fbpx

Climate Resilience Leaders – Mary Alice Holley

Mary Alice Holley’s conservation roots run deep. Her dedication to protecting the land on which we live and play is evident to everyone who meets her.

Mary Alice has been with Conservation Trust for North Carolina since 2016 and currently serves as Director of Community Innovation. In her current role, she works with CTNC’s staff, board, and partners to ensure the organization advances its mission to build resilient, just communities for all North Carolinians.

She has built on a long career in nonprofit communications and public relations. She has been at the forefront in helping change the conversation about climate change from oppositional to encouraging a community effort. Prior to joining the organization, she put her B.A. in mass communications and rhetorical writing from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to work as she supported conservation organizations throughout the state in building smart communication strategies that better connect supporters to their missions.

During her career, she’s worked on a variety of climate change communications campaigns including the Audubon North Carolina Birds and Climate pilot program and served as the Z. Smith Reynolds Conservation and Climate grant program lead on behalf of North Carolina land trusts. Most recently, she developed a climate communication tool kit in partnership with Land Trust Alliance to provide Southeastern United States land trusts with a guide to engaging their supporters on climate change issues locally and regionally.

When not working to protect the planet, she’s hard at work making her own land more resilient by building rain gardens, pollinator habitats, and a vegetable garden on her 1-acre homestead in Orange County, NC. She also finds time to manage a flock of chickens, 2 dogs, honey bees, and an ever-expanding system of raised garden beds.

She’s incredibly passionate about protecting our state’s communities by managing our water. “For North Carolina – climate change is often thought of as a sea-level rise issue – and I believe this challenge reaches far beyond our coastlines. North Carolina is in the top 10% of states in the United States with land situated along coastlines, rivers, and streams. Our ability to protect our communities and maintain our resilience in the future is wholly reliant on our ability to better manage water quantity and water quality challenges. Water issues will impact every North Carolinian across the state and we have the opportunity to come together as one state to find innovative solutions.”

When did you first realize the real and present impacts of climate change?
From a young age, I knew changes were occurring with more frequency and severity. I can remember when my hometown was covered in a foot of snow in the middle of spring, or when the Tennessee River was inundated from storms and our community park was underwater for two weeks before the floods receded. These weather events were not at that time normal or expected – but today they are. It took time for me to study environmental issues and to connect these events to global warming and climate change – but once I could identify the root cause of these events, I began to see my role in identifying and implementing solutions. I felt empowered to think about how my actions could either contribute to climate change or contribute to the effort to create a better outcome. Since then, I’ve committed myself to making decisions for myself, my household, my family, and my community that offer solutions to the climate crisis on small and large scales.

How have you seen climate change impact North Carolina?
North Carolina has nearly 38,000 miles of river in our state. I have been fortunate enough to paddle many of our rivers and even more of our lakes and marshlands. They’re incredibly beautiful and scenic, but our river systems are also critical to the health of human and natural communities. As climate change brings more frequent and severe storms to our state, these rivers will be our first line of defense to hold water and protect communities from the destruction caused by floods. But that will only happen if we bring together experts, policymakers, and funding resources to evaluate how we can better utilize our rivers as assets to face the climate crisis.

In Princeville, residents and community leaders have been dealing with the threat of floods since its founding. Their position along the Tar River has caused extreme challenges for their residents – but that experience as a town that floods has now positioned them as a leader in the effort to find innovative solutions to live with flooding rivers in the face of climate change. They’re marrying the best of science, technology, and conservation to tackle this challenge head-on and their counterparts in more communities across the state are taking notice. Our climate will continue to change and we will continue to feel those effects, but we can’t let the opportunity pass by to change our habits and policies to better equip ourselves for these future realities.

What actions can organizations in NC take right now to make our state more resilient?
A resilient community is one where people are meaningfully engaged and empowered, where leadership is responsive to community needs as defined by its residents, and where its people are able to respond to climate-related disasters by rebuilding or adapting in ways that make them stronger and more prepared for future challenges. What better way for organizations to have an impact than to partner with each other, with funders, elected officials, and local community members with a shared goal to collaborate toward finding and implementing solutions to the climate crisis? We as mission-oriented, community-driven organizations have a responsibility to the people of North Carolina to do whatever we can to increase our resilience because everyone will benefit from this collective effort.

