Tag Archives: Water Quality

Exploring North Carolina — Where Rivers are Born, WUNC

Pocosins, Where Rivers are Born

Join host Tom Earnhardt for this weekly series highlighting the state’s diverse local landscapes & unique natural features—from the Black Mountains trails atop Mount Mitchell, and the gold and gemstone mines lining the piedmont to the endless fossil digs in the clay beds of the coast.  This episode explains Pocosins, Where Rivers are Born, and the important role they play in coastal hydrology.  Hofmann Forest’s important role is also presented.

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Conflicting Goals and Priorities – Questions for the NC Supreme Court on the Sale of Hofmann Forest

In the NWQEP NOTES, The NCSU Water Quality Group Newsletter, Number 138 August 2013 ISSN 1062-9149, one recommendation is outstanding:

…The State water quality agency should consider
encouraging the state, local agencies, or land trusts to
purchase riparian properties in cases where watershed
cleanup efforts have failed to be achieved or failed to be
lasting. Environmental agencies should review their
programs for conflicting mandates and implementations.
Specific roles, reporting requirements, and priorities should
be consistent.

We couldn’t agree more!  Granted, the above recommendation has a much narrower contextual focus than presented by the prospective sale of Hofmann Forest, but  it is alarmingly apropos to the apparent divergent goals and implementations highlighted by this sale of public land by NCSU and concurrent efforts within NCSU and other state agencies.

Will the NC supreme Court find that North Carolina’s various agencies and programs have conflicting goals (broader than mandates) and implementations with regard to the sale of Hofmann Forest?  Will they find the sale of Hofmann Forest consistent with the intent of the NC Constitution, the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), and UNC System Policy?

Does the apparent internal inconsistency of NCSU rushing to the sale, while simultaneously promoting  vastly disparate public policy, reflect a lack of cogent leadership within the University?  Is the sale of Hofmann Forest representative of a broader inconsistency within state government that only action by the NC Supreme Court or legislation could remedy?

NWQEP NOTES, The NCSU Water Quality Group Newsletter, Number 138, August 2013 ISSN 1062-9149

NCSU Water Quality Group

The North Carolina State University (NCSU) Water Quality Group is a multidisciplinary team that analyzes and evaluates nonpoint source (NPS) pollution control technologies and water quality programs in North Carolina and nationwide. We are a component of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service (NC CES), Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department (Bio&Ag) at North Carolina State University and the N.C. State University’s Soil and Water Environmental Technology Center (SWETC).

via NCSU Water Quality Group.

What is the biggest source of pollution in the ocean?

According to NOAA:

Eighty percent of pollution to the marine environment comes from the land. One of the biggest sources is called nonpoint source pollution, which occurs as a result of runoff. Nonpoint source pollution includes many small sources, like septic tanks, cars, trucks, and boats, plus larger sources, such as farms, ranches, and forest areas. Millions of motor vehicle engines drop small amounts of oil each day onto roads and parking lots. Much of this, too, makes its way to the sea.

Some water pollution actually starts as air pollution, which settles into waterways and oceans. Dirt can be a pollutant. Top soil or silt from fields or construction sites can run off into waterways, harming fish and wildlife habitats.

Nonpoint source pollution can make river and ocean water unsafe for humans and wildlife. In some areas, this pollution is so bad that it causes beaches to be closed after rainstorms.

More than one-third of the shellfish-growing waters of the United States are adversely affected by coastal pollution.

via What is the biggest source of pollution in the ocean?

So,  it makes sense for North Carolina to sell 79,000 acres of coastal forest land into private ownership with the only real restriction on land-use being the highest and best use real estate development doctrine?  What else is wrong with the sale of Hofmann Forest?

More Signs not a Good Sign

North Carolina spends lots of money on signs.  They are everywhere, along our roads, on river and stream banks, in coastal waters, and on beaches.  The signs may be informational, educational, or regulatory, but they are all there ostensibly for our benefit as citizens.  Signs for the benefit of citizens – good, right?  More, better?  Not so fast!  After the sale of Hofmann Forest, we’ll get a whole new crop of signs that will say one thing, but will be symbolic of something else entirely.

NCSU, a public University,  is selling Hofmann Forest, public land, to private entities, with no significant long-term restrictions against development.  On the other hand, we have the significant positive accomplishments of other North Carolina government entities working to protect and preserve sources for future drinking water supplies and to reduce the extent of  surface water quality impairment.

It is well known that development, including agriculture,  is the main source of water quality degradation and resulting impaired surface waters.  Research and conclusions on this subject, much conducted at NCSU,  are abundant and clear.  Across a wide spectrum of North Carolina government, this simple, but true, educational message is repeated again, and again.  You cannot escape North Carolina’s watershed-awareness and impact-of-development messages as you go about your life in this state.  You find them as you visit our state’s websites, schools, museums, aquariums, estuarium, parks, and even when you drive on our highways!  Ever see an “Entering Neuse Basin” sign?  Those signs, and the worthy efforts of which they are symbolic, are your tax dollars at work!

NCSU Officials, the NCSU Endowment Fund Board, and Attorney General Roy Copper, who are promoting and facilitating the sale of Hofmann Forest, must have missed all of the NCSU subject matter research and North Carolina’s extensive and well-intentioned watershed-awareness and impact-of-development messages.  How else could they be promoting and facilitating the sale of  Hofmann Forest,  with no significant long-term restrictions against development?  Hofmann Forest is a significant percentage of  the undeveloped land in three already impaired river basins of this state.

