Little Sugar Creek Environmental Restoration Projects

Client: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services
Location: Charlotte, NC


To date, Wildlands has completed the design and construction administration for stream enhancement work on five separate reaches of Little Sugar Creek in Charlotte. The Midtown, Kings Drive, and Elizabeth reaches were constructed in conjunction with a greenway and linear park development adjacent to Uptown Charlotte. The project, which extended over multiple phases and eight years of design and construction, involved extensive stakeholder coordination which helped shape the project design vision. The stakeholder group includes Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services, Park & Recreation, Real Estate Services, City of Charlotte, and the North Carolina Land and Water Fund (formerly Clean Water Management Trust Fund). This high-profile work revitalized the corridor and played a significant role in spurring infill residential and commercial development both along the corridor and in the surrounding neighborhoods. The projects not only improved the aesthetics but also provide natural recreation outlets for citizens living in a densely urban area.

Each project included detailed hydrulic modeling for a no impact certification in support of a FEMA floodplain development permit.


Midtown Reach, Kings Drive Reach and Elizabeth Reach:
These high-profile, progressive stream projects daylighted 1,800 LF of buried stream channel and incorporated natural restoration elements to 4,800 LF of Little Sugar Creek. The project corridor is highly urban and featured multiple utility and roadway constraints. The stream and floodplain enhancement design was integrated into the adjacent greenway and park design and used strategically placed in-stream boulder structures and excavated floodplain benches to improve the stability, habitat, and aesthetics of the stream corridor. Swaths of native plantings were used to provide terrestrial habitat while maintaining a landscaped feel.


Little Sugar Creek Enhancement at Cullman Avenue:
Located in the popular North Davidson (NoDa) Arts Neighborhood, this project restored 1,130 LF of stream and developed a bioretention area to treat 0.9 acres of off-site drainage. Public meetings with local residents and business owners were conducted to rally the community around the project.


Little Sugar Creek Greenway: I-485 to Polk Historic Site:
This segment of Little Sugar Creek flows through a highly urbanized section of Pineville, NC and exhibited poor water quality. Wildlands provided design, permitting, and construction administration services for approximately 9,300 LF of stream enhancement in conjunction with two miles of multi-use greenway. Stream enhancement consisted of bank protection, bed stabilization, and buffer establishment through installation of in-stream structures and bio-engineering techniques. Construction was completed in September 2020.


Urban Design