Working in climate resilience can be overwhelming. How do you keep going?
I remind myself that every action I take as an individual has an impact on someone else – so why not channel that energy toward being a climate champion and environmental steward? Within my home, my family are all committed to reducing our climate impact by composting our food waste, reducing our energy consumption where possible, growing food for ourselves and our neighbors, and sharing our passion for conservation and environmental stewardship with others. Professionally, I have dedicated my career to supporting initiatives that have a net-positive effect on the climate crisis whether that be educating North Carolinians on the importance of land conservation as a climate solution or helping other organizations communicate about and celebrate their own climate impact successes.

I find energy from modeling my life in ways that can inspire others. If I am able to wake up every day and know I contributed to a national movement to conserve land in ways that absorb more carbon, protect people from the harm of floods, support climate-smart agriculture and farming practices, and increase the number of people who are committed to taking small actions in their everyday lives – I will have been successful. I believe that people’s actions coupled with smart policies will change the course of our climate future.

Do you want Mary Alice to speak at your next event? Contact Mary Alicemholley@ctnc.org.

Advocating for Smart Conservation Policies

CTNC’s 2022 Policy Agenda

Conservation can provide solutions to many challenges facing our communities. Through innovative conservation strategies, we can build places to hold excess water after storms, protect trees that absorb carbon from the atmosphere, and offer places for people to relax for their mental and physical health.

In 2021, North Carolina legislators voted to spend nearly $200 million to support efforts that will allow our state to become more resilient to climate change. We urge our state leaders to repeat this important investment in our state’s natural resources. Only with smart conservation policies will we successfully build resilient communities that are prepared to weather any storm.

CTNC’s Policy Goals include:

  • Increase public funding for land acquisition, park maintenance, trail construction, and recreation access
  • Empower communities to invest in flood-resilient strategies
  • Prevent involuntary land loss caused by forced partition sales of heirs property
  • Build capacity within communities through AmeriCorps and other service opportunities

These goals will guide our work with policymakers and legislators for the years to come and key outcomes will prepare our state for whatever comes next.

INCREASING FUNDING FOR CONSERVATION
CTNC supports the continued funding of the conservation trust funds as recommended by Land for Tomorrow. We hope to work with members of the General Assembly to increase recurring funding for the state’s conservation trust funds and state agencies. Read more about the legislative priorities set by members of Land for Tomorrow.

As a member of the Great Trails State Coalition, CTNC will continue to work with members of the General Assembly to bring the economic, health, and environmental benefits of trails to North Carolina communities.

Read more about the legislative priorities set by members of the Great Trails State Coalition.

EMPOWERING RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
North Carolina communities need greater investments, increased capacity, and a cadre of service-minded people to be successful in implementing the recommendations of Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 80 and Climate Risk and Resilience Plan. CTNC will advocate for the funding and resources that provide every community with the opportunity to benefit from AmeriCorps service that builds capacity and finds innovative conservation solutions to address the issue of climate change. Learn more about Resilience Corps NC.

Land trusts can lead the way in addressing the impacts of climate change and flood risk. Alongside the Land Trust Alliance, CTNC will promote policies and funding that advance natural climate solutions while supporting the protection, restoration and stewardship of open and working lands that increase climate resilience. Read more about Land Trust Alliance’s policy priorities.

PREVENTING INVOLUNTARY LAND LOSS
Enacting the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (UPHPA) in North Carolina will address how current state laws leave landowners of heirs’ property vulnerable to involuntary land loss. The UPHPA will help families by giving them a solid chance at keeping the land in the family when one or more owners wants to divide or sell the land through a partition action. Currently, the North Carolina General Assembly is considering adoption of the bill that would safeguard families from forced sales through partition action. Read more about the NC Heirs Property Coalition and our effort to adopt the Uniform Act for NC families and landowners.

It All Starts with Collaboration to Seed Better Outcomes
CTNC is committed to participating in coalitions to find a better future for our state. Our team is active members of Land for Tomorrow, the Great Trails State Coalition, and the NC Heirs Property Coalition, Conservation Trust for NC. These coalitions advocate for smart conservation policies and adequate funding on behalf of our members, community partners, and collaborative projects.

