people cleaning litter from roadside near stream crossing
Earth Day Clean-Up 2006 – Grandale Drive bridge

Clean litter

Cleaning litter and bulk dumping items from the Northeast Creek tributaries is a twice-a-year regular activity of Northeast Creek Streamwatch — Durham Creek Week in March and North Carolina Big Sweep in October.

The clean-up process starts with a major clean-up that often gets large bulk items, such as appliances, tires, construction materials, bicycles, car parts, plastic construction buckets as well as litter like fast food containers, soft drink and beer bottles and cans, and liquor bottles.

You don’t need to wait for one of the special clean-up days in order to clean up the roadside or the creek banks near you.

Keep storm drains and culverts clear and open

First of all, do not dump leaves down storm drains.

Also, look at the storm drains and stormwater pipe culverts in your neighborhood, cleaning what you can reach. If you want to do a special neighborhood cleanup in Durham, you can arrange it with Keep Durham Beautiful. That will allow you to clean areas that flow into stormwater drains and pipes and also clean stream banks on either side of culverts.

Cleaning the stream basin of invasive plants

Microstegium vimineum – Japanese stiltgrass

This species is now invading the tributaries of Northeast Creek and beginning to create problems at the edge of yards. Hand weeding and mowing are among the most successful methods of removal. In order to be effective, mowing must be performed before the plants go to seed.

Removing Japanese stiltgrass wherever you find it is a great way to help clean up the Northeast Creek basin.

English Ivy

English Ivy is a popular urban and suburban ground cover, but like kudzu it can become invasive in the wild. Volunteers can help clean up the Northeast Creek basin by ensuring that English Ivy is confined only to where it is appreciated.


Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on earth. Consequently it is a popular suburban visual buffer at the edge of property and a popular solution to standing water drainage issues requiring rapid transevaporation. But like English Ivy, left unmanaged it can crowd out native species. Northeast Creek Streamwatch is partnering with the Parkwood Association in managing bamboo on Parkwood Association common property by thinning and harvesting the bamboo for community uses, such as garden stakes and community garden fencing.

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Volunteers Preserving the Natural and Cultural Heritage of Northeast Creek