As the leading advocate for all North Carolina wildlife and its habitat the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, with the support of its affiliates and local wildlife chapters, works statewide for wildlife conservation, habitat protection and connecting people to nature.

Click here to view the official North Carolina Wildlife Federation Resolutions.


IMPLEMENTING THE NORTH CAROLINA WILDLIFE ACTION PLAN

North Carolina’s Wildlife Action Plan is a 577-page document that details steps needed to be taken to conserve 371 priority species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, mollusks, and crustaceans. Produced by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, the plan charts the course for the future of North Carolina wildlife. NCWF has committed to help our members connect with this far-reaching initiative, and work to find hands-on projects that will help implement the Wildlife Action Plan. This is a critical function of our growing statewide network of NCWF chapters.

The North Carolina Teaming with Wildlife Coalition works to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered by securing full state and federal funding for the implementation of the North Carolina Wildlife Action Plan.  

LAND AND WATER INVESTMENTS

North Carolina’s four conservation trust funds give essential support to land and water protection projects across our state, supporting our economy, keeping drinking water sources safe, creating parkland and public recreation sites, providing safe zones around military bases and training grounds, sustaining family farms, and safeguarding our unique natural heritage and quality of life.  Click here to learn more about the trust funds and how we can ensure proper funding levels.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change is negatively impacting wildlife and habitat. NCWF, working with volunteer leadership and in partnership with National Wildlife Federation staff, focused efforts on Congress to pass comprehensive legislation that will reduce America’s global warming pollution by 80 percent by mid-century. Throughout the year, presentations to hunter and angler groups and NCWF chapters, along with Op-Ed pieces in North Carolina newspapers, feature articles in NCWF communications, and direct meetings with state Congressional delegates were key efforts in our comprehensive education campaign.

BE OUT THERE

Be Out There™ - the National Wildlife Federation's initiative to inspire families across America to open the door and get outside! A daily dose of the outdoors improves children’s physical, mental and emotional well-being. Join the Be Out There movement to get children outside, connecting to nature. The benefits of outdoor play are real: healthier kids with a life-long appreciation of wildlife and nature.



OUTLYING LANDING FIELD

Early in 2008, an enormous campaign to preserve critical wildlife habitat achieved its goal when the U.S. Navy announced that it was abandoning plans to build an Outlying Landing Field in Washington and Beaufort counties. This massive project would have been located near Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, a critical fall and winter sanctuary for migratory birds. Upwards of 67,000 snow geese, nearly half of the world’s population of tundra swans, and tens of thousands of ducks rest and forage around 113,000 acres of federally protected land.

NCWF fought long and hard and arm-in-arm with other groups to save the world-class wildlands around Pocosin Lakes. NCWF leaders traveled to eastern North Carolina to join in the “Victory Celebration” where the Federation’s leading role in judiciary, political, and educational efforts were applauded. Local leaders who led the charge against the Pocosin site formed the Friends of Pocosin Lakes NWR. This group became an affiliate of NCWF in 2008.

The OLF issue is not over as the Navy will consider two new sites in North Carolina—Sandbanks in Gates County and Hales Lake in Camden/Currituck counties —and three in Virginia. Work to support local grassroots efforts mobilizing in those regions will be a key component in the Federation’s land stewardship project in 2009.

TITAN CEMENT

The New Hanover County Commissioners offered $4.2 million in incentive funds to Titan Cement to build a huge cement plant on the Northeast Cape Fear River. The county had worked for three years to lure Titan to the banks of one of the Coastal Plain’s most pristine rivers. Few local residents knew of the plans.

What: A massive cement plant on the banks of the Northeast Cape Fear River, just upstream of Wilmington.

Where: At Castle Hayne, just off of Interstate 40 in New Hanover County. Here, Island Creek flows into the Northeast Cape Fear River just south of the Holly Shelter Game Land.

Who: Titan America LLC, a Greek company, which runs a subsidiary Carolinas Cement Company LLC.

The numbers
- 1,868-acre site
- 160 jobs created
 - 2.3 million tons of cement produced annually
- 1,263-acre new quarry
- 493 acres of wetlands impacted, including 214 acres in areas of environmental concern
- 85,000 tons of coal will be burned annually for the cement kiln. Cement plants are among the highest industrial emitters of mercury, and also emit sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, both of which contribute to acid rain and smog. The Northeast Cape Fear River is already listed in a N.C. Department of Health and Human Services warning to limit consumption of certain fish. The stretch of the river next to the plant also is on North Carolina’s List of Impaired Waters. Titan has also stated they may burn used tires as well. Burning tires emits dioxins, one of the most potent known human carcinogens.
- Three elementary schools are within a 5-mile radius of the proposed plant. Cement plants produce large quantities of particulate matter. New Hanover County’s newest
K-12 campus is only 1.6 miles away.
- Loopholes in the Clean Air Act lead to poor cement plant regulation. North Carolina ranks in the top ten states with the highest mercury releases. New Hanover County has been ranked with the sixth-highest mercury releases in the state.