Join Us
As a member of the CTNC community, we hope you will stand with us and advocate for smart conservation policies that allow every North Carolinian to benefit from conservation and get the tools needed to build communities that are resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Princeville Elementary School teachers volunteer during a community planting day.

Seeds of Climate Resilience: FEMA Buyout Program

“Seeds of Climate Resilience” is a blog series to inspire ideas to help our state weather our changing climate. We can protect our families, economies, and the environment. The seeds of change planted today will help communities thrive for generations to come.

All too often, flood-prone communities are dotted with vacated lots that are scraped clean of man-made structures and left for nature to reclaim. These lots are usually deemed prone to future flooding, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has given the landowners a path to sell their property and move away from the potential of repeated flooding.

What are FEMA buyouts?
Buyouts are the primary federal program designed to increase disaster resiliency.

After a presidentially-declared disaster, local officials may decide to request money from the state to purchase properties that have either flooded or been substantially damaged. The state chooses to offer buyouts using FEMA’s money through its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to reduce future disaster losses.

Buyouts are voluntary, and no one is required to sell their property. As part of the federal buyout program, the area is deed restricted and cannot be developed with permanent structures in the future. Existing properties and structures are demolished, cleared, and permanently maintained as green space by the local government.

The voluntary buyout program gives property owners the option to sell their property and move away from the potential of repeated flooding while reducing property damages and expenses incurred from flooding. The flood buyout program can be an extremely useful tool for communities recovering from a natural disaster.

How does it help lessen climate change?
As our climate changes, communities are experiencing more frequent and severe rainfall as well as greater swings between rains and drought. Creating permeable spaces designed to capture water benefits people, plants, and wildlife.

Once homes are bought, the land is vacated and development rights removed. This provides communities with an opportunity to restore the land to a natural space that can be designed to store water and be flooded again while keeping future residents out of harm’s way.
North Carolina relies on FEMA-funded buyouts to create more open space and reduce future disaster risks.

What if these abandoned spaces were given new life through conservation work?
Land where buyouts occur is eventually deeded over to the town or other local government agency. The rules say that such lots can never be built on again. Too often they remain vacant and are seen as a blight to the remaining community members. But there are other options.

Organizations and local governments can sometimes turn these buyout lots into community use spaces. While these spaces are not safe for human habitation or businesses, with a little imagination, they can be transformed into spaces that support a thriving community. Communities where voluntary buyouts have occurred then have an opportunity to convert that land to a conservation use like a public park, managed wetland, community garden, or other non-permanent use.

North Carolina Success Story: Princeville
Finding effective land uses for FEMA buyout properties is a cornerstone in Princeville’s flood mitigation strategy.

In a project funded by an EJ4Climate: Environmental Justice and Climate Resilience grant from the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation and EPA, CTNC will work with the Town of Princeville to convert vacant and underutilized parcels to conservation benefits, including managed wetlands and a model community garden. This new grant program addresses environmental inequality and promotes community-level innovation and climate adaptation. The leaders and residents of Princeville hope this will become a replicable model that flood-prone communities across North Carolina will implement to protect their residents from the damage caused by severe flood and rain events.

In 2021, the NC General Assembly included over $200 million in the state budget to fund resilience projects that will aid communities in addressing flooding and building resiliency through conservation solutions.

How can citizens help determine how vacant land created from buyouts could be used or maintained?
Advocate with your local elected officials for shared community green space and conservation projects on vacant and underutilized land owned by your city, town or municipality. Where possible, a local land trust or conservation organization may offer programs to support this effort.

Over the past 20 years, The Land Conservancy of New Jersey has worked with communities impacted by ongoing, damaging storms. In many of these municipalities, FEMA cannot provide the relief residents need to leave their properties and settle elsewhere. The Land Conservancy office worked with these towns, the State of New Jersey, and homeowners to purchase more than 200 homes and convert the land to open space. Restoring the land to its natural condition provides additional capacity to hold stormwater, offers safety to residents, reduces further loss of property, and saves the lives of emergency responders who continue to put themselves in harm’s way during these dangerous situations. It creates a park where none existed before and answered a community’s needs to reduce the harmful and serious effects of repetitive, overwhelming storms in some of our most vulnerable neighborhoods.

