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March Message: Welcome Spring

Hello Wetland Supporters:

Welcome to meteorological spring which starts on March 1.  This designation by the National Weather Service aligns with actual temperature data over the last 100 years.  But what does not align with the data, is the year 2020.

First, you will definitely remember RAIN and more RAIN.  It is even continuing into this year.  For North Carolina, 2020 was the second wettest year on record and it was the third hottest on record.  This fact, that both the hottest and the wettest records were both in the top five in the same year, has never happened in over 120 years of recorded weather!  That really made 2020 a very strange year for weather (never mind the pandemic).

This wet weather, while not always intense, was definitely frequent – the ground never had enough time to dry out before the next rain came.  This frequent rain is putting a lot of pressure on many communities that are trying to deal with flooding issues.  I have seen many communities start flooding from rains of less than an inch because the water has nowhere to go.  This is something that the Carolina Wetlands Association is working on in two major ways: (1) by directly working with local communities, and; (2) by being a part of the NC Governor Roy Cooper’s Disaster Recovery Task Force (Environmental Recovery Support Function [ERSF]).  

  1. Local Communities

Work with our two NC communities, Swansboro and Dunn, continues as we have applied for funding to develop plans to use their wetland resources to mitigate flooding problems .  We have also been contacted by the Town of Cary (NC) about potential work along the White Oak watershed (about 450 acres of wetlands) that flow into Jordan Lake Watershed.   And we are a part of the Upper Waccamaw Task Force in Horry County, SC (and surrounding areas) to help deal with their almost daily flooding given the frequent rains.  In all of these cases we are trying to help communities live with water rather than move water from one location to another which almost never solves the problem.

2. North Carolina Disaster Recovery Task Force 

The ERSF workgroup is looking for funding projects to help communities recover and to build resilience which includes using nature-based solutions.  The workgroup is also working to establish a statewide flood resilience framework with the purpose “…to drive efficient and effective funding decisions across federal, state, and local government to reduce flooding and improve economic, social and environmental outcomes across the state.”  This is a significant effort that will help work for many organizations and communities to better deal with flooding using nature-based solutions and build community resilience.

Please know that we (our many volunteers) are working hard on these efforts and if you can help with time or with a financial contribution – either will go a long way to helping Carolina Wetlands Association to continue to help these communities.

Thanks much and go enjoy a wetland this spring!

Rick Savage
President, Carolina Wetlands Association