Another Durham waterway is at risk

Environmental, Neuse River Watershed, Sound Rivers, Stormwater Issues, Water Quality

Posted on February 29th, 2024

Durham City Council will be weighing yet another proposal that will negatively impact Durham’s waterways, as the city is considering rezoning property on Olive Branch Road from rural residential to planned development residential.

“What does this do? It creates more suburban sprawl, adding more residential homes in a place with no civic institutions, shops or resources in a walkable, bikeable or short driving distance, which does not comply with the mixed residential neighborhoods laid out in Durham’s Comprehensive Plan. It also paves the way for developers to clear-cut 87 acres of forested land on Martin Branch, directly across the street from another development currently in litigation for sediment pollution,” said Neuse Riverkeeper Samantha Krop.

Over a year of Sound Rivers’ testing (on 18 separate occasions), Martin Branch has failed to meet state standards for healthy surface waters.

“This is an already degraded creek, and more land-clearing will only add to that — with devastating impact,” Sam said.

Sediment pollution destroys aquatic habitat and impacts aquatic life. The sediment pollution documented in Martin Branch flows downstream to visibly pollute Lick Creek, which, in turn, flows into and pollutes Falls Lake, the drinking water supply for much of Wake County.

“Until the City of Durham enforces and effectively measures what their ordinances are supposed to do, the city must say no to more development that harms your waterways,” Sam said.

Durham City Council meets Monday, March 4, at 7 p.m. in the First Floor Council Chambers at 101 City Hall Plaza, Durham. The agenda for the meeting can be found here.

Download Olive Branch Reserve North flyer here.

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