Healthy Watersheds Through Healthy Forests Initiative

Share this on Social Media...

The EFC  at UNC provided project assistance to the Conservation Trust for North Carolina, one of the three partners selected by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities and the Natural Resources Conservation Service to participate in the national "Healthy Watersheds through Healthy Forests Initiative" that seeks to advance the connection between forest management and water quality and quantity.

The Upper Neuse River Basin (UNRB) serves 500,000 people and drains into Falls Lake, the City of Raleigh's drinking water supply. The region is experiencing rapid population growth with a prediction that the number of people receiving drinking water from the UNRB is expected to double between 2002 and 2030. 

The EFC at UNC worked with the Upper Neuse Clean Water Initiative (UNCWI) to study funding models for the entire UNRB, including Raleigh. As part of this project, the project team partnered with land trusts in the development and presentation of an outreach program to local governments, while concurrently building support with agency staff, elected officials and locals groups to support funding allocations to priority working forests. Several reports and presentations were also created as a result of this work, all of which can be found in the Resources tab.

For one of the reports, Identifying Revenue Sources for Land Conservation to Protect Drinking Water, the project developed a financial assessment or "revenueshed" for the entire basin, as well as each county, outlining current revenue sources and investments. Another of the project's reports, Institutional Models for Sharing Water Resource Protection Costs among Multiple Partners, reviewed the underlying legal authority behind the most prevalent and promising multi-jurisdictional models for sharing water resource protection costs.

The EFC at UNC also created visualization tools to demonstrate the impact of finance models. The Capacity for Watershed Protection Investment Dashboard is an interactive tool created for water utility managers and other water resource managers to use in considering options for generating local funds for watershed protection.