Students Raise Awareness Of Rocky Branch Creek Cleanup Efforts

In April 2017, part of Talley Student Union featured a student-organized display of waste and recyclable items collected on campus along Rocky Branch Creek. Here are four questions with student Lydia Haile, an NC State Steward who helped create the display.

Where did these items come from?

Our display consisted of bags of trash and recyclables that were collected within a two-hour span in Rocky Branch Creek between Dan Allen Drive and Morrill Drive on NC State’s campus.

What and where is Rocky Branch Creek?

Rocky Branch Creek is an urban creek that runs through NC State’s campus along Sullivan Drive and NC State athletic fields. In 1978, Rocky Branch Creek was declared by the Division of Water Quality as one of the state’s most polluted urban streams. This is largely due to the stream’s urban location, which was impacted by development. In the early 2000s, NC State and NC Sea Grant partnered in a restoration project to return the stream to a healthy state. While the stream has been restored, it still suffers from pollution and harmful bacteria — which are common in streams located in urban locations.

What about all those tennis balls?

When you play tennis, it’s nearly inevitable that tennis balls bounce out of the tennis court on occasion. When that happens while playing at the Carmichael Gym tennis courts (located right next to Rocky Branch Creek), try to locate the ball visually. If the ball has gone into the Rocky Branch Creek area and cannot be safely accessed, tell a University Recreation staff member at the equipment rental desk. They will arrange for the tennis balls to be collected, which prevents downstream pollution.

What can we do to prevent Rocky Branch Creek from becoming polluted?

First, bring your own reusable cup. You can reuse it over and over again. Plus, thanks to an NC State Dining ongoing discount, going reusable will save you 10 cents every time you purchase a beverage on campus. Second, refrain from using straws or try using a reusable straw. Third, make sure wrappers and other waste are disposed of properly in a way that can’t be blown out of an outdoor waste bin and into the creek.