|Location||Trip Time||Travel Type|
|North Carolina||45 minutes|
Explore the many interesting natural features of this creek and greenway. Learn about stream health, invasive plants, and cool creatures that live in the water. Gain a new appreciation for this local waterway and discover ways you can help protect it.
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Standing at the creek, look to the left underneath Magnolia Street. What do you see? The road goes over the creek, but it’s not quite a bridge. This type of water crossing is called a culvert. Unlike a bridge, it covers the stream bed and channels all the water through a pipe. Culverts may be easy to install and affordable, but there are many problems that they can cause as well. The smooth surface of the culvert can make the water move faster than on the natural stream bed, with all of it’s rocks and rough features. The faster water and unnatural surface may make it uncomfortable or even impossible for some living things in the stream to pass through. Faster moving water can also dig into the sediment on the downstream end of the culvert, especially if it is raised up from the stream bed like you see here. This will often cause mini-waterfalls to form and alter the habitat for fish or macroinvertebrates. You might begin to see erosion on the stream banks or underneath the culvert creating wide, deep pools. Sometimes the culvert can become clogged as well. Branches, leaves, sediment, and trash can all get caught in the pipe which blocks water and animals from passing through. This can make the area downstream of the culvert very shallow and slow moving or even cut off the water flow entirely. It could also create minor flooding upstream of the culvert. What other problems do you think culverts could cause? Make some observations about what is happening at this one and compare it to other stream crossings along the greenway. How many crossings are culverts and how many are bridges? What do you think caused one to be built over another in those spots?