City of Raleigh Partners With Conservancy to Protect Lands in Falls Lake Watershed
The City of Raleigh has contributed towards protecting a critical tract of land in the Falls Lake Watershed. Through the City’s Watershed Protection Program, $189,000 in funding was provided to support the purchase of the Robertson Creek property. Additional funding was provided by the State of North Carolina’s Clean Water Management Trust Fund and the City of Creedmoor.
The Tar River Land Conservancy acquired the 154 acres of land near Creedmoor in southern Granville County from the Haynes and Suitt families
Farming occurred on the Haynes and Suitt land at one time, but was discontinued years ago. One sign of the land’s past use is a former hog waste lagoon that was abandoned in the late 1980s. Working with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and Granville County Soil & Water Conservation District, the Conservancy expects to clean up the lagoon and restore the site to native plant cover later this summer.
The land will remain permanently off-limits to development in order to protect extensive wetlands and forest found on the property. Robertson Creek flows through the newly preserved property before converging with Falls Lake one mile downstream. Falls Lake serves as the primary drinking water resource for City of Raleigh and the other downstream communities the utility serves.
The City works with land trust partners such as the Tar River Land Conservancy and the Conservation Trust for North Carolina to protect high priority lands though its Watershed Protection Program. This program is funded through a fee collected on water bills Since November 2011, all customers in Raleigh and Garner have paid 10 cents per 1,000 gallons of water used (about 45 cents per month). The City works with partners to leverage these funds , which in turn have helped protect over 4,000 acres in the watershed and 40 miles of stream in the past nine years.
The project will provide numerous benefits to the local community while protecting the drinking water resources for more than a half of a million people downstream. The City of Raleigh’s Watershed Protection Program is one of about 25 innovative initiatives across the country working to proactively protect its drinking water resources and helps defer and lower long term water treatment costs.
Officials from Raleigh, Creedmoor, and other land trust representatives toured the property on June 5, 2014, and discussed the project and its benefits to Falls Lake and the local community. Several members of the City’s Watershed Protection Advisory Task Force also participated in the tour. This appointed task force is working to develop a set of recommendations to expand and enhance the current Watershed Protection Program. The task force meets on the fourth Thursday of the month and meetings are open to the public.