Planning for the Long-Term Conservation of

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					Planning for the Long-Term Conservation of
North Carolina’s Land and Water Resources




            Draft Plan
            April 2003
                                      Table of Contents
Foreword
   •   Overview — Mission / Program Areas / Principles

Creating a Conservation Vision
   •   Introduction
   •   Defining Land and Water Conservation
   •   Our Existing Green Infrastructure
   •   Conservation Targets
   •   The One North Carolina Naturally Draft Map

Current Efforts
   •   Introduction
   •   Nonprofit Organizations
   •   Local / Regional Initiatives
   •   State Agency Programs
   •   Federal Efforts

A Regional Focus
   •   Introduction
   •   Eastern Piedmont
   •   Southern Piedmont
   •   Sandhills
   •   Northern Mountains
   •   Southern Coastal Plain
   •   Central Piedmont
   •   Northern Coastal Plain
   •   Southern Mountains

The Plan in Action
   •   Introduction
   •   State Government’s Role
   •   Synchronizing Local Plans
   •   Bringing Diverse Interests Together
   •   Education of Citizens
   •   Conservation Finance
   •   Conclusion

Appendices
   •   Glossary of Terms Used in Development of One North Carolina Naturally draft map
   •   Conservation Contacts
   •   Summary of all the Regional Meetings
   •   Regional Meeting Survey

                   *Available on One North Carolina Naturally website at
                http://www.enr.state.nc.us/officeofconservation/index.html
           •   Regional Planning Effort Survey Results and Meeting Summaries
           •   Maps



                                              ii                    Draft – April 2003
           Overview of One North Carolina Naturally Initiative
The mission of One North Carolina Naturally is to:

• Lead the development and implementation of a comprehensive statewide
  conservation plan, involving government agencies, private organizations, landowners
  and the public.
• Conserve and restore functional ecosystems, biological diversity and working
  landscapes through the stewardship of land and water resources.
• Implement a plan that will conserve and restore the state’s natural heritage and
  sustain a healthy life for all North Carolinians and visitors.


Three program areas have been established to bring together the variety of land and
water protection programs and strategies:

                                Green Lands, Blue Waters
                Protecting and Restoring Significant Natural Resource Areas

North Carolina has one of the most diverse natural environments in the nation. It
stretches from the mountains to the sea. Such diversity contributes to the integrity of
ecosystems that support water and air quality, plant and wildlife populations, and
natural resources.

Our challenge is to conserve habitat for our native species and enrich the key natural
features that contribute to the state’s unique identity.


                            Private Lands, Public Benefits
                   Advancing Stewardship on Private and Working Lands

Working landscapes are lands whose natural resources to generate continuous income
for the landowners. These private and public landholdings include farms, forests,
ecotourism and recreational destinations, and historic places. They are vital to the state’s
natural appearance, culture and economy. These working lands also provide
opportunities for land conservation, preservation and sound management through
private/public partnerships.

Conservation of these working landscapes requires cooperative planning, technical
assistance and incentives that will aid private landowners and public land managers to
maintain natural resources and continue the sustainable use of their lands.




                                             iii                     Draft – April 2003
                                  Working on the Water
                    Protecting and Restoring Sounds and Ocean Habitats

Much of North Carolina’s past and future is tied to the coastal region—a natural asset
with 320 miles of oceanfront and 4,000 miles of estuarine coastline. The continued vigor
of our commercial and recreational fishing industry, tourism, education and other
coastal activities depends on lively ecological systems, cultural resources and scenic
attributes.

We must identify and conserve areas critical for their unique biological and landscape
values. Strategies are needed to protect and enhance their contribution to the state’s
economy and high quality of life.


Principles:
To protect the state’s land and water effectively, One North Carolina Naturally will be
guided by the following principles:

•   We must be proactive and focused to protect healthy ecosystems before they are
    threatened and restore less healthy systems before they decline further.
•   We must be coordinated by joining with partners to integrate our strategies.
•   We must be efficient in recognizing existing achievements to focus resources.
•   We must be innovative, looking for ways to blend public and private strategies,
    public conservation and private hopes, incentives and funding.
•   We must be holistic in recognizing that growth patterns, development needs and
    financial factors affect essential land and water conservation; and they are critical in
    advancing the state toward a healthy and sustainable future.




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                         Creating a Conservation Vision
   As the population of North Carolina grows, the rate at which open land is
   converted to other uses or is fragmented grows even faster. We must ask ourselves
   what combination of natural systems we, the North Carolinians of today and
   tomorrow, will need to survive, to live happy, healthy lives, and to prosper. We
   must also ask how we will provide the combination of natural systems that will
   meet those needs on a sustainable basis. Those needs are quite numerous. In
   addition to air to breathe and water to drink, those needs include productive soil
   and scenic values, but also healthy native species (including humans) and the
   quality and quantity of water in our communities. Land often has “competing”
   uses, including wildlife habitat, recreation, forestry, agriculture or development
   for homes, businesses, roads and utilities. Yet a farm can provide both private
   profitability and wildlife habitat, just as a forest or estuary can provide recreation
   along with private and public commodities. Public and private lands can provide
   multiple private and public benefits. When managed with care in an integrated,
   focused, coordinated and sustainable way, these places benefit us all, whether we
   live there, visit or consume products they yield.
                                                                        Bill Ross, Secretary
                                         Department of Environment and Natural Resources

The motives for conserving natural resources transcend aesthetics or ethics. Conservation
also is essential for quality of life, economic gain and human survival. Healthy development,
agriculture, forestry, fishing and tourism depend on careful natural resource planning
and management. Diverse, intact environments and ecosystems support clean air and
water, wildlife habitat, unique natural communities, historic heritage and related
economic benefits (i.e., commercial and sport fishing, boating, tourism, prevention of
flood damage).

“Quality of life” may sound like an esoteric term. But it has real economic and personal
significance to the general public and to property owners. A recent study showed that
quality of life is the third largest concern of companies planning to relocate to an area
(access to a good transportation network was first, and a skilled workforce was second).
Numerous studies show that homes close to parks and trails often have a higher
property value than similar homes only a few blocks away. Some evidence suggests that
investment in open space (i.e., parks, greenways) makes a community more likely to
attract future businesses and economically desirable retirees.

Conservation of open space and land and water resources is a broad-reaching
responsibility, and its fulfillment depends on private and public commitment. It also
requires a substantial network of partnerships. The North Carolina Department of
Environment and Natural Resources recognizes the many demands on natural resources
and the challenge of conserving them. The development of a statewide comprehensive plan for
conserving our land and water resources is essential. It will only help if it adds value to the
many outstanding conservation programs and actions taking place now, and it must
serve to integrate, focus, coordinate, support and inspire a total statewide effort. This
initiative is called One North Carolina Naturally.


                                              1                        Draft – April 2003
The department has called on many partners to frame this plan, including state agencies,
federal, regional and local government entities, citizens, businesses, business groups,
and environmental and conservation organizations. The plan examines 1) land resources
already under protection, 2) unprotected lands, 3) lands being evaluated for some level
of additional protection, and 4) and new land-conservation opportunities. The plan will
focus on a balanced approach toward functional ecosystems, biological diversity and
working landscapes (farmed and forested areas) through stewardship of land and water.

A major goal of this initiative is to identify conservation needs of North Carolina and
develop a strategy, including funding, to meet those needs. With the input of all
interested parties, the One North Carolina Naturally initiative will give us a consensus-
driven, adaptively-managed conservation plan that serves all the people of our state and
is characterized by a bias toward action.

Defining Land and Water Conservation
Once North Carolinians agree on which land and water resources are most critical, we
can collectively determine how to manage and conserve them most effectively. Land and
water can be conserved through numerous methods:
1. Acquisition—A common approach for the protection of pristine natural heritage
   areas is land acquisition and placement of land into public ownership. Such lands
   may serve many purposes, including expansion of parks and recreation areas, game
   lands and water quality protection.
2. Stewardship—Many private landowners are good stewards and manage their
   property to the best of their ability. Working lands (i.e., farms, ranches and forests)
   often are managed under conservation plans that help landowners establish or
   maintain conservation practices, such as strips of trees and shrubs along waterways
   that prevent erosion and filter pollutants. Many farmers, either on their own or in
   conjunction with conservation programs, manage their land in ways that enhance or
   conserve natural resources, such as planting hedgerows to encourage beneficial
   wildlife or implementing water quality protection practices. These and similar
   stewardship efforts should be rewarded and expanded because the general public
   benefits from the efforts of the landowner.
3. Conservation Easements—Often it is more profitable for a landowner to sell to
   developers than to continue using land for such traditional purposes as farming or
   forestry. To achieve sustainability and to assist landowners in their efforts to remain
   on the land, conservation must be economically advantageous. In addition to
   stewardship incentives, conservation easements are a tool that can help willing
   landowners resist abandoning agricultural land use. Through these easements,
   property owners may transfer or sell the development rights on a piece of land while
   maintaining ownership and other rights.

And while there are regulatory options, the One North Carolina Naturally initiative is
focused on voluntary participation as well as on creating and providing incentives for
stewardship.




                                            2                      Draft – April 2003
Our Existing Green Infrastructure
Although green spaces often conjure images of parks and greenways, a majority of these
places are found within working landscapes—farms, ranches and forests. Conserving
natural resources that support and sustain these working lands is vital to the state’s
overall “green infrastructure” and the public good. The connections between natural
resources on both private and public lands illustrate the need for meeting conservation
goals through partnerships and innovation.


Conservation Opportunities
Conservation professionals, including ecologists, biologists and foresters, have identified
many areas in North Carolina that represent opportunities for conservation or
restoration. These places include habitats for rare species, buffer areas around a river,
stream or lake, historic structures, wide-open farm landscapes, forestlands and scenic
attractions such as waterfalls. It is impossible and unnecessary to place all such lands in
public ownership. Alongside traditional acquisition strategies, One North Carolina
Naturally will promote new approaches to encourage and reward stewardship by
private landowners.

