Lake with dam that has branches and brush built up blocking it

Stormwater

Durant Nature Preserve Upper Lake

Maintaining and Protecting the Nature Preserve

There is a 6-acre upper lake at Durant Nature Preserve. Water leaving the upper lake flows through a concrete spillway (over an earthen dam) and along a 100-foot-long channel to the lower lake.

In 2013, an engineering firm contracted by the City of Raleigh deemed the dam and spillway of the upper lake to be deficient and in need of repair. A study was conducted to explore options to maintain the area and protect the preserve.

View the Upper Lake Study Report 

Project Details

 
Type:
Lakes, Streams, and Dams
Budget:
$182,000
Project Lead:
Stormwater Management
Contractors:
NC State University Stream Restoration Program

Contact

 

Kevin Boyer, PE
Stormwater Quality Supervisor
919-996-4009

Lead Department:
Engineering Services
Participating Department:
Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Service Unit:
Stormwater

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Strategy

With the study phase complete, we considered multiple alternatives that were shared with the community and citizen advisory boards. 

Getting Feedback 

In January, we gathered feedback about the experiences most important to you when visiting Durant Nature Preserve. See the results.

Then, we shared recommendations from the study with the Parks Advisory Board and the Stormwater Management Advisory Commission in February and March. Next, we'll share the recommendations with Raleigh City Council for approval. More details coming soon. 

Recommendations 

City staff recommended converting the upper lake at Durant Nature Preserve to a tiered wetland. This recommendation comes after completing the study and getting feedback from stakeholders and the community. The specific type of wetland will be decided after further investigation and after the proposal is reviewed/approved by Raleigh City Council. 

Virtual Meeting Resources 

Phase Contacts

 

Amy Eckberg, 919-878-9116

Lead Department:
Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources

Planning

During this study, we evaluated the lake’s physical, biological, and chemical conditions. Then we looked at how we can change the lake area to:

  • Create a better ecosystem
  • Provide a variety of landscape features at the lake
  • Improve the visitor experience

Work for the study took place between 2017 and mid-2019. View the report.

 

Phase Contacts

 

Kevin Boyer, PE
Stormwater Quality Supervisor
919-996-4009

Lead Department:
Engineering Services

Design

Phase details coming soon.

Phase Contacts

 

Kevin Boyer, PE
Stormwater Quality Supervisor
919-996-4009

Lead Department:
Engineering Services

Construction

Phase details coming soon.

Phase Contacts

 

Kevin Boyer, PE
Stormwater Quality Supervisor
919-996-4009

Lead Department:
Engineering Services

Complete

Phase details coming soon.

Phase Contacts

 

Kevin Boyer, PE
Stormwater Quality Supervisor
919-996-4009

Lead Department:
Engineering Services

Alternatives

Here are a few options for the lake based on study findings:

  • Keeping the shape of the lake the same with a new spillway structure and lower water surface level;
  • Converting the lake to a wetland system to improve water quality and/or wildlife habitat (includes partially breaching the dam); and,
  • Restoring the lake to a natural stream and floodplain (includes completely breaching the dam).

Each option was scored and ranked. The wetland alternative ranked the highest. The restoration ranked the lowest. Changes to the lake will also follow requirements from our lake policy

View the Upper Lake Study Summary Presentation

The Study

The purpose of the study is to come up with alternate solutions to maintain the area and protect the preserve. We started studying the lake’s condition in 2017 focusing on:

  • The history of the lake and surrounding area;
  • Mapping the lake’s structures, shoreline, and sediment;
  • Biology of the streams flowing into and out of the lake; and,
  • Chemical properties of the lake’s water and soil.

The study is made possible through a grant from North Carolina Land and Water Fund (formerly North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund).

Schedule

Date Activity
Spring 2019 Lake study complete
Summer-Fall 2019 Review study findings
Late Fall 2020 Study findings released
Early 2021 Outreach to get feedback on study / park experience
Late Winter 2021 Recommendations shared with citizen advisory boards/commissions
TBD Recommendations approved
TBD Project design started

History

We acquired Durant Nature Preserve in 1979. The 237-acre preserve has two lakes, which were constructed around 1950. The lower lake is used for recreation (boating and fishing) and nature education. The upper lake is used for nature walks and wildlife viewing.

We evaluated the lakes’ dams and spillways in 2013. Results showed that we’d have to repair both lakes so that they continue to function properly. We started studying the upper lake in 2017. In mid-2019, we repaired the lower lake’s dam and spillway.