Pigeon House Creek

Pigeon House Branch Watershed Study

Downtown Raleigh Area

We are doing a study of the Pigeon House watershed. The goal is to better understand and improve flooding, water quality, and stream conditions in the area. 

Study Area: In and near downtown Raleigh.

Project Details




Sheryl Smith, PE
Senior Engineer

Barbara Moranta, PE
Project Manager 

Lead Department:
Engineering Services
Service Unit:




The study is being completed in phases. The first phase is underway, and focuses on:

  • Performing initial public engagement;
  • Setting objectives for the level of service provided by the City's stormwater system;
  • Collecting data about the location and condition of stormwater infrastructure; and,
  • Determining additional data needs to assess the watershed,

Subsequent phases will include data collection, modeling and analyses, and identification of improvement projects. The study is anticipated to continue through early 2024.

Next Steps


Look for our public survey - set to open in summer 2022 - to gather your feedback about conditions in the Pigeon House Watershed. 

Our first public meeting is scheduled to take place fall 2022.

Phase Contacts


Sheryl Smith, PE
Senior Engineer

Lead Department:
Engineering Services

About the Watershed

The Pigeon House Watershed covers over four square miles in and near downtown Raleigh. It’s one of 37 watersheds in the city. The watershed is bordered on the south by Hillsborough Street and New Bern Avenue, on the east by State Street and Bennet Street, on the west by Oberlin Road, and on the north by Fairview Road and Whitaker Mill Road.

Pigeon House Branch

  • Pigeon House Branch begins near the Village District, follows Capital Boulevard and joins with Crabtree Creek at Crabtree Boulevard and N. Raleigh Boulevard. Flows eventually reach the Neuse River. 
  • Cemetery Branch is the largest tributary to Pigeon House Branch
  • Over the years, the main stem of Pigeon House Branch has undergone extensive channelization, realignment, and confinement in underground concrete box culverts or walled channels to address historical flooding and erosion problems.
A section of Cemetery Creek that runs under ground. This images shows a stone block culvert near Elm Street, built in the early 1800's. 

A section of Cemetery Creek runs through a stone block culvert near Elm Street, built in the early 1800's. 

Stormwater System

  • Stormwater infrastructure, like culverts, pipes and drains, help safely collect and carry stormwater runoff into the creek when it rains. Water can also flow through the system under roads, driveways, and bridges before it reaches creeks.
  • Pigeon House watershed contains some of the City’s oldest stormwater infrastructure, dating back to the early 1800s.
  • There are over 75 miles of stormwater pipes and streams in this watershed.  Approximately 28 miles are maintained by the City. The remainder are located on state, county, or private property.


You can zoom into the map below to see the location of the stormwater system and some recent stormwater projects. We maintain the areas in yellow. This is the stormwater system on City-maintained, public roads.