photo of Little Lick Creek
Little Lick Creek impaired from excess stormwater, lack of riparian vegetation, malfunctioning septic systems, and pollutants from urban development.

Little Lick Creek is a suburban watershed located in eastern Durham County, NC. Little Lick Creek is joined by Chunky Pipe Creek as it flows through Falls Lake State Recreation Area toward the dam at Patterson Waterfowl Impoundment, an area of protected wildlife habitat created to mitigate for bottomland hardwood forests lost in the creation of Falls Lake. Little Lick Creek reaches Falls Lake via controlled flow through Patterson Waterfowl Impoundment. The population of the Little Lick Creek Watershed is expected to increase 140% between 2000 and 2030, from 17,071 to 41,000.

Little Lick Creek has been identified by the State of North Carolina as an "impaired stream" because it does not adequately support aquatic life. Possible causes of impairment include:

The UNRBA, NCEEP, Durham City and County, and other partners have developed the Little Lick Creek Local Watershed Plan. The plan recommends a comprehensive strategy for restoring water quality in the watershed. For more information about this plan, please see /docs/llc/llclwplan.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: 20.8 square miles
Major Tributaries: Chunky Pipe Creek
Population: 17,071 in 2000
Land Protected: 13%
Impervious Surfaces: 10.5% in 2005; 23% by 2025 (highest increases are predicted in downstream rural areas of the watershed)
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