Hunnicutt Creek: Location and Description

Location and Description

Hunnicutt Creek runs through the Clemson University campus and the South Carolina Botanical Garden (SCBG), draining water into the old Seneca River channel, now known as the Calhoun Field Laboratory or the ‘Clemson Bottoms’. Since the completion of the construction of Lake Hartwell in 1959, this low-lying area on the western edge of the Clemson University campus is the location of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) pump station, which sends Hunnicutt Creek’s entire flow through the dike and into the lake. The USACE’s control over the bottom of Hunnicutt Creek makes the watershed an unusual system.

Clemson University watershed boundaries
Watershed Boundaries
Image illustrating the watershed boundaries of the Clemson University campus. The majority of campus drains through Hunnicutt Creek, indicated by the network of blue lines.  The easternmost portion of this watershed drains west toward the USACE pump station, which is indicated by a red oval. Just north of the pump station are the remnants of the old Seneca River channel.


Hunnicutt Creek can be divided into multiple smaller watersheds as illustrated below. The green, purple, and yellow watershed areas have very different land covers within the large Hunnicutt watershed. 

Location 2
Topography and Area Map
Image depicting the Clemson University campus, 3 delineated watersheds of Hunnicutt Creek and the watershed draining into the old Seneca River channel. Image: Land Planning Associates


Hunnicutt Creek at the Clemson Unviversirty golf course.
Walker Golf Course


The green watershed area encompasses the SCBG on the east, moves into the Walker Golf Course and terminates in the Clemson Bottoms. The headwaters of this watershed start off-campus along U.S. Route 76 and within numerous small neighborhoods on the south side of campus.



North Hunnicutt Creek from multiple sources.
Multiple Urban Sources


The portion of the Hunnicutt Creek watershed indicated by purple (North Hunnicutt Creek) begins at the water tower on Kite Hill, fire station and the south side of Douthit Hills running between Thornhill Village and Calhoun Courts. It continues draining runoff from campus residences, large parking areas, buildings and multiple other sources.


Suber Pond on the Clemson University campus
Suber Pond


The Hunnicutt Creek watershed in the yellow area is primarily piped underground through the core of campus. It then daylights south of Strom Thurmond Institute into Suber Pond.


South Carolina Botanical Garden
Botanical Gardens


Hunnicutt Creek undergoes many changes directly related to each of the smaller watershed’s characteristics. Vegetative cover in the headwaters near the botanical garden (green area) offer both aquatic and terrestrial diversity. Stream flow is typically stable but can be elevated during large storm events.


North Hunnicutt Creek, SC
Urbanizing Watershed


North Hunnicutt Creek watershed exemplifies a typical urban system. It can be characterized by very low baseflow conditions and very high stormflow conditions. An overstory of hardwood species can be found in this area. Due to in-stream conditions (high storm flows and channel instability) and terrestrial invasive species this area does not portray the same diversity as that found in the botanical garden watershed.


Hunnicutt Creek at Suber Pond, SC
Hidden in a Pipe


The relative amount of impervious surface and the fact that the majority of the smallest contributing watershed is piped and then ponded makes this portion of Hunnicutt Creek very unique. Very little aquatic life can be found in this section of the creek as it discharges into a very landscaped section of the Clemson University campus.