A biker whizzes by the Alluvial Decoder Floodplain educational mural that is the name of significant storms spelled out using nautical flags

Floodplain Creative Education Installation

A Project by Stormwater in Partnership with Raleigh Arts

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About the Project Timeline Designer Biography

About the Project

Alluvial Decoder, is a site-specific education installation about the floodplain at Crabtree Creek near the greenway trail on Glenwood Avenue and Crabtree Valley Avenue.

Meaning of the Project Name  

Here’s how the designers chose the name for the project:  

Alluvium is the sediment left in the areas around a water source after a flood. This is an essential part of the floodplain.  

Decoder references the fact that the project helps people understand more about the floodplain. You can see just how high creek water gets during tropical storms and hurricanes that reached Raleigh throughout the years.  

Importance of Floodplain Education 

Heavy rain from major storms, like the ones shown in this educational installation, can cause water in creeks to rise quickly. When this happens, stormwater flows out of the creek to nearby land giving the rain a place to go. 

This flooding cannot be prevented and typically impacts greenway trails, roads, and buildings in the area. It’s important to be aware of flooding and stay safe during a storm.  

However, the floodplain also helps reduce flooding. The plants and soils in the floodplain help slow down and soak up some of the water, which leads to less severe impacts to the community and the environment downstream.  

Learn more about floodplains 

Project Details

This project will add a new meadow and visual displays. Learn more about each aspect of the project below.

A blue sign explaining why we're growing a meadow with green trees and plants behind the sign

You'll see these signs along the greenway trail while we grow the meadow.


We are transforming an area along Crabtree Creek near the greenway trail on Glenwood Avenue and Crabtree Valley Avenue into a meadow. To do this correctly, we will be keeping the grass long. Then, we’ll mow and overseed the meadow to maintain it. We'll do this each spring.

Learn more about the new meadow

Mural on the wall of an overpass for the floodplain project on Crabtree Creek


A mural under the bridge displays the name of storms that have caused flooding in Raleigh. The names are Agnes, Fran, Eta, Hanna, Alberto, Kyle, Matthew, Danny, and Floyd.

A woman jogs by a series of totem poles that represent several historic floodwater heights along Crabtree Creek

Storm Markers

A series of markers represent several historic floodwater heights. A key under the bridge reveals names and dates of the storms represented.


Installation Completed in Fall 2021

Opening Event

As hurricane season begins, join us on Wednesday, June 1 from 4 to 6 p.m. for the formal opening of Alluvial Decoder — an immersive, educational installation on the Raleigh Greenway at Crabtree Creek. Lincoln Hancock, William Dodge, and William Belcher (A Gang of Three) will be present to talk about the system of flood markers, the reinstituted wildflower meadow, and the experiential graphic elements that comprise the project. Learn more about the event

Designer Biography

Headshots of members of the artist/designer group "A Gang of Three"

A Gang of Three 

A Gang of Three is a team of designers focused on creating dynamic, educational interventions that reveal the living history of sites in tangible, meaningful ways. Lincoln Hancock is a Raleigh-based installation artist and graphic designer. William Dodge is a Raleigh-based designer and researcher with strengths in exhibit design, architecture, planning, and urban design. Will Belcher is an internationally award-winning Philadelphia-based landscape architect, urban designer, and place-maker. Together, they work to illuminate the human dimension of experience and the power of public space, bringing new meaning into the urban landscape.



Kelly McChesney

Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Service Categories:
Raleigh Arts
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