Durant Nature Preserve Upper Lake Study

Last updated Sep. 04, 2019 - 11:11 am
  • Planning
  • Design
  • Construction
  • Completed
  • Lake Study
  • $182,000
  • Stormwater Management (Lead)
  • Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
  • NC State University Stream Restoration Program
  • NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund

Current Activity

Posted Tuesday, Sept. 3

During this study, we evaluated the lake’s physical, biological, and chemical conditions. Then we looked at how we can change the lake area to:

  • Create a better ecosystem;
  • Provide a variety of landscape features at the lake; and,
  • Improve visitor experience.

Work for the study took place between 2017 and mid-2019. City staff is reviewing findings from the study. We will share the results with residents in the fall.

Questions? Contact Kevin Boyer, PE, at 919-996-4009.


The Lakes

There is a 6-acre upper lake and 12-acre lower lake at Durant Nature Preserve. Water leaving the upper lake flows through a concrete spillway (over an earthen dam) and along a 100-foot-long channel to the lower lake.

The Study

The purpose of the study is to come up with alternate solutions to maintain the area and protect the preserve. We started studying the lake’s condition in 2017 focusing on:

  • The history of the lake and surrounding area;
  • Mapping the lake’s structures, shoreline, and sediment;
  • Biology of the streams flowing into and out of the lake; and,
  • Chemical properties of the lake’s water and soil.

The study is made possible through a North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund grant.


Here are a few options for the lake based on study findings:

  • Keeping the shape of the lake the same with a new spillway structure and lower water surface level;
  • Converting the lake to a wetland system to improve water quality and/or wildlife habitat (includes partially breaching the dam); and,
  • Restoring the lake to a natural stream and floodplain (includes completely breaching the dam).

Each option was scored and ranked. The wetlands alternative ranked the highest. The restoration ranked the lowest.


Durant Nature Preserve - Upper Lake


Project schedule with dates and descriptions
Spring 2019Lake study complete
Summer 2019Review study findings
Fall 2019Public meeting (to share study findings)
TBDProject design


We acquired Durant Nature Preserve in 1979. The 237-acre preserve has two lakes, which were constructed around 1950. The lower lake is used for recreation (boating and fishing) and nature education. The upper lake is used for nature walks and wildlife viewing.

We evaluated the lakes’ dams and spillways in 2013. Results showed that we’d have to repair both lakes so that they continue to function properly. We started studying the upper lake in 2017. In mid-2019, we repaired the lower lake’s dam and spillway.

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