A collective assessment of conservation opportunities is needed. Input from all levels of
government, business interests, private conservation groups and other citizens,
including private landowners, will be essential to building this framework. Such input
will guide the One North Carolina Naturally plan in connecting strategies for private
land stewardship with public acquisition and management. It will also influence how
the plan unites government and private landowners’ efforts to conserve working lands
with other public and private conservation and preservation programs.

The One North Carolina Naturally Draft Map
A consolidated map to guide implementation and track progress is fundamental to One North
Carolina Naturally’s comprehensive plan for focused, coordinated, integrated
conservation. The program is developing a statewide GIS map composed of multiple
layers of spatial information. The layers can be sorted by three general categories:
    1) Base Map (for Reference)
    2) Lands Managed for Open Space
    3) Future Focus Areas

Base Map (for Reference) provides background data to both orient the viewer and to
highlight areas where population growth, and thus increased development, may be
placing pressure on natural resources and open spaces. Reference points include: county
boundaries; some hydrologic features (lakes, rivers and major streams); populated areas,
derived from Municipal Boundaries (with populations greater than 10,000 displayed);
and Census Block Data indicating areas with density greater than 500 persons per
square mile.

Lands Managed for Open Space displays existing publicly owned lands, lands owned
by private conservation organizations, and areas where private landowners have
enrolled a portion of their property into a conservation easement agreement. Public


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lands include parks, game lands, military property, agriculture/forestry research and
education areas, and a small group of lands that serve other purposes. Lands under
conservation easement are privately owned and managed. Depending on their use, these
lands differ in the availability of public access. The sources for this information are the
North Carolina Center for Geographic Information and Analysis’ GIS data layer entitled
“Lands Managed for Open Space” and the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program’s
“Managed Areas” data layer.

Future Focus Areas are a synthesis of available ecological information and conservation
plans already developed. This layer includes:
• NCCREWS (North Carolina Coastal Region Evaluation of Wetland Significance)
  Wetlands of Exceptional Functional Significance
• Significant Natural Heritage Areas and Macrosites identified by the N.C. Natural
  Heritage Program
• The Nature Conservancy’s portfolio sites from the Southern Blue Ridge, Piedmont,
  and Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain Ecoregional Plans
• Primary and Potential conservation areas from the Sandhills Conservation Partnership
  Plan
• Important Bird Areas identified by Audubon North Carolina
• Piedmont Triad Potential Conservation/Open Space Opportunities
• Core Animal Habitats identified in the Southeast Coastal Plain Conservation
  Assessment
(See the glossary in Appendix 1 for more information on these data sources.)

Existing conservation plans being considered in the development of the
comprehensive statewide One North Carolina Naturally Plan:
• Wildlife Resources Commission (private and public areas)
• Forest Legacy Program
• NC Parks System (existing parks, potential new parks, Mountains-to-Sea
Trail/Corridor)
• CREP Planning Areas
• Wetlands Restoration Program (projects and planning areas)
• Conservation Trust for North Carolina




                                            4                       Draft – April 2003
                                   Current Efforts
A good foundation for enhancing conservation is already in place. Many public agencies
and private organizations are working hard to protect the state’s natural heritage and to
promote conservation on private, working lands. Fortunately, a number of these
individuals, programs and organizations have a track record for successful
collaboration. They regularly share knowledge and resources as they examine
conservation needs and priorities. But other groups operate with little or no help from
each other. All of the existing good works could be amplified and strengthened through
better cooperation and coordination. One North Carolina Naturally invites these
programs to learn about each other and develop a unified conservation vision. Through
such teamwork, different conservation objectives may be woven together, and
protection of the state’s vulnerable land and water resources can be achieved more
efficiently.

This chapter describes many of the conservation efforts that are under way. Though not
comprehensive, the list includes profiles of key nonprofits, local/regional initiatives and
state and federal programs. Apparent in these descriptions are the common goals and
shared responsibilities for achieving conservation. Appendix 2 provides contact
information for these organizations.

Nonprofit Organizations
American Farmland Trust
Since 1980, the American Farmland Trust (AFT) has worked to curb the loss of
productive farmland and to promote farming practices that lead to a healthy
environment. In North Carolina, AFT is working to build a statewide network of county
Voluntary Agricultural District advisory boards to strengthen this program at the state
level; already it has held training sessions on voluntary agricultural districts for 200
people representing 45 counties. With partners that include the North Carolina Farm
Bureau Federation, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the
N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, AFT is building a farm-
transition program. This program will provide options to North Carolina farmers for
transitioning their land to younger farmers to protect it and keep it productive. Last
year, AFT partnered with the U.S. Conference of Mayors to organize a farm-city forum
in Charlotte, where farmers and citizens examined various options to protect North
Carolina agriculture—from the sale of private development rights to local conservation
entities to the design of new opportunities for "agritourism."

The Appalachian Trail Conference Land Trust
The Appalachian Trail Conference Land Trust works to protect important features of the
environment surrounding the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, which stretches from
Maine to Georgia. Roughly 300 miles of the 2,159-mile footpath crosses North Carolina,
much of it closely following the North Carolina-Tennessee border. The national trail
reaches its highest point in North Carolina—at Clingman’s Dome (6,625 feet) within
Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The trail passes through nine counties in the
state and one incorporated town. The Trust relies on a regional coordinators program to


                                             5                      Draft – April 2003
look for conservation opportunities along the trail and act as liaisons to communities
and landowners. The Trust works with several regional land-use planning organizations
that have jurisdiction around the North Carolina portion of the trail. It also works with
local conservation partners to acquire land and easements and educate the community
about the importance of the trail resources.

Audubon North Carolina “Important Bird Areas” Inventory
Audubon North Carolina has created a blueprint for the conservation of bird habitats
across the state. The office has identified 90 (and counting) “Important Bird Areas”
(IBAs) that provide the greatest habitat value and support significant populations or an
exceptional diversity of birds. A nonregulatory initiative, the program does not restrict
the use of land. Rather it is an assessment on which protection priorities and strategies
can be based. Using GIS mapping software and land-cover data, Audubon created
boundaries based on the tract of contiguous habitat necessary to support the species,
population or assemblage of birds for which the site was nominated. Audubon solicited
nominations of potential IBAs from many groups and individuals with a general interest
in or knowledge of North Carolina birds and habitats. A technical committee of some of
the state's leading biologists and ornithologists approves final selection of sites. To foster
cooperative protection, Audubon plans to share data on the IBA sites with land trusts,
state and federal agencies, and local governments. North Carolina’s IBA program is part
of Audubon’s global IBA program to identify and conserve the most crucial habitats for
birds.

The Conservation Fund
The Conservation Fund is a national nonprofit land and water conservation organization
that works to promote economically viable environmental protection. In North
Carolina, the Fund's Real Estate / Land Conservation staff has protected over 161,000
acres valued at over $101 million, for less than $56 million, or just under 55% of fair
market value. These acquisitions have included expansion of existing, or creation of
new refuges and parks, including the 105,000-acre Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife
Refuge, the 8,300-acre DuPont State Forest and the 1,480-acre acquisition that connected
Crowders Mountain and Kings Mountain State Parks. TCF has protected significant
working landscapes through the use of conservation easements that provide for
perpetual stewardship, while keeping valuable lands on the tax rolls. These include
8,797-acres at the Cane River Conservancy, 685-acres of private in-holdings in the
Shining Rock Wilderness Area, and a historic 66-acre farm in Watauga County. TCF has
also worked closely with state agencies and the corporate sector to broker innovative
protection projects, including a 9,700-acre endangered species mitigation bank in Tyrrell
County, a 4,300-acre national forest and private camp in Haywood County, and a 1,337-
acre preserve in the Lower Cape Fear River basin. The Fund's Resourceful Communities
Program (RCP) works in the poor and minority communities of rural North Carolina,
helping build local capacity to create new economies that protect, enhance and restore
the natural, cultural, historic and community resources, while also promoting economic
and social justice.




                                              6                       Draft – April 2003
Conservation Trust for North Carolina and NC’s Land Trusts
The state of North Carolina is served by a network of 23 private non-profit land trusts.
The Conservation Trust for North Carolina provides statewide support of the efforts of
these land trusts through its role as a hub for information exchange, coordination, public
policy representation and legal, financial, and technical assistance. Land trusts help
protect the state’s land and water resources through acquisition of land and
conservation easements. The Conservation Trust has protected over 20,000 acres
through its own land protection efforts, mostly along the Blue Ridge Parkway, while the
state’s network of private land trusts have protected 138,983 acres in 751 places as of
2002.

Environmental Defense
Since 1988, the North Carolina office of Environmental Defense has worked to secure
public policies that protect and restore key ecosystems in the state by establishing
incentive programs for private landowners and by revamping federal and state cost-
share programs to ensure more funds are targeted for conservation. The organization’s
Center for Conservation Incentives (CCI) was created to conserve biodiversity on the
country’s private lands. Among CCI’s goals are the design and launching of model
projects to demonstrate how existing and new incentive-based strategies can benefit
biodiversity and foster private stewardship. Another goal is to build an extensive
network of landowners and conservation groups that can champion and help execute
incentive-based conservation programs.

North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation
The North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation is the state’s largest general farm
organization. This nonprofit membership advocacy group represents farmers in
legislative and regulatory actions that affect their livelihood. The federation advises
farmers on the development of county farmland preservation ordinances. It also works
to influence the present-use values in local tax structures (i.e., taxing farmland for its
present use rather than its development value). The federation works with state
government to support Soil and Water Conservation Districts and cost-share programs
for conservation practices. The group also informs farmers about conservation
provisions of the Farm Bill and works to influence public policy on that federal
legislation.

