Category: Watersheds, Wetlands & Stormwater (page 1 of 14)

A New Fee: Why Develop a Stormwater Utility, Where does the Money Go?

Leigh DeForest is a graduate fellow in the 2019 Leaders in Environment and Finance (LEAF) program. As a part of the LEAF Fellowship, Leigh spent the summer of 2019 working at Triangle J Council of Governments. While at Triangle J she researched the ancillary benefits of stormwater utilities and green stormwater infrastructure as well as contributing to the Jordan Lake One Water initiative.

When communities consider establishing a potential new stormwater fee, residents may inquire about why they are being charged and where their money is going. Forming a stormwater utility fee creates a dedicated revenue source that can be used to support long-term planning for the control of urban stormwater runoff that benefits both the community’s functionality and the surrounding environment. Both permitted and non-permitted municipalities can benefit from instituting a stormwater utility. Continue reading

Working Toward a Green School Partnership

On February 8, 2019, over sixty leaders and stakeholders from around North Carolina and the Triangle assembled to work towards facilitating a partnership for green schools in Wake County at the Green Schools Symposium. This event, hosted by the Environmental Finance Center (EFC) and funded by the Conservation Fund, saw representation from the public and private sectors, government agencies, and non-profits. Represented parties included but were not limited to:

  • The City of Raleigh
  • WakeUP Wake County
  • NC Conservation Network
  • North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality
  • Wake County Government
  • NC GreenPower
  • American Rivers
  • Wake County Public School System (WCPSS)

In fact, the green schools conversation has been happening for many years in Wake Countyand many of the innovators behind existing green school work in the area took time to attend the symposium. The day was intended to bring together representatives from parallel green school efforts occurring across the county, and to have one conversation that could include many voices.  Although the EFC did its best to reach as many of those individuals as possible, in the end, there were more registrants than the space and food could accommodate! The day included many meaningful connections, sparked enthusiasm and innovative ideas, and continued a conversation that will hopefully be continuing over the next few months to put in place some of the clear cut goals and outcomes discussed below… Continue reading

Stormwater Utility Fees in North Carolina: Now and Then

On March 11, 2019, the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (EFC) will host a free, interactive webinar on the current state of stormwater fees and finance in North Carolina. In addition to a brief trend analysis to show how stormwater fees have changed in the state since 2010, the webinar will include an update on the recently released Table of Stormwater Fees and Fee Structures in North Carolina for the 2018-19 Fiscal Year and a demonstration of the upcoming 2019 North Carolina Stormwater Rates Dashboard. You can sign up for the webinar here.

If you’re new to the world of stormwater, you may be interested in reading our NC stormwater fees survey update blog from last year. In it you will find a more in-depth explanation of some of the terminology used in this blog. Read on for a preview of what will be discussed in our upcoming webinar: Continue reading

Seeing is Believing: The Role of Visualization in Environmental Finance

Elizabeth Roknich is a fellow in the 2018 Leaders in Environment and Finance (LEAF) program. She spent summer 2018 at NC GreenPower, a Raleigh-based renewable energy nonprofit. Her work there included financial modeling, cost benefit analyses for program changes, and data visualization work in Tableau, which she used to create two dashboards to highlight their renewable energy generators and their Solar Schools program

Data visualization is a term you might have heard buzzing around lately, gaining popularity and attention across many fields. The idea behind visual representation is not new; people have been explaining data pictorially for centuries, from maps to graphs and on from there. Because of the way the human brain processes information, we are naturally able to understand data in visual formats more easily and quickly than in spreadsheets or reports.

What has really made data visualization boom, however, is the current capacity that computers have to process data at lightning speeds, and the sheer amount of data being collected at any given moment. Continue reading

Exploring a Regional Watershed Authority for Jordan Lake

Tori is a fellow in the 2018 Leaders in Environment and Finance (LEAF) program. As part of this fellowship, Tori spent summer 2018 at Triangle J Council of Governments, where she helped investigate the administrative and financial aspects of alternative nutrient pollution management models and the legal barriers to implementation faced.

Despite disagreement over how nutrient pollution should be managed in the Jordan Lake watershed, stakeholders tend to agree on one thing: the Jordan Lake Nutrient Management Strategy, commonly known as the Jordan Lake Rules, have room for improvement. Many institutions in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors are working to figure out how to mitigate further degradation of water quality in Jordan Lake, in part by looking into alternative financial and governance options for a better regulatory framework. One of these institutions, Triangle J Council of Governments, has examined the framework of a regional watershed authority. Continue reading

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