Learn more about CTNC’s efforts to conserve land in watersheds as a climate mitigation tool protecting NC communities.

SOURCES:

Seeds of Climate Resilience: Rain Gardens

“Seeds of Climate Resilience” is a blog series to inspire ideas to help our state weather our changing climate. We can protect our families, economies, and the environment. The seeds of change planted today will help communities thrive for generations to come.

Rain gardens offer an attractive and effective solution to address flooding and increased rainfall on a property.

According to the North Carolina State Climate Office,

Heavy rains from hurricanes and other weather systems will become more frequent and intense. Annual precipitation is also expected to increase. These changes are driven primarily by increases in atmospheric water vapor as the climate warms. Extreme rainfall in North Carolina can result from hurricanes, Nor’easters, or other weather systems like thunderstorms. Severe thunderstorms are also likely to increase in a warming climate and can cause flash flooding, especially in urban areas.

https://climate.ncsu.edu/learn/climate-change/

Water containment will be increasingly important as our communities in low-lying areas or near lakes, rivers, and streams see rising waters and flooding.

What is a rain garden?
A rain garden has grasses, flowers, and shrubs that can survive in water-soaked soil after a rainstorm. Rain gardens are located in the low points of yards so that the water that runs off of roofs or driveways can be directed towards the rain garden. After the storm, the soil and plants absorb the rain, and the area dries out quickly.

A rain garden is NOT a wetland, a place for mosquitos to thrive, or difficult to maintain long-term. This garden area is dry to lightly moist most of the time. And it is naturally beautiful!

How does it help mitigate climate change?
As our climate changes, communities are experiencing more frequent and severe rainfall and greater swings between rains and drought. Creating permeable spaces designed to capture water benefits plants, wildlife, people, and the built environment.

If rainwater has nowhere else to go, it will often result in flooding or standing water. However, if rainwater is captured where it lands, it can promote healthy plants and sustainable ecosystems that provide a conservation benefit to nearby residents.

Supporting habitat: Rain gardens capture and store water after heavy rainfall. The water is held in the garden area, absorbed by the water-loving plants, and naturally filtered back into the soil.

Managing stormwater: Any water that does not infiltrate the groundwater then moves through a canal, ditch, drain, or pipeline until it reaches a larger body of water such as a river, pond, or wetland area.

Rainwater is not treated at a facility to remove pollutants before entering larger waterways. This means that rain gardens are essential to help naturally filter the water that passes through them.

This process allows communities to better manage heavy amounts of rainfall and stormwater by slowing it down and using natural spaces to provide an added layer of filtration before the water reaches your home.

North Carolina Success Story: Princeville Elementary School
After Hurricane Matthew devastated Princeville Elementary School in 2016, students had to go to schools in surrounding communities for three years until their school could be renovated and flood-proofed. Finally, in 2020, the Princeville Elementary School welcomed back its almost 200 students.

As part of a $200,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Wells Fargo Resilient Communities Program, CTNC worked with local organizations to install rain gardens at the school to capture and redirect water. Today, the gardens work to protect the school from excess water. The gardens were designed by the NC State Coastal Dynamics Design Lab and installed by volunteers from Conservation Corps NC, CTNC, NC State, M&M Landscaping Co. and residents of Princeville.

Learn more about our work in Princeville.

How can citizens help build a rain garden in your community?
This article from NC State has great tips to bring this climate adaptation strategy to your community:
“Why Your Yard Might Need a Rain Garden”

SOURCE: Rain Water Guide developed by NC State Coastal Dynamics Design Lab

View of Calloway Peak from protected property. Credit: Rusty Painter

Uninterrupted – Florence Boyd Home & Asutsi Trailhead Protected!

Protecting the Florence Boyd Home / Asutsi Trailhead Property in Watauga County was a final wish of a generous family.

This tranquil plot is 41 acres just north of the Caldwell County line and full of purpose. Nestled in the area nicknamed “The Little Parkway,” the forested land can be seen from Grandfather Mountain State Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and Highway 221.

