Stirrup Iron Creek

Stirrup Iron Creek State of Our Streams 2019 Infographic

Watch a video summary of the water quality of Stirrup Iron Creek:

Land that drains into Stirrup Iron Creek is known as its watershed. The Stirrup Iron Creek watershed lies east of Miami Boulevard in Research Triangle Park and continues north to U.S. Highway 70. Only a portion of the watershed lies within Durham.

Water from Stirrup Iron Creek flows to Lake Crabtree and then Crabtree Creek. Then it flows into the Neuse River and the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound before emptying into the ocean.


Water Quality

The health and cleanliness of the watershed are reported in Durham’s annual State of Our Streams Report. In years when staff is able to take a wide variety of tests, the watershed is also given a grade. Stirrup Iron Creek was last given a score of 67 in 2019. This compares to an "D" letter grade. This was the same score it received in 2017. This low score was given because of:

  • Poor bacteria levels
  • Fair nutrient levels
  • Poor turbidity levels

Water from Stirrup Iron Creek flows into the Neuse River. This river has recently had problems caused by extra nutrients (such as nitrogen and phosphorus). The State has created a special set of rules, known as the Nutrient Sensitive Waters Management Strategy. Because of this, the City also carefully tracks nutrients in Stirrup Iron Creek.

These water quality concerns are not enough to keep Stirrup Iron Creek from its intended uses by people and wildlife. The state has not put any portions of Stirrup Iron Creek in Durham on a list of impaired water bodies, also known as the 303(d) list.


Water Quality Investigations

In the 2019 reporting year, staff found 5 pollution source investigations. These included:

    • Private sewage spills
    • Petroleum spills

Stormwater Services encourages neighbors to discuss and discourage putting trash, wash water, grease, or other pollution into storm drains. Anything that goes into storm drains does not get treated and, in this watershed, eventually washes into Stirrup Iron Creek. Residents can also call the Stormwater Hotline (919-560-SWIM) to report water pollution.


Get Involved 

There are many ways for you to help protect the health of Stirrup Iron Creek. You can adopt a portion of the creek or volunteer to label storm drains. There are also 2 major stream clean-ups each year. Big Sweep is the 1st weekend in October and Creek Week is the last weekend in March. Email the public education coordinator for details.

You can also join one of the many groups dedicated to protecting the health of our rivers and streams. The Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation is active in this watershed.