The Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association (ECWA) is a Durham based non-profit working to protect and restore waterways and landscapes within the Ellerbe Creek watershed and to connect communities to watershed issues through education and advocacy focused events and projects.

ECWA works to acquire and manage preserved lands to enhance the conservation of Ellerbe Creek and surrounding watersheds, and to offer residents opportunities to become active in exploring, understanding, and protecting their urban waters. ECWA has partnered with The Conservation Fund to develop a Parks with Purpose project that will enhance the ecological health of the highly urbanized Goose Creek stream and bring triple bottom-line benefits to the surrounding Durham communities.


ECWA’s broadened focus of the Goose Creek Watershed created the opportunity to integrate a new segment of the Durham population and highlight urban conservation that is crucial to a integrative plan to protect the watershed health of Durham and the surrounding region. By integrating new communities into a call to action about the ecological conservation of the broader Durham watershed, ECWA and the Fund are facilitating opportunities for new partnerships associated with the Parks with Purpose project.

Goose Creek is a major tributary of Ellerbe Creek and the stream provides water to the Falls Lake reservoir, a major source of drinking water for the city of Raleigh, thus protecting this stream has direct impacts on public and environmental health. Together with guidance from an Advisory Group of East Durham community leaders and residents within the Goose Creek watershed, ECWA and the Fund are collaboratively working to provide community development and capacity building opportunities to support this urban conservation project in two Durham communities: Ashe Street and Merrick Moore.


he Goose Creek Parks with Purpose project offers an opportunity for urban communities and residents in East Durham that have been historically under-served to play a central role in natural resource planning and decision-making. At the Ashe Street Demonstration site, project improvements will repair aging underground pipes, reduce recurrent stormwater runoff flooding, and improve water quality through the use of green infrastructure. In northeast Durham, the Merrick Moore Community Development Corporation plans to develop a site that addresses food insecurity and utilize green infastructure to mitigate stormwater runoff flooding in the community.

By highlighting community values in the decision-making process of what will ultimately become the East Durham Parks with Purpose project, this work will galvanize community development, stewardship, and maintenance by building a sense of ownership and place-making among East Durham residents.


Durham Community Land Trustees
Durham Partners Against Crime (PAC 1)
East Durham Children’s Initiative
Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association
Merrick Moore Community Development Corporation
NC State University
Trees Durham
Urban Community AgriNomics


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