Virginia Aquatic Resources Trust Fund

Meadow Creek Restoration

Meadow Creek is one of the largest urban stream restoration projects completed in Virginia to date.  Realigning this section of the creek helped to stabilize the stream and prevent soil erosion, while improving habitat, recreational opportunities and water quality.  Meadow Creek is a tributary of the Rivanna River and part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The end result of the restoration process is a functional, self-sustaining stream system and stable stream channel.  The project also provides benefits for people, through increased property values to the nearby residential communities.  Relocating the stream channel placed it a safe distance from a major sanitary sewer line. 

The project will be monitored for a period of 10 years (2013 - 2023) to ensure success of the restoration. Monitoring will include assessment of native vegetation, invasive species, stream stability, aquatic habitat features, and wetland function.

What a difference a year makes!  From a badly degraded stream, a well functioning waterway emerges with benefits for both people and nature.

With support from the Virginia Aquatic Resources Trust Fund, our partnership with the Corps of Engineers and Virginia DEQ, work began on May 15, 2012 to restore nearly two miles of Meadow Creek.

Nearly 9,000 linear feet of Meadow Creek between Hydraulic Road and Greenbrier Park in Charlottesville was restored, preserving 12 acres of wetlands, over 1.5 miles of the Rivanna Trail, and a total of 72 acres of land.

Before restoration, there was little natural structure to slow stormwater.  The stream's flow cut steep banks that would eventually collapse.

Erosion occurred so fast that a large portion of this silt fence slumped into the creek within a matter of months.

The project used an approach called “natural channel design” to establish a stable meandering pattern, reduce streambank erosion and sedimentation, and reconnect the stream to its floodplain.

The old unstable channel was modified to create appropriate and stable meanders and reduce the height of stream banks.  Rock and log structures were installed in the stream channel to provide bank stability.

Riffles and pools were created to provide healthy habitat.

Where Meadow Creek was once a basket case ...

It now provides healthy habitat for wildlife and enhanced recreation opportunities for people in Charlottesville and beyond.  

A good crowd turned out on a rainy morning at Greenbrier Park to celebrate the completed restoration of Meadow Creek.  “These projects, if they’re taken together, add up to a substantial impact on the Chesapeake Bay.” 

De-vining Moment: Local officials, including Charlottesville Mayor Satyendra Huja and Delegate David Toscano, along with restoration partners line up to apply loppers to a large vine, symbolically opening the restored creek and trail to the public.  Learn more about the work of our Virginia Aquatic Resources Trust Fund >> HERE


Stay Updated

Learn about the places you love and find out how you can help by signing up for Nature eNews.

I'm already on the list Read our privacy policy

Thank you for joining our online community!

We'll be in touch soon with more Nature Conservancy news, updates, and exciting stories.