North Carolina Watershed Coalition
The North Carolina Watershed Coalition formed to encourage the founding and growth
of local organizations working to protect watersheds, rivers and streams. The coalition
provides guidance to nearly 30 member organizations. It also provides continuing
education for schoolteachers. The coalition holds an annual conference focusing on such
topics as wetlands and riparian lands, environmental issues before the General
Assembly and urban sprawl.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
With the help of its members and conservation partners, The Nature Conservancy in
North Carolina has protected over a half million acres of critical natural lands since 1977.
The organization operates through strategic, science-based planning that identifies the



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highest-priority land and waters whose conservation will ensure long-term biodiversity.
TNC collaborates with state and federal agencies, land trusts and conservation groups
and works with landowners and businesses to achieve its mission. It has revealed
several upcoming conservation plans through its Forever Wild Campaign, a $25 million,
three-year fund-raising drive focused on eight high-priority North Carolina landscapes.
These targets include the New River headwaters, Little Tennessee River, Hickory Nut
Gorge, Sandhills longleaf pine, Green Swamp/Boiling Spring Lakes, upper Tar River,
Roanoke River and lower Cape Fear river basin. Money also will be earmarked to
complete existing preserves.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL)
The Trust for Public Land is a national conservation organization dedicated to
protecting land for human enjoyment and well being since 1972. It helps develop a
“greenprint” for growth by protecting important land that may be threatened by urban
or suburban sprawl. TPL has protected more than 10,000 acres across North Carolina,
from Mountain Island Lake to the Chattooga River. Its local liaison is the Carolinas
Advisory Council. The Mountain Island Lake Initiative, which has protected more than
2,300 acres of the lake’s watershed and 74 percent of its shoreline, is featured as a
national model for “smart conservation” in the book Solving Sprawl: Models of Smart
Growth in Communities Across America. Government officials, local residents and
nonprofit groups, including TPL, formed the initiative in 1998 to protect the lake’s high-
quality water in the face of increasing development. TPL has been named twice by Smart
Money magazine as the nation’s most efficient large conservation charity based on the
percentage of funds dedicated to programs.

Local / Regional Initiatives
Onslow Bight Conservation Forum
The focus area of the Onslow Bight Conservation Forum extends roughly from the
Pamlico River south to Cape Fear. Containing a unique landscape of saltwater marshes,
river wetlands, pocosins, longleaf pine savannas and other coastal ecosystems, the area
supports nationally significant communities of animals and plants. Within this area, the
Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Air Base has joined a forum of regional land managers and
conservation organizations to cooperate on regional conservation issues. The forum
encourages projects that focus on protecting, conserving and restoring the integrity of
the landscape and waters and their natural communities. It aims to enhance cooperation
and communication on long-term conservation and enhancement of biological diversity
and sustainability of ecosystems throughout the Onslow Bight.

Piedmont Triad Council of Governments
The Piedmont Triad Council of Governments has compiled a Regional Open Space
Strategy for its 12-county service area. The organization has developed a GIS database and
maps for the region, is organizing and facilitating open-space workshops for each county
and has developed a report and map for its strategy. The project report, associated maps
and GIS database summarize existing and planned open space resources. Top-priority
future focus areas (key conservation opportunities) are identified in each county and
combined to form a regional open space strategy. This strategy is meant to be the


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foundation for future conservation planning efforts within each county, for the region as
a whole and for the One North Carolina Naturally statewide conservation plan.

The Nature Conservancy Ecoregional Planning Process
                      (see also The Nature Conservancy in Nonprofit Organizations section)
The North Carolina Chapter of The Nature Conservancy has completed ecoregional
conservation plans for the Mountain, Piedmont and Coastal Plain regions to direct long-
term conservation action with its partners. The plans identify networks of conservation
areas that contain representative examples of the species, natural communities and
ecosystems of each region. Many different data sets are used to identify target species
(i.e., rare or threatened) and ecosystems, set conservation goals, map examples and
select conservation areas.

Triangle GreenPrint
Triangle GreenPrint is a joint project of the N.C. Department of Environment and
Natural Resources, the Triangle Land Conservancy and the Triangle J Council of
Governments to develop a regional vision for open space. The project covers a six-
county area that includes Chatham, Durham, Johnston, Lee, Orange and Wake counties.
The technical phase of the project brought together more than 140 open space experts
from across the Triangle to identify important green spaces in the region and show how
they are connected. This work is summarized in a Regional Open Space Assessment that
will help land-management organizations, citizens and their elected officials identify
and create a linked region of green space as the Triangle grows. The project is
completing a public outreach phase in which it has shared the technical results with
more than 800 people and solicited feedback. Finally, the project is developing a system
for tracking current and planned land protection and trails projects.

Voices and Choices of the Central Carolinas
Voices and Choices of the Central Carolinas aims to engage citizens, governments and
community organizations in shaping a shared vision for sustainable growth. Formed by
a regional task force in 1996, the organization is governed by a board of directors that
includes civic, corporate, government and nonprofit representatives. The organization
provides education on the links between smart growth, a clean environment, strong
social capital, human health and a sustainable, viable economy. It has created a GIS-
based “greenprint” that planners can use to guide farmland preservation, recreation,
urban land use and transportation. Ultimately, the organization hopes to provide instant
access to GIS information on open space and land use and to leverage state, federal and
private funding for preservation of open space. The organization has convened elected
officials from six counties and three cities to work on the 150-mile trail network known
as the Catawba Regional Trail. Voices and Choices also is compiling data on regional
transportation, economy, open space and the environment for its first State of the Region
Report.

Yadkin-Pee Dee Lakes Project
In 1991, residents of seven counties in the Yadkin-Pee Dee river basin united to begin a
strategic plan for balanced growth. Historically divided by the river, rural citizens came
together to address sprawling development encroaching along Interstates 85 and 40


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from surrounding cities. The Yadkin-Pee Dee Lakes Project was incorporated in 1994 as
a private, nonprofit organization to implement the completed plan. The project’s
mission is to promote and support efforts to balance economic development and
environmental management in the Uwharrie Lakes region.

Other County Plans
Several counties (too numerous to list here) are working to develop open space or
conservation plans. This information will be incorporated into the regional plans.

State Agency Programs
Agriculture Cost Share Program
This program of the N.C. Division of Soil and Water Conservation is delivered through
local Soil and Water Conservation Districts. It began in 1983 as a 16-county pilot
program to address polluted runoff into Jordan Lake, Falls Lake and the Chowan River.
Now expanded to all 100 North Carolina counties, the voluntary program will pay a
farmer up to 75 percent of the average cost of using an approved “best management
practice” on working farmlands. A best management practice is a structural, vegetative
or agronomic practice that controls soil erosion, reduces polluted runoff and protects
water quality. Examples of best management practices are conservation tillage and
nutrient management; buffers that retain soil and filter pollutants; and proper animal
waste management. The program also offers technical expertise and advice to
participating landowners and farmers. Local soil and water conservation districts
receive matching state funds to hire trained personnel that partner with state and federal
agencies to design, plan and install best management practices. In addition to reducing
nutrient runoff, an estimated 6 million tons of soil have been retained on farms and kept
out of streams, lakes and rivers during the lifetime of this program. This has helped to
sustain productive agricultural land while protecting water quality.

Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF)
This statewide environmental trust fund is available for projects that enhance or restore
degraded waters, protect unpolluted waters, and/or contribute toward a network of
buffer zones and greenways that have environmental, educational and recreational
benefits. Nonprofit organizations and state and local government agencies are eligible
for CWMTF grants. The General Assembly established this fund in 1996 to finance
projects that specifically address water protection. Local governments, which are often
in the best position to identify and solve local water quality problems, have received
nearly half the grant funds so far. The fund encourages local communities and
organizations to develop proposals that offer creative solutions for healthy rivers, lakes,
creeks and estuaries. Through the use of CWMTF grants, 1,685 miles of riparian buffers
and 155,510 acres of land have been preserved. The CWMTF has assisted 73 local
governments with wastewater improvements and has funded 56 stream and riparian
buffer restoration projects, 21 stormwater projects and watershed-planning projects.

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
This program of the N.C. Division of Soil and Water Conservation seeks to protect water
quality in the Neuse, Tar-Pamlico and Chowan river basins and the Jordan Lake


                                            10                       Draft – April 2003
watershed by promoting sound environmental management on farms that border
streams, lakes, rivers and estuaries. These waters have been significantly polluted by
nutrients running off the land, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus. (CREP areas exist
within the Central Piedmont, Eastern Piedmont, Northern Coast and Southern Coast
planning regions of One North Carolina Naturally.) Landowners who qualify may
receive financial and technical assistance to plant buffers of grasses and trees, to restore
wetlands, to improve livestock husbandry and to adopt other practices that will protect
and improve water quality. The program enrolls landowners through multiyear
contracts and pays additional bonuses to parties in 30-year and permanent conservation
easements, and has a goal of 100,000 acres of enrollment. Joining the N.C. Division of
Soil and Water Conservation in this effort are local Soil and Water Conservation
Districts, the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund, the N.C. Wetlands Restoration
Program and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Conservation Tax Credit Program
The state offers a unique incentive, the North Carolina Conservation Tax Credit
Program, to help landowners protect the environment and sustain our quality of life. A
credit is allowed against individual and corporate income taxes when owners donate
real property for conservation purposes. Also, interests in property that promote specific
public benefits may be donated to a qualified recipient. Such conservation donations
also qualify for a substantial tax credit.

Cultural Resources
Battlegrounds, forts, Native American cultural sites and historic farmsteads often do
double duty as historic places and open spaces. Within the N.C. Division of Archives
and History, the Department of Cultural Resources operates 22 historic sites in addition
to such institutions as the N.C. Museum of Art and the N.C. Museum of History. The
department helps local governments and nonprofit organizations by acquiring historic
properties through funding from the Natural Heritage Trust Fund, then leasing the
property back to the local group. These partnerships have helped preserve historic
resources without obligating long-term state funding.

Ecosystem Enhancement Program
This new program, to be housed within the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources, aims to improve the state’s process of providing compensatory mitigation for
unavoidable impacts to wetlands and streams. Compensatory mitigation requires
restoration, creation, enhancement and/or preservation of wetlands and streams to
replace, or compensate for, the functions or acreage lost because of alteration. Often
these lands are lost to road construction or dredging projects. A major goal is improving
cooperation between the state and federal agencies involved in this process, which
include (but aren’t limited to) the N.C. Department of Transportation, the N.C.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers. The program will also strive to make targeted mitigation projects more
efficient and timely.




