No Buffers, No Birds

This article by naturalist Mary Sonis appeared in the Chapel Hill News on November 23, 2015.

Bolin Creek saw a great turnout of migrating warblers this fall along with a solid showing of many resident species. As the birds move south to their wintering grounds, the creek offers an invitation that is irresistible to wildlife, and especially to our warblers – water.

Every day from 4 to 6 p.m., I headed out with a camera and chair, and set up my viewing station along the creek. The sound of water flowing over rocks produces of soft murmur that can be heard by any passerby. It is this sound that draws the birds. From the safely of the dense undergrowth, birds cautiously make their way down the trees and find a variety of tiny shallow rock pools. It is there that they bathe and drink at the end of the day.

Some tiny pools are so sought after that birds line up to take their turn. The diminutive Northern Parula Warbler might be driven off by a more determined (and larger) Black and White Warbler, while a migrating Chestnut-sided Warbler on its journey from the Northeast, lands without hesitation, and ignores the fray. An entire family of resident American Redstarts appears daily. Two siblings practice their flying skills by chasing each other in and out of the creek zone, often zipping by my head as if to show off their newfound acrobatic skills. The more sedate parents call the youngsters in and make their own cautious forays to a small crevice between the rocks that holds a scant half-inch of water.

What is it about this habitat that is so appealing to wildlife?

A riparian zone is the area of vegetation that borders a creek or stream. It is often a dense, impenetrable area of tangled greenery. It shades the creek, soaks up water after floods, absorbs toxins in the water, prevents erosion, and provides a protection zone for wildlife.

At creek’s edge a beaver family builds a lodge that is nestled only a few feet from the path of high school runners. It is so close a region that the beavers lift their heads when they hear a passing runner or dog walker. Box Turtles forage the moist leaf litter in search of invertebrates, and find their own soaking pools in the ruts and puddles along the main dirt path. Spotted Salamanders spend their lives buried deep beneath rotting logs in the forest and creek border, making their yearly journey to the vernal pools on the path to lay their eggs when soaking spring rains flood the trail in February.

There is only one thing that won’t fit along the Bolin Creek Trail. Pavement.

For warblers, the riparian border offers a perfect habitat. There are plenty of insects to be gleaned from the leaves, hidden sites for nests, water for drinking or bathing and finally, vegetative cover to protect the warblers from predation by the owls and hawks that patrol the creek.

A riparian border is the golden area of any creek.

It is not surprising that this creek trail also draws large numbers of humans to the Carolina North Forest. It is a beautiful trail that local residents have used for years as a peaceful spot to walk their dogs. Our outstanding Chapel Hill High School cross country running team makes their way down the path at 4 o’clock, the same time that the warblers arrive. On sunny fall afternoons, science classes from Smith Middle School can be found studying water ecology at creek’s edge. Mountain bikers join the activity as they negotiate the roots and dips along the trail.

Surprisingly, it all works. Runners, hikers, naturalists, and mountain bikers all share the beauty of this small stretch of land that winds its way from Wilson Park to Chapel Hill High School.

There is only one thing that won’t fit along the Bolin Creek Trail. Pavement. Some groups in Carrboro are advocating for a paved greenway along the creek in Carrboro. In order to meet state Department of Transportation standards, this paved path would require a buffer of 10 feet on either side. Unfortunately, that buffer would cut into the riparian zone.

This is the golden area that we can’t afford to lose. No buffer, no birds. No erosion control, no shade, no carbon absorbing trees, no Box Turtles lingering in a cool patch of muddy water on a sunny day. Is the cost too high to create yet another paved commuting route for bikers? Let the Carrboro Board of Aldermen know what this trail means to our community. Let them know if you’ve taken your children on nature walks along Bolin creek to see our Barred owls. Let them know if you want your teenagers to run that trail with dirt beneath their feet, and warblers calling in the canopy.

Mary Sonis is a naturalist, photographer and writer in Carrboro. You can reach her at

Read more here:
Share Button

The Old Council’s Last Meeting

11.23.15  At a recent council meeting, Council member Maria Palmer encouraged the staff to move as many council decisions as possible to November 23, the last meeting of the current sitting council. The staff have responded to Council Member Palmer’s request support by  her colleagues by placing an unusually large number of items on the meeting agenda.

One might argue that the current council has the right to try to finish the issues they started,  but not if that means giving inadequate consideration or inadequate public review to important decisions. Given the incredibly long agenda,  the sitting council and mayor will need to figure out how to deal with  the overpacked agenda they have planned.

