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ECWA Letter to EPA re:Definition of "Waters of the United States"

...The EPA’s proposed revocation of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) definition developed by the previous administration and its proposed replacement with the so-called “Scalia definition,” whereby the water would have to be “relatively permanent” to be jurisdictional under the Clean Water Act, is a threat to our non-regulatory approach to restoring Ellerbe Creek. For this reason, the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association has major concerns about both of these proposed agency actions...

August 2, 2017 Read More

Early map of Ellerbe Creek

The Pretty Rivulet:
A History of the Ellerbe Watershed

From Allibay and Watery Branch to Pinhook and Allergy Creek, the history of Ellerbe and South Ellerbe creeks is long and colorful. During his 1701 trek through the wilderness of the Carolinas, John Lawson headed east from Occaneechi Town (near what is now Hillsborough). Lawson wrote of hiking 14 difficult miles, "a sad stoney way," to the next village, called Adshusheer. One local theory holds that Ellerbe Creek might have been "the pretty rivulet" that Lawson crossed -- just south of the Duke family's homestead in Durham County.

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Green Infrastructure graphic

Green Infrastrucutre Initiative

The Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, City of Durham Stormwater Services, American Rivers, Downtown Durham, Inc., and the Triangle J Council of Governments conducted a study in the Ellerbe Creek Watershed that identified opportunities for small stormwater retrofits (e.g. green roofs, rain gardens) with the potential to improve water quality in the creek. The fieldwork took place in the areas shown below, which include parts of the Trinity Park, Old North Durham, and Central Park neighborhoods.

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Water Drop graphic

Local Land Trust Partnership
Protects Forests, Drinking Water

The Upper Neuse Clean Water Initiative completed work this fall on a $1.7 million grant from the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities. The three-year grant awarded in 2010 was part of the Healthy Watersheds through Healthy Forests Initiative, which directed monies to three projects nationwide to safeguard drinking water supplies by implementing sustainable forest management upstream from reservoirs.

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Graphic of heart made of water

Learn to Love Durham’s Ellerbe Creek

...local residents explore their urban backyard on a free tour of the city’s nature preserves, sponsored by the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association (ECWA).
Four preserves located on the banks of the Ellerbe Creek are on the tour, with a fifth tour stop in the city’s North Street neighborhood that will teach residents what they can do at home to help improve water quality around the Triangle.
Chris Dreps, the association’s executive director, is eager for the public to discover The Rocks, a brand new preserve on the tour.

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Graphic of earth coming from a faucet

Upper Neuse Conservation Strategy

Thirty-six percent of the Triangle area is projected to be covered by impervious surfaces by 2040, and the city of Raleigh alone expects its water customer base to increase by 545,000 to 800,000 by 2030. In the face of increasing development, protecting land around drinking water sources is one of the most effective ways to protect water quality. Forests, wetlands and open fields absorb rain and runoff, and help trap sediment and pollutants before they enter streams and lakes. Land conservation also results in added community benefits such as new parks and greenways, air purification and flood protection.

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Photo of 2017 Beaver Queen receiving the crown

"Fur-Eddie Mercury" is 2017 Beaver Queen

"Fur-Eddie Mercury" on Saturday was crowned the 2017 Beaver Queen after a competitive Beaver queen Pageant that included singing, comedy and lots of double entendres.
The annual Beaver Queen Pageant, held the first Saturday in June at Duke Park, is a fundraiser for the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association. Funds are raised in large part by guests and contestants "bribing" judges - legally - to get their votes as well as participants paying $5 per vote. While the winner of the crown is significant, it's not the only title for which contestants compete.

June 16, 2017 Read more

Image of graphic for 2017 Beaver Queen Pageant

Beaver Queen is This Saturday

The official Beaver Queen website notes: "This year's theme, the Wizard of Gnawz, inspires all sorts of costume ideas: sparkly ruby shoes, a beaver in a basket, flying beavers in red soldier suits, green faces, and so much more. That said please wear whatever floats your beaver boat, and dress for the weather."

The jokes are bawdy, after all the theme is Beavers. But like the best of the Pixar films, the adults laugh and the kids go right on enjoying the show with nary a clue.

June 1, 2017 Read more

Photo of 2017 Beaver Queen Pageant contestant

At Beaver Queen Pageant, have a laugh for a serious cause

It's bawdy, it's irreverent, but it also bills itself as family-friendly, and all the money raised goes for an environmental cause - to improve the water quality of Ellerbe Creek.

It is the annual Beaver Queen Pageant, and the 13th annual contest for the queen of the wetlands will be held Saturday, June 3, in Duke Park. Just about everything that is said at the pageant or published on the Beaver Queen website is a pun or a play on words on some cultural reference.

June 1, 2017 Read more