EEP's Watershed Planning & Property Protection section collaborates in watershed planning areas to identify the best locations to implement watershed improvement projects, and to assist local stakeholders interested in partnering with EEP.
Through its Watershed Planning process, EEP promotes cooperative planning for watershed protection and improvement that can address specific watershed concerns through consideration of local stakeholder input and recommendations. Partnerships with local stakeholders allow technical analyses to be informed by local knowledge of resources, and in turn promote partnerships with landowners and local governments that result in watershed improvement projects.
EEP Property Protection specialists work closely with program staff and contractors to facilitate long-term protection of projects. They work with local stakeholders and guide those interested in partnerships through the land-protection process. EEP acquires land from willing landowners through contractual agreements, outright purchase or donation, or by the purchase or donation of permanent land-protection agreements. Local, state and federal tax benefits may accrue to landowners who choose to work with EEP.
These natural areas are protected for the benefit of water quality and for the use and enjoyment of future generations, and many acquisitions have become additions to state parks or gamelands. EEP has partnered with landowners, other governmental agencies and non-profit organizations to protect or restore more than 50,000 acres in North Carolina.