ShowImageSome of the items on which the outgoing council may act are troubling. For example, there have been vacancies on the Planning Commission since the summer, and several applications were submitted in mid-July and early September. Given that the Council apparently saw no urgency to act on filling these vacancies during the past several months, it is curious that they are choosing to do so during the last meeting of the outgoing council, rather than allowing the incoming council to appoint individuals to the boards and commissions that will advise them.

The Planning Commission has recommended that Whit Rummel be appointed to fill one of vacancies reserved for those who have previously served on the Town’s Transportation Board. He is the only applicant with the transportation board experience who has applied.  He also owns 14 acres on Estes Drive that he has been seeking to develop.

A matter of concern is that during the Central West negotiations Mr. Rummel did not recuse himself from a key vote as a member of the Transportation Board, an advisory board that was asked to comment and vote on the Central West small area plan.  Mr Rummel had a direct financial interest in the outcome of the vote and refused to recuse himself. This violates the pledge that all advisory board members agree to support.

“Members of advisory boards and commissions shall not discuss, advocate, or vote on any matter in which they have a conflict of interest or an interest which reasonably might appear to be in conflict with the concept of fairness in dealing with public business. A conflict of interest or a potential conflict occurs if a member has a separate, private, or monetary interest, either direct or indirect, in any issue or transaction under consideration. Any member who violates this provision may be subject to removal from the board or commission.”

Another item of interest on the voluminous agenda are changes to the Town’s Land Use Management Ordinance. One such proposed change would loosen the existing restrictions on the operation of Bed and Breakfast establishments in residential neighborhoods. In response to citizen concerns, the staff have indicated that they recommend adopting an “opt-in” policy whereby at least 85% of the property owners in a given neighborhood must endorse the adoption of looser B&B regulations for their neighborhood. However, the actual language of the proposed new ordinance states:

 “Phase Two [of the process of creating a new “Bed and Breakfast” district]      may be initiated by (i) the Town Council or (ii) by a petition from at least eighty-five (85) percent of property owners in a proposed district, upon submittal and acceptance of said petition by the Town Council.”

This states that the process for designating a given neighborhood a “Bed and Breakfast district” would not necessarily require a petition signed by 85% of the property owners, but, rather, could be initiated by the Council itself, which indicates that, under the new ordinance, the authority to decide whether to loosen B&B restrictions for a given neighborhood would not in fact lie exclusively with the residents and property owners themselves.

One would hope that  a responsive council would not vote to initiate the creation of a B&B district if the majority of the neighborhood residents opposed it, but this proposed language places the burden on the neighborhood residents to remain vigilant and informed about proposed zoning changes that may originate from who knows where, rather than giving the residents themselves the exclusive right to collectively initiate the rezoning process.

On December 2, a new mayor and three new council members will be sworn in. We anticipate better planned agendas with the new council.

11.24.15 Postscript:  The Council appointed Whit Rummel to the Planning Commission.  On the Land Use Management Ordinance proposals, the council approved the water quality and accessory use changes, but no action was taken on the neighborhood character overlay and Bed and Breakfast ordinances.

Share Button

Chapel Hill’s ‘Trickle-down’ Housing Policy

Chapel Hill News Opinion                          John Quinterno

One of the unaddressed issues that CHALT would like to see more fully explored is what is causing the explosion in the construction of new luxury apartments and the migration of students away from on-campus.  This article appeared in the November 11th, 2015 edition of the Chapel Hill News:

“Chapel Hill regards itself as a progressive community due to past policy choices and symbolic stances on numerous environmental and social issues. Yet when it comes to housing policy, the town has embraced “trickle-down” economics to a degree that would make Ronald Reagan blush with pride.

Town leaders recently have steered Chapel Hill from a path of deliberate development onto one of rapid growth – a shift embodied in the mushrooming across town of high-rise, high-rent apartment towers. By one tally, the town has approved since 2007 the construction of 6,059 housing units, of which 2,171 have been or are being built. Constructing all of remaining 3,888 approved units alone would increase the town’s housing stock by 17.5 percent over the 2010 level….

“The rationale for this change in direction is that the town’s housing supply must expand if there are to be homes affordable to low- and middle-income households. And the way to ensure that is, counter-intuitively, by encouraging the construction of high-end housing units.

