The Friends of South Ellerbe Creek
|Railroad bridge marks
the point where Ellerbe Creek
flows into Falls Lake.
Bent trees guide Ellerbe Creek through a quiet stretch of eastern Durham.
|The Friends of South Ellerbe Creek is an informal group of citizens dedicated to conserving and enhancing the scenic, recreational, natural and historic qualities of South Ellerbe Creek and its landscape in the upper-Neuse River Basin. From its headwaters near Greystone Baptist on Hillsborough Road, South Ellerbe Creek flows for three miles through some of Durham's oldest and most densely developed neighborhoods: Old West Durham, Walltown, Northgate Park, Trinity Park. Another branch of South Ellerbe flows north out of downtown Durham, through Durham Central Park and Trinity Park -- before joining her sister near Club Blvd Elementary. South Ellerbe then joins Ellerbe Creek in a small forest -- just northwest of the I-85/Roxboro Road interchange. Along some wooded stretches, the creek quietly flows through areas as scenic as any in western North Carolina. Elsewhere, South Ellerbe is a troubled creek.||
On the site:
South Ellerbe flows past E.K. Powe Elementary School near Ninth Street...
During the Prohibition, this house (at the corner of Virgie and Green) was one of the most popular destinations in all of West Durham. In the back yard were two doors. One was prominent and led nowhere. A second was small and mostly hidden. Visitors would pass through the smaller door to enter a large room filled with floor-to-ceiling cabinets -- each with a small padlock. Inside the private cabinets was a collection of favorite spirits. According to long-time residents, White Lightning was the brew of choice. Consumption only allowed off-site. One resident recalls a scandalous morning in the 1930s when a body was found in the creek across the street. Scared the neighborhood kids half to death. Turns out he was OK -- just an avid consumer of local moonshine. Today, a coalition of supporters is seeking to establish the South Ellerbe Creek Natural Area along the old creek.
History Near the Creek...
Many people have taken time out to clean debris from South Ellerbe Creek.
Citizens Integral Part of the Pollution Solution
(Waterways, May/June 2001 -- newsletter sent with every Durham water bill)
Efforts to clean up urban streams throughout the city of Durham are paying off. But nowhere is that progress more evident than in the Ellerbe Creek watershed... the Friends of South Ellerbe Creek and other neighborhood volunteer groups are helping to focus community awareness on the need to protect and restore streams in Durham... "Hey, you've got this resource in your back yard!" says Michelle Nowlin, coordinator for Friends of South Ellerbe Creek.
"Community groups like Friends of South Ellerbe Creek increase pride in our neighborhoods and our local streams through stream clean-up projects. We can also help the City find and eliminate sources of pollution, but the final chapter in restoring these streams requires people accept and understand that what they do in their backyards and neighborhoods has an impact on our streams and on our quality of life."
Want to do more? Get involved? The Friends of South Ellerbe Creek is an informal group of citizens dedicated to conserving and enhancing the scenic, recreational, natural and historic qualities of South Ellerbe Creek and its landscape in the Upper Neuse River Basin. More info can be found at /fosec
1. Stream adoption: adopted the stream with both the state and the EPA. Thanks to the NC Department of Environment & Natural Resources, our "Stream Watch" and "Friends of South Ellerbe Creek" signs are now posted near the stream on Green Street (near Virgie), Broad Street (near West Knox) and Club Boulevard (near Onslow).
2. Storm drain stickers: currently organizing the placement of storm drain stickers near the creek with students from two local elementary schools and others,
3. South Ellerbe Creek Natural Area: built a community coalition and successfully lobbied the Durham City Council to help create an urban green space along the creek. Council voted to commit $150,000 in the Capital Improvement Plan for the green space. As a result, protecting this wonderful natural area near E.K. Powe Elementary is now part of the long-range plans for the City of Durham.
4. FOSEC has helped organize more than 40 creek clean-ups along South Ellerbe in West Durham, Walltown, Durham Central Park, and Trinity Park.
5. Education: telling and re-telling the story of South Ellerbe -- through our updated web site, emails and face-to-face encounters.
See how our storm drain stickers, like this one, got placed in the neighborhoods along the creek.
|Partial list of FOSEC partners:
The Friends of South
Ellerbe Creek links
Marvelled - Website Desing Auckland
American Heritage Rivers
Cape Fear River
Center For Watershed
Clean Water Mgt Trust Fund
Community Right to Know (EPA)
Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment
Durham City Council
Durham City/County Planning Department
Durham County Commissioners
Earth Share NC
Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association
Eno River Association
Friends of South Ellerbe Creek
Map of Nearby
Neuse River Foundation
Neuse River buffer protection regs
Neuse River Watershed
NC Big Sweep
NC Department of Environment & Natural Resources
Old West Durham Home Page
Science Park on Broad Street
Story of South Ellerbe Creek
Surf Your Watershed (EPA)
Triangle Land Conservancy
Trinity Park neighborhood
UNC Water Resources
Urban Parks Online
Weather Forecast for South Ellerbe watershed
If you'd like to be added to our growing email list (it's all free), please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Webmaster: Tom Clark