Maybe dysfunctional state government just likes signs.  By selling Hofmann Forest, North Carolina will almost certainly get more opportunities to put up closed shellfish waters and swimming advisory signs!  How do I know?  The state says so, again, and again, and again.  I didn’t even have to come up with that one myself!

By the way, those swimming advisory and closed shellfish waters signs, and the worthy efforts of which they are symbolic, are your tax dollars at work, too!

See, we really can pay for it both ways!  After the destruction of Hofmann Forest at the hands of the state, we’ll get a whole new crop of signs.  All these signs, especially the new ones,  will become symbolic of the North Carolina’s worthy efforts to protect us from the consequences of the North Carolina’s, not so worthy, sale of Hofmann Forest!  The signs will cease to have any real meaning related to their words.  Instead, they will just be symbolic of dysfunctional state government.

LETTER: Fracking is not worth the environmental risk | The Sanford Herald

The recent controversy over the quiet (until recently) proposed sale of NCSU Hofmann Research forest is a real eye-opener to the way government, power, and money put the interests and profits of a few individuals over the welfare of the majority. Visit savehofmannforest.org and pay attention to the comprehensive timeline of key events related to Hofmann Forest, and you’ll see the manipulative workings of power, politics, and money and the unethical application of nepotism and influence peddling. There is information there on how to funnel outrage to help stop this short-sighted action.

via LETTER: Fracking is not worth the environmental risk | The Sanford Herald.  Neither is the sale of Hofmann Forest!

Thank you Mitchell C. Reese, MD, and Jeannine D. Reese, Sanford, NC!

Guest column: Forest property could be lost with transfer – Local – Free Press and Jones Post

NCSU used to be a model of forestry management; Hofmann Forest is the largest university-owned working forest in the world and it used to be renowned — both the forest and the school were renowned. NCSU should be ashamed. Not only have they mismanaged this forest as well as the income it used to bring, they will lost their standing as one of the best forestry schools in the world IF they continue to push this sale of Hofmann Forest through.

–Jessica Hult

via Guest column: Forest property could be lost with transfer – Local – Free Press and Jones Post.

NCSU ponders making Hofmann Forest error – North Carolina Sportsman

I’m an NCSU alum, but c’mon, guys. Halladay Hall is supposed to be a place of leadership and example setting. So set a good example. This is a no brainer/no sale idea.
— Craig Holt in North Carolina Sportsman

via NCSU ponders making Hofmann Forest error – North Carolina Sportsman.

We couldn’t agree more!  Thanks Craig!

Hofmann Forest Sale – an Atrocity, Jessica Hult

Hofmann Forest has been used for decades to provide multiple public benefits, including clean water, wildlife habitat, and forestry research and experimentation. NCSU has held this land in trust for the benefit of it’s students and residents throughout the state. In transferring ownership from public to private, the citizens of North Carolina and the future NCSU-CNS students will be deprived of the many public benefits provided by the forest. Watershed protection, soil and forest conservation, wildlife habitat improvement, production of timber and other commodities will be compromised. They will be lost completely to the people of North Carolina if this property transfers to private ownership.

Hofmann Forest provides critical filtration of run-off from areas west of the forest helping to make the Castle Hayne Aquifer one of the prime aquifers on the east coast. Is the potential loss of our drinking water worth it? Speaking of water–what about our beaches? What about the Crystal Coast? Do we want our beaches to experience even more closures due to high bacteria numbers? What about those tourists? We depend on their dollars coming to our Crystal Coast beaches. More beach closures means less tourists spending their hard earned money. It also means people will move out.

This potential sale of Hofmann Forest, even split into two sales- one to RMS Timber and the other 29,000 acres going to Walker Ag Group and their elusive investors using the moniker “Hofmann Forest, LLC” does nothing to prevent the future development of this sensitive wetland & pocosin. The buyers are going to want to make money on their investment, and that will undoubtedly include some sort of development. If the buyer can sell easements to Camp LeJeune, why cannot NCSU-CNS do the same in order to increase income from the property? This sale is one of the most all-encompassing short-sighted deals I’ve ever witnessed. One new stadium or theatre & poof- the money from the sale of Hofmann will be gone.

One last item- Robert Brown (NCSU Dean 2006) has definitively stated there are NO endangered indigenous plants in Hofmann. Is this because the pine plantation part has been so poorly mismanaged that it currently is unsuitable for those species that are now thriving in the Croatan National Forest, Holly Shelter, and also Camp LeJeune? NCSU used to be a model of Forestry management; Hofmann Forest is the largest University-owned working forest in the world and it used to be renowned- both the forest and the school were renowned. NCSU should be ashamed. Not only have they mismanaged this forest as well as the income it used to bring, they will lost their standing as one of the best forestry schools in the world IF they continue to push this sale of Hofmann Forest through.

Article 14, Section 5 of the North Carolina Constitution is clearly being violated. And where exactly are those REQUIRED state or federal environmental impact studies on the property comprising Hofmann Forest? There are so many blatant atrocities involved in this scandalous sale.  It would certainly behoove NCSU to reconsider selling Hofmann Forest.

Sincerely,

Jessica Hult

IWLA White Oak River Chapter President

NC-WRC Hunter’s Ed Instructor

252-342-0591-c