Protecting the Wetlands

Few people seem to realize what vital resource urban wetlands can be to a city. Similarly, few seem to understand the threats that many wetlands face. Here is some basic information about threats to wetlands and what citizens can do to help.

State Street bridge
Confluence of Walnut Creek and Little Rock Creek at the State Street Bridge.

How are Urban Wetlands Beneficial to You?

  • Wetlands act as a filter to water, removing bacteria and debris
  • In urban areas wetlands prevent flooding by slowing down water flow and absorbing excess water
  • Wetlands are a vital part of an eco-system, providing food and shelter for a diverse range of species
  • Wetlands can provide an excellent place for children and adults to learn about the environment and observe animals in a natural habitat
  • Wetlands offer countless recreational benefits to all interests and hobbies
Wetland stream
Items collected during the 2009
spring clean-up at Walnut Creek

Specific Threats to the Walnut Creek Wetlands

Walnut Creek is situated in a low lying area. Because of this, the area has been subject to frequent and demoralizing flooding of the homes in nearby neighborhoods. Walnut Creek has also been used as a dumping ground for trash and broken household appliances. This pollution clogs the waterways and covers the natural forests. Additionally invasive species have been encroaching onto the wetlands and choking out the natural plants.

Top ten ways to help preserve wetlands

  1. Get involved by coming to stream and wetlands community clean-ups.
  2. Control run-off According to the City of Raleigh, stormwater runoff is "rain that is not absorbed into the earth but instead enters storm drainage structures, pipe systems and open drainage channels on public and private property in the Capital City. Stormwater can carry harmful pollutants, cause flooding, erode topsoil and stream banks, and destroy habitats." Examples of pollutant sources include lawn fertilizer, oil leaked by cars onto the street, or pet feces left on sidewalks and in yards.
    Click on the link to learn more about stormwater in Raleigh.
    from your yard.
  3. Contain chemical spills, even small ones in your yard or driveway.
  4. Throw litter in the trash, most trash in wetlands comes from city streets and yards.
  5. Pick up pet waste with a bag and dispose of property.
  6. Conserve water, this allows the water to stay in natural areas.
  7. Dispose of leaves and yard debris properly.
  8. Dispose of auto-fluids at your local county landfill.
  9. Wash your car in a place so that the water drains into the grass or use a certified facility.
  10. Contact the Walnut Creek Wetland Center to find out other ways to help local wetlands.