                                             11                      Draft – April 2003
Farmland Preservation Trust Fund (FPTF)
Established by the General Assembly in 1986, FPTF provides for the acquisition of
agricultural conservation easements to protect rural areas, with emphasis on lands near
urban growth, waterways and environmentally sensitive areas. The fund is
administered by the nonprofit Conservation Trust for North Carolina by agreement with
the N.C. Department of Agriculture. FPTF grants have aided the protection of 4,201
acres on 29 farms. The merit of this grant program is exemplified by a recent $23,500
award to the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, which helped acquire a
conservation easement on a 127-acre farm containing a portion of an important
mountain trout stream. The landowner has implemented water-quality protection
practices on the farm, and the Conservancy is partnering with several agencies to restore
a segment of stream. These measures will benefit the trout population and a federally
endangered freshwater mussel species (the Appalachian elktoe) found just downstream
of the farm.

Forest Resources
The N.C. Division of Forest Resources is responsible for protecting, managing and
developing the forest resources of the state. A significant emphasis of its programs is
support to the 664,000 forest landowners that collectively own 69 percent (16.77 million
acres) of the state’s forested land. The division also manages approximately 50,000 acres
of state-owned forests. In addition to helping private landowners steward their land, the
agency assists with reforestation, prevention and suppression of forest fires, control of
insects and disease, and monitoring of water quality in forestlands. The agency’s Urban
and Community Forestry Grant Program awards matching funds to encourage citizen
involvement in creating and supporting long-term and sustained urban and community
forestry programs. The agency helps educate the public, especially school children,
through six educational forests across the state. The division also administrates the
Forest Legacy Program, which helps landowners preserve traditional uses of their
property for current and future generations. Through the program, owners of qualified
land can sell development rights for a fair market value to the state, which then holds a
perpetual conservation easement. Unfortunately, the legacy program has limited
funding, and few tracts currently qualify for this program.

Million Acres Initiative
The North Carolina General Assembly passed a law in 1999 designed to protect an
additional 1 million acres of “open space” by 2009. When the initiative began, about 2.8
million acres (9 percent of the state) were permanently protected through public
ownership or private conservation entity ownership. As of spring 2003, the net gain was
255,000 acres. Not all newly protected land in North Carolina counts toward the
“million acres” goal. To qualify, land must be permanently protected by acquisition of a
perpetual conservation easement or through complete ownership (“fee simple”) of all
property rights by a public or private conservation-oriented entity. Public and private
partners are working together to satisfy this initiative.

Natural Heritage Program
The N.C. Natural Heritage Program provides an up-to-the-minute inventory of the
state’s natural treasures. Working with a network of conservation researchers and



                                           12                      Draft – April 2003
experts statewide, the program identifies and develops lists of the plants and animals
that are most rare and most in need of protection. It also classifies and profiles the state’s
natural communities, which are distinct groupings of plants, animals and ecosystem
processes naturally associated with each other in a physical environment. North
Carolina has more than 100 of these natural communities, ranging from grassy mountain
balds to maritime forests. The program also identifies Significant Natural Heritage Areas
throughout the state. These areas of land or water are important for sustaining
biodiversity and support high-quality or rare natural communities, rare species or
special animal habitats. The program considers these to be core areas for conservation.
The staff works with public and private landowners to determine the best avenues for
protection.

Natural Heritage Trust Fund (NHTF)
The General Assembly established NHTF in 1987 as a supplemental funding source for
state agencies to acquire lands and pay for the inventory of natural areas by the North
Carolina Natural Heritage Program (see previous listing). Since its inception, NHTF has
awarded 264 grants totaling $97 million. These grants have aided the protection of
178,254 acres of land and the completion of 65 county natural area inventories.
Partnerships in this program are exemplified by a recent combined grant of $4.5 million
from NHTF and the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (see listing in this section) for the
acquisition of Elk Knob. The two trust funds cooperated to protect about 1,500 acres
through grants to the Division of Parks and Recreation. At 5,520 feet, Elk Knob is the
second highest point in Watauga County. It is significant for its size, elevation and
exemplary natural communities, containing six high-quality natural communities and at
least three rare plant species.

Parks and Recreation
The N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation operates the North Carolina State Parks
System, which preserves outstanding examples of the state’s natural heritage and opens
the outdoors to more than 13 million visitors each year. From the highest point east of
the Mississippi River (Mount Mitchell) to coastal beaches (Hammocks Beach and Fort
Fisher), the system includes 28 state parks, four state recreation areas, 16 state natural
areas, seven state lakes, four state rivers and three state trails, totaling over 170,000 acres.
The division’s mission is to protect North Carolina’s natural diversity; to provide and
promote outdoor recreation opportunities throughout North Carolina; and to exemplify
and encourage good stewardship of North Carolina’s natural resources. An outstanding
and ambitious example of connectivity in the parks system is the Mountains-to-Sea
Trail, conceived 25 years ago to link Clingman’s Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains
National Park with Jockey’s Ridge State Park on the Outer Banks. The completed
hiking/walking trail would stretch over 900 miles. Today, more than 400 miles are open,
mostly in the mountains. But several groups are actively pursuing the planning,
development and management of the trail through eastern North Carolina. The
Mountains-to-Sea Trail is envisioned as the backbone and flagship of a growing system
of trails and greenways across North Carolina.




                                              13                        Draft – April 2003
Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF)
Established in 1994 by the General Assembly, PARTF is the primary funding source for
new facilities and land acquisition in the state parks system. An appointed board
allocates the trust fund, which also provides grant funds for local governments to
improve parks and recreation and a small percentage for beach and coastal public
access. Since 1996, PARTF has aided the addition of 10,927 acres to the state parks
system and 1,598 acres to local parks. Grants also have been awarded for 122 beach and
waterfront access projects. The fund recently acquired a prize natural heritage area, Elk
Knob (see listing for Natural Heritage Trust Fund).

Plant Conservation Program
The N.C. Plant Conservation Program is responsible for protection of North Carolina’s
endangered and threatened plant species. Established in 1979 and housed within the
N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the program enforces laws,
issues permits concerning state-listed plants, conducts biological fieldwork and
monitors populations of listed species. It also acquires sites that support state and
federally listed plant species in North Carolina and restores habitat for these species.
The program receives funding for land protection through the Natural Heritage Trust
Fund and other sources. In the past three years, the Plant Conservation program has
acquired nearly 8,000 acres of endangered species habitat. As a result of its participation
in the Million Acres Initiative, the program has been authorized to develop a pipeline
for acquisition of 44 of the best sites remaining for North Carolina’s 27 federally
endangered plant species. Planned preserves range in size from 5 acres to over 10,000
acres.

Water Quality— Basinwide Planning/Clean Water Act’s Section 319 Grant Program
The N.C. Division of Water Quality is charged with preserving, protecting and
enhancing the state’s surface water and groundwater resources through monitoring
programs, permitting, management, enforcement and public outreach. The agency’s
Water Quality Section oversees basinwide water quality planning, which is a
nonregulatory, watershed-based approach to restoring and protecting the quality of
North Carolina's surface waters. The division prepares basinwide water quality plans
every five years for each of the 17 major river basins in the state with input from many
state agencies, local governments and citizens. The plans help guide responsible land-
use planning and encourage cost-effective solutions to curbing water pollution. The
division also is the lead agency responsible for controlling nonpoint source pollution
(diffuse, polluted runoff that washes into the state’s rivers, lakes and streams). With
funds allocated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the division administers a
competitive grant process (Section 319 Grant Program) to state and local government
agencies, interstate and intrastate agencies, public and private nonprofit organizations
and academic institutions to help pay for the development of innovative, exemplary
strategies and projects that protect watersheds.

Water Resources
The N.C. Division of Water Resources administers programs for river basin
management, rivers assessment, water supply assistance, water conservation and water
resources development. It conducts special studies on instream flow needs and serves as



                                            14                      Draft – April 2003
the state’s liaison to federal agencies on major water resources related projects. The
division also administers two environmental education outreach programs, Stream
Watch and Project WET (Water Education for Teachers). The division’s Water Resources
Development Project Grant Program provides cost-share grants and technical assistance
to local governments throughout the state for seven purposes: general navigation,
recreational navigation, water management, stream restoration, beach protection, land
acquisition and facility development for water-based recreation, and aquatic weed
control. This program can help provide public recreation access to streams and lakes and
can correct stream bank erosion or other water management programs in parklands.

Wetlands Restoration Program
Unaffiliated with the federal Wetlands Restoration Program, the N.C. Wetlands
Restoration Program was established by the General Assembly in 1996 to restore
wetlands, streams and riparian (streamside) areas throughout the state. Through its
restoration efforts, this innovative, nonregulatory program aims to protect water quality
and increase net acreage of functional wetlands and riparian areas. It promotes a
comprehensive approach toward protection of natural resources through the
development of watershed restoration plans. The program also strives to increase the
ecological effectiveness of compensatory mitigation projects by incorporating these
restoration efforts into comprehensive restoration plans for watersheds.

Wildlife Resources Commission
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is charged with conserving,
protecting, managing, restoring and regulating wildlife resources of the state. It owns
and manages land for wildlife and ensures public access to these lands for hunting,
fishing and other recreation. The commission generally protects the greatest number of
acres each year compared to all other state government agencies. The commission’s
Division of Wildlife Management operates a land-acquisition committee that evaluates
available land based on the presence of significant aquatic habitats, significant natural
heritage areas, important bird areas, anadromous (fish that migrate between freshwater
rivers and the ocean) fisheries, trout waters, large animal travel corridors, important or
underrepresented wildlife habitats, game land connectivity opportunities and water
quality enhancement opportunities. Through the commission’s new Cooperative
Upland Habitat Restoration and Enhancement (CURE) Program, a variety of
management techniques are being applied and monitored on three private land
cooperatives to increase grass/shrub habitat for bobwhite quail, songbirds and other
wildlife. Each CURE cooperative consists of neighboring private landowners that
collectively own at least 5,000 acres. Currently, 45 private landowners with 17,073 acres
are participating.




