SOS, Apr.29, Wildlife Friendly Developments Program


On April 29, Save Our Sandhills hosts guest speaker Vann Stancil to discuss the newly created Wildlife Friendly Development Certification program developed through a partnership of the following groups – the North Carolina Wildlife Federation (NCWF), the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), and the North Carolina Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (NC-ASLA). The program offers certification for developments that go above and beyond requirements to ensure that wildlife habitat is protected and impacts on the environment are minimized.

Why this concerted effort of wildlife biologists, conservationists, landscape design professionals, and developers? Over the past 20 years, North Carolina has lost 2.4 million acres of forests and agricultural lands. Realizing that the state’s precious open space has been dwindling for years, North Carolina began a mission on January 1, 1999, to save a million acres from development. Called the Million Acre Initiative, it was unable to achieve its 10-year goal, coming up 350,000 acres short.

In the same ten years, North Carolina lost more acres to development than any other state in the Union.  If the projected population increase of 50% by 2030 is accurate, North Carolina is expected to lose another 2 million acres in the next 30 years.

Given these sobering statistics, Wildlife Friendly Development Certification was created, complementing the green building standards that are becoming a more normal component of building practices in North Carolina. Sustainable practices are critical to our environment. This voluntary program, a smart growth habitat initiative, works with a developer to identify important natural resources on the development site that need protection, and it awards points for using techniques that minimize environmental impacts. Bog turtles, hooded warblers, bobwhite quail, and American shad are as carefully considered as architectural styles and street grids. Prior to construction, developers complete an inventory of conditions on site, including types of wildlife habitat, wetland and stream delineations, and any existing manmade barriers to wildlife movement. These questions get asked:
* Where are possible wildlife corridors?
* How can wildlife passages be provided so that animals can safely navigate roads?
* Where are opportunities to remove invasive vegetation?
* How can wildlife habitat be maximized and impact on species minimized?

Throughout the stages of construction, developments are evaluated using a suite of criteria that offer points for the developer. The developer must earn a sufficient number of points to be certified. Even after construction, the homeowners’ maintenance can affect the status of the certified Wildlife Friendly Development.
Vann Stancil has been a Special Project Coordinator with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission’s Division of Inland Fisheries. Prior to this, Stancil worked for Progress Energy doing aquatic monitoring work on lakes and rivers associated with its power plants in the Carolinas. He has a B.S. from North Carolina State University in Fisheries and Wildlife Science and an M.S. from Virginia Tech in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences.
Join us for an informative, interesting evening; refreshments will be served. Thursday, April 29 at 7 P.M. Southern Pines Civic Club, corner of Ashe Street and Pennsylvania.

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