Alluvial Decoder at Crabtree Creek in Raleigh, North Carolina

While traveling along an otherwise unremarkable stretch of the Raleigh-Durham Capital Area Greenway you may notice a series of colorful poles near an overpass bridge. These poles are components of an art project called “Alluvial Decoder”. The poles have tracked the height of every major flood for more than 50 years.

The accompanying plaque reads: “This project marks several historic floods at this site. A series of colorful poles represent floodwater heights.

A key under the bridge reveals the names and dates of the storms represented. The reinstituted meadow along the greenway path will help absorb and clean water from future floods while providing an ecologically diverse habitat for plants and animals.”

The mural also contains the names of the various floods that have caused major flooding in the Raleigh, North Carolina region. So, take a look when the river is low and you’ll get a feeling for the scale and power of water and its ability to impact and reshape the environment.

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