                                            15                      Draft – April 2003
Federal Efforts
The federal government is a significant landowner in North Carolina. Five federal
entities (U.S. Forest Service, Department of Defense, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
National Park Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) own most of the state’s
federal lands. Many of these agencies consult with the State of North Carolina about
land management, and in some cases partner with state agencies in stewardship or
allow a state agency to manage the federal lands. The acreage figures listed here come
from the North Carolina Center for Geographic Information and Analysis’ GIS data
layer “Lands Managed for Open Space.”

Department of Defense
        (see also Onslow Bight Conservation Forum in Local/Regional Initiatives section)
The Department of Defense owns 373,138 acres in North Carolina. The overall mission of
military bases is to maintain combat-ready units for deployment, but military lands in
North Carolina also include many important sites for conservation, such as high-quality
natural areas and habitats for species found nowhere else in the world. Department of
Defense lands are widely dispersed in eastern North Carolina, and include two large
areas, Fort Bragg Military Reservation and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.

Gap Analysis Program
Gap analysis is a scientific method for identifying the degree to which native animal
species and natural communities are represented in our present-day mix of conservation
lands. Those species and communities not adequately represented in the existing
network of conservation lands constitute conservation "gaps." The Gap Analysis
Program (GAP) of the U.S. Geological Survey aims to provide a proactive, “coarse-filter”
approach to protecting biodiversity and to highlight the importance of keeping natural
habitats intact and functional. It operates on the assumption that waiting until a species
is actually endangered or threatened with extinction results in reactive management that
is expensive, exhibits a low probability of success and is socially and politically divisive.
GAP provides broad geographic information on the status of ordinary species (those not
threatened with extinction or naturally rare) and their habitats. This is intended to help
land managers, planners, scientists, and policy makers make better decisions about land
management. GAP works cooperatively with a range of state and federal agencies,
private industry, utilities, conservation organizations and other partners.

National Park Service
The National Park Service, an agency of the Department of the Interior, oversees 375,922
acres in North Carolina, primarily in the mountains. These lands include Great Smoky
Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. The mission of the Service is to
promote and regulate the use of federal areas known as national parks, monuments and
reservations. These areas are protected and managed for their scenic and historic value
as well as their natural resources, including plants and animals.

Natural Resources Conservation Service
An agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Natural Resources Conservation
Service puts nearly 70 years of experience to work helping private landowners


                                             16                      Draft – April 2003
voluntarily conserve soil, water and other natural resources. Local and state agencies—
as well as fellow federal agencies—and policymakers also rely on this agency’s technical
assistance. Cost shares and financial incentives are available for some conservation
measures. Most work is done with local partners. The agency’s partnership with local
conservation districts serves almost every county in the nation and the Caribbean and
Pacific Basin.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns 94,299 acres of land in North Carolina that are
considered distinct from military lands. Corps’ lands are primarily areas associated with
reservoirs, which often are managed cooperatively with state agencies. The Corps’
mission is to provide quality, responsive engineering services to the nation including
planning, designing, building and operating water resources and other civil works
projects (navigation, flood control, environmental protection, disaster response, etc.);
designing and managing the construction of military facilities for the Army and Air
Force; and providing design and construction management support for other Defense
and federal agencies.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service manages 1,249,995 acres in North
Carolina. These lands include the Croatan National Forest (Coastal Plain), the Uwharrie
National Forest (central North Carolina), and Pisgah and Nantahala national forests
(western mountains). The Forest Service is charged by law to provide quality
management of forestlands for the benefit of people through a sustainable, multiple-use
concept.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
An agency of the Department of Interior, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages
414,410 acres in the state as National Wildlife Refuges, primarily in eastern North
Carolina (Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge in the Southern Piedmont is the exception).
The mission of the Service is to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants
and their habitats for the continuing benefit of people. Along with state natural resource
agencies, private land partners and other stakeholders, the agency is dedicated to
providing and protecting a healthy environment for fish and wildlife and people.




                                            17                      Draft – April 2003
                                 A Regional Focus
The state of North Carolina can be parceled a number of ways based on its natural
features. The One North Carolina Naturally program divided the state into eight regions
to examine conservation planning at manageable scales and to facilitate communication
and meeting between individuals. Program planners created the eight regions by
considering distinct geology, soils, vegetation and terrestrial habitats. They then
overlaid political borders and the boundaries of planning entities such as Metropolitan
Planning Organizations (MPOs), Rural Planning Organizations (RPOs) and Councils of
Governments (COGs). Planners also considered the boundaries of existing conservation-
planning projects. Although regions weren’t drawn by river basins, the planning regions
that share watersheds should consider drainage patterns when developing land and
water conservation plans. The final map represents the best attempt to incorporate all of
these attributes.




A public meeting was held in each of the eight planning regions in the fall of 2002, paid
for by a grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. More than 500 people with a
variety of interests and viewpoints offered their opinions on specific conservation needs
and priorities. The consensus from the regional meetings was that state government
should be a conduit for information, communication and funding. Attendees asked the
state to adopt standard methods for collecting, entering and summarizing data and to
prepare a GIS (geographic information systems) map and database for each region. They
requested technical assistance and training. Finally, participants asked that tax breaks
and other incentives for conservation be made more attractive and available. A brief
summary of key feedback is presented in the planning region descriptions, and complete
summaries of each regional meeting may be downloaded at
http://www.enr.state.nc.us/officeofconservation/pages/regionalmeet.html. Click on
the map to select the desired region.




                                           18                      Draft – April 2003
The next step for the One North Carolina Naturally Initiative is to garner resources to
facilitate the development of regional plans that incorporate local input. GIS support
will be provided so that these plans can be continuously updated. Several regions
already are working to develop open space or conservation plans. At a minimum, these
two areas should be addressed:
    1. Current or existing conservation-planning projects
    2. Future focus areas

(As new information becomes available for each region, it will be incorporated into the
updated regional profile in the following section.)


One North Carolina Naturally Planning Regions
A section describing each of the eight One North Carolina Naturally Planning Regions
follows.




                                           19                     Draft – April 2003
                            Eastern Piedmont Region


                                              Chatham, Durham, Franklin, Granville,
                                              Johnston, Lee, Orange, Person, Vance,
                                              Wake, Warren



             Projected Population Growth in Eastern Piedmont Counties
               2000          2010         2020          2030
               1,384,028     1,761,169    2,156,045     2,562,148

Natural Resources: Gently rolling plains, dissected by rivers and streams, make up this
region. Major natural communities are upland forests of oak and hickory, moist
hardwood forests along bluffs and floodplain forests. Pine woods have become
established in formerly cultivated areas. Fields and pasture land remain a major part of
the landscape outside of urban areas. Outstanding ecological features include the upper
Tar River and its tributaries, which have a rich collection of rare mussels.

Regional Meeting Feedback: About 90 people attended the Eastern Piedmont region
meeting September 12, 2002 in Chapel Hill. Participants expressed a need for education
on alternative means of conservation and on the economic benefits of participating in
statewide efforts, and emphasized the need to structure the initiative around a strong
working lands component. They suggested that success stories of land conservation
projects nationwide be used for promotion, particularly ones achieved through
collaboration. It is important to examine conservation measures already in place within
the region, including best management practices, and to recognize how these actions
characterize current levels of acceptance within the community. Some participants
suggested emulating The Nature Conservancy by identifying conservation priorities
through “scientifically defensible” principles of ecosystem structure and function.

Development of Regional Plans: The next step for the Eastern Piedmont Region is the
development of a regional plan that incorporates existing regional plans (such as
Triangle Green Print) and other local input. Local governments and private
organizations will be asked to use the technical and financial support of state
government to develop coordinated conservation maps that will be incorporated into
the One North Carolina Naturally map. At a minimum, these two areas should be
addressed:
    1. Current or existing conservation-planning projects
    2. Future focus areas

(As new information becomes available for this region, it will be incorporated into the
updated regional profile.)




                                           20                      Draft – April 2003
                          Southern Piedmont Region


                                              Anson, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Gaston,
                                              Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Polk,
                                              Rowan, Rutherford, Stanly, Union



            Projected Population Growth in Southern Piedmont Counties
               2000          2010         2020          2030
               1,718,224     2,102,491    2,503,793     2,918,761

Natural Resources: Most of this region is a moderately rolling landscape, dissected by
rivers and streams with gentle ridge tops in between. The terrain becomes rugged where
it meets the mountains at the westernmost boundary. Sizable portions of this region
once supported open prairies. Most of the region’s rare species habitats occur in
remnants of these prairies and a few areas with hardpan soils. Major natural community
types are upland oak-hickory forests, moist hardwood forests and floodplain forests.
Major rivers of this region have been altered heavily by dams or reservoirs, but a few
smaller streams have significant aquatic communities and extremely rare mussels.
Outstanding ecological features include the spectacular cliffs and peaks of Hickorynut
Gorge, which drops 1,800 feet in its more than 10-mile length.

Regional Meeting Feedback: About 50 people attended the Southern Piedmont region
meeting Sept. 24, 2002 in Charlotte. Participants said the state should link the
importance of conservation and connectivity to public health. Education efforts should
include a cost-benefit analysis of conservation. Regions should define a carrying
capacity for urban growth. The state should be as inclusive as possible in coordinating
conservation, involving professionals, scientists and politicians in public policy. The
statewide plan should have a clearly defined central coordinator. Existing grassroots
organizations can help define specific needs in local areas and educate the public.

