DUWC Collaborates with Duke Facilities for Water Quality Management and Native Vegetation Planning for the West Campus Stormwater Reclamation Pond



An architect's rendering of the new Duke West Campus stormwater reclamation lake shows what the site is expected to look like when completed near Erwin Road between Circuit Drive and Towerview Road.
Photo: Duke Office of Communication Services.

The Wetland Center has begun a permanent collaboration with the Duke Facilities Department at the Stormwater Reclamation Lake on Duke's West Campus.

The $9 million reclamation lake collects rainwater and runoff from 22 percent of the main campus area for use in a nearby chilled water plant, which pumps water across campus to cool buildings.

The lake sits on a 12-acre site that will also provide a place for education and research. Plans call for a pavilion, boardwalk, a walking path and an amphitheater with lawn seating. Construction will be finished in 2015.

The Center will monitor water quality at the new lake once it is completely filled.

DUWC is also working with Duke Facilities to select native wetland vegetation that will be appropriate to the site.

The pond initiative is another significant sustainable step by Duke since the record drought in 2007. It's expected to save about 100 million gallons of potable water a year.

The Duke University Wetland Center is trying to create a natural wetland and aquatic lake plant community that transitions into an upland piedmont plant community.  The pond water levels will undergo 3-4 feet of water depth changes; therefore, when choosing the species they need to select carefully and keep in mind the ones that can handle the range of water levels.  Water Lily can be planted in shallow water as the pond is filling and it will grow several feet to keep up with changing water levels, Cypress trees can be planted along the shore in shallow water and can tolerate water movement up and down. The Wetland Center is working with Duke Facilities Engineers and their consultants to help build the native community they are seeking to create.                                         

                                                                DUWC Director Curtis J. Richardson


A composite Picture of native wetland plants found on the SWAMP site in Duke Forest.

Picture compiled by Mengchi Ho, DUWC