Meadow Creek Watershed

     The Meadow Creek Watershed is the most urbanized watershed in the Rivanna River Basin. The watershed is 8 square miles, and includes about half of the City of Charlottesville, parts of the University of Virginia, and urbanized areas of Albemarle County south of Rio Road.  Meadow Creek flows into the Rivanna River opposite Darden Towe Park. The watershed has many areas of "impervious cover," meaning land that does not absorb rain water, but sheds it quickly. These include roads, parking lots, rooftops, and driveways. During storm events, floodwaters in Meadow Creek rise very quickly and can become a raging torrent in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately, the rain water also carries many pollutants into the creek, including oil and grease, heavy metals, bacteria, and nutrients.   Monitoring conducted in Meadow Creek has found many of these pollutants when the water is high and muddy-looking. Also, the biological health of Meadow Creek is much lower than similar, less developed, watersheds in the Rivanna River Basin. For these reasons, Meadow Creek is listed as an "Impaired Water" by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in the 2002 Impaired Waters report. The creek is on this list due to high fecal coliform (bacteria) levels and low biological scores reported by DEQ.
     However, the picture is not entirely bleak for the Meadow Creek Watershed. There is a diamond in the rough here, namely the trail system built and maintained by the Rivanna Trails Foundation. Many miles of trail have been constructed, running through beautiful woods and meadows along the creek.   You can actually enjoy a bit of nature right in the midst of the City.