Stream Restoration and Environmental Restoration
Since its completion nearly ten years ago, the Hidden Valley Ecological Garden / Wellingford Street project in northeast Charlotte has matured nicely. The stream banks are stable and the plants added to the floodplain are thriving.
This project was designed to reduce storm water pollution and erosion, prevent localized flooding and enhance the surrounding community and the environment.
Although the site is owned by Mecklenburg County, it is not a park. Most plants at the site are not mowed, trimmed or manicured. By allowing the plants to grow naturally and largely undisturbed, they absorb some pollutants and help improve the water quality in Little Sugar Creek.
Extended maintenance and water quality monitoring continue.
School students on a tour of the
Hidden Valley project
Reduce property damage from flooding
Create a wetland system
Restore stream function and wildlife habitat
Stabilize stream banks
Decrease pollutants in Little Sugar Creek
Improve storm water flow
Add to the aesthetics of the surrounding neighborhood
Provide educational opportunities for schools
||Total Cost: $4,415,000 (approximate)|
Acquisition of flood-prone land: $1.3 million
Sources of funding to buy property:
FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant: $784,664
Storm Water Services fees: $515,336
Stream restoration and water quality enhancements: $3.115 million
Sources of funding for water quality projects:
NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund: $2.24 million
Storm Water Services fees: $875,000
Tackling Little Sugar's big problems
This project is located in the headwaters of Little Sugar Creek. It is one of a series of initiatives to improve water quality in a creek surrounded by dense development.
The major goals of the Hidden Valley project were to improve water quality and aquatic habitat by restoring the stream and by retrofitting storm water wetlands and other BMPs in the surrounding floodplain.
Storm Water Services also reduced flood losses by purchasing 20 parcels of land and tearing down 16 homes that had repeatedly flooded. The buyouts provided 13 acres of permanent open space in the floodplain.
The natural twists and turns of Little Sugar Creek were restored and buffers were added along the banks. Trees and shrubs planted in the buffers reduce erosion and provide a place for wildlife to live.
A series of stormwater wetlands and wet ponds was created along Wellingford Street and Mellow Drive. The wetlands remove some pollutants from storm water and can reduce some flood risks by temporarily storing and releasing excess water. A total of 31,000 trees, bushes and other plants were added in the project area.
Both riparian and wetland plants are thriving in the project area. Schools of fish, minnows, insects, frogs, mussels and many more wildlife species are increasingly present throughout this stream and floodplain restoration project.
David A. Woodie, P.E.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services
Award received in 2006 for this project:
"Excellence in Environmental Planning and Conservation" - Centralina Council of Governments