Development of Regional Plans: The next step for the Southern Piedmont Region is the
development of a regional plan that incorporates existing regional plans (such as the
Voices for Choices of the Central Carolinas) and other local input. Local governments
and private organizations will be asked to use the technical and financial support of
state government to develop coordinated conservation maps that will be incorporated
into the One North Carolina Naturally map. At a minimum, these two areas should be
addressed:
    1. Current or existing conservation-planning projects
    2. Future focus areas

(As new information becomes available for this region, it will be incorporated into the
updated regional profile.)



                                           21                      Draft – April 2003
                                 Sandhills Region


                                            Bladen, Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke, Moore,
                                            Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland




                  Projected Population Growth in Sandhills Counties
                2000          2010         2020          2030
                800,743       923,296      1,049,853     1,777,098

Natural Resources: This planning region includes the Sandhills themselves, dry sandy
uplands laced with narrow wetlands, and a portion of the inner Coastal Plain. This
region has extensive wetlands, including the largest concentration of Carolina bays in
the world. These oval-shaped depressions collect rainwater throughout the year and
provide habitat for many amphibians and unusual and rare species. The Sandhills is
home to the most extensive longleaf pine communities remaining in the state. Soils in
the region range from sand to loam. Outstanding ecological features include the Lumber
River, a wild and scenic blackwater wilderness.

Regional Meeting Feedback: About 60 people attended the Sandhills region meeting
Oct. 2, 2002 in Fayetteville. Participants said that water quality should be preserved
through curbing development and testing for contaminants. Agricultural land and
forestland should receive equal protection. Rural landscapes should be maintained
without compromising economic opportunities. Local officials should promote the
benefits of protecting resources. Regular forums could promote better avenues of
communication between landowners, local governments and regional agencies. Trained
conservation personnel are needed at the local and regional levels.

Development of Regional Plans: The next step for the Sandhills Region is the
development of a regional plan that incorporates existing regional plans and other local
input. Local governments and private organizations will be asked to use the technical
and financial support of state government to develop coordinated conservation maps
that will be incorporated into the One North Carolina Naturally map. At a minimum,
these two areas should be addressed:
    1. Current or existing conservation-planning projects
    2. Future focus areas

(As new information becomes available for this region, it will be incorporated into the
updated regional profile.)




                                           22                      Draft – April 2003
                         Northern Mountains Region


                                            Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Burke,
                                            Caldwell, Catawba, McDowell, Mitchell,
                                            Watauga, Wilkes, Yancey



            Projected Population Growth in Northern Mountains Counties
                2000          2010         2020        2030
                578,018       650,302      719,682     786,550

Natural Resources: A great diversity of mountain elevations fills this region,
interspersed with broad basins and deep gorges. Spruce-fir forests blanket the highest
peaks, and pine woodlands cover sharp ridges of the Blue Ridge escarpment. The low to
middle elevations support oak forests and cove forests. The oak forests were oak-
chestnut before the demise of the American chestnut due to blight. The rich cove forests,
in moist areas of small valleys, contain impressive, towering trees and exceptional plant
diversity. Mountain bogs dot the plateau around the New River and are scattered
elsewhere. The region contains an outstanding community of rocky summits, including
the spectacular cliffs and exceptional ecological diversity of Grandfather Mountain.

Regional Meeting Feedback: About 50 people attended the Northern Mountains region
meeting Oct. 9, 2002 in Boone. Participants recommended that air quality be included in
the state’s vision for conservation. Current road-building practices should be re-
evaluated and alternative transportation should be considered. Conservation needs to
focus on buffers to improve water quality and connectivity of public lands. Greater
environmental regulation, enforcement and penalties are needed, along with incentives
for conservation. Private and public conservation groups should have equal voice with
developers. A regional clearinghouse is needed to allocate grants to agencies involved in
land conservation. The state should be responsive to local requests for action.

Development of Regional Plans: The next step for the Northern Mountains Region is
the development of a regional plan that incorporates existing regional plans and other
local input. Local governments and private organizations will be asked to use the
technical and financial support of state government to develop coordinated conservation
maps that will be incorporated into the One North Carolina Naturally map. At a
minimum, these two areas should be addressed:
    1. Current or existing conservation-planning projects
    2. Future focus areas

 (As new information becomes available for this region, it will be incorporated into the
                            updated regional profile.)




                                           23                      Draft – April 2003
                             Southern Coastal Plain


                                            Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven,
                                            Duplin, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, New
                                            Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Wayne


           Projected Population Growth in Southern Coastal Plain Counties
                2000          2010         2020         2030
                894,784       1,013,255    1,126,537    1,229,851

Natural Resources: Small estuaries and sandy uplands make up this region. Longleaf
pine savannas, known for a high diversity of plant species, and pocosins (raised bogs
with peat soils) are significant natural communities. Several major “blackwater” rivers,
clear and stained with a characteristic dark color derived from decayed organic matter,
originate in sandy portions of the coastal plain. The inland part of this region, once
covered by vast longleaf pine forests, is now mostly farmland. Outstanding ecological
features include the Black River, which contains the oldest stand of trees (bald cypress)
in the eastern United States; Lake Waccamaw, the most biologically diverse lake in the
state and one of the most species-rich lakes in the Western hemisphere; and a high
concentration of rare carnivorous plants such as the Venus flytrap, found only within a
120-mile radius of Wilmington.

Regional Meeting Feedback: About 60 people attended the Southern Coastal Plain
region meeting Oct. 16, 2002 in Wilmington. Participants said that the rate of land
conservation should be in proportion to rates of growth. The tax system should make
land conservation more equitable. This requires reducing local tax authorities’ resistance
to conservation land holdings, creating revenue by taxing the conversion of natural land,
and restructuring tax laws to help offset loss of income to counties from land
conservation. More environmental protection laws and enforcement also are needed.
Conservation should be promoted—to politicians and the general public. New pathways
for communication, including the Internet and teleconferences, should be used to keep
all interested conservation parties informed.

Development of Regional Plans: The next step for the Southern Coastal Plain Region is
the development of a regional plan that incorporates existing regional plans and other
local input. Local governments and private organizations will be asked to use the
technical and financial support of state government to develop coordinated conservation
maps that will be incorporated into the One North Carolina Naturally map. At a
minimum, these two areas should be addressed:
    1. Current or existing conservation-planning projects
    2. Future focus areas

(As new information becomes available for this region, it will be incorporated into the
updated regional profile.


                                            24                      Draft – April 2003
                            Central Piedmont Region

                                              Alamance, Caswell, Davidson, Davie,
                                              Forsyth, Guilford, Montgomery,
                                              Randolph, Rockingham, Stokes, Surry,
                                              Yadkin



            Projected Population Growth in Central Piedmont Counties
                2000           2010           2020           2030
                1,464,979      1,692,205      1,926,941      2,166,307

Natural Resources: This landscape ranges from moderately rolling in the east to very
hilly in the western boundary at the Blue Ridge escarpment. The major rivers here have
been altered heavily by dams and reservoirs, leaving few significant aquatic habitats.
Major natural communities are upland forests of oak and hickory, moist hardwood
forests and floodplain forests. Pine forests have developed in areas once occupied by
farmland, and many fields and pastures remain. Outstanding ecological features include
the Uwharrie Mountains, which has a number of rare community types, and the Dan
River, which contains several aquatic species that occur nowhere else in the world.

Regional Meeting Feedback: About 50 people attended the Central Piedmont region
meeting Oct. 23, 2002 in Greensboro. Participants said that good urban planning is
crucial for conservation. Examples of better growth management would include buffers
in new subdivisions and incentives for sustainable land use. The attendees outlined six
necessary components of conservation at the local/regional level: education; technical
assistance; coordination (i.e., consistency between federal and state programs,
involvement of universities and colleges, expansion of existing partnerships); increased
funding (specifically including establishment of a foundation to shelter money in natural
resource trust funds); incentives; and a centralized GIS database.

Development of Regional Plans: The next step for the Central Piedmont Region is the
development of a regional plan that incorporates existing regional plans (such as the
Piedmont Triad COG Regional Open Space Strategy and the Yadkin-Pee Dee Lakes
Project) and other local input. Local governments and private organizations will be
asked to use the technical and financial support of state government to develop
coordinated conservation maps that will be incorporated into the One North Carolina
Naturally map. At a minimum, these two areas should be addressed:
   1. Current or existing conservation-planning projects
   2. Future focus areas

(As new information becomes available for this region, it will be incorporated into the
updated regional profile.)




                                           25                      Draft – April 2003
                        Northern Coastal Plain Region

                                            Beaufort, Bertie, Camden, Chowan,
                                            Currituck, Dare, Edgecombe, Gates, Halifax,
                                            Hertford, Hyde, Martin, Nash,
                                            Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Pitt,
                                            Tyrrell, Washington, Wilson


           Projected Population Growth in Northern Coastal Plain Counties
                2000          2010         2020         2030
                693,066       751,422      807,087      856,034

Natural Resources: The state’s largest sounds, including the Albemarle-Pamlico estuary,
occupy this region. Bordered by the northern Outer Banks, these sounds are unique on
the East Coast for their low salinity and dominance of wind tides. Over 90 percent of the
state’s commercial seafood species are hauled from these waters. Vast wetlands—
including marsh, swamp forest and peat bogs known as pocosins—border the shorelines
and inland areas. The region also includes several large, shallow natural lakes. The
western part of the region is a gently rolling plain dissected by rivers and streams.
Loamy soils support fertile farmland. Major rivers are brownwater rivers, carrying
suspended muddy sediment from the Piedmont. Outstanding ecological features
include the Roanoke River, which contains the largest intact and least disturbed expanse
of bottomland and cypress-tupelo forests on the East Coast.

Regional Meeting Feedback: About 30 people attended the Northern Coastal Plain
region meeting Oct. 29, 2002 in Greenville. They stressed that tax incentives for farmers,
foresters and other landowners would stimulate continuing benefits by sustaining
markets and making land more valuable. Conservation planning should include a
diversity of representatives and build broad support. More local government
involvement is necessary, as well as education of landowners, researchers, developers
and the general public. Land selected for conservation should have worthy values.

