The Raleigh Naturalist

September 16, 2013

Excavating East Raleigh

Filed under: East Raleigh, Greenways & Parks, waterways — Tags: , , , , — raleighnaturalist @ 6:17 pm

excavating Longview

The massive sewer work that stretches across east Raleigh is accompanied by a different kind of excavation.  Above is upper Longview Lake from Bertie Drive below Enloe High School.  For years silt from construction on the hill behind it has steadily filled this section.  Now they are dredging the silt out and restoring the pond.  The lower section is larger and much more healthy.  All our our lakes and ponds gradually fill in with plant matter and eroded soil, but this happened too fast and I am glad they are fixing it. Now if they would just re-allow fishing!  More pics below – click to enlarge.

Longview low spotupper Longview Lake

Just down the road from this, where Milburnie hits the extension of Sunnybrook across New Bern, the old beginning of the Raleigh Greenway, Buckeye Trail,  will soon be extended all the way down to Anderson Point, where Crabtree hits the Neuse River.  Very exciting! Right now the spot is part of the huge sewer work alluded to in the first sentence.  The first picture below is looking toward Milburnie and is actually the path of the new extension.  The new greenway should be in place this spring.

future greenway to the Neuse

sewer runs under greenway at rocky overhang

Up the trail toward Raleigh Swamp, a fallen tree has created a dump of sand that makes quite a beach.  All the sand and silt seen in this post is terrible for the mussels and microfauna that inhabit the creek’s bottom.

fallen tree creates sandbank

Bonus pic: deer tracks where  I climbed down to view the sandbank.

deer prints at Crabtree

all posts on Buckeye Trail


April 10, 2009

Marsh Creek Meanders

Filed under: Nature Lore, Northeast Raleigh, waterways — Tags: , , — raleighnaturalist @ 3:33 pm

   I had the most nature fun OFF the greenway in a long time, searching the headwaters of Marsh Creek.  This prototypical Piedmont creek – running due Southeast and carrying red clay hills down to sandy flats – ends up dumping its large steady flow of water into a huge wetland at the Yonkers Road section of the Beltline – thus its name.  This lower section is full of treats, and will constitute part two of this post.  Recently I browsed through North Raleigh sewer cuts and subdivisions, climbing up Marsh Creek as I did.  My destination – the headwaters – came as a surprise, and emphasized the fascinating cross section of Northeast Raleigh this creek travels through on its way to Crabtree.


upper reaches of Marsh Creek on Google Maps

   Marsh Creek actually starts just above the blue line showing the creek on this map – at Sutton Square of Falls of the Neuse, its twin springs cradling one of the busiest – and for pedestrians, one of the most dangerous – stretches of four lane in Raleigh. This major creek, which runs for just over five miles from Spring Forest to its intersection with Crabtree, begins on the west side of Falls of the Neuse as a tiny landscaped pond (next to Northbend), and on the east side as the  rocky ditch seen below.

The little brook picks up size quickly as it travels downhill through Northeast Raleigh neighborhoods – alternating older large-lot subdivisions with newer townhouse projects.  It reaches a large natural area just above Old Wake Forest Road, and that’s where I had such fun.  A wide sewer cut gave access to a scrubby but rich haven tucked between neighborhoods, and I was able to see the deer tracks seen at the top of the post, a deer bedroom of crushed broomstraw, cute little coon prints on a sandbank, and a glimpse of a solemn woodchuck, who quickly scrambled into his hole.

Above, a mossy bank just north of Old Wake Forest Road.  Below is the sewer cut, which travels through several acres of undeveloped lowland.

After crossing Atlantic Avenue, where I found another hillside natural area covered with large, iron-rich boulders, the creek parallels that thoroughfare southward for a couple of miles – once again, touching on large older homes and much denser new developments. Before crossing New Hope Church Road it accepts the run-off from Mini-City to the east, and then enters Brentwood.  Here, the creek is the centerpiece of a long, narrow neighborhood park that runs down the center of the venerable and “transitioning” Brentwood subdivision.  It accepts the water from a neighborhood pond on Huntleigh (doubtless called a lake by the residents), and dives under Capital Boulevard, where we will pick it up the next time we visit Marsh Creek.

upper stretch of Marsh Creek

upper stretch of Marsh Creek

Photo album of upper Marsh Creek


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