Anyone who has taken a basic microeconomics course recalls that, all else equal, an increase in the supply of a good should lower that good’s price. What people forget is that this dynamic applies to normal commodities traded in competitive markets. A normal commodity is one that is uniform in nature, and a competitive market is one in which no one actor can set the price.

Housing exhibits neither trait because the underlying supply of land is finite and heterogeneous. A parcel’s value thus hinges on its locational advantages relative to those of other parcels. Ordinary buyers, meanwhile, value a housing unit not simply in financial terms, but in respect to non-monetary uses like community life. Moreover, because the local land supply is fixed, landowners collectively enjoy a monopoly and can set prices through harmful monopolistic competition while often engaging in rent-seeking behaviors that are individually lucrative but economically unproductive.”

Key conclusion:  ” Chapel Hill’s faith in more high-end housing to solve other housing problems likely will exacerbate those problems. As with “trickle-down” approaches generally, any benefits probably will flow to a small set of privileged actors and bypass the larger community – an outcome inconsistent with the progressive values on which Chapel Hill prides itself.”

Read entire article here:

quinternoJohn Quinterno is a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd. in Chapel Hill and the author of “Running the Numbers: A Practical Guide to Regional Economic and Social Analysis.

Share Button

Local Elections Matter

Supporters of the Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town worked hard in this election to clarify the choices for the voters. We campaigned for a mayor and town council that would insist on transparent fiscal management, responsible environmental stewardship, approvals that respect our college town character and won’t raise Chapel Hill’s cost of living, a town-wide traffic plan, and decisions that take into account the best input from citizens and advisory boards.

This election was a significant win because voters chose a new mayor over a popular incumbent, Mark Kleinschmidt. Pam Hemminger will become Mayor of Chapel Hill on December 2nd. Jessica Anderson and Nancy Oates, endorsed by C.H.A.L.T., will fill two of the four available seats on the Town Council. Congratulations to all who won.

We were disappointed that David Schwartz did not win a seat, though he came close, finishing only 295 votes behind Michael Parker. David’s research and analysis of land management were instrumental in forming our ideas, and through his writing and public speaking he has greatly enriched the public debate. We very much hope he will remain involved in the discourse.

We are very grateful to our many volunteers who hand wrote postcards, hosted coffees, canvassed, designed ads and wrote letters. It takes a tremendous team to run a successful campaign and we are proud to have reignited a high degree of community activism.

Especially when the issues are controversial, local campaigns have tremendous value. More people than ever before became interested in discussing the pros and cons of the direction the town has taken in the last several years. We put forth our point of view on these topics as clearly as we could.

C.H.A.L.T. supporters look forward to working together with the mayor and all the council members, including incumbent council member Donna Bell and newly elected council member Michael Parker, and currently serving members Sally Greene, Ed Harrison, George Cianciolo, and Maria Palmer to plan for the future.

As we have in the past, C.H.A.L.T. will continue the public dialogue by holding talks and presentations on affordable housing, green buildings, stormwater management, safe biking and walking, addressing traffic congestion, and identifying the kinds of economic development that benefit residents. We intend to keep a spotlight on these issues and encourage more people to engage in local matters as the Council decides how to proceed. Of significant interest will be the matter of how the town spends the bond money approved in the referendum.

Please sign up for our newsletter if you’d like to stay informed about C.H.A.L.T. events.

Share Button

Local Elections Matter

Choose Chapel Hill’s Future

Vote Tuesday, November 3


Luxury Apartments Coming Soon to Elliott Road

Do you want more development like this? The Council approved a 200 acre fast-track zone that will allow more buildings like this 7 story luxury apartment building.  The new district calls for zero affordable housing requirements, public input, or the means to control flooding.

This is a critical moment for the town of Chapel Hill. Your vote can shape Chapel Hill for the generations to come.
Don’t know which candidates to vote for? Keep reading:
If you’re happy about the high-rises and chain stores all over town, vote for the incumbents. Here are some more things the incumbents are accountable for:

  • The Town Council approves luxury apartments touted as mixed use such as Elliott Road, but redevelopment policies don’t include affordable housing units.
  • More and more of the manager’s budget is spent on public relations, less on town services. Click here for story.
  • Small businesses are leaving because of massive rezoning. Click here. Story of Plaza Cleaners here.
  • The Town Council does not listen to its advisory boards and ignores informed citizen input. Click to see incumbent voting record for Ephesus Fordham and Obey Creek.
  • The Council approves projects which degrade air and water quality and worsens flooding downstream. Read this letter.
  • The Town does not make it easy for citizens to find information; minutes are approved months after meetings and documents are difficult to find on the website.
  • Town policies are threatening historic areas, and careless redevelopment will wipe out the charm of downtown.

