CONSTRUCTION AND GOALS OF THE DUKE UNIVERSITY WETLAND CENTER íS STREAM & WETLAND ASSESSMENT MANAGEMENT PARK (SWAMP) IN THE NORTH CAROLINA PIEDMONT

(Cooperating Agencies and Sponsors)

PROJECT SUMMARY

The Stream and Wetland Assessment Management Park is on a restored section of the Sandy Creek stream and floodplain within Duke Forest near Duke University's West Campus.Water quality in Upper Sandy Creek, a headwater for the Cape Fear River in the North Carolina Piedmont, has for years been impaired by high N and P concentrations, sediment load and coliform bacteria.To address these problems, the restoration activities included the following:

  • Recontour and replant more than 600 meters of degraded stream to hydrologically reconnect the stream with the adjacent floodplain and allow natural riparian wetland biogeochemistry transformations to improve stream water quality.
  • Build an earthen dam and 1.6-hectare (ha) stormwater reservoir to regulate stormwater delivery to downstream water bodies, replace a deteriorating dam farther downstream, and allow for additional retention and removal of excess nutrients and sediments from the stream.Water levels in the reservoir will be controllable for research purposes.
  • Build a 0.5-ha treatment wetland to intercept and improve the water quality of a tributary stream impacted by high concentrations of N and P.
  • In 2009, 2 years after the dedication of the initial 3-phase project, construction began on the restoration of another tributary branch of Sandy Creek that receives runoff from 210 acres on and around Duke West Campus.

 

The 3.2-ha SWAMP ecosystem serves as an outdoor classroom and field laboratory for students and researchers and provides a site for research on biological diversity, hydrology, mosquito control, invasive plant species and other environmental concerns.Signs along the trail and boardwalks into the site inform the public about the project and the role of wetlands in promoting water quality.

 

NEXT: Rationale for the Project

Intro

Rationale

Stream & Floodplain

Dam & Impoundment

Stormwater Treatment

Phase 4

Phase 5

Education

Research