Natural Resources Leadership Institute

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Project Archive & Case Studies


Strategic Planning for the Albemarle Pamlico National Estuary Program

The Albemarle Pamlico National Estuary Program worked with the Natural Resource Leadership Institute and Watershed Education for Communities and Local Officials to undergo a strategic planning process. The project began with a strategic assessment and resulted in a strategic planning retreat on April 8.2004.

Central Coastal Plain Capacity Use Area Rule

Central Coastal Plain Capacity Use Area map

Ground water withdrawals in the confined aquifers of North Carolina’s Central Coastal Plain have exceeded the rate at which the aquifers are recharging.  To prevent significant aquifer dewatering and saltwater intrusion, the state's environmental management authority designated 15 counties as a capcity use area and granted the NC Division of Water Resources (DWR)permit authority. The Division proposed a ground water withdrawal permitting program that would allocate withdrawals based on hydrogeologic analysis and computer ground water flow modeling.  Major water users including municipalities, industries, and irrigators were concerned that the proposed permitting program was too vague and left too many uncertainties for future planning.  An ad hoc group of stakeholders represented by the NC League of Municipalities and industrial and agricultural leaders requested the Division to reformulate their proposed rule with their input.  In January 2000, the Central Coastal Plain Capacity Use Area (CCPCUA) Stakeholder Committee was convened to review alternatives for permitting withdrawals and attempt to formulate a recommended rule to the Environmental Management commission.

Neuse Buffer Rule

Riparian buffer and agricultural fields

A major algal bloom and subsequent hypoxic conditions in the summer of 1995 near New Bern, North Carolina led to a major fish kill in the lower Neuse River. This incident, together with an unrelated pollution event in a nearby river basin that same summer brought about a major public outcry to protect the state’s waterways. A spate of legislation and rule making followed, with a goal of reducing nitrogen loading in the Neuse and two other major rivers. The legislature created a stakeholder committee to make recommendations on rules to establish riparian buffers along the the Neuse River and its tributaries.

Bankhead National Forest Health and Restoration Initiative

Sign: Black Warrior Works Center, Bankhead National Forest

The William B. Bankhead National Forest is located on the Southern Cumberland Plateau in northwestern Alabama.The Bankhead's 180,581 acres are managed for multiple uses, including recreation, timber, wildlife and fish, water and soil, wilderness and range. It is the largest remaining tract of unfragmented deciduous forest in the state, and continues to protect water quality and serve as a watershed to local municipalities. During the past decade, the Bankhead has experienced an infestation of the southern pine beetle that has killed an estimated 22,000 acres of pine forest. Restoration of the forest to a healthy condition will require significant changes in forest management, an issue that had generated a great deal of interest from a large number of stakeholders.The history of Forest Service management on the Bankhead can be characterized as controversial, lacking general public support and trust. The Forest Service is working to change this pattern and is moving forward in a spirit of cooperation, to encourage the varied parties who have an interest in forest management to work together to seek common ground.

Roundtable on Carbon Sequestration in Coastal Pocosins

November 2002

For the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Conservation Fund, NRLI moderated a panel of scientists, land managers and others in a discussion of the potential of peatlands in eastern NC to sequester carbon as an offset for carbon dioxide emissions.Catawba River Basin Stakeholder Advisory Committee. September 2000 - March 2001.

Catawba River Basin Riparian Buffers

For the NC Division of Water Quality, NRLI designed and facilitated a collaborative decision-making process around the issue of riparian buffers in the Catawba River basin. We organized two stakeholder groups in the basin focused on developing recommendations on a temporary buffer rule in the basin for consideration by the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission.

Sea Turtle Workshop

January 25, 2001

Steve Smutko moderated a NC Sea Grant/NC Division of Marine Fisheries workshop on sea turtle - fishermen interactions. The purpose of the "Sea Turtle Workshop." was to provide information about sea turtle population dynamics, implementation of the federal endangered species act, and gather feedback from fishermen and conservationists on existing and potential actions to protect sea turtles and maintain the coastal flounder fishery.

USFWS Piping Plover Educational Forums

June - August, 2000

For the US Fish & Wildlife Service NRLI organized three educational forums on the piping plover, an endangered shorebird. The purpose of the forums was to provide information to citizens about the piping plover, and citizen feedback to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on concerns or questions regarding the management of this species.

Urban Stormwater Management Stakeholder Process

March - November 2000

NRLI organized two activities related to stakeholder involvement in state rulemaking for urban stormwater management. We organized education forums about urban stormwater management for groups of interested constituencies (e.g., the environmental community, developers, and local government officials). The purpose of the forums was to provide information about stormwater issues and programs in North Carolina; provide information about an upcoming stakeholder-based rulemaking process, and the role of stakeholders in that process ; and gather feedback from the participants about their needs, concerns, and interests regarding a comprehensive stormwater program. Second, we convened meetings of single-constituency groups (local government, developers and contractors, environmental organizations) to enable information exchange between the stakeholders at the negotiating table and the organizations they represent.

Central Coastal Plain Capacity Use Area Stakeholder Committee

November 1999 - April 2000

The cretaceous aquifer system that supplies fresh water to cities, industries, and farms in North Carolina's central coastal plain is being overdrawn. To protect the aquifer from saltwater intrusion and loss of storage capacity, the NC Division of Water Resources began the process of revising administrative rules governing water allocation in the coastal plain. NRLI assisted the Division to design and carry out a collaborative decision-making process to develop a permitting rule that assures fairness and predictability to water users and protects the long-range productivity of the aquifer. We convened the Central Coastal Plain Capacity Use Area Stakeholder Committee, coordinated information gathering and exchange, and facilitated their deliberations which resulted in a fair, practical, and effective solution.

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