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 Raleigh Stormwater in partnership with Raleigh Arts

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About the Project Project Details 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  

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 from the creek to nearby land, giving the rain a place to go. This flooding cannot be prevented and typically impacts the area's greenway trails, roads, and buildings. Being aware of flooding and staying safe during a storm is very important.

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 on the community and the environment downstream. Learn more about floodplains.

Project Details

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 the names and dates of the storms represented.

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.