A new stormwater management plan for the BullStreet neighborhood is set to restore the Smith Branch Creek to the surface of the property allowing for a natural habitat and creating a 2-acre pond within the planned 20-acre park.
Work on the stream is scheduled to start soon and is expected to continue through early 2018.
“This plan, put together by city staff, federal agencies, Hughes Development Corp. and others, provides more protection for our citizens living in flood-prone areas, and ensures a natural splendor that will be enjoyed by all,” Mayor Steve Benjamin said in a statement. “This kind of resiliency innovation represents the best of public/private sector cooperation and can be used as a model for green infrastructure, restoring wildlife habitat and improving our overall quality of life."
Robert Hughes, president of Hughes Development Corp., and project manager at BullStreet, expects the plan to improve water quality, wildlife and biodiversity at the Smith Branch Creek.
The plan will also implement a new stormwater management plan to reduce downstream flooding in some areas during storms.
“We hope to inspire young and old alike to appreciate nature in an urban setting and the heirloom S.C. plants that, in turn, attract a variety of wildlife,” Hughes said in a statement.
The creek, which now flows underground in twin 84-inch culvert pipes on the property, will be brought to the surface and meander about 2,000 feet through a 20-acre public park at BullStreet.
“As local advocates for clean water and healthy rivers we are always excited about opportunities to improve water quality and reconnect people with the waterways that run through our communities,” said Bill Stangler, the Congaree Riverkeeper. “The daylighting and restoration of Smith Branch is an opportunity to improve an impaired urban stream and make it as asset for the community. We look forward to working with the BullStreet team on this project.”
Most new developments are required to mitigate their effect on downstream properties, but the newly approved BullStreet plan goes much further. For 2-, 10-, 25- and 100-year storm events, the new design for Smith Branch Creek will slow the water flowing from the site an average of 69 feet per cubic second from the existing conditions.
For a two-year storm event, for example, it will help reduce flooding problems for downstream areas including at SC 277, Colonial Drive and Harden Street. Larger storm events will result in more water detained on the property.
The improvements downstream will be achieved by the unique design of the pond, the new open channel of the creek and the use of the existing in-ground culvert pipes for water retention. Currently water flows unimpeded off site directly through the underground pipes.
Hughes Development Corporation worked with KCI Technologies, Davis & Floyd, Robinson Design Engineers, PACE Engineering and Beau Welling Design to develop a Smith Branch daylighting and stormwater management plan for BullStreet.