Development of Regional Plans: The next step for the Northern Coastal Plain region is
the development of a regional plan that incorporates existing regional plans and other
local input. Local governments and private organizations will be asked to use the
technical and financial support of state government to develop coordinated conservation
maps that will be incorporated into the One North Carolina Naturally map. At a
minimum, these two areas should be addressed:
    1. Current or existing conservation-planning projects
    2. Future focus areas

(As new information becomes available for this region, it will be incorporated into the
updated regional profile.)




                                            26                      Draft – April 2003
                          Southern Mountains Region

                                            Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham,
                                            Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon,
                                            Madison, Swain, Transylvania




            Projected Population Growth in Southern Mountains Counties
                2000          2010         2020        2030
                515,471       597,232      676,201     750,848

Natural Resources: This region includes the most extensive high mountains of the
Southern Appalachians. Within this area falls the greatest amount of rain in eastern
North America—more than 80 inches a year. Plants more typical of the tropics thrive in
unique small habitats. The oak forests covering most of the uplands once had a
significant component of American chestnut, which were decimated by blight. Spruce-fir
forests blanket the highest peaks and ridges. Rich cove forests, in moist areas of small
valleys, contain impressive, towering trees and exceptional plant diversity. Scattered
bog wetlands also provide homes for many rare species, including the bog turtle. The
region is a global center of salamander diversity.

Regional Meeting Feedback: About 95 people attended the Southern Mountains region
meeting Nov. 5, 2002 in Asheville. Many participants said they think local and regional
governments lack the resources (money and staff) to manage public lands and enforce
policies. Alternative measures such as public incentives and education should be
advocated over regulation. Preservation of working lands, such as farms and forests,
should be a means to limit development. A statewide conservation plan should
prioritize protection of mountain streams and waterways equally with coastal waters.
Better cooperation was requested between the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources and regional programs such as Soil and Water Conservation Districts and
Councils of Government. A variety of tools, including marketing, media and college
students, should be used to inform the public about land conservation.

Development of Regional Plans: The next step for the Southern Mountains region is the
development of a regional plan that incorporates existing regional plans and other local
input. Local governments and private organizations will be asked to use the technical
and financial support of state government to develop coordinated conservation maps
that will be incorporated into the One North Carolina Naturally map. At a minimum,
these two areas should be addressed:
    1. Current or existing conservation-planning projects
    2. Future focus areas

(As new information becomes available for this region, it will be incorporated into the
updated regional profile.)


                                           27                      Draft – April 2003
                                      Action Steps
One North Carolina Naturally is calling on many entities to help protect the state’s open
space. Land trusts and local governments throughout the state are already responding to
this call, stepping up conservation efforts. Those organizations that haven’t done so can
begin by identifying specific projects they intend to complete in the short term.
Although this approach may appear challenging, many if not most agencies and
organizations already know what projects they will be working on in the next couple of
years. They also have produced maps of those project areas. (In some cases,
organizations don’t want to publicize their plans because this may compromise pending
land deals and negotiation. It is important for land-protection partners to respect
sensitive information as they coordinate their projects.)

State Government’s Role
State government will be a conduit for conservation information, communication and
state funding. It will guide local entities in developing regional plans and provide GIS
support so that these plans can be continuously updated, managed and shared with the
general public.

The first task to be completed by state government is to compile ongoing projects within
the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Most agencies within the
department charged with conserving land and water resources have short-term plans
that describe key locations of potential conservation. These plans identify the potential
willingness of landowners to negotiate conservation purchases or agreements.

Synchronizing Local Plans
Local governments and private organizations will be asked to use the technical and
financial support of state government to develop maps of existing protected spaces
(such as a community’s trail networks and parks) and ongoing conservation
opportunities. These can be overlaid onto and incorporated into the One North Carolina
Naturally map to show joint interests and encourage coordinated conservation.

To ensure success of a comprehensive conservation effort, private sector conservation
and preservation organizations must communicate their intentions. Although small
budgets and staffs might challenge some groups, broad-scale planning is possible for
larger organizations. Organizations such as the Nature Conservancy and the National
Association of Home Builders, along with forestry-related industries, can improve the
initiative’s efficiency by making their short-term interests known.

Bringing Diverse Interests Together
Traditionally, developers, conservation organizations, private landowners and
businesses often have had divergent interests. But many have come to realize that they
actually share a lot of common goals and concerns. By accommodating joint interests, these
parties can share in an effective, coordinated plan for conservation that enhances everyone’s
purposes. Any kind of conservation plan will have an impact on development and
private lands. Any kind of development will have an impact on conservation. Carefully


                                             28                       Draft – April 2003
planned growth offers many benefits that fulfill the obvious needs of the human
population (i.e., food, fiber, housing and jobs) while incorporating essential conservation
(i.e., wildlife and plant habitat, flood control, soil productivity, clean water supply). But
some of these benefits are more apparent than other ones. That’s why a candid dialogue
at the local level will help people with diverse interests understand how cooperation can
benefit them—whether they are industry, foresters, residential developers, farmers,
scientists, conservation or environmental groups, or local government entities.

Education of Citizens
Conservation of land and water is a term often misunderstood by the public. It doesn’t
necessarily mean fencing off natural treasures from human use and enjoyment. Indeed,
the more that people are connected to the environment and involved in how land and
water resources are managed, the more they understand what’s at stake when clean
water, wildlife habitat, farms and forests are lost.

A key element in propelling conservation in North Carolina is to educate all citizens about the
importance of protecting natural resources. The public needs to understand that protection
of environmentally sensitive areas is connected to the maintenance of their own health
and that of their loved ones. People also must understand that it is not solely the
government’s role to protect land and water resources; it also is the public’s
responsibility to be stewards of natural resources. The initiative aims to enlighten all
parties—landowners, industries, government officials, communities, citizens, etc.—
about how the decisions they make affect the state’s natural assets.

Resources that create public awareness of the need to conserve land and water resources
are provided through the DENR Environmental Education Clearinghouse at
http://www.ee.enr.state.nc.us/. As citizens discover the components of their
“ecological address” - river basin, soil, groundwater, air, climate, biodiversity,
topography, river basin and wetlands - they become concerned about the effect their
actions have on North Carolina’s ecosystems. Other agencies, such as Soil and Water
Conservation, Forest Resources, and Parks and Recreation, teach educators, landowners
and other citizens how to conserve and protect land and water resources.

Many networks for public education are available. An outstanding example is the 170
Environmental Education Centers spread throughout the state, many of which are land
and water conservation sites. Each of these local centers includes programs that bring
people to nature, helping them make the connection between their own actions and the
condition of their natural surroundings.

Such public facilities can also partner with governments and conservation organizations,
preserving open space as they educate local citizens and provide a service to the
community. For example, in 1999 the Piedmont Land Conservancy deeded Price Park to
the City of Greensboro and encouraged the city to relocate the Kathleen Clay Edwards
Family branch of the public library there, with a focus on the environment. The Library
will provide a variety of environmental education programs and services in partnership
with various City departments and non-profit organizations. Another such partnership



                                               29                       Draft – April 2003
is the Piedmont Environmental Center in High Point, which occupies 376 acres of city
property, and shares portions of the Guilford County Bicentennial Greenway.

All decision-makers, including landowners and state and local government, must
understand the cause-and-effect relationship between human behavior and the
environment as well as the economics of that relationship. Sound development and
management decisions require an understanding of these connections and of the life-support roles
that our natural resources play.

Conservation Finance
Conservation—in all its diverse forms—is funded through a multitude of sources and
options. Although many plans to protect natural resources end at the assessment or
recommendation stages, One North Carolina Naturally is committed to the completion
of conservation projects. Generating and leveraging sufficient funds for conservation
will be a key task.

Every year, public and private organizations acquire interest in or purchase just over
50,000 acres of open space. To satisfy the minimum goals set forth by the Million Acres
Initiative, the state must double that rate of land protection. This will not happen unless
more money becomes available for conservation. Early in 2001, the Environmental
Finance Center (EFC) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill released a
report that estimated the costs of protecting an extra 1 million acres and which
presented a range of options for generating the necessary funds. An estimated $1.9
billion is required to provide the permanent land protection prescribed by the initiative.

One response to this need is to ask the public to finance accelerated conservation efforts
through a general obligation bond. The EFC report also describes a variety of other
possible revenue-generating options. These include raising the real estate transfer tax,
raising severance taxes on mineral extraction, raising specific sales taxes on luxury
goods, and adding landfill tipping and other fees. All potential options need to be
considered in identifying resources for this effort.

North Carolina has a conservation-funding infrastructure to enable current and future
conservation. These mechanisms provide a majority of the funding, but this
infrastructure can be enhanced and used more efficiently to implement this initiative.
For example, North Carolina has four conservation grant sources—the Clean Water
Management Trust Fund, the Natural Heritage Trust Fund, the Farmland Preservation
Trust Fund and the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund —and a conservation tax credit
program (see descriptions of each under State Agency Programs). The tax credit
program is underutilized, and the trust fund programs could be more effective. The One
North Carolina Naturally initiative can address both these problems.

Whatever options are sought for increased revenue and distribution for conservation,
the One North Carolina Naturally Initiative supports measures that are fair and
equitable to all partners. Measures that increase revenues for one partner must not
adversely affect the capacity of another. For example, the state should pursue revenue
options that complement those of local governments and private organizations. Funding


                                              30                        Draft – April 2003
sought should be balanced among approaches, such as acquisition and private lands
conservation. And additional incentives for private landowners should be developed in
a way that does not deprive local governments of the revenue they require to provide
vital services to citizens.

Postscript: Beyond Acquisition
Conservation of natural habitat through acquisition requires funding for both initial
protection (i.e., purchases of land and easements) and subsequent management of
protected lands (i.e., prescribed burning, law enforcement).