While these acres have conservation value, it is also a piece of North Carolina history. This property is named for native daughter and nurse Florence Boyd. This is where she founded the Florence Boyd Home for Crippled Children, a nature-based therapy center for physically-challenged children who had few treatment options in the 1930s and ’40s. Ms. Boyd served as the only medical professional and midwife in the area for years, and old-timers will regale you with stories of her courage and compassion. In addition, the remnants of her roadside store and cabin remain on site.

Protecting this property means safeguarding our clean water. The creeks flowing from the property meet up with the Boone Fork. We can reduce the impacts of floods exacerbated by climate change through forever preserving this land. The protected forestlands also offer carbon sequestration.

This land deal also ensures that the Asutsi Trail is uninterrupted. A-Su-Tsi is a Cherokee term meaning “to bridge,” which accurately describes this 0.4-mile connector from Hwy. 221 to the Tanawha Trail and the Grandfather Mountain State Park trail network. The Asutsi Trail offers access to popular hiking trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is the only entry point to the network of trails on the east side of Grandfather Mountain during winter closures of the Parkway.

“Successful conservation of the Florence Boyd tract honors the legacy of Ms. Boyd, protects water quality in a pristine stream, eliminates the risk of unsightly development, affords protection to 41 acres of forestland, and preserves an opportunity for additional recreation amenities. We are grateful to our generous supporters and the Blue Ridge Parkway for ensuring permanent protection of this unique property,” said Chris Canfield, CTNC Executive Director.

CTNC intends to transfer the Florence Boyd tract to the National Park Service, so it may someday provide a larger and safer parking area for users of the Asutsi Trail that begins on Park Service land just a few feet from this property.

Funding for this project was made possible by the NC Land and Water Fund and support from Fred and Alice Stanback. Special thanks to partners The Florence E. Boyd Home Foundation, the Hughes family (Linville, NC), Blue Ridge Parkway.

Thank you to everyone who made this conservation project possible. If you’d like to learn more about adding your property to a legacy of conservation contact Land Protection Director Rusty Painter.

Hikers & Anglers Rejoice! MORE Land Protected!

If you love fishing, hiking, bird-watching, or mountain ambling, we have a land-protection update that should make you happy! Conservation Trust for North Carolina recently closed on the Cranberry Creek Expansion Project. This 20-acre parcel will increase hiker safety along the Mountain-to-Sea Trail and removing a dam to protect native Brook Trout populations.

The picturesque site in Ashe County serves as a restoration project for wildlife and people alike. The property meets the Blue Ridge Parkway near Parkway milepost 249.5 near South Laurel Fork Road. Once combined with CTNC’s adjoining Cranberry Creek Preserve, the project will result in a 200-acre addition to the Blue Ridge Parkway with nearly a mile of new Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

“The best conservation results come from partnerships between landowners, agencies, nonprofits, and stakeholders. This is a great example of that effort coming to fruition. Restoring the tributary to Cranberry Creek will help preserve our state’s native fish habitat, which is critical to maintaining a healthy ecosystem for us all.” said North Carolina Trout Unlimited Council Chair Mike Mihalas.

In partnership with Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, this land acquisition will reconnect the trail to eliminate two crossings of the Blue Ridge Parkway motor road. This will enhance the safety and scenic value of the hiking experience on the trail.

A small portion of the property is subject to a 1940 ‘scenic easement’ dating back to the creation of the Parkway. However, that old easement would not sufficiently protect views of this property. Permanent protection of the property ensures that scenic views of the property from the National Historic Landmark of the Blue Ridge Parkway will not be disrupted by development.

Thank you to the supporters who made this land acquisition possible: North Carolina Trout Unlimited, Fred and Alice Stanback, The Glass Foundation, Ron and Judy Thurman, and other generous donors of Conservation Trust for North Carolina. Thank you to the hardworking partners on this project for helping conserve this land: New River Conservancy, Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC Wildlife Resources Commission, NC Trout Unlimited, and American Rivers.

We have secured the land, but the dam removal and stream restoration will need additional funds. Every dam removed from our state’s streams benefits aquatic species and reduces the risk of catastrophic flooding of downstream properties. These actions help the region adjust to our changing climate and restore natural habitats.

Bear Creek property conserved by CTNC. Credit: Rusty Painter

Expanding & Preserving the Blue Ridge Parkway

Land trusts like CTNC are critical partners in quickly moving to preserve land for expansion of park boundaries.

