ECWA Title Return to ECWA homepage

Access to the collection of emails "(this month) in the Watershed"


Dedicated to protecting and restoring Ellerbe Creek.

Please enjoy our e-newsletter. We will send out this newsletter bi-monthly to keep you up-to-date with ECWA news and upcoming activities. The E-zine with watershed flora & fauna information will come out in alternate months. The paper Ellerbe Creek Journal will be printed in October.

Upcoming Events

Guest Mixologist At Revolution

On Tuesday September 18, Revolution will host a Guest Mixologist event for ECWA. Durham City Councilman Mike Woodard will be our Guest Bartender. The event is from 6 to 8 pm, and Revolution will generously donate 20% of the evenings proceeds to ECWA. Come and enjoy Revolution's amazing food, and inventive drinks while supporting our work to protect, and restore Ellerbe Creek.  

Revolution is at 107 W. Main St.

10% Day At Ninth Street Bakery

Join us at Ninth Street Bakery on Friday October 12 for an " Eat for a Clean Creek" day. Ninth Street Bakery will generously 10% of the day's sales to ECWA from 7 am to 4 pm. Ninth Street Bakery is at 136 E. Chapel Hill St.

Eat well, and help support open spaces,clean water, and nature trails in Durham. 

Enjoy their delicious pastries, soups, sandwiches, and breads for breakfast, lunch,  or afternoon snack. More information - or 919-698-8161

August 2012

Ellerbe Creek



Renew or Join ECWA Here

Donate to ECWA


Annual Meeting

Join us for our Annual Meeting on Sunday October 21 at Broad Street Cafe, from 3 to 5 pm. Come hear Frank Hyman speak, and learn about all we have accomplished this year, and what our plans are for next year, and enjoy the great food at the Broad St. Cafe, 1116 Broad St. More details to come.

       Upcoming Workdays


Though it is hard to believe, fall is just around the corner, and we have some great workdays ahead to help with preparing the preserves for the autumn! 

September 15, Pearl Mill, 9 am - 12 noon

October 6 – Northgate Park Big Sweep, more details to come

October 20 – 17-Acre Wood, 9 am - 12 noon

Nov. 17 - Beaver Marsh

Dec. 15 - Pearl Mill

For more information on these workdays check our Facebook page nearer to the event for details or contact Katherine Meehan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 919-698-8161.

Committee and Board Meetings

We would love to have you join us for any of the many volunteer opportunities with the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association. The workdays you can participate in are listed above, and there are many ways other ways to volunteer including: 

Join a committee as a member or as a volunteer to help with an event:

Meeting times and dates for committees –

Outreach, Education, & Publication Committee (OEPC) and the Membership Committee - Aug. 15 (3rd Wednesday of the month)

Land Stewardship Committee - Aug. 22 (4th Wednesday of the Month)

Land Acquisition Committee - Aug. 21 (3rd Tuesday of the month)

Fundraising Committee - Sept 5. (1st Wednesday of the month)

Our Board meetings are open to the public as well - Sept. 12 (2nd Wednesday of the month). Please contact Katherine at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 919-698-8161 for further details.

Other News

Around the watershed - this spring & summer


Two Bald Eagles were seen at the Beaver Marsh Preserve.

Minature sundews were observed at Bennet Place

 A Great Egret was seen at the B

eaver Marsh


and a Barred Owl was seen at Pearl Mill Preserve.

Two varieties of Passion Flower blooming at 17 acre woods.

 Passiflora incarnata

Passiflora lutea

Job Opening - Director of Conservation

We currently are looking for a Director of Conservation. The Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association seeks an energetic, organized, social, and highly motivated professional to guide our land conservation and stewardship programs. The primary duties are conducting landowner outreach and conservation transactions; guiding strategic planning of our expanding land conservation and stewardship program, guiding our volunteer-based committees and contracted Land Steward; and providing staff support for our watershed restoration activities.

The DC position requires self-motivation, flexibility, openness to new ideas, and the ability to work closely with local governments, state agencies, other land trusts, and volunteers to meet the Association's conservation and stewardship goals. Qualifications include experience in land conservation programs and planning, conservation easement and acquisition projects, natural resource assessment, and GIS analysis. The ideal candidate should have strong interpersonal skills, the ability to work with the public, and an attitude of service. A university degree is required. A detailed position announcement for the position which closes on Friday August 17 is available at

Summer Interns 

This summer we were lucky to have two great interns help us with a variety of  projects. Our interns – Eugene Yacobson (left), a second year Master’s student from Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment and our Stanback Summer Intern. He has been working on an analysis identifying ECWA's priorities for land protection. His work will help our staff and Land Acquisition Committee collectively focus our land conservation work.