How can you help to elect new leadership?
First vote. Then:

  • Wear campaign buttons for Pam Hemminger for Mayor, David Schwartz, Nancy Oates, and Jessica Anderson and volunteer to greet voters at the polls!
  • Write a thoughtful letter in your own words to your mailing list of friends;
  • Tell your friends how important this election is. Refer them to for more information.

“Deciding who to vote for was easy. These are my people.” — King Tut

The last day of Early Voting is
Saturday, October 31 from 9 am – 1 pm.
Election Day is Tuesday, November 3.


Information about locations and times can be found here.

Read more about these CHALT Endorsed candidates at:

Please put voting on your calendar and forward this email
to your friends and neighbors!  

Vote for new leadership!

Questions? Email us at:

Share Button

Schwartz Calls Town Priorities Upside-down

Council Candidate Schwartz says Town Budget Priorities are “Upside-Down”.

CHAPEL HILL, NC — “Chapel Hill taxpayers are asked to approve new debt to pay for things, such as street resurfacing, that should instead be paid for out of the annual operating budget,” according to Town Council candidate David Schwartz. “Under current Chapel Hill leadership, Town spending priorities are upside down. From 2009-2014, the Town Manager’s administrative staff budget increased by 45%,” said Schwartz, “while the funds available for street repair and vehicle replacements both decreased by more than 25%.”


Schwartz, who analyzed Town expenditures, also found that from 2004-2014, the proportion of the Town’s budget allocated to the Town Manager’s administrative staff and to communications increased more than any other line item in the budget, while during the same period, the proportion of the Town’s budget allocated to essential services such as fire, police, and public works was stagnant or declining (see accompanying chart).

Specifically, during this period, the proportion of expenditures allocated to the Town Manager’s budget increased by 60%, from 1.59% to 2.59% of total expenditures, while the proportion allocated to public works decreased by 22%, from 16.3% to 12.7% of total expenditures. The proportion of expenditures allocated to important safety functions such as police and building inspections also decreased by 10% and 26%, respectively. In actual dollars, the Town Manager’s budget more than doubled between 2004-2014, from $1 million to $2.4 million, while the budget for inspections increased by less than four percent, from $760,000 to $789,000.

“We need a new mayor and council members who will provide effective staff oversight,” Schwartz said, “We need new leaders who will ensure that residents’ tax dollars are spent wisely delivering essential services and maintaining our infrastructure rather than on creating unnecessary new administrative and PR positions.” Schwartz, a lifelong Chapel Hill resident who holds a Ph.D. in Psychology, has been endorsed by the Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town, along with Council candidates Jessica Anderson and Nancy Oates, and Mayoral candidate Pam Hemminger. Early voting continues through October 31, 2015. Election Day is Tuesday November 3.
David Schwartz

Share Button

Candidates File Campaign Reports

The Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town has been concerned about the influence of outside money in town decisions. We looked at the campaign reports through the lens of desiring local support over out of town money, and support from individual or groups that do not have vested business interests with the Town.

The Orange County Board of Elections has made available the most recent candidate campaign reports here.  See the entire list of official reports.  We’ve gleaned quick highlights from the latest report relevant to our concerns.

* *CHALT endorsed candidates

**Pam Hemminger, candidate for Mayor

  • 97% contributors are local.
  • Contributions from local businesses

Mark Kleinschmidt, candidate for Mayor

  • Half of the large donations are from out of town.
  • Contributions from Ex. Director Homebuilders’ Association, developers, and his law firm.

Pre-Election Report

**Jessica Anderson, candidate for Town Council

  • Most recent report shows 11 donations, all except one from in-town individuals (91%); previous report showed out of town contributions from family and friends
  • In total: 46 total donations, 24 donations were $50 or under (over half)
  • All donations came from individuals; no money from developers or those with business before the council; none from organizations, businesses, or PACs.

**Nancy Oates, candidate for Town Council

  • Does not accept contributions from those with projects before the council.
  • Mostly local contributions from people with diversity of employment.

Michael Parker, candidate for Town Council

  • Contributions from three local developers doing business with the town

**David Schwartz

  • 98% from in town supporters (only one out of town donor, from Durham).
  • 95% of funds raised from Chapel Hill residents.
  • Half of all contributions are $50 or less.

