This paper establishes an action plan for nature-based stormwater strategies by promoting natural designs that reduce flooding and improve water quality in North Carolina. North Carolinians are increasingly affected by damage and disruptions from flooding. To solve this problem, state leadership, local governments, landowners and businesses are embracing innovative development and planning approaches that employ or replicate nature to soak up rainwater and reduce stormwater runoff. Now, that support must be put into action across the state, from the coast to the mountains, and across landscapes, from farms to dense cities.
The Action Plan puts forward the following recommendations, and critical first steps that the state government, communities, businesses and nonprofits can take to make North Carolina more resilient and improve water quality:
- As the four work groups considered how to address these impediments at the state, local and project-specific level, four recommendations were identified and encouraged across those discussions.
- State and local governments need to lead by example by promoting the use of nature-based stormwater strategies and implementing them widely where practicable.
- Increase education, outreach and professional training for nature-based stormwater and watershed management strategies.
- Create a Nature-Based Stormwater Steering Committee to ensure continued stakeholder engagement and leadership in support of long-term, meaningful progress.
- Establish effective watershed management that focuses on protecting, restoring or mimicking natural water systems to reduce flooding and improve water quality.