Our second intern, James Meehan (below), is a senior at William and Mary

studying environmental science and public policy. He has been working with our Preserve Manager on invasive plant management. He also has been compiling an encyclopedic list of the flora and fauna of the watershed that we should have available soon on our website. Both Eugene and James helped out with the Enviroscape at the Eno Festival. The Enviroscape is a hands-on diorama the depicts (using water) what a watershed is, and how easily pollutants are carried from the urban/ suburban landscape into the waterways that support nature, as well as our drinking water supplies.                                                                                                                                                

Duke Diet and Fitness Center

Recently, the former Duke Diet and Fitness Center (DDFC) property has been in the news because the City of Durham is proposing a storm water management plan for the property. The Board of Directors of the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association has adopted the following position regarding the City's proposal:

The property known as the former Duke Diet and Fitness Center is a unique site that provides a rare opportunity to effectively treat a very large quantity of polluted stormwater before it enters South Ellerbe Creek. The Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association supports the City of Durham’s acquisition of the property for stormwater management purposes. We believe that the concept of this project will greatly improve the health of South Ellerbe Creek and should open the door for other innovative green infrastructure practices throughout the watershed.

Here is a synopsis of the background information about the stormwater system in this area. The former DDFC site is a natural low area largely within the 100-year floodplain where two smaller streams drain about 485 acres from downtown Durham and the Trinity Park Area.  Because about half the land upstream of the site is covered by pavement and rooftops, rainstorms create a highly unnatural amount of runoff.  Even small storms create a huge gush of water through the site, carrying a one-two punch of highly erosive flows and nasty trash, oils, heavy metals, and whatever else is on the downtown streets. It only takes about 40 minutes for rain falling on Main Street to reach this spot - an amazingly short time. This enormous surge of stormwater erodes the stream banks and flushes away any organisms that are trying to live in the water. The stormwater entering the stream at this one spot is the largest single source of pollution entering Ellerbe Creek.  Clearly, we need to be working to improve water quality in this area...we'll provide more information on the website soon.

City Contract with Stormwater Services

We are happy to announce that we will continue our work with the City of Durham's Stormwater Services implementing rainwater harvesting systems including rain gardens and cisterns. We will have more rain garden classes and workshops later in the year. More details to follow.

Dedication of the Veasey Farm Preserve 


On June 18, we held a dedication for our newest preserve, the Veasey Farm Preserve. This lovely site is 193 acres, part of which was farmland originally belonging to the Carl Veasey family. Although Mr. Veasey died in April 2011, his wife Mrs. Martha Veasey , their three daughters Lisa McIntosh, Carla Thompson, Kellie Garrett, and the daughters' families were present for the dedication. (Above photo is the Veasey family, with a family friend Terry Rogers.) Raleigh's Mayor Nancy McFarlane, Durham City Council member, Mike Woodard, and Clean Water Management Trust Fund Executive Director Richard Rogers, all spoke about the importance of protecting primary water sources for the region and of how this parcel is a key component in the effort to restore water quality in Fall's Lake and the Upper Neuse River Basin. ECWA's Executive Director Chris Dreps, and Director of Land Conservation Diana Tetens also spoke. Read the press release here and a wonderful article from the Herald-Sun about the dedication here.

Thank you Diana!

Diana Tetens was the first hired employee of ECWA. As the sole employee for ECWA for her first three years, she was a Jill-of-all-trades for us. She was our first Executive Director, she took the lead in acquiring both the Beaver Marsh Preserve and the Veasey Farm Preserve. She worked with the City to develop our first stormwater management contract, and she also managed the UNCWI Healthy Forest Initiative, among many other and varied responsibilities and acoomplishments. Although she is no longer with ECWA, the legacy of her work will last for generations. As we wish her well on her new endeavors, we are grateful to her for all of her hard work, incredible diligence and dedication to protecting Ellerbe Creek, and for laying the groundwork for our organizational growth.

Ellerbe Creek Green Infrastructure Partnership wins EPA Urban Waters Grant

On June 26, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is awarding an Urban Waters Grant to ECWA in partnership with American Rivers, a national non-profit, City of Durham Stormwater Services, Downtown Durham, Inc., Triangle J Council of Governments, and NC Cooperative Extension to improve water quality in Ellerbe Creek. The team will develop a green infrastructure plan to identify innovative storm water opportunities, such as green roofs and rain gardens, to restore water quality in some of Durham’s most urban areas. Read the full press release at

Ellerbe Creek Signs

Thank you to the City of Durham for posting signs demarcating Ellerbe Creek throughout the watershed. Some have wondered about the spelling of Ellerbe Creek on these signs - it's not a mistake, but an artifact of the fact that there have always been two different spellings of Ellerbe (or Ellerbee). The City of Durham has always used Ellerbee, while the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association (and US Geological Survey--who make the topo maps) have preferred Ellerbe. According to the article The Pretty Rivulet on the Friends of South Ellerbe Creek/Old West Durham NA website, "in the earliest grants and on the earliest maps, Ellerbe Creek was spelled "Allibay"....According to The Colonial Records of North Carolina (1886-90), John Ellerby (Allaby), who received land grants in what is now Anson County, may have first taken up land in present Durham County." Interestingly, there is an Ellerbe, NC in Richmond County, which is adjacent to Anson County - Andre the Giant once lived there (who couldn't resist including that tidbit.)

