photo of Lick Creek
Lick Creek.

Lick Creek is a predominantly rural watershed in eastern Durham County and western Wake County, NC. The Lower Lick Creek Bottomlands area contains regionally significant, high-quality wildlife habitat that is home to over 40 species of breeding birds. The area also supports four-toed salamanders and Carolina darters, both species of State Special Concern.

Despite its rural character, the Lick Creek Watershed is expected to undergo significant growth in the next 20 years and the population is expected to increase 302% between 2000 and 2025, from 2,276 to 9,147.

Lick Creek has been identified by the State as an "impaired stream" because it does not adequately support aquatic life, and is also classified as a Water Supply Watershed with Nutrient Sensitive Waters. Possible causes of impairment include:

The UNRBA, NCDWQ, NCSU Water Quality Group, Center for Watershed Protection, and Durham City and County are developing a restoration plan for Lick Creek. To learn more about this plan and what it entails, please see /docs/lick/licklwplan.pdf.

A major source of stress to the watershed is impervious surfaces (such as rooftops, driveways, and roads), which prevent water from infiltrating into the ground. Even low levels of impervious land cover (10 to 15%) can degrade streams.

Look at our brochure: "KEEPING OUR WATERS CLEAN" - A Guide to Stream and Wetland Restoration

Land Area: 22.9 square miles
Major Tributaries: Rocky Branch Creek, Laurel Creek, and Martin Creek
Population: 2,276 in 2000
Land Protected: 13%
Impervious Surfaces: 5.9%
Jurisdictions: Durham City and County, City of Raleigh, Wake County, State and Federal governments (Falls Lake State Recreational Area)
Permitted Wastewater Discharge (MGD, million gallons per day): No major discharges