Chowan Healthy Waters Initiative

While most public and private resources are dedicated to restoring impaired waters, the preservation of high quality waters is one of the most cost-effective ways to lower drinking water costs, provide protection against storms and floods, and maintain habitat for fish and game species. Identification of these pristine waters is a necessary first step in the ultimate preservation of these valuable areas.

APNEP worked with a bi-state team composed of representatives led by Virginia's Department of Conservation and Recreation, Virginia Commonwealth University, the N.C. Natural Heritage Program, and the N.C. Division of Water Resources to identify and protect the healthiest waters and watersheds of the Chowan River Basin. This work included surveys of rivers and streams throughout the Chowan Basin, as well as the integration of available data from both states. The reports were released in winter 2016 and can be found here:

In conjunction with other conservation tools and strategies, the Chowan River Basin Healthy Waters Conservation Implementation Plan will help advance interstate watershed management efforts between North Carolina and Virginia. This project will expand and leverage existing activities underway within the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership, Virginia’s Healthy Waters Program and entities such as The Nature Conservancy and Virginia Department of Forestry.

Overall, the project develops a Ecologically Healthy Watershed Conservation Plan that will be used to identify critical areas for protection and be used as the basis for the healthy watershed protection goals of the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership’s Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. It assures these ecologically healthy streams are incorporated into the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Natural Heritage Biotics Database and integrated into land conservation and land planning projects in Virginia.

In addition, this effort provides the foundation for further bi-state collaboration efforts as team members integrate various data sources (Virginia and North Carolina share seven river basins).

CCMP actions: A1.1, B2.3