Lee Storrow, candidate for Town Council

  • Contributions from developers with business before the Council
  • Most of $20,000 donations raised have come from out of town contributors.

Jim Ward, Town Council candidate

  • $5 self contribution
  • No other expenditures

CHALT Political Action Committee:

  • 100% of all 60 donations came from residents of Chapel Hill.
  • No contributions from developers or businesses.
  • 1/3 of donations are $50 or less.
  • Average donation check received is $133.
  • Amount raised as of October 19th reporting period is $10,084.30.

Costs paid by CHALT political action committee include candidate forums, lectures, newspaper ads, signs and mailings to promote our endorsed candidates. See this link for more information.

Share Button

An Open Letter to Sierra Club Members

An Open Letter to Sierra Club Members:

Managing development in a sustainable manner is a major goal of the Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town (CHALT).  From our platform: “Protect and enhance the quality of our streams, natural landscapes, parks, recreational trails and wildlife habitats.”

Because of our strong shared interest in protecting the health and beauty of Chapel Hill’s environment, we encourage our fellow Sierra Club members to cast their votes for the candidates that C.H.A.L.T. has endorsed.

The candidates’ background and environmental qualifications follow:

 Mayor candidate Pam Hemminger has demonstrated long experience in the environmental field through her long service to the Sierra Club and the Triangle Land Conservancy.  Most recently, Orange County appointed Hemminger to the Upper Neuse River Basin Association (UNRBA) where she serves as Board Chair of an organization consisting of 5 municipalities, 6 counties, and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts.  The watershed board’s mission is to preserve the water quality of the river basin and to provide an ongoing forum for cooperation on water quality protection and water resource planning and management within the 770-square-mile watershed. Hemminger’s job is to establish the policies with her board members that will guide the technical work. She has skillfully brought together the differing interests of each city and jurisdiction involved in this effort.  Read more about Pam’s work here.

 Council candidate Jessica Anderson has demonstrated her commitment to the environment by advocating for density bonuses tied energy efficiency and other incentives that allow our town to meet the American Institute of Architects’ challenge for all new buildings, developments and renovations to be carbon neutral by 2030; promising to push for Chapel Hill to be declared a solar community and encouraging homeowners, businesses and UNC to begin to utilize solar energy systems on their buildings; working toward expanding sensible public transit options for those who live and those who work in Chapel Hill; and looking at ways our town can support more environmentally-friendly forms of transportation, such as charging stations for electric buses and cars.

Council candidate Nancy Oates has repeatedly urged council to manage growth so it doesn’t flood out existing neighborhoods and drive out local businesses. She understands that having some accessible “green” in our lives is essential to a good quality of life and a reason many of us stay in Chapel Hill rather than move to more affordable cities.

Council candidate David Schwartz holds a Master’s degree in Natural Resource Policy and an PhD in Environmental Psychology. He has long-standing interests in identifying ways to manage our environmental impacts so as to protect landscape values and promote human health and well-being. In addition to conducting research and teaching at both Duke and UNC, he lectures at the NC Botanical Garden and the Sarah P Duke Gardens on how access to urban green space promotes human health. His home in Chapel Hill abuts the lower Booker Creek floodplain, so he is understands well the Town’s stormwater management challenges. David will be a forceful advocate for protecting woodland, streams, and other natural landscapes within the Town’s boundaries and the agricultural and low-density landscapes that compose the rural buffer.

Fortunately our endorsed council candidates do not have a poor environmental record to deny.  Their strong stance on holistic planning that stresses action on stormwater and flooding, smart growth that balances vertical density with green space, and most importantly, their advocacy for sustainable green building methods make them the preferred environmental candidates.

Incumbents Mayor Kleinschmidt, Donna Bell, Lee Storrow, and Jim Ward do not have a progressive record of votes. Jim Ward is the only one of your endorsees who has an interest in making environmental and sustainable decisions which he demonstrated in forcefully opposing the Ephesus Fordham redistricting and pressing for a high level of stormwater management for Obey Creek. Under the incumbents’ tenure they made policy and/or adopted in formal votes the following measures harmful to our environment:

The Town Council:

