photo of Swift Creek
Swift Creek.

Swift Creek is a suburban watershed located in the southern portion of Wake County, NC. In general, the Swift Creek Watershed has been impacted by development (and associated stressors) and portions of the watershed have been listed as "impaired" by NCDENR. The Swift Creek watershed is located in a rapidly developing portion of Wake County (growth in excess of 4% annually for that area; more than twice the population growth rate for North Carolina as a whole).

Upper Swift 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 State Division of Water Quality conducted this Swift Creek Water Quality Assessment in 2003.

It was recently designated as a high priority watershed for restoration efforts in the Wake County Watershed Management Plan, and was a focus area of the recent NCDWQ Watershed Restoration Program's analyses of causes of biological impairment in selected impaired stream systems. Upper Swift Creek is a designated Water Supply Watershed.

NCEEP has developed the Swift Creek Local Watershed Plan that recommends a comprehensive strategy for restoring water quality in the watershed. For more information about this plan, please visit 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. About 10.5% of Little Lick Creek watershed is impervious, and significant increases in impervious area are expected in the future.

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

Land Area: 66 square miles
Major Tributaries: Williams Creek, MacGregor Downs Lake, Regency Park Lake, Long Branch, Lynn Branch, Speight Branch, Dutchmans Branch, Silver Lake, Yates Mill Pond, Buck Branch, and Reedy Branch
Land Protected:  
Impervious Surfaces:  
Jurisdictions: Apex, Cary, Garner, and Raleigh as well as unincorporated Wake County
Permitted Wastewater Discharge (MGD, million gallons per day) :