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Bull Street Neighborhood storm water plan will reduce offsite flooding and restore natural habitat

The Bull Street Neighborhood has received key federal and city approval to implement a new storm water management plan to reduce downstream flooding in some areas during storms, and recreate natural habitat by bringing Smith Branch Creek to the surface on the property while also creating a two-acre pond within the planned 20-acre public park.

Another key element of the plan is the restoration of Smith Branch Creek’s water quality, wildlife and biodiversity, according to Robert Hughes, president of Hughes Development Corporation and project manager at BullStreet. “We hope to inspire young and old alike to appreciate nature in an urban setting and the heirloom South Carolina plants that, in turn, attract a variety of wildlife,” he said.

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 ft. through the public park at Bull Street.

Approval came from the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the City of Columbia, S.C.

Work on the stream is scheduled to start in Summer 2017 and continue through early 2018.

Most new developments are required to mitigate their effect on downstream properties, but the newly approved BullStreet plan goes much further. For two, ten, 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.

“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.”

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