McDowell Creek Cove has some of the worst water quality conditions of any reservoirs along Mecklenburg County's western border.
McDowell Creek has been listed by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources as being biologically impaired. The populations of aquatic insects in the creek are not diverse or plentiful.
Because of degraded conditions in McDowell Creek and McDowell Creek Cove, a proactive Water Quality Ordinance
was adopted by the Town of Huntersville. It places strict storm water runoff treatment requirements on all new development. That is in addition to what is required by the water supply watershed requirements. The Low Impact Development Ordinance was designed to prevent future degradation of the creek and cove. However, the Low Impact Development Ordinance does not address pre-existing sources of pollution.