Downtown Watershed Study

The Town of Christiansburg recently received a grant from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation to conduct a downtown watershed study. The goal of this study is to evaluate drainage and flooding problems along Towne Branch (a tributary of Crab Creek that flows through Depot Park) and its floodplains, and to develop a list of planned drainage improvements by the Town.

The Town held a community meeting on October 26, 2017, during which the consultant made a brief presentation about the study goals, and Town staff talked with those in attendance about concerns related to flooding and drainage issues in downtown Christiansburg.

After the community meeting, attendees and other interested community members were asked to complete a comment form and provide feedback by the end of November 2017.

Next Steps

The consultant has been investigating issues and evaluating drainage solutions over the past six months. The Town held another community meeting on Thursday, May 10, 2018, during which time the Town’s consultant presented findings from the study, and staff talked with those in attendance about the proposed solutions to flooding and drainage issues in the Towne Branch Watershed.

The consultant will present findings at the June 12, 2018 meeting of Christiansburg Town Council.


This map shows the area that is covered in the downtown watershed study:

Cburg Watershed Study Map for Website

Background and Needs 

Towne Branch is a tributary to Crab Creek. The 1,284-acre watershed includes Christiansburg’s downtown area, as well as multiple residential neighborhoods. A storm drain infrastructure project along and upstream of the 0.2% zone extending due south along Phlegar and Chrisman Streets is a high-priority project and this study is necessary to determine if downstream improvements need to be completed before this project is initiated.

A storm event occurring on September 29, 2015, resulted in flooding in the watershed. The residential neighborhood along Phlegar and Chrisman Streets that can be identified by looking along the north-south oriented sub-branch on the Towne Branch Watershed Boundary Map was particularly impacted by this event. A preliminary cost estimate of $1,500,000 for a storm drain system to serve Chrisman and Phlegar streets is based on a system that will provide drainage to an area including 27 residences. The developed hydrologic data from this study will be used for design purposes. The Town of Christiansburg administration recognizes the need for sustained capital investment towards stormwater-related projects. Town Council approved a Stormwater Enterprise Fund effective July 1, 2016, as a revenue source to address water quality regulatory obligations, flooding issues, and storm drain maintenance needs. The Town anticipates that the Downtown Watershed Study results will provide justification for subsequent matching grant funding applications.

Summary: The proposed Downtown Watershed Study will provide critical information on the study area as well as
upstream residential areas including the priority Chrisman Street and Phlegar Street residential area. The proposed study report and public outreach to discuss the findings and seek public input will provide an educational opportunity for Town citizens. The study results will assist in determining the capital improvement plan costs, scheduling, and needs for construction grant funding.