To make things even more complicated, ECWA's name that it was originally incorporated under is the "Ellerbee Creek Watershed Association," but ECWA decided to use the simpler, more commonly-used Ellerbe.

For more information about the early history of Ellerbe Creek, check out the Friends of South Ellerbe Creek site

Beaver Queen Pageant

On June 2, we gathered at Duke Park for the coolest event in Durham – the Beaver Queen Pageant. The afternoon began with the Parade led by the Bulltown Strutters. This year's contestants were Bailar Beaver, Dr. Jekyll & Mrs. Beaver, Down Under Beaver, Furrah Gnawsett-Major, Marilyn Damho, Taco Belle. The new stage and wonderful sound system brought the pageantry to the sublime. Frank Stasio, NPR correspondent and WUNC stalwart, was our unflappable host. This year's Beaver Queen Pageant winner Furrah Gnawsett Major,

had a remarkable talent performance playing the "Star Wars Theme" on the clarinet while hula-hooping. (If you missed it here is the link.)  Furrah also won the People's Choice Award. The rest of the contestants were also presented with great honors as well: Best Tail: Dr. Henrietta Jekyll & Mrs. Beaver; Best Talent: Bailar Beaver; Best Stage Presence: Taco Belle; Best Bribes: Down Under Beaver; and Miss Hygeniality: Marilyn Damho. Videos of the rest of the pageant are here:

Our "uncorruptable" judges lent an air of dignity to the proceedings and included – Bumble Beever (Amy Eller of Whole Foods Durham), Cherry Cherry Bang Bang (thanks to Vaguely Reminiscent), Miss Beaver Dam Realty (Courtney James of Urban Durham Realty), Woot the Mullet (Sean of Fullsteam Brewery), Inky Dinky (John Dalpe of Ink Waves, Inc), The Great Beav-Bino (Michael Goodmon of American Tobacco), and Korky Flapper (Lee Ann Tilley of Acme Plumbing). 

Thank you to all who joined us in Duke Park this year. We are grateful to the community for their continued, and generous support of our work. If you missed this year's Pageant, mark it on your calendar now - the first Saturday in June. Thank you to all our generous sponsors – American Tobacco, Vaguely Reminiscent, Casbah Durham, Ink Waves, Urban Durham Realty, Whole Foods Durham, Fullsteam Brewery, Red Beret Designs, Outsider Arts & Collectibles, Dolly's Vintage, Yay Dog, LocoPops. Thank you also to the Food Trucks at this year's Pageant – Only Burger, and The Parlour. See you next year!

Memorial Day Hike

Thank you to Tom Driscoll who led the early hike to the Heron Rookery, and to Robert Meehan, James Meehan, and Katie Kovach who led the mid-morning hike Heron Rookery Hike at the Glennstone Preserve. And thank you to all who came out; we had over 50 people join us for these two hikes. Tom, Robert, and James focused on the great variety of birds that can be seen and heard throughout the preserve. On the second hike, Katie Kovach also identified trees, shrubs, and fungi as we walked through the woods. The walks were great and informative, and watching the herons and fledglings at the rookery was spectacular. Thank you again to all who joined us, and to our incredibly knowledgeable guides for our hikes.

Wish List

If you can donate any of the following items, we would be very grateful.

Space for annual meeting and other events.

Food or catering for annual meeting and other events.

Design work and/or printing of posters, maps, etc.

10 x 10  ft canopy-type tent for use at festivals and events

Signage design and construction for preserves.

Business services (legal consultation, document review)

Contact Chris Dreps at 698-9729 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details.

Please Support our Business Sponsors

American Tobacco

Whole Foods, Durham

Third Space Studio

Casbah Durham

Fullsteam Brewery

The King's Daughters Inn

Vaguely Reminiscent

Urban Durham Realty

Martin & Jones, LLP



This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Coca Cola Durham

American Labor

Acme Plumbing

Ninth St. Bakery


Only Burger

Ink Waves

The Scrap Exchange

Frog Hollow Outdoors

New Perspectives Consulting Group

Jim Finch, MD & Jane Finch, LCSW

Our Preserves

17-Acre Wood

Pearl Mill

Glennstone Preserve

Beaver Marsh