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urbanaturalist

One Million Acres to Be Protected In North Carolina

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Back in 1999 Governor Jim Hunt (Dem) set up a commission to study the possibility of creating a permanent conservation program to protect forest, wetlands, and farms from development. www.onencnaturally.org/pages/progress/2000.pdf

Current Governor Mike Easly (Dem) talked about this 1 Million Acres Land Conservation Initiative during his first campaign. To date very little to nothing has been done about it.

Being from N.C. myself I recognize part of what makes the state so attractive to visitors and relocators are the forests, beaches, mountains, farmland (basic scenery). With the population projected to hit 10 million in probably less than a decade, much on this land (which of course is static and can't grow) is being swallowed by developments, mostly sprawl. Whether its outside of metro areas, near the Blue Ridge Parkway, or on the Pamlico Sound which is much less protected from growth than the Chesapeake Bay, but just as vital and sensitive.

So my question is what is your county doing to conserve? Is it politically possible to protect 1 million acres in North Carolina? Is it possible to invest in statewide Greenway Trail systems that border rivers and creeks, and then link up with other state Greenway Trails? How about linking interstate wildlife corridors? Is this too utopian for the North Carolina? Is any of this politically possible, or are the communities to non-chalant and politicians eating out of the hands of developers for this to happen.

This article talks about a 1 billion dollar land conservation bond that was dismissed by N.C. Governor Mike Easly (Dem) because he didn't want to add more bond debt.

[MOD EDIT: Please don't paste the entire content of news article. Use a link like this: http://www.piedmontland.org/land%20for%20t...0commentary.htm Thanks.]

Learn more and get involved today by visiting www.landfortomorrow.org.

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I always found it rather odd that to accommodate the pressures of growth, instead of building multistory housing on underutilized lots (abandoned buildings, surface parking) in urban areas, they tear down pristine forests near the city limits and call it a community.

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I always found it rather odd that to accommodate the pressures of growth, instead of building multistory housing on underutilized lots (abandoned buildings, surface parking) in urban areas, they tear down pristine forests near the city limits and call it a community.

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North Carolina has been accustomed to use its tax revenues in a way that doesn't assume the place will be crowded. It is a structure that needs to change. We need a plan to preserve natural land from development, and we need to support urban infrastructure so that people don't need to sprawl out to use existing infrastructure. The legislature must take leadership. Hopefully the people we vote in today will start to make a change.

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I don't know the exact amount, but I know that probably hundreds of acres are disturbed each day in NC due to development, roads, etc.

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Even though it would cost the beach counties a significant amount in value, I believe with global warming and the high risk of hurricanes in NC, the state should buy as much of the remaining oceanfront land as possible as an expansion of the national seashore.

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I don't know the exact amount, but I know that probably hundreds of acres are disturbed each day in NC due to development, roads, etc.

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Given the Chimney Park announcement, I wanted to revisit this topic, as it will be on the General Assembly's radar this year... funding preservation of natural landscapes and environmentally significant areas of the state. There may be a push for the $1B bond issue for open space coming this fall--fingers crossed. I'll add a couple of good editorials in the N&O on the topic recently:

a crossroads in NC history & land in the balance.

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There are several other bond issues being proposed (water/sewer, schools, etc.). It may be hard getting all of them on the ballot.

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Here's an interesting article on conservation and glocal warming with comments from former Interior Secretary, Bruce Babbitt...

Other issues facing the state will be the availability of clean water as growth increases. North Carolina is the sixth fastest-growing state in the country, and its population is expected to increase by 50 percent to more than 12 million people by 2030, state demographers say.

Along with more people, water demand is expected to increase by 35 percent to 2.2 billion gallons a day -- even as the open land that helps provide clean water shrinks.

Babbitt said preventing water pollution comes down to land-use decisions. He said North Carolina is ahead of many states in its attempts to preserve open land and provide buffers along rivers and streams to reduce the pollution caused by runoff.

"You're not behind in this area," Babbitt told the conference. "You're a little ahead of other states, but that is not saying much."

He said states had to come to grips with protecting important watersheds and move toward statewide land-use plans that guide development and set priorities for managing important watersheds. He noted the state had made some attempts at plans to protect the Neuse River and Tar-Pamlico River basins after it faced environmental crises such as major fish kills.

I'm sure something like this will never happen politically, but it shows that there are good merits to having land use plans statewide (a la Oregon's urban growth boundaries, which make OR planners of the 70s look mighty smart from my vantage point). We treat our resouces like they will be there forever, and ignore the price of uncontrolled development patterns on open space, transportation, water supplies, and the list goes on and on...

