Watershed Protection from the Kids’ Point of View

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

The kids’ understand how important watershed protection is:

Haw River Assembly Puppet Show, Creek Action Day, 2011

Another Splash in Lake Jordan

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Quick update on last week’s post Easthom: Let’s Revisit Lake Jordan.

Several weeks ago Chapel Hill approved an amendment to language of the 2001 Water and Sewer Management, Planning and Agreement (WSMPBA) which gave OWASA much more leeway in tapping OWASA’s 5 million gallon per day (5Mg/d) allocation from Lake Jordan. At that time there wasn’t much sustained discussion of the long-term impacts or broader dimensions before adopting the amendment.

After midnight last Monday the Council decided to revisit the issue which creates an opportunity for more nuanced analysis and broader community input. That opportunity hasn’t been scheduled as of yet.

Think Blue: Baldwin Park Bolin Creek Restoration Commemoration

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Though the day was grey, this morning’s formal commemoration of the end of the current phase of Baldwin Park’s stream restoration project was well attended by local pols: Carrboro Alderman Randee Haven-O’Donnel, Lydia Lavelle, Sammy Slade, Chapel Hill’s Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and Council member Donna Bell (who lives a few steps away from the park) joined Town staff and a small group of local supporters in recognizing the revamp of this stretch of stream.

Baldwin Park Work Group

Mr. Baldwin, whose uncle Henry Baldwin owned the property (and mortgaged his house to help build St. Joes), told of walking across this stretch of land as a boy in a straw hat when it was still relatively wild before thanking the community for the improvements.

Mr. Baldwin's Uncle Donated the Land for St. Joe's

Think Blue: Four Toes in the Creek

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Local environmentalist and incredible photographer Mary Sonis has made a stunning discovery in her backyard.

Below is a rare 4 toed salamander, “a species of special concern in North Carolina” (to quote her excited announcement).

Mary contacted an expert at the North Carolina Museum of Life and Sciences who said he had never seen one of these in the wild. These salamanders breed in bogs and seepages. In this case, a seepage from a vernal pond within the Bolin Creek forest.

Some readers might recall the recent two year long lively debate over paving tracts of Bolin Creek within Carrboro’s jurisdiction for a greenway. Several of the proposed routes targeted for obliteration the very vernal ponds and seepages making up the habitat of this exceedingly rare species.

Now that Mary has confirmed that these salamanders inhabit Bolin Creek’s watershed, it is incumbent on our local leaders to adopt those proposed routes which maintain the integrity of the stream and vernal pools that are critical components of this and other “critters” habitat.

Bolin Creek Beauty

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

I’ve been highlighting the importance of treating the Bolin Creek watershed as a regional resource suffering from our piecemeal approach establishing adequate policies for its protection.

The whole basin requires, and deserves, a greater level of cooperation between Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Orange County, Orange Water and Sewer Authority(OWASA), the State’s Divisions of Water Quality (DENR-DWQ) and the Corps of Engineers to maintain and enhance its value as natural and vital resource.

Bolin Creek, though impaired from Carrboro to Lake Jordan, still retains many charms.

Andrew Vanderveer has documented a few in the following film (hat tip to The Friends of Bolin Creek).

UNC’s Carolina North Lurches Ahead

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

[UPDATE] Allison Gunn posted the same notice over on OP, with this additional note:

“For further information about campaigns to alter the development, see the Friends of Bolin Creek website: www.bolincreek.org” .

Also, I contacted Tiffany Clarke to see if they could video the proceedings. She’s currently looking into that – maybe the folks at the People’s Channel could lend a hand?


I haven’t been posting much about UNC’s Carolina North project (note: new website:carolinanorth.unc.edu) but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been keeping an eye on recent developments.

For instance, reviewing in detail the Final Report of the UNC Leadership Advisory Committee [PDF] which will supposedly inform UNC’s development plans.

Of course, UNC might take advantage of Town Council’s recent leap from the environmental high ground, complete crushing of citizen’s concerns and rush to sprout 120′ to 135′ buildings Downtown to scale their plans upward (or downward in the environmental case).

The community will have an opportunity to review and comment on UNC’s vision over the next couple months starting March 27th (I’ll be in Nashville, unfortunately).

UNC’s outreach here is a notable improvement over years past – at least at the presentation level. It will be interesting to see how they incorporate the general community’s feedback as the project progresses.

Folks, the clock is ticking on this – the UNC Board of Trustee’s are rushing to a decision next October – so please weigh in now so our community can get the best result.

The University will host a new series of meetings about Carolina North for the campus and local communities on the last Tuesday of each month through May, beginning Tuesday, March 27.

You are invited to attend one of two sessions on March 27. The first session will be at 3:30 p.m., Room 2603, School of Government, Knapp-Sanders Building. The presentation will be repeated at 5:30 p.m. in the same location. Parking is available in the Highway 54 lot and Rams Head deck. The School of Government parking deck is available only for the 5:30 p.m. meeting.

University representatives will present potential uses of Carolina North and three conceptual approaches to its development. Attendees will have opportunities to ask questions and share comments. The feedback will help the university as it develops a concept plan for the UNC-owned property.

The conceptual plans that will be presented draw on the guiding principles developed by the Leadership Advisory Committee for Carolina North, an ecological assessment of the property and sustainability strategies.

At the same time the university is working on its plans, several supporting studies are under way or planned involving the campus and various government and community entities. Topics include transit, transportation and fiscal impact.

University officials believe Carolina North, the 900-plus-acre tract located about two miles north of the main campus in Chapel Hill, represents an unprecedented opportunity to develop a mixed-use academic community that will benefit the campus and the community.

The university’s Board of Trustees has directed the administration to submit a development plan for Carolina North to local governments by next October.

For more information about Carolina North, go to the website, http://carolinanorth.unc.edu.

Tiffany Clarke
Carolina North
304 South Building, Campus Box 4000
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-4000
Phone 919/843-2025
Fax 919/962-1476



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