Riparian Buffer Program (Fund 2982):
This program collects payments and makes expenditures from the state’s Riparian Buffer Fund for the Neuse, Tar-Pamlico and parts of the Catawba and Cape Fear River basins. Applicants seeking permits for unavoidable impacts to protected buffers along stream systems may elect to produce the mitigation themselves, purchase credits from a mitigation bank or pay EEP to produce the mitigation and satisfy permit requirements. However, under Session Law 2009-337, non-governmental entities may not utilize the Riparian Buffer Program if a mitigation bank has credits available.
The program’s expenditures include the costs associated with mitigation production (contract engineering, construction, land acquisition and long-term protection of mitigation sites) and the administrative costs of implementing the program. The types of projects produced consist of re-establishment and protection of buffers (primarily involving the planting of vegetation) along degraded streams and river banks in the protected basin. The availability of this program helps the general public by providing a service that is cost-effective and simplifies the permitting processes.
The Riparian Buffer Program, as with all of EEP's in-lieu fee programs, receives no appropriations and is a self-sustaining program that operates solely on receipts.