t be healthy either. Creek Week is a […]

Hellbenders offer a window into water’s health

Hellbenders – a species of large salamander with an evocative name – can tell us something about the health of a river. Macroinvertebrates are good indicators of water health across the state. Insects, crustaceans, molluscs, and arachnids can all tolerate water quality in different degrees. Mayflies, caddisflies, stoneflies, hellgrammites are all highly sensitive to pollution. Their presence anywhere indicates good water quality. Dragonflies, damselflies, crayfish and clams are somewhat tolerant of pollution. Black fly larvae, lunged snails, and leeches are all pollution-tolerant.

UNCC researchers launch long-term study at Gaston preserve

As the Charlotte region urbanizes, what changes will take place over time in the Catawba River basin near the smaller creeks and watersheds? Two UNC Charlotte researchers hope questions like that can be answered with information they’ll start gathering, thanks to a Duke Energy Foundation grant. The $76,521 grant from the Duke Energy Water Resources […]

Ever wondered … are there secret creeks in uptown Charlotte?

Mecklenburg’s 3,000 miles of creeks run through every part of the county. This includes uptown Charlotte, although such an urbanized spot of land might be the last place you would expect to find creeks. Many of uptown’s small creeks have been hidden from view over the years as land uses changed and storm pipes and […]

How much do you know about Charlotte’s creeks? Take our quiz

I’ve spent much of the past few months researching Mecklenburg County’s creeks, for a project called KEEPING WATCH on WATER: City of Creeks. A related gallery exhibit opened March 27 at UNC Charlotte Center City. To see a full list of events, click here, or visit for updates. To whet your appetite for […]

Exhibit, films, creek-side walks planned for ‘City of Creeks’

FOR UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION ABOUT EVENTS PLEASE CLICK HERE KEEPING WATCH on WATER: City of Creeks is a collaborative project between the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and the College of Arts + Architecture. (Learn more here.) A series of related events is planned, including: Exhibit Projective Eye Gallery at UNC Charlotte Center City: March 27-June 17. […]

‘City of Creeks’ debuts March 27, launches KEEPING WATCH second year

FOR UP-TO-DATE EVENT INFORMATION ABOUT KEEPING WATCH, PLEASE VISIT KEEPINGWATCH.ORG What creek is in your neighborhood? Where did it come from, and where is it going? Why was Charlotte settled amid so many creeks? Are urban streams important? Where does rainwater go? Can we do anything to help with pollution or flooding? Why should we […]

Ever wondered … why don’t Charlotte streets run north-south?

I’ve long had a question about the nature of uptown Charlotte. Why do Charlotte’s uptown blocks look more like “diamonds” than “squares”? Streets in other cities (such as Raleigh, Chicago and New York, for instance) go north-south and east-west in a classic grid pattern. Charlotte’s uptown streets are also in a grid, but they lie […]