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— Parkerson Mill Creek —

Stream Restoration and Green Space Improvement
Auburn University, AL

Enhancing Streams and Green Spaces

Parkerson Mill Creek is typical of urban streams throughout the southeast - water quality concerns, unstable stream banks, and poor habitat quality combine to make the stream an eyesore more than an amenity to the community.

An interdisciplinary and multi-agency committee is working to utilize Parkerson Mill Creek as an example of stream restoration and greenway enhancement for education, extension and research.

Parkerson Mill Creek is named for the Parkerson family's grist mill that was in operation in the late 1800s. The mill was closed down in the early 1900s.

Past, Present and Future

The pictures to the right show current stream conditions. The pictures below are historical photos of the stream as it meandered through campus. We look forward to displaying pictures of a more stable, restored stream in the near future!

Parkerson Mill Creek, 2004, AU Coliseum

Parkerson Mill Creek, July 2005, Wire Road and Samford Road

Partnerships for Parkerson Mill

IMPACT Student Volunteers have adopted Parkerson Mill Creek as one of their target areas. Students will meet weekly to pick up trash, remove invasive, nonnative vegetation from the streamside forest, and learn more about healthy streams and floodplains. Thanks goes to these students for helping to raise awareness of Parkerson Mill Creek!

IMPACT Introductory Guide to PMC

Check out IMPACT students pulling privet and picking up trash for Earth Day

Parkerson Mill Creek, Auburn University, 1930
Looking North towards Samford Hall

Parkerson Mill Creek, Auburn University, 1954
Looking North towards Lem Morrison Drive

An US EPA grant was awarded in 2003 to kick start the Parkerson Mill Creek restoration project on campus. Soon thereafter, many groups on campus and around the state joined to assist in providing a quality restoration project that meets aspects of the Auburn University Campus Master Plan and ties in with the long range goals of the City of Auburn's Greenway Plan.


What is Stream Restoration Using Natural Channel Design?

As streams meander through the landscape, they shape themselves into bends and curves that balance the amount of water and sediment they carry. Many things may cause a stream to lose its form. When land cover in a watershed (the land area that drains to a stream) changes or if a stream is straightened, the balance of water and sediment tips. The stream may react to this change in balance by filling in, deepening, or widening out.

Natural channel design seeks to return a degraded stream to a more stable condition by connecting it with its floodplain and designing its dimension, pattern and profile more closely to that of a natural stream.



Learn more about stream and watershed restoration by visiting the Alabama Watershed Restoration web page.


Parkerson Mill Creek - Research

Dr. Cliff Webber, AU Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquaculture, directs the biological assessment of current stream conditions. The work includes surveying fish and macroinvertebrate communities for baseline conditions that may be compared to stream recovery post-restoration construction.

Parkerson Mill Creek - Extension

Eve Brantley, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, coordinates a series of workshops that follow the steps of restoration including Introduction to Stream Restoration, Principles of Restoration Design, and Restoration Construction. Visit our Workshop Announcements web page.


Parkerson Mill Creek - Education

Several academic departments on campus are interested in utilizing the restoration project as a hands-on learning laboratory. Interest in working with and learning from the project is high in wide ranging departments from Landscape Architecture to History to Fisheries.


Project Resources

As we move forward with the Parkerson Mill Creek project, this page will be updated with useful resource information, please contact Eve Brantley with suggestions or questions.

Native Plant List for Parkerson Mill Creek



Parkerson Mill Creek Project Partners include:
Auburn University Office of Campus Planning and Space Management, Auburn University Risk Management and Safety, Auburn University College of Agriculture, Auburn Univeristy Athletics Department, US EPA Region IV, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, US Army Corps of Engineers, Auburn University Sustainability Initiative, Auburn University Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquaculture, Auburn University Department of Agronomy and Soils, and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

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This website was developed by the ACES Water Quality Team, under the leadership of Dr. James E. Hairston. It is funded, in part, by USDA-CSREES water quality grant support under Section 406 of the Agricultural Research, Extension and Education Reform Act of 1998.