As 2021 draws to a close, we have another accomplishment to share for those who want to preserve the wild, scenic, and beautiful vistas of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Through the generous support of our donors, CTNC recently transferred the 31-acre Bear Creek property and the 10-acre Scott Creek Overlook tract to the National Park Service for inclusion in the Blue Ridge Parkway boundary. These two tracts contribute to the multi-partner, landscape-scale conservation effort that is expanding recreation opportunities and protected land around Waterrock Knob.

View from Scott Creek Overlook property. Credit: Rusty Painter

We can all agree that preserving private land for conservation is important. However, it is also incredibly important to expand our federally-protected lands at the same time. Land trusts like CTNC are critical partners in quickly moving to preserve land for expansion of park boundaries. Often, threatened properties can only be saved by rapid action that’s simply not feasible for our government partners.

In this case, CTNC held these parcels in conservation protection for eight years while the Parkway worked through the proper channels to accept them into the federal system for permanent conservation. Without a land trust partner, these transactions wouldn’t be possible, and without your support, land trusts couldn’t continue this important work.

“This acquisition is an important gift to future generations. I appreciate all of the effort on the part of Conservation Trust for NC and the Blue Ridge Parkway staff to get us to this point.”

Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Tracy Swartout

“We extend our sincerest thanks to CTNC for holding onto these properties for the past eight years! We’re on track to accept several more CTNC properties this year. We’ll have more to celebrate in the coming months.”

Alex Faught, Realty Specialist, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service

Our successes are not always instantaneous, and it’s through the unwavering support of our conservation and community partners that we’re able to preserve and protect the best parts of our state.

CTNC’s long-standing relationship with the National Park Service, and generous donors, makes it possible to expand the Parkway boundary to include more trails and open space, protect critical headwaters, inspirational views, and slow the impacts of climate change by conserving forested land.

N.C. Budget is a Huge Win for Conservation

The 2021 budget for North Carolina has been passed with bipartisan support by the NC legislature, and officially signed by Governor Cooper, in a huge win for conservation. This legislation will substantially increase funding for land acquisition projects; major investments in parks, trails, and open space statewide; and new investments to advance resilience planning and floodplain protections that will help communities facing the impacts of climate change.

With a total of nearly $200 million for resilience and more than $300 million for conservation projects, this is the greatest investment in conserving North Carolina communities since before the Great Recession in the late 2000s.

What Does This Mean for Our Work?
Since 2018, CTNC has been a leader among conservation groups across the state dedicated to achieving special funding for a statewide resilience planning initiative. In partnership with our colleagues at Environmental Defense Fund, NC Conservation Network, The Nature Conservancy, The Conservation Fund and many others, we collectively have brought models from other states and our own examples of working with communities to make the case for funding these critical projects. Collaborative partnerships and bipartisan support, like that fostered by the Land for Tomorrow Coalition, ensure we all move conservation forward in ways that benefit communities.

Through this funding and the other resources it will attract, we hope to collaborate with additional
partners to:

  • Provide resources and funding to local governments to create resilient strategies to protect their communities.
  • Assist every small community across the state in creating flood plans, and with funding to implement. We are already a key advisor to the state on a resilience handbook for communities.
  • Create jobs in rural communities to restore and build natural infrastructure and other adaptive measures to reduce flood risk.
  • Prioritize economic investment in local communities, so they thrive.

The 2021 State Budget includes:

Land and Water Fund
This is the primary source of grants allowing hundreds of local governments, state agencies, and conservation nonprofits to protect clean water and conserve ecologically, culturally, or historically significant lands. This investment will directly benefit acquisitions and easements sought along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

  • $49.5 million new revenue in FY21-22 and $51.5 million new revenue in FY22-23
  • $15 million in FY21-22 specifically for projects to protect & restore floodplains to reduce flood risk

Parks and Recreation Trust Fund
This fund supports land acquisition and improvements within the State’s park system. PARTF is the main funding source for local parkland acquisitions, facility improvements, and public beach and estuarine access.

