North Carolina Wetland Program Plan

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North Carolina Wetland Program Plan

Development of a state Wetland Program Plan (WPP) is encouraged by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of its Enhancing State and Tribal Programs Initiative. This update of the NC WPP provides brief summaries of North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s (NC DEQ) wetland goals and specific activities, the respective Divisions/Sections addressing them through 2025, the appropriate EPA Core Element Framework (CEF) actions (US EPA 2009), stakeholder members, and interests expressed by stakeholders. The NC WPP also provides direction and focus for proposed wetland work, allows planning of work directed towards achieving program goals, and serves as a communication tool with the public and other interested agencies to garner support for and encourage partnerships to accomplish NC wetland goals. This is not a regulatory document and does not impose any additional regulations.

The first full NC WPP (approved 2015) was developed through an extensive stakeholder process with the goal of enhancing the state’s wetland program. This original NC WPP addressed the functions and services provided by wetlands and listed goals and activities needed to further understand and manage North Carolina’s wetlands. The original list of activities was extensive and provided guidance for anyone pursuing wetland projects in the state. The list of activities, along with other background and supporting information, can be found in the original NC WPP (NC DWR 2015).

“North Carolina’s Wetland Program Plan 2021-2025” updates the original five-year plan and focuses on NC DEQ’s projected wetland work through 2025. Representatives from NC DEQ Divisions/Sections provided their program’s wetland goals for 2021 through 2025.

NC DEQ’s key goals for the 2021-2025 Wetland Program Plan that relate to each of the four EPA Core Elements.

Monitoring and Assessment:

1. Continue collecting, analyzing, comparing, and sharing baseline measurements for a variety of NC wetland types
2. Determine status and trends in wetland acreage, condition, and functions

Regulations:

1. Provide a clear understanding of the jurisdictional scope of North Carolina’s regulatory program
2. Administer regulatory activities efficiently and consistently to enforce North Carolina’s wetland requirements
3. Evaluate regulatory activities to ensure regulatory compliance and intended environmental quality protection
4. Work with NC’s citizens to wisely manage and restore the state’s wetland resources

Voluntary Restoration and Protection:

1. Provide guidance and promote statewide voluntary wetland restoration and protection (including wetland acres, condition, and functions)
2. Assist with public outreach and education for NC voluntary restoration efforts

Water Quality Standards for Wetlands: (also incorporated with regulations)

1. Support and provide consistency in applying the narrative wetland standards