For successful implementation of the One North Carolina Naturally plan, the following
will need to be considered:
    • Inherent management issues (i.e., encroachment, water management, wildlife
        habitat, control of invasive species, prescribed burning, determining appropriate
        types of public access or recreational use);
    • Chronic limitations of staff time and budget for local governments and land
        trusts that result in insufficient resources to properly manage those lands for
        their intended use(s);
    • Ways that One North Carolina Naturally initiative can contribute meaningful
        solutions to these problems, rather than perpetuate them;
    • New partnerships with private landowners and private land managers that offer
        some solutions to management questions;
    • Accommodating citizens’ interests by giving them roles in the management and
        stewardship process for publicly owned lands;
    • Enhancement of public funds and support for conservation on private working
        lands because of the benefits such conservation provides to the general public
        (i.e., water and air quality, wildlife habitat, open spaces); and
    • Integrating the interests of the landowner and the public into conservation-
        compatible property tax policy.

A number of local conservation efforts have begun to deal with these issues and to look
at how some other states have approached similar situations.

Conclusion
The call to conserve sustain open space is an urgent one. Each day in North Carolina 427
acres of open space and working lands are lost to development. The state has the sixth
highest rate of urbanization in the nation. The population of North Carolina is expected
to increase 35 percent in the coming two decades (from 8 million in 2000 to 10.8 million
by 2020). Our ever-expanding human presence and our even faster growing footprint on
the landscape will create perpetual challenges for conservation. However, experience
has shown that it is easier, cheaper and more practical to protect natural resources such
as streams and lakes than it is to clean them up once they are degraded. Often, impaired
natural resources can never be restored to their original condition.

With the One North Carolina Naturally initiative, people and organizations have more support
and leadership than ever for guiding their communities, regions, and state to a triple bottom line



                                                31                        Draft – April 2003
of ecological, financial and social sustainability. They can get on board now to help shape the
future of their landscape, their community and their lives. The call for public
involvement is more than an invitation; it is a call to action to give conservation a
fighting chance to give us, the people of North Carolina, a natural world that will
sustain, nurture and inspire us, both today and ages and ages hence.




To stay abreast of the One North Carolina Naturally Initiative, visit the project on the
Web at http://www.enr.state.nc.us/officeofconservation/.




                                              32                       Draft – April 2003
                                   APPENDIX 1
                      Glossary of Terms Used in Development of
                      One North Carolina Naturally draft poster

NCCREWS (North Carolina Coastal Region Evaluation of Wetland Significance)
Wetlands of Exceptional Functional Significance—Developed by N.C. Division of
Coastal Management, these areas include estuarine wetlands, wetlands with endangered
species, primary nursery areas and unique natural areas. Exceptional rating is given
based on whether the wetland supports two primary wetland functions rated as 3: water
quality, hydrology and habitat. A rating of 3=high/exceptional, 2=medium/substantial
and 1=low/beneficial.

Significant Natural Heritage Areas—A Significant Natural Heritage Area is an area of
land or water identified by the N.C. Natural Heritage Program as being important for
protection of the state’s biodiversity. Significant Natural Heritage Areas contain one or
more of these natural heritage elements—high-quality or rare natural communities, rare
species and special animal habitats. In areas where these sites occur in clusters, the
North Carolina Natural Heritage Program is completing “macrosite” designs, containing
one or more Significant Natural Heritage Areas as well as intervening habitat with
enough integrity to support ecosystem function.

Macrosites—See Significant Natural Heritage Areas. The areas within a macrosite
typically serve as buffers, wildlife corridors or other connectors.

The Nature Conservancy Ecoregional Plans—The Nature Conservancy has completed
studies for the Southern Blue Ridge and Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain Ecoregions of North
Carolina, and is putting the finishing touches on a Piedmont plan, identifying "portfolio
sites" whose protection would ensure the long-term survival of sensitive species and
natural communities in the ecoregions. The goal is to define intrafunctional, natural
ecosystems cohering through pattern, process and composition at the largest scale
supported by the background data and existing knowledge of the ecoregion. The
attempt was made to draw rough, inclusive polygons around ecological landscapes.
“Portfolio sites” are in effect shapes on the map that represent known locations of
important biodiversity components and their ecological requirements. Also factored in
are landscape context and the potential movements of large animals within an ecoregion
and between it and other ecoregions.

Sandhills Conservation Partnership—The Sandhills Conservation Partnership is a
coalition of conservation organizations and agencies, including the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, N.C. Natural Heritage Program, N.C.
Wildlife Resources Commission, U.S. Army Environmental Center, N.C. Department of
Commerce and others. The partnership developed a reserve design indicating areas with
the most conservation value within the overall Sandhills project area, specifically the
areas with the most biological values. The reserve design consists of areas of land
mapped as different zones, depending on ecological significance and level of known
resource values. Also identified in the reserve design are: primary areas (places with


                                           33                      Draft – April 2003
known, site-specific significant resources, such as rare species, rare or high-quality
natural communities or special animal habitats); restoration areas (areas that have been
found to retain enough ecological features on site to be good candidates for restoration);
connectors (identified as potentially important for connecting habitat core areas); and
potential areas (the resources are not known but the areas have a good chance of being
primary or restoration areas).

NC Audubon Important Bird Areas—Important Bird Areas, or IBAs, are sites that
provide essential habitat for one or more species of birds. IBAs include sites for
breeding, wintering and/or migrating birds. IBAs may be a few acres or thousands of
acres, but usually they are discrete sites that stand out from the surrounding landscape.
IBAs may include public or private lands, or both, and they may be protected or
unprotected. For more information on Audubon’s IBA program visit the Web site at
http://www.audubon.org/bird/iba/index.html.

Piedmont Triad Potential Conservation/Open Space Opportunities—Public meetings
have been held for each of the 12 counties in the Central Piedmont Ecoregion.
Participants selected future focus areas for conservation during the meeting.

Southeast Coastal Plain Conservation Assessment—The N.C. Natural Heritage
Program partnered with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and the North
Carolina GAP Analysis Project to meet four objectives:
   • Compile existing information on North Carolina’s Southeastern Coastal Plain
   • Undertake a landscape analysis using GIS to identify core conservation areas
       (including core animal habitats) and key links between them
   • Assess conservation priorities based on NHP procedures and results of
       landscape analysis
   • Identify data gaps and future survey needs
The resulting document, “Conservation Assessment of the Southeast Coastal Plain of
North Carolina, Using Site-Oriented and Landscape-Oriented Analyses,” is available
under “Publications” at the NHP website http://www.ncsparks.net/nhp




                                            34                      Draft – April 2003
                                   APPENDIX 2
    Contact Information for Organizations Referenced in Current Efforts Section

Nonprofit Organizations
American Farmland Trust –
http://www.farmland.org

The Appalachian Trail Conference Land Trust
http://www.appalachiantrail.org/protect/tatl/

Audubon North Carolina “Important Bird Areas” Inventory
http://www.ncaudubon.org/nccas_ibas.html

Conservation Fund
http://www.conservationfund.org/

Conservation Trust for North Carolina (with links to local Land Trusts)
http://www.ctnc.org/

Environmental Defense
http://www.environmentaldefense.org

The Nature Conservancy
http://nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/northcarolina/

North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation
http://www.ncfb.com

North Carolina Watershed Coalition
http://www.ncwatershedcoalition.org

The Trust for Public Land
http://www.tpl.org

Local / Regional Initiatives
Onslow Bight Conservation Forum
Frank Tursi, lookoutkeeper@nccoast.org, or John Townson, (910) 451-7227,
TownsonJR@lejeune.usmc.mil.

Piedmont Triad Council of Governments
http://www.ptcog.org

The Nature Conservancy Ecoregional Planning Process
http://nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/northcarolina/



                                          35                      Draft – April 2003
Triangle GreenPrint
http://www.trianglegreenprint.org

Voices and Choices of the Central Carolinas
http://www.voicesandchoices.org

Yadkin-Pee Dee Lakes Project
http://lakesproject.org/

State Agency Programs
Agriculture Cost Share Program
http://www.enr.state.nc.us/DSWC/pages/agcostshareprogram.html

Clean Water Management Trust Fund
http://www.cwmtf.net/

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program
http://www.enr.state.nc.us/DSWC/pages/crep.html

Cultural Resources
http://www.dcr.state.nc.us/

Ecosystem Enhancement Program
For more information, visit the Wetlands Restoration Program Web site at
http://h2o.enr.state.nc.us/wrp/index.htm.

Forest Resources
http://www.dfr.state.nc.us/

Million Acres Initiative
http://www.ils.unc.edu/parkproject/maint/home/home.html

Natural Heritage Program
http://www.ils.unc.edu/parkproject/nhp/

Natural Heritage Trust Fund
http://www.ils.unc.edu/parkproject/heritage/nhtf.html

Parks and Recreation
http://www.ils.unc.edu/parkproject/ncparks.html

Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF)
http://www.ils.unc.edu/parkproject/partfund/home/

Plant Conservation Program
http://www.ncagr.com/plantind/plant/conserv/cons.htm



                                          36                    Draft – April 2003
Water Quality
http://h2o.enr.state.nc.us/wqs/

Water Resources Development Project Grant Program
http://www.ncwater.org/

Wetlands Restoration Program
http://h2o.enr.state.nc.us/wrp/index.htm

Wildlife Resources Commission
http://www.ncwildlife.org

Federal Efforts
Department of Defense
http://www.defenselink.mil/

Gap Analysis Program
http://www.gap.uidaho.edu/

National Park Service
http://www.nps.gov

Natural Resources Conservation Service
http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
http://www.usace.army.mil/

U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service
http://www.fs.fed.us/

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
http://www.fws.gov

Guide to North Carolina's Environmental Groups
http://checc.sph.unc.edu/cfdocs/guidesearch/NewSearch.cfm




                                           37               Draft – April 2003
                                 APPENDIX 3

One North Carolina Naturally Regional Meeting Compiled Survey Results
Complete summaries of each regional meeting may be downloaded at
http://www.enr.state.nc.us/officeofconservation/pages/regionalmeet.html. Click on
the map to select the desired region.




                                        38                    Draft – April 2003