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