TLC makes a positive, permanent impact on the quality of life in the Triangle area by safeguarding clean water, protecting natural habitats, keeping local farms and food in our community, and providing places for people to connect with nature.
Safeguarding Clean Water
Population growth in our community increases demand for clean water while associated pollution compromises our water supply. One of TLC’s core strengths in safeguarding clean water is protecting streamside buffer zones. TLC has strong partnerships for safeguarding water in the Upper Neuse Basin. We are looking at new partnerships in the Upper Cape Fear Basin to protect the Jordan Lake drinking water supply and create new financing mechanisms for conservation. While we will continue to look for land protection opportunities, newer strategic areas for safeguarding clean water include collaborating with universities, utilities, and other organizations to restore funding for land protection and serving as a regional convener on water issues.
TLC reduces threats to clean water by:
- protecting land along streams,
- practicing and encouraging land management that keeps soil and pollutants out of streams,
- leading the development of more effective, collaborative approaches to protecting water, and
- being an active leader in water quality efforts, including the Upper Neuse Clean Water Initiative (UNCWI) which protects the drinking supply for 500,000 Triangle residents through land conservation.
Protecting Natural Habitats
Natural areas and well-managed forests support healthy ecosystems and balance our built environment by providing habitat for native plants and animals. TLC’s core strengths in this area continue to be identifying, prioritizing and securing protection of areas that still have high ecological or natural value. A key strategy to reach additional outcomes is to develop and complete comprehensive management plans for our preserves, allowing us to clearly define our ecological restoration goals. Opportunities for TLC to protect more natural habitats may exist in the development of pilot projects in urban areas, like urban forestry and pollinator gardens, which would also overlap with our mission to connect people with nature.
TLC protects natural habitats by:
- opening public preserves in rural areas for habitat protection and public enjoyment,
- identifying and protecting important natural areas and managed forests,
- requiring conservation plans on all TLC protected natural areas and managed forests,
- restoring land by removing invasive species and increasing native habitats, and
- encouraging and helping partner organizations protect such land.
Supporting Local Farms and Food
Well-managed farms and associated woodlands enhance our communities by producing food and other crops and by sustaining local economies. TLC’s core work includes increasing opportunities for local food production by playing an active role in local food initiatives. We strive to replicate our success at Irvin Farm and support community gardens as a way to increase access by potential farmers to TLC lands.
TLC supports local farms and food by:
- working with farm owners to protect their land so they can stay in business,
- requiring conservation plans on all TLC-protected farms,
- providing opportunities for education, research, and food, crop, and timber production on TLC-owner farmland, and
- encouraging and helping partner organizations protect farmland that may be used for these activities.
Connecting People with Nature
Connecting people with nature is essential as we look to balance our increasingly indoor, urban lives with the benefits and fun of being outside. Access to open space has been linked to healthier people. Our core strategy for connecting people with nature is the activation of our preserves. This includes planning, funding, and opening more preserves, as well as engaging more people on all our open lands through volunteer work and outings. As we look to extend this work, we see a clear role for TLC to re-establish itself as a leading advocate for open space throughout the region, starting with a series of regional analyses to help make the case for conservation. Finally, new opportunities to connect people with nature in urban areas are already presenting themselves and must be further explored and evaluated.
TLC connects people with nature by:
- creating trails, greenways, community gardens, and related education centers,
- helping create parks and regional land and water trail systems,
- coordinating outdoor activities at our nature preserves for the Triangle community, and
- working with partners to ensure that all people have convenient access to these amenities.