What about the fish?
American eel - American shad - Atlantic sturgeon - blueback herring - hickory shad - shortnose sturgeon - striped bass

Seven of the nine diadromous fishes that are known to occur in the Cape Fear River drainage have been documented in the Northeast Cape Fear River and/or Island Creek by the Division of Marine Fisheries. The Northeast Cape Fear River has been designated a Primary Nursery Area by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission and both the river and Island Creek have been designated as Anadromous Fish Spawning Areas by the Marine Fisheries Commission and the Wildlife Resources Commission.

“The toxic emissions from this facility could pose substantial risk to the critical fisheries of (the Northeast) Cape Fear system by polluting the air, wetlands and waters that are critical to healthy fish stocks.” Draft letter from N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Update:
ARTICLE: "Judge orders full environmental review for Titan" (www.starnewsonline.com, May 3, 2010)
ARTICLE: "Judge says Titan's air quality permit application can proceed" (www.starnewsonline.com, Jan. 4 2011)

Click here to view the NCWF resolution "OPPOSITION TO CAROLINA CEMENT COMPANY (TITAN CEMENT PLANT) – NORTHEAST CAPE FEAR RIVER"

PRIVATE LANDS FOR WILDLIFE

NCWF played a leading role in advocating for House Bill 1889, titled “Wildlife Land Property Tax Changes,” which passed the General Assembly and was signed into law in the summer of 2008. This new equitable tax law, the priority of NCWF’s private lands work, will help North Carolina landowners protect farms and forestlands by giving a property tax break to landowners who use these lands for conservation and wildlife habitats. In the past, landowners who managed and maintained their land to protect water quality, wildlife habitat and open space paid higher market-value taxes than landowners who were actively engaged in commercial agriculture or forestry practices.

This legislation was NCWF’s top legislative priority for 2008. Our lobbying and grassroots support played a crucial role in its passage after several years of efforts. In addition to direct lobbying Camouflage Coalition alerts honed in on rallying sportsmen support, media releases, and news alerts.

North Carolina loses 100,000 acres of forests and farmland annually. This initiative will keep more land in the hands of farm and forest owners and protect land for public benefits, including wildlife and water quality. The Federation is extremely pleased with the passage of this conservation option for landowners and equally proud of its role in seeing it become an important piece of the land conservation puzzle in the state.

Taxation of Wildlife Conservation Land Classification (PDF)

FARM BILL

NCWF has been advocating for the U.S. Farm Bill to address critical agricultural program needs and also make significant investments in, and improvements for, natural resource conservation, rural development, alternative/ renewable energy sources research, best management practice implementation, wetlands protection and wildlife habitat preservation. Last May a new farm bill was passed that includes over $4 billion for conservation programs in 2008.

Specifically, NCWF has been working to ensure the Farm Bill has adequate funds for conservation incentive programs such as the Wetlands Reserve Program, Conservation Reserve Program, Wildlife Habitats Incentive Program, Farmland Protection Program, Grasslands Reserve Program and the Conservation Security Program. All of these programs benefit wildlife and its habitat and are important for landowners who want to preserve and manage their land for wildlife.

The new Farm Bill expands some very important programs for landowners. Millions of acres of habitat will be protected and access to recreational areas will increase. There are tax deductions to cover expenses for endangered species recovery actions, help for farmers and rural businesses to become more energy efficient, help for existing biorefineries to switch to using renewable biomass to power their operations, and incentives for farmers to grow and transport fuels for biomass energy.

Future Friendly Farming: Seven Agricultural Practices to Sustain People and the Environment (PDF)

Conservation Reserve Program Comments

WILSON CREEK

Almost four miles of Wilson Creek will be protected from development after its purchase by the Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina. The North Carolina Wildlife Federation worked diligently to shore up public support for the famous mountain stream. The Foothills Conservancy secured a contract with the Lutz Family Partnership to purchase 649 acres along almost four miles of the National Wild and Scenic stream in Caldwell County for $7 million. Surrounded by Pisgah National Forest, the land will be owned by the State of North Carolina and managed by the Wildlife Resources Commission. Funds for the purchase will come from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and the Natural Heritage Trust Fund.

NCWF worked diligently in the 1990s to have these state natural resource funds created (along with the farmland preservation and state park trust funds) and advocated in the General Assembly this session for their full funding levels. The scenic tract will offer outstanding public access to the world-class trout waters of Wilson Creek, a favorite destination for anglers and others drawn to the creek’s cold clear waters.

CHATTOOGA RIVER

After two years of study and public involvement, the U.S. Forest Service reviewed alternatives for management of the federally designated Wild and Scenic Chattooga River. Whitewater paddling interests sought to open up the upper portions for paddling access and use. NCWF worked as part of the Friends of Upper Chattooga and provided comments on the preferred alternative. NCWF’s position supported no change in current management, which would avoid any removal of woody debris habitat and not open up access or increase water releases for whitewater paddling. (NCWF has worked in support of opening up other river areas for whitewater paddling, including access for kayaks and preserving Wild and Scenic rivers). NCWF rallied affiliates and chapters to ensure a balance of user interests with protection of the ecosystem.

