2007 Land Bonds for Water Quality Protection, Greenways
& Nature Preserve Acquisition
Land Bond Referendum
is for a total of $35,640,000.
$31,590,000 for watershed protection and nature preserve
$2,400,000 for greenway acquisitions and
$1,650,000 for library land needs.
• Mecklenburg County
is North Carolina’s most densely populated and fastest growing
county. The county’s current population of approx. 850,000 is
expected to reach 1 Million by the year 2010. (U.S. Census
• In only 15 years (1984-2001) Mecklenburg County lost over 22% of
its tree cover and 22% of its open space. Over the same period,
impervious surfaces increased by 127%. Impervious surface is now the
dominant land feature of the county. (American Forests Urban
Ecosystem Analysis, Mecklenburg County, NC. March 2003)
• It is essential to keep Mt. Island Lake (MIL) water clean as it is
the major source of drinking water for Charlotte-Mecklenburg
residents. For the first time, water quality recently slipped with
higher levels of sediment, bacteria and other pollutants (2006
• One major goal of watershed protection was to permanently protect
80% of Mt. Island Lake’s shoreline and 80% of the tributaries.
• To date, 45 of the 61 miles of shoreline (74%) is protected. Only
20% of the tributaries have been protected. The county cannot, and
should not, slow down with this vital endeavor.
• Mecklenburg County Nature Preserves currently protect nearly 14
miles of shoreline at Mt. Island Lake, as well as numerous
• Mecklenburg County Nature Preserves currently comprise 5,783
acres. Recently this was benchmarked against other urban nature
preserve systems. Results indicate Mecklenburg County is lagging far
behind other urbanizing counties in acquiring and protecting nature
preserve lands strictly for passive recreation and natural resource
• The public supports protecting water quality. A survey completed
by the Trust for Public Lands in Mecklenburg revealed extremely
strong citizen support for protecting our drinking water quality.
Water quality ranked 2nd in priorities just behind crime/public
safety, and ahead of schools, transportation, and
• Acquiring greenway land helps to protect floodplains. Greenways
preserve open space along streams which help absorb flood waters and
filter pollutants from storm water. At the same time, greenways
create healthy recreational opportunities.
• The need to acquire greenway land is critical in order to meet the
county goal and citizen’s expectations of 185 miles of greenway.
• Along Little Sugar Creek, 60% of the land needed for the greenway
has been acquired. Additional acquisitions are critical for the
continued developed of this signature greenway, which provides
economic, environmental, and recreational benefits to the entire
Potential Results of
In the face of
Mecklenburg’s rapid growth, it is imperative the County take a
proactive approach to protect some of its remaining open space to
protect our water quality, reduce flooding, protect plant and
wildlife, and provide residents with recreational opportunities. The
proposed land bond would help Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation
achieve the following objectives:
• An additional 219 acres permanently protected in the Mt. Island
• 4,600 feet of additional shoreline permanently protected.
• Headwaters of three tributaries to Mt. Island Lake protected.
• 7 miles of contiguous shoreline protected.
• Significant wildlife benefits through the creation of wildlife
corridors and the linking of existing protected natural areas.
• Protection of two tributaries to Reedy Creek, one of the cleanest
streams in Mecklenburg.
• An additional 200+ acres for greenway development throughout
• The preservation of two registered Mecklenburg County Historic
Landmarks which are also listed on the National Register of Historic
• Significant habitat protection for forest interior and grassland
bird species, such as Meadowlarks and American Kestrels. These
species are virtually absent elsewhere in eastern Mecklenburg.
• Protection of the only natural area of significant size remaining
in the University City area.
• In total, the addition of 435 acres of permanently protected
Nature Preserve property and over 200 acres of greenway property, to
provided additional recreational opportunities, increased watershed
protection, and significant wildlife habitat and natural resources
For more information
on Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, contact:
Director James R. Garges, CPRP
Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department
5841 Brookshire Blvd.
Charlotte NC 28216