  • $45.5 million new revenue in FY21-22 and $45.5 million new revenue in FY22-23
  • $10 million new revenue in FY21-22 specifically for local parks projects to increase access for persons with disabilities

Additional Funding for Community Resilience
In recognition of North Carolina’s continued and increasing exposure to the impacts of climate change — particularly storms and flooding — this funding launches a new critical level of statewide planning and investment to support the resilience of our communities.

  • Nearly $200 million in resilience investments to reduce the risk of catastrophic flooding.

Other Highlights

  • $40 million for a Coastal Storm Damage Mitigation Fund
  • $25 million for a Small Project Mitigation and Recovery Program
  • $20 million to create a “statewide Flood Resiliency Blueprint”
  • $15 million to the Land and Water Fund for floodplain projects
  • $15 million for a Disaster Relief and Mitigation Fund
  • $15 million for a Transportation Infrastructure Resilience Fund
  • $4 million for a Dam Safety Emergency Fund
  • $3.5 million for floodplain pilot projects
  • $1.15 million to the Resilient Coastal Communities Program

TAKE ACTION
We’ve thanked legislators for these sweeping investments in conservation, but they want to hear from you, the people they represent. Join us by sending a short thank-you note to your local lawmakers for investing in our state.

Investing dividends in Western NC

Facilitating the permanent protection of land in Western North Carolina for future generations is the purpose of CTNC’s Mountain Revolving Loan Fund (MRLF). This fund often allows land trusts to get a project over the finish line.

The CTNC Mountain Revolving Loan Fund provides two benefits for land conservation:

  • It provides bridge financing with minimal interest to land trusts in Western North Carolina for the purchase of conservation land and easements. As loans are repaid, the money becomes available to re-lend
  • A percentage of the balance of the loan fund is given out each year in grant awards. Grants of up to $25,000 are not required to be paid back.

This year, CTNC is pleased to fund six different land acquisition projects to five land trusts totaling over $111,000. Congratulations to Blue Ridge Conservancy, Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, Conserving Carolina, Piedmont Land Conservancy, and Mainspring Conservation Trust for receiving awards during this grant cycle.

This investment will help permanently protect and manage 612 acres of land in Western North Carolina. We’re proud to support the work of our partner land trusts in this way.

These grants are made possible by the support of generous CTNC donors. These investments make a lasting impact on their communities and permanently protect critical conservation land in Western North Carolina that might otherwise be developed. By working in collaboration with the greater land trust community, CTNC is able to help our partners protect additional land beyond our own focus area along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Asheville Watershed Conservation Easement

A Strong Commitment to Public Trust and Conservation Excellence

CTNC Earns National Recognition from Land Trust Accreditation Commission

Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) is proud to share it has renewed its land trust accreditation – proving once again that, as part of a network of over 400 accredited land trusts across the nation, it is committed to professional excellence and to maintaining the public’s trust in its conservation work.

“Renewing our accreditation shows CTNC’s ongoing commitment to permanent land conservation in North Carolina,” said Chris Canfield, executive director. “We are a stronger organization than ever for having gone through the rigorous accreditation renewal process. Our strength means natural areas from the Blue Ridge Parkway to central North Carolina and the coastal region will be protected forever, so our communities will be more resilient for our children.”

CTNC provided extensive documentation and was subject to a comprehensive third-party evaluation prior to achieving this distinction. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission awarded renewed accreditation, signifying its confidence that our conserved lands will be protected forever. Accredited land trusts now steward almost 20 million acres – the size of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.

“It is exciting to recognize CTNC’s continued commitment to national standards by renewing this national mark of distinction,” said Melissa Kalvestrand, executive director of the Commission. “Donors and partners can trust the more than 400 accredited land trusts across the country are united behind strong standards and have demonstrated sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance, and lasting stewardship.”

Conservation Trust for North Carolina is one of 1,363 land trusts across the United States according to the Land Trust Alliance’s most recent National Land Trust Census.

About the Land Trust Accreditation Commission

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission inspires excellence, promotes public trust and ensures permanence in the conservation of open lands by recognizing organizations that meet rigorous quality standards and strive for continuous improvement. The Commission, established in 2006 as an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, is governed by a volunteer board of diverse land conservation and nonprofit management experts. For more, visit www.landtrustaccreditation.org.

Categories