NHSWCD offers several voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs to New Hanover County landowners. These programs are the Community Conservation Assistance Program (CCAP) and the Agriculture Cost Share Program (ACSP). Both programs allow NHSWCD to use State appropriated funds to assist landowners in the design and implementation of stormwater best management practices (BMPs). The programs differ primarily in who can apply to which program. We also offer residential rain gardens through the City of Wilmington Stormwater Services “Heal Our Waterways” program. For more information on that program (including a video), see the “Heal Our Waterways” tab on this page.
For more information on Stormwater Solutions in your community, view the “Stormwater is a Dirty Word” brochure here.
Stormwater runoff is created when rainfall cannot permeate or filter into the ground or be captured and retained by bodies of water. When rain falls on impermeable surfaces like our yards, driveways, roofs, and roads, the water runs over the environment picking up visible and non-visible pollutants along the way. In an effort to control stormwater pollution we must consider individual, household, and public behaviors and activities that contribute to these non-point source forms of pollution. Think about it! The following common, individual behaviors have the potential to generate stormwater pollution:
Stormwater BMPs (Best Management Practices) are control measures a landowner can take to reduce stormwater runoff and pollution from entering our waterways. A BMP can be an action, a structure, or a practice. With land-use change and increased urbanization, more impervious surfaces are created, which then in turn affect both the quantity and quality of runoff. The quantity of runoff increases and the quality of the water decreases as more pollutants are picked up across these surfaces. BMPs are designed to reduce the volume of runoff and reduce the influx of non-point source pollutants. There are a variety of BMPs a land owner can consider, but ultimately the site itself will dictate what BMP is best suited to address the actual needs and capabilities of the land.
It takes individual behavior change and proper practices to reduce or eliminate stormwater pollution. NHSWCD believes it is important for us to educate the community on the pollution potential of some of these common activities, and increase the awareness of the direct link between land activities, rainfall-runoff, storm drains, and our local water resources. Through information sharing and education, we can work together to change these behaviors and preserve our waters.
NHSWCD has helped install numerous BMPs throughout the county through various funding opportunities. The map here highlights many of the BMPs that have been installed throughout the county.
Check out the gallery to see pictures of these projects. Please click the following for more information about our main funding source, the Soil & Water Conservation District exclusive program started right here in New Hanover County called CCAP, or the Community Conservation Assistance Program (see below for more info). For additional resources on BMPs and what you can do to help promote better environmental practices click The EPA’s – National Menu of Stormwater Best Management Practices or contact our staff.
CCAP is designed to improve water quality through the installation of stormwater BMPs in residential and commercial areas that have been developed for three years or more. CCAP helps educate residents about local water quality and stormwater management issues through the design and implementation of appropriate stormwater BMPs on residential, public and commercial properties. The program is designed to reimburse applicants up to 75% of the cost for the installation of each BMP.
In 2006 the N.C. General Assembly passed and Governor Easley signed legislation creating the N.C. Community Conservation Assistance Program (CCAP). This law enabled local Soil and Water Conservation Districts to administer the program. CCAP is a voluntary, incentive-based program designed to improve water quality through the installation of stormwater best management practices (BMPs) in residential and commercial areas that have been developed for three years or more. CCAP allows NHSWCD to use State appropriated funds to design appropriate stormwater BMPs on residential, public and commercial properties and will reimburse up to 50% of the cost of installing each BMP.
CCAP contracts are awarded in a two-phase process. First, a completed application with proposed BMP(s) must be ranked by qualified SWCD staff and approved by the Board of Supervisors. Applications are ranked based on several factors that address the proposed BMP’s ability to improve water quality in the county watersheds. If an application is deemed eligible and approved by the Board, a conservation plan is then prepared for the applicant’s property after a series of site visits. Next, the recommended design must be approved by both the Board of Supervisors and the Division of Soil & Water Conservation. If approved, a contract will then be awarded. With the design and specifications in hand, you will be able to install and pay for the BMP (landscapers may be used). Eligible applicants will be reimbursed up to 50% of the pre-established average cost of the BMP. Eligible landowners may include: homeowners, businesses, schools, parks, churches, and community groups such as homeowners associations. Essentially, all private and publicly owned lands that have been developed for three years or longer are eligible for the program.
In New Hanover County, the Agriculture Cost Share Program can assist farmers (including horse farms) and timber owners with installing BMPs, such as erosion control or waste management. Participating agricultural landowners receive 75% of the predetermined average cost of installed BMPs with the remaining 25% paid by farmers directly or through in-kind contributions.
In 1983, an agricultural cost share program was authorized in 16 Districts as a pilot study to address non-point source problems in the nutrient sensitive waters of Jordan Lake, Falls Lake, and the Chowan River. Even though considered innovative, this pilot program was built upon years of successful District/USDA agricultural conservation programs that were begun in the 1930s.
Following the success of the pilot project, the approach was authorized state wide with passage of General Statute 143-215.74. This enabled financial incentives to be provided through North Carolina’s Agriculture Cost Share Program. This program is administered by the Division of Soil and Water Conservation in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. It has been applauded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has received wide support from the general public as well as the state’s agricultural community. Due to the program’s success, it has been extended to all 96 Soil and Water Conservation Districts covering the entire state. The program provides local Districts with matching funds (50:50) to hire personnel to plan and install the needed best management practices (BMPs). The Commission allocates cost share funds to local Districts based on the level of state appropriations and water quality protection priorities.
In New Hanover County, the Agriculture Cost Share Program can assist farmers (including horse farms) and timber owners with installing BMPs, such as the erosion control method of no-till farming or animal waste management. Participating agricultural landowners receive 75% of the predetermined average cost of installed BMPs with the remaining 25% paid by farmers directly or through in-kind contributions. There is a yearly cap of $75,000. Some applicants who qualify under the beginning or limited resource farmer statute may receive 90% of predetermined average costs, up to $90,000 per year.
The City of Wilmington has partnered with the New Hanover SWCD and other local non-profit, government and private sector organizations to develop a program aimed at reducing the volume of polluted runoff reaching Bradley and Hewletts Creek. Heal Our Waterways is an effort to educate citizens about the causes and effects of polluted runoff and to help them take action to prevent it. Recently, the New Hanover SWCD has assisted with the installation of several best managament practices (BMPs) in Bradley and Hewletts Creek as part of the HOW program. Visit our photo gallery to view photos of the BMPs.