  • Directed town staff to prepare text language to reduce stream buffers to 50 feet.
  • Approved over 4 million square feet (net) in additional impervious surface.
  • Approved over 15,000 new parking spaces associated with development.
  • Voted to allow paving up to 50% for a single family lot.
  • Approved Charterwood located at the headwaters of Booker Creek with the result that Lake Ellen and Eastwood Lake are again filling with sediment.
  • Wasted thousands of dollars on worthless engineering studies on Ephesus Fordham; studies commissioned by the Town’s economic development officer who lacked stormwater training and experience.
  • Voted for a new road to be built at taxpayer expense through a flood way in Ephesus Fordham.
  • Gave away its planning authority to the Town Manager who approved a building footprint on top of an existing greenway resulting in rebuilding the greenway closer to Booker Creek.
  • Upzoned nearly 200 acres at the bottom of a watershed without upstream volume controls in place to reduce flooding, after approving 2.8 million square feet impervious surface upstream.
  • Actively considered allowing the Edge developer to build a hotel on top of a stream (currently pending).

We’ve reached out to your leadership on several occasions to inform them of the decline of the care of the environment in Chapel Hill.  It is distressing that the above facts were overlooked in your endorsements.


Julie McClintock

Former Air Quality Professional, US EPA
Former Town Council member (3 terms)
Former Chair OWASA Board
Chapel Hill, NC  27514

Share Button

About the Bonds

C.H.A.L.T. is not taking a position on the Chapel Hill bonds that appear on the November 3 ballot. In general, the Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town favors using long term financing for large capital improvements needed for the Town’s infrastructure because it spreads big ticket costs over a longer period of time into the future. Current residents share the tax burden with future residents moving here which helps current residents with the costs of growth.

The facts are that the Town Council has approved putting a $40.3 million general obligation (G.O.) bond on this November’s ballot. The bond would fund streets and sidewalks, trails and greenways, recreation facilities, solid waste facilities and stormwater improvements. Chapel Hill voters will decide whether to give the Town the borrowing authority for the bonds.

Keep in mind that the town already has the authority to issue debt or long term financing.  General Obligation bonds are the only kind of debt that requires voter approval – but there are many other kinds of financing available to the council.  The town needs a total of $90 million of debt, and only some of the more popular items amounting to  $40 million appear on the ballot. The rest will be privately financed.

There is no denying the Town needs a new police station, a recreation center, sidewalks, bikeways, and stormwater facilities to mitigate flooding. However what’s leaps out from the list of items for each bond is the number that appear to be routine maintenance.  For example, in the past the town has maintained its local roads through a road maintenance program in the operating budget.  For several years the Town has deferred on-going maintenance. It’s a matter of concern this item will be financed through long term debt.  An analogy would be to borrow money for painting the house, versus replacing a roof.

The bottom line is that we need leadership who will ensure that the Town keeps up with its yearly operating needs,without using debt financing, and who will save the debt for the bigger needs.

Here is the link to the Town’s bond page. Below is another perspective on the bond.

“Chapel Hill Bond Too Much of a Blank Check”, Dale Coker, Chapel Hill News

If you decide to vote in Chapel Hill in the Nov. 3 election, your choices won’t be limited to mayor and council. You have also been invited to approve a $40.3 million municipal bond.

And if you go to the town of Chapel Hill website, the mayor will describe the way our community comes together to plan our shared future, and that Chapel Hill citizens can have a voice by voting in this general obligation bond, all without a tax increase.  Read more of editorial here.

Opinion on the bond posted earlier this year:

Share Button

Pam Hemminger and the UNRBA

Pam Hemminger is chair of the board whose mission is to preserve the water quality of the Upper Neuse River Basin.

The Upper Neuse River Basin Association (UNRBA) was formed in 1996 to provide an ongoing forum for cooperation on water quality protection and water resource planning and management within the 770-square-mile watershed. Seven (of the 8) municipalities, 6 counties, and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts in the watershed voluntarily formed the Association.

Each of the thirteen member jurisdictions in the watershed, the six county Soil and Water Conservation Districts collectively, and South Granville Water and Sewer Authority elect one Director and one Alternate Director to the UNRBA Board of Directors.  Chair Pam Hemminger states the mission as preserving the water quality of the Upper Neuse River Basin through innovative and cost-effective pollution reduction strategies, and constituting a forum to cooperate on water supply issues within the Upper Neuse River Basin.


Pam monitoring a tributary to Falls Lake.

Pam’s job as chair is to establish the policies with her board members that will guide the technical work.  She has skillfully brought together the differing interests of each city and jurisdiction involved in this effort.  She spoke recently at a national water quality conference about how water boards can work collaboratively together.

Share Button