State and federal agencies sign agreement to protect 8,000 acres around Jordan Lake
RALEIGH – State and federal officials have signed an agreement that protects nearly 8,000 acres of environmentally rich land around Jordan Lake, the source of drinking water for much of the Triangle.
Under the arrangement, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns Jordan Lake and the surrounding property and the state agencies with site management responsibilities in the area, have agreed to maintain 14 separate parcels of land in their existing condition to avoid any damage to their unique characteristics.
“Registry agreements are voluntary arrangements developed between landowners and DENR to manage and protect properties with rare plants, animals or other outstanding natural areas,” said Donald R. van der Vaart, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. “By signing this agreement, DENR and its partners will act to protect this land with its diverse wildlife and good examples of the large bottomland forests that once dominated the Triassic Basin.”
The Jordan Lake Project includes about 45,000 acres in Chatham, Durham, Orange and Wake counties, and a large reservoir that serves as the drinking water source for Cary, Apex, Durham and a host of other Triangle communities. Much of the 8,000 acres included in the registry agreement is associated with the floodplains and wetlands of the Jordan Lake Project and has been identified by DENR’s Natural Heritage Program as having rare or representative examples of ecosystems and natural communities, geologic landforms, and habitats for endangered or threatened plants and animals.
The parties to the registry agreement include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns the land, as well as the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, DENR (through the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation), and the N.C. Forest Service – all of which help manage the property.
With permission from landowners, DENR can register and designate areas in North Carolina with rare or diverse features in order to ensure their protection. These registered natural areas will continue to be used for educational, scientific, ecological, aesthetic, wildlife, fisheries and compatible recreational purposes.
“As species need to be able to move around to meet their needs, the large, mostly contiguous Jordan Lake Project overall is an important conservation area because it helps connect these high-quality habitats for wildlife,” said Scott Pohlman, who works for the state’s Natural Heritage Program and manages the registry program for the state.
A copy of the registry agreement is at: http://portal.ncdenr.org/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=0442f343-624f-464a-8766-25d3ca25384c&groupId=61587.