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Strategy RC1.4: Establish, restore, and promote streamside protection areas.

Strategy Description

Techniques to protect streamside areas differ from place to place. Therefore, any strategy should involve multiple partners, including landowners and local government. Local governments can promote streamside protection and reduce development impacts by specifying maximum impervious surface area, built-upon area limits, and additional riparian buffer requirements. In addition, governments can encourage conservation subdivisions and the preservation of unregulated hydrologic and riparian features to help reduce the impact of development. A couple of resources for local governments to reference are the N.C. Green Growth Toolbox and the Mountain Ridge and Steep Slope Advisory Committee standards.

The N.C. Green Growth Toolbox suggests the following standards:

  • In sub-watersheds without federally listed fish and mussels, the NC Wildlife Resource Commission recommends 100-foot native, forested buffers on perennial streams and 50-foot buffers on intermittent streams.
  • In sub-watersheds that contain federally listed fish and mussels, 200-foot buffers on perennial streams and 100-foot buffers on intermittent streams are suggested.
  • Buffers on ephemeral streams, vernal pools, springs, and seeps are also needed.

The Mountain Ridge and Steep Slope Advisory Committee outline the following options for streamside protection in areas with steep slopes:

  • Option 1: Base width of 100 feet plus 2 feet per 1 percent of slope on each side of the water body, up to a maximum of 150 feet on each side.
  • Option 2: Base width of 50 feet plus 2 feet per 1 percent of slope on each side of the water body, up to a maximum of 150 feet on each side.

Recommendation

RC1: Sustain and enhance water quality.