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Here's an article about a potential state open space bond. The statistics are rather alarming:

Nearly 2 million acres of forest and farmland in North Carolina will disappear over the next 20 years if development continues at the current rate, says a new report by Environment North Carolina, a conservation advocacy group.

Since 1987, the amount of developed land in North Carolina has increased by 1.86 million acres -- a 65 percent rise, it says. The Triangle has more than doubled its developed land, adding 327,000 acres, the report says.

"I think all total we are consuming about 10,000 acres a year," said Emmett D. Curl, Wake County revenue director, referring to the fastest-growing county in the Triangle.

Additionally, the state's largest metro area, Charlotte, will lose 30 percent of its forests and farmland, including nearly a quarter of its woodlands. That will represent the highest rate of forest loss in the state, the report says.

The study commission recommended the $1 billion in additional spending over five years. The bonds would be used to help purchase and protect about 740,000 acres of lands, including 6,000 miles of buffers along rivers and streams.

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Does the city of Raleigh currently acquire land for preservation purposes? Here in VA Beach they buy spaces to keep as green and from development (what little is left.)

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Here's an article about a potential state open space bond. The statistics are rather alarming:

Nearly 2 million acres of forest and farmland in North Carolina will disappear over the next 20 years if development continues at the current rate, says a new report by Environment North Carolina, a conservation advocacy group.

Since 1987, the amount of developed land in North Carolina has increased by 1.86 million acres -- a 65 percent rise, it says. The Triangle has more than doubled its developed land, adding 327,000 acres, the report says.

"I think all total we are consuming about 10,000 acres a year," said Emmett D. Curl, Wake County revenue director, referring to the fastest-growing county in the Triangle.

Additionally, the state's largest metro area, Charlotte, will lose 30 percent of its forests and farmland, including nearly a quarter of its woodlands. That will represent the highest rate of forest loss in the state, the report says.

The study commission recommended the $1 billion in additional spending over five years. The bonds would be used to help purchase and protect about 740,000 acres of lands, including 6,000 miles of buffers along rivers and streams.

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The GA may propose a statewide referendum for a $1B bond to buy open space and protect watersheds in NC. :good:

I just love joe homebuilder: 'watch out or big, bad govt will protect too much land and hurt your economy.' :lol:

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But I am a precious snowflake and my individuality will be crushed if I can't live in a house that required bulldozing at least twenty trees. We must stop this.

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The Observer is reporting that The Trust For Public Land is poised to announce it has an option to buy a 1,840-acre tract for $5.6 million from Riverstone Properties, with the intention of selling the land to the National Park Service to add to Congaree National park.

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Charlotte Observer is reporting on a private development that appears to be heading for approval on Wilson Creek, one of only four N.C. federally designated Wild and Scenic rivers, which is near Mortimer. The Archer Group owns 4.7 miles of river front property and plans on building 225 houses on their property. If it goes through, the only good thing about it is they have agreed to limit the houses to one every 3 acres and to have a 100 foot buffer on the creek.

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Charlott Observer is reporting on a private develop that appears to be heading for approval on Wilson Creek, one of only four N.C. federally designated Wild and Scenic rivers, which is near Mortimer. The Archer Group owns 4.7 miles of river front property and plans on building 225 houses on their property. If it goes through, the only good thing about it is they have agreed to limit the houses to one every 3 acres and to have a 100 foot buffer on the creek.

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That would really stink! Development is encroaching on so many of our state's treasures. Wilson Creek has much to offer...

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Charlotte Observer is reporting on a private development that appears to be heading for approval on Wilson Creek, one of only four N.C. federally designated Wild and Scenic rivers, which is near Mortimer. The Archer Group owns 4.7 miles of river front property and plans on building 225 houses on their property. If it goes through, the only good thing about it is they have agreed to limit the houses to one every 3 acres and to have a 100 foot buffer on the creek.

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That is great news. I hope the state or another conservation group can step in and purchase the land to prevent it from getting developed, or at least minimize any future development effects.

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N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission officials announced that 30,000 acres will be added to game lands near the Tar, Chowan and Roanoke river basins and a new game land of more than 4,000 acres will soon open in Warren and Halifax counties. :thumbsup:

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The Charlotte-based Catawba Lands Conservancy has been awarded $20,000 from the Community Foundation of Gaston County to create the "Northbrook Recreational Area" along the South Fork River for public recreational use. The new area will open up access to the river through a restored and improved canoe/kayak launch.

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The Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy has acquired 289 acres to be added to Chimney Rock State Park and will connect that park with the World's Edge property for a total of 1,600 acres total in the park now. :good:

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