UPDATE: After considering public comments, preparing responses to those comments and reviewing the final analysis, the Forest Service has selected Alternative 4. Boating will be allowed during December, January and February when the flow at Burrell’s Ford is above 450cfs (2.5 feet).  No boating will be permitted between Burrell’s Ford and Highway 28 Bridge or in the North Fork tributaries. 

Boating, using single/tandem hard boats, or canoes, and inflatable kayaks, will be allowed (no rafts, no commercial guiding and no commercial shuttles).  The Forest Service plans to announce the available boating days in advance.  The Forest Service set limits on boating group size to no more than six and no fewer than two people.

Click here for the Forest Service Press Release. (PDF)

NORTH SHORE ROAD

One of the most significant threats to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a 38-mile road proposed for the north shore of Fontana Lake, the “North Shore Road.” NCWF has been working for many years to ensure that this destructive road is not built. To protect the wildlife habitat in this area for future generations, NCWF successfully advocated for a monetary settlement for Swain County in lieu of building the road, a position accepted by the National Park Service. This settlement, in lieu of building the road, is the best possible way to prevent road construction and therefore preventing wildlife habitat from being destroyed. The federal budget bill contains $6 million as a down payment for Swain County in lieu of building the North Shore Road. We will continue to work for a full monetary settlement and prevent this road from being built to protect the wildlife and its habitat with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

HABITAT ENHANCEMENT

NCWF administers perhaps the most comprehensive habitat enhancement certification program in the country. Based on the four necessary wildlife components of providing food, water, cover, and places to raise young, NCWF offers certification and enhancement programs for workplaces (Wildlife and Industry Together/WAIT), places of worship (Fellowship Actions Impacting the Habitat/FAITH), an island adoption program, and in cooperation with the National Wildlife Federation, the Wildlife Habitat certification. There are now 5000 certified wildlife habitats in the state. 2008 saw a large increase due in part to NCWF and NWF joining together to establish a unique joint certification opportunity. North Carolina property owners may become certified by both organizations. NCWF is the only NWF affiliate to offer this joint certification.

In addition, in NCWF announced in 2008 a plan to provide criteria for new developments to follow in efforts to provide a true smart growth initiative. Termed a “wildlife friendly certification,” this joint venture with the N.C.Wildlife Resources Commission is aimed at offering a guidance tool in order to minimize the rapid development of acreage in the state with a focus on pregrading of planned developments. It will be unveiled in full in 2009.

STATE WILDLIFE GRANTS

The State Wildlife Grants Program is the nation’s core program for preventing wildlife from becoming endangered by providing federal dollars to every state and territory to support cost-effective conservation. Projects supported by this program protect and restore important lands and waters, collect information on high-priority wildlife species, and develop partnerships with landowners to protect declining species and habitats on public and private lands.

NCWF led a lobby team to Washington, D.C. to educate our delegation about the State Wildlife Grants Program and the wildlife projects that exist in North Carolina. We were successful in procuring support from almost all of our delegation to increase funding for the program to $85 million. We have also expanded, strengthened, and mobilized the North Carolina Teaming with Wildlife Coalition members to help secure funding and implement wildlife conservation programs. The coalition now has 147 members, including wildlife managers, conservationists, hunters, anglers, and businesses that support the goal of restoring and conserving our nation’s wildlife.

Click here for the NC Teaming With Wildlife Coalition Website.

WETLANDS PROTECTION

NCWF opposed to a permit request that would destroy more than 4,000 acres of wetlands and five miles of streams in Beaufort County. PCS Phosphate Company, Inc. (PCS) is seeking a Clean Water Act permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expand a current mining operation. The permit, if granted, would involve the largest destruction of wetlands ever in the state. NCWF provided formal comments to the Army Corps outlining aquatic and terrestrial habitat concerns.

BONNER BRIDGE

NCWF provided comments on the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Section 4(f) Evaluation on the proposed Bonner Bridge. NCWF’s stance—and 2008 efforts—revolve around protecting the biological integrity of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and ensuring continued access for all compatible wildlife-dependent recreational uses of the Refuge.

GOOSE CREEK

NCWF rallied support for new rules to protect the federally endangered Carolina heelsplitter mussel in the Goose Creek watershed in the Yadkin Pee-Dee River Basin. The rules would establish site-specific water quality management plans as well as stormwater, wastewater, and ammonia toxicity control requirements. NCWF supports proposal B, which includes 200-foot buffers on perennial streams and 100-foot buffers on intermittent streams.

BP OIL SPILL

The catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused by the April 20, 2010 explosion of an offshore oil rig has put local economies, wildlife and the Gulf's delicate coastal ecosystem at risk. This could be one of the worst environmental disasters in our nation's history.

Click here for more details and resources.


OTHER RESOURCES

Harmon Den Project Scoping Letter (PDF)
Red Wolf Press Release (DOC)
Offshore Wind Report Press Release (DOC)
FACT SHEET:  Land and Water Conservation Fund in North Carolina (PDF)
FACT SHEET:  Our Land, Our Water, Our Heritage (PDF)

9 for North Carolina: Unforgetable North Carolina destinations that have insprired NCWF leaders. (PDF)

10 to Watch (PDF)


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