Butterfly Branch Restoration and Linear Park

ACEC/NC Engineering Excellence Award Winner


Butterfly Branch, an impaired and close-piped urban stream, flowed through downtown Spartanburg, SC. Restoration of this stream was the perfect opportunity to offset environmental impacts resulting from a nearby runway expansion and have a positive and lasting environmental and socioeconomic impact on the redeveloped area.

Restoration activities included “daylighting” approximately 1,125 linear feet of closed drainage system and restoring an additional 710 linear feet of channel. The project has improved bank stability, water quality, and in-stream/riparian habitat. Because of numerous constraints, the upstream-most reach includes a series of cascade/pools. The downstream reaches utilize traditional boulder and log grade control structures, natural meander patterns, and aquatic habitat enhancements.

The City of Spartanburg and the Northside Development Corporation are in the process of redeveloping this downtown area, and the Butterfly Branch Restoration project is this effort’s centerpiece. Public trails, informational signage, and outdoor classrooms have been carefully integrated into the site. The trail includes a pedestrian bridge that traverses a triple A-vane in the restored stream. In addition to providing pedestrian connectivity, the bridge is an aesthetically-pleasing centerpiece that highlights the importance of water quality within the community.

Additionally, as a result of extended permit negotiations with the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Charleston District, the project is required to document/demonstrate its functional and ecological uplift by meeting numeric performance metrics for both ambient water quality and benthic macroinvertebrates - the first mitigation project in the Southeast to be held to such standards.