Volunteers plant rain garden in Godbold Park in Cary

Photo by Christy Perrin

The Partnership

The Center for Excellence in Watershed Management (CEWM) helps communities to identify local opportunities and implement sustainable practices for managing their waters. Community leadership and participation in watershed efforts is paramount in protecting waters, and the CEWM provides service and support for community efforts. A partnership between WRRI, NC State, EPA Region 4, and the NC DEQ Division of Water Resources, the CEWM aids communities by supporting the NC Watershed Stewardship Network, providing tools and training opportunities, and coordinating local watershed specific projects. Current watershed projects include the Black Creek Watershed Association, the Burnt Mill Creek Watershed Initiative and the Walnut Creek Wetland Community Project.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

WRRI’s relevance increasingly will rely on how well we embody diversity, equity and inclusion. Visit our DEI statement to learn about the intentional measures we are taking in our hopes to fully realize diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of our programmatic portfolio.

NC Watershed Stewardship Network

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The NCWSN is a rising network of professional and volunteer watershed stewards who recognize the power of working together to improve NC’s waters. The NCSWN provides face to face and online networking and training opportunities, and highlights the positive results of the various work that NC’s watershed stewards do throughout the state. WRRI coordinates the NCWSN in partnership with the UNC Institute for the Environment and manages a listserv for the network. Contact or follow us to join a growing network of dedicated watershed stewards.

Black Creek Watershed Association

The BCWA is a group of citizens in Cary, NC who work together to improve water quality, wildlife habitat, and recreation in Black Creek, a small urban watershed in the Neuse River Basin. Buoyed by the popularity of the Black Creek Greenway, the BCWA works with community members and organizations to install green infrastructure (sustainable storm control measures) including bioretention, wetlands, and rainwater harvesting. Their work is coordinated by WRRI in partnership with the Town of Cary, NC State University Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and citizens of the watershed, and is funded by grants and partner cost sharing. The Black Creek is listed by the state as impaired due to excessive stormwater runoff and associated pollutants. Their work to engage partners to install these watershed improvement projects, and to monitor improvements in the watershed is ongoing.

Burnt Mill Creek Watershed Initiative

The BMCWI in Wilmington, NC engaged citizens of all ages in learning about and installing green infrastructure to reduce excessive stormwater flows and pollution flowing into Burnt Mill Creek, an urban waterway that connects to the northeast Cape Fear River. Support from the City of Wilmington and community leadership contributed to success of this initiative. Excessive stormwater flows and PAHs (polcyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) that are carried into the creek by stormwater are the main impairing factors for BMC.  NC State University, including WRRI and NC Sea Grant with NC State’s Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, led watershed restoration efforts in BMC between 2004-2016. Local organizations such as City of Wilmington, NC Coastal Federation, Cape Fear River Watch, and Friends of Burnt Mill Creek are taking the lead on education and restoration efforts in this watershed today.

Walnut Creek Wetland Community Project

The Walnut Creek Wetland Community Project is a partnership of people and organizations interested in working in the community surrounding the Walnut Creek Wetlands in Southeast Raleigh. The Project provides a way for academic, government, community leaders, and residents to talk and collaborate on sustainably managing the area’s natural resources while meeting community interests. Partners communicate via an email listserv and in-person meetings, usually at the Walnut Creek Wetland Center. Contact Christy Perrin to join the email list.