Wildlife Refuge Management

The US Fish and Wildlife Service practice of holding more water on the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge as a way to mitigate peat fires and enhance habitat for wildlife often causes flooding of adjacent landowners’ property. NCFB has worked with landowners and our congressional delegation in an effort to get the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to address these issues. USFWS has instituted a pilot project to mitigate some flooding issues on the south side of the refuge, but much work remains to be done to protect other adjacent landowners.

Waters of the United States (WOTUS rule)

In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Army Corps of Engineers adopted a Waters of the US (WOTUS) rule that, if it is implemented, will significantly increase federal control over private land. A federal Appeals Court has prevented implementation of that rule so far. The Trump Administration has proposed to repeal the 2015 rule, with a plan to write a new “waters of the US” definition. Farm Bureau is working through legislative, regulatory, and legal actions to support repeal of the 2015 rule and to make certain that any new WOTUS definition is consistent with the Clean Water Act (CWA), Supreme Court precedent, Constitutional limits, and the balance of federal and states’ rights that Congress intended.

NC’s Nutrient Strategy Rules

Where there are mandates that farmers reduce nutrients to protect water quality, NCFB is working to maintain the collective compliance approach for agriculture. In a regulated river basin or watershed, farmers’ efforts to take actions that reduce nutrient impacts on waterbodies are added together to document nutrient reductions. Without collective compliance, each individual farmer would have to install a government-mandated set of best management practices. DWR is proposing revisions to these rules and to guidance documents that affect rule implementation. NCFB is working to protect farmers’ interests during this process.

The Green Industry as Water Stewards

North Carolina’s nursery, greenhouse, and sod industries are important to the state’s urban and rural economies. The green industry provides thousands of jobs and economic stimulus in communities in all 100 counties. NCFB works with the NC Green Industry Council (NCGIC) to position the industry as environmental steward of water resources and water quality among an interdisciplinary audience of landscapers, nurserymen and other growers, regulators, urban planners and utilities, landscape architects and landscape designers, and others annually by organizing the NCGIC Water Symposium.