The Church Creek drainage basin today drains a total of area of over 10,000 acres located along the western side of the Ashley River. This area has been studied for over 20 years, and its flat terrain made it difficult to estimate the extent until the advent of modern high-resolution topographic information. We can now appreciate that historically, the area of watershed was much smaller. Early ditches, road construction, and stormwater management have redirected water towards Church Creek and away from other flow paths, enlarging the drainage area.
The area that flows into Church Creek today was once composed mainly of marsh and lowland hardwood forests that were ditched and converted to rice fields and phosphate mines. Today the lower sections of the basin are largely developed. The residential neighborhoods of Shadowmoss, Hickory Hill, Hickory Farms, Grand Oaks, Village Green, Forest Lakes, and Canterbury Woods fall within the Church Creek watershed. Church Creek passes through these neighborhoods in straightened ditches and flows down to marsh and then into the Ashley River under U.S. Highway 61 and the Seaboard Systems Railroad. Upstream of the Seaboard Systems Railroad, portions of the existing channel have been improved between Bees Ferry Road and the railroad.
Significant development of the Church Creek drainage basin began in the early to mid-1970s. In 1986 townhomes constructed on Two Loch Drive flooded during a rain event. In response to this flood, Charleston County, SCDOT, and the City of Charleston combined efforts to increase the capacity of the basin's main outfall beneath the CSX railroad, adding three 72-inch culverts to the existing 66-inch culvert.
Given the history of augmentation and alteration in the watershed, no single action or installation of a nature-based practice will resolve the flooding. Instead, a holistic, basin-wide suite of practices will be required. These include adherence to the new stormwater regulations for new development, increased water storage in the mid and upper sections of the watershed, flood-prevention improvements to stormwater pond management, and homeowner retrofits to increase water infiltration. The city is actively pursuing each of these solutions.
So far the city has spent $4,196,476 to construct improvements and monitor the effect of stormwater runoff from new development so that it does not adversely affect existing development. Determined to continue to alleviate the drainage challenges in this basin, the City of Charleston is continuing to update the existing ICPR model, review proposed development designs to ensure adherence to the strict stormwater design standards for the basin, maintain the existing collection and conveyance system, and seek out additional capital improvement projects to improve drainage.
As of the summer of 2021, the city has completed preliminary engineering and design on three sites that offer opportunities to reduce flood risk: the Bridge Pointe Town Homes, city-owned property near Wolk Drive and Mowler Court, and Crosstowne Church.
Bridge Pointe Town Homes Site Meeting
Meeting with design team to review and discuss the proposed concept plans with project engineers.
Thursday July 29, 2021
7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
21 Dunvegan Drive, Charleston, SC 29412
Donuts with Designers: Wolk Drive and Mowler Court
An informal discussion over coffee and donuts to share proposed concept plans for the city-owned properties along Wolk Drive.
Saturday July 31, 2021
8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
63 Wolk Drive, Charleston, SC 29412
Volume 1 Sections
Volume 2 Sections
Volume 2 Appendices