UNC Stormwater will break ground in the next month on an ecological advancement project at the UNC Outdoor Education Center, part of Carolina’s Campus Recreation Program, situated on a 67-acre tract  of land east of main campus. The new Chapel Creek Wetland and Headwater Stream restoration will transform a former golf course pond to a stormwater wetland, improving the water quality of the pond. The project will also restore a short section of eroded stream near the pavilion. Native species will be planted, and signage will be displayed to educate visitors about the benefits of the recreational area and all its elements. The project is one piece of a larger sustainable land planning effort to enhance the facility ecologically and aesthetically.

UNC Stormwater chose this site because of its impact on the broader community’s water quality, its cost efficiency and visibility to those who visit the Outdoor Education Center.

“This project is a great opportunity to make use of an active area of campus that people from Carolina and the community will be able to experience and enjoy,” said Jill Coleman, a landscape architect for the University. “The stream can serve as an educational opportunity for students and staff to learn more about stormwater and how we can have a positive impact on those around us.”

In 2017 the University received a 319(h) Grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the amount of $198,856 to retrofit the pond.

The project supports the University’s Three Zeros Environmental Initiative’s goal of net zero water use and improving the quality of water exiting the campus. By creating a naturally filtering wetland, sediment and pollutants are prevented from entering the water supply. This type of project has successfully been implemented at Battle Grove, a wetland behind McIver residence hall.

“Not only do we want to improve the area for visitors and students, but we want to be good neighbors and stewards of our land,” said Sally Hoyt, stormwater engineer. “By adding plants designed to reduce erosion and filter out nutrients and pollutants, we will be able to create an improved ecosystem and reduce pollutants downstream in places like Chapel Creek and Jordan Lake.”

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