LAND PRESERVATION

Oct 09, 2019
Development has been sprawling. Places that were once rural now seem urban. Take Fort Mill, S.C., whose population, according to the American Community Survey, has nearly doubled since 2010. Many small towns have grown into bustling suburbs as developers search for large tracts of land to build residential communities. As the population grows, low-cost land and high volume are necessary to meet the regions demand for single family housing.
Sep 04, 2019
You’ve probably heard a few catchy statistics about Charlotte’s explosive growth: For example, the city’s population grew by 47 people a day from 2010 to 2018.  But did you know that over the same period, the city also grew by almost 1.5 square miles a year?
Aug 08, 2019
With a full-time executive director and a $200,000 grant, a three-year-old west Charlotte nonprofit is accelerating its efforts to stave off displacement with a housing strategy that’s unprecedented in this fast-developing city.
May 20, 2019
Eight years ago, Charlotte set a goal for itself: 50 percent tree canopy coverage across the city by 2050. But because of rapid development and an aging tree population, the city likely won’t reach that goal, officials said last week. Instead, they’re refocusing on smaller, neighborhood-level targets and other “fifty-themed” tree promotion efforts.
May 08, 2019
Charlotte is like a teenager in a growth spurt, with development transforming chunks of the city and new buildings popping up on what feels like every corner in some neighborhoods. Can an ambitious new comprehensive plan guide its growth over the next two decades? 
Feb 12, 2018
As local foods from local farms grow more popular, some in Mecklenburg explore whether to push for a voluntary agricultural district to help local farmers. Only 12 N.C. counties lack one.
Aug 09, 2017
As the Charlotte region urbanizes, scientists from UNC Charlotte describe how they’ll use a Gaston County site as a long-term observatory to monitor natural systems.
Nov 04, 2016
Decisions made decades ago ensured that almost all of Mecklenburg County would be open to development. 
Aug 16, 2016
Agriculture and agribusiness are a big part of the North Carolina economy, and several programs and funds are available to assist farmers in protecting farmland.
Oct 15, 2014
When Lake Norman flooded parts of four counties in 1963 a 660-acre area of Mecklenburg County was cut off from the rest of the county. It was accessible only by boat or a 12-mile trip through Iredell County. This became a source of conflict between Iredell and Mecklenburg counties for decades before the two counties reached a solution in 1997.
Sep 22, 2014
This installment of our series of planner interviews heads to Iredell County, where Matthew Todd describes efforts of industrial recruitment, rural farmland preservation and the challenges of planning in a diverse county that includes suburban Charlotte to the south and rural foothills to the north.
Mar 19, 2014
A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision has trail advocates worried about the fate of the national rails-to-trails program, but the ruling is unlikely to affect North Carolina. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Dec 02, 2013
Less than two weeks after an inspiring visit to Yosemite, I was back at Crowders Mountain State Park on the Kings Pinnacle Trail. I am grateful to have such a destination so near home, and from the top I often reflect on the rich history of the peaks and the Piedmont below. (Photo: Steve Copulsky)
Nov 25, 2013
As the Dec. 31 end of a 30-year-old N.C. land preservation tax credit nears, regional land trusts scurry to finish preservation projects from donors hoping to use the credit before they lose it. (Photo: Catawba Lands Conservancy)
Nov 25, 2013
At a prominent site on Charlotte's busy Providence Road, a one-time synagogue, then school, has been demolished as part of Mecklenburg County's ongoing effort to control flooding and help water quality. (Photo: Mary Newsom)
Oct 30, 2013
Oct 16, 2013
After nearly three decades of hoping for a new park, the Reid Park neighborhood in west Charlotte may be on its way to getting one designed, not by the county, but a student. (Image: Dylan McKnight)
Jan 15, 2013
Are urban growth boundaries effective tools for curbing sprawl, or an infringement of property rights?
Oct 03, 2012
Mecklenburg County is not on track to meet its 2008 goals for acquiring nature preserves and open space, and the trend is continuing downward, according to the 2012 State of the Environment Report. Greenways and parks are rated just “fair.”
Oct 02, 2012
Sept. 27 marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of Silent Spring, widely recognized as the beginning of the modern environmental movement. The golden anniversary is a good time to reflect, again, on its remarkable author.
Sep 25, 2012
Most water quality indicators in Mecklenburg County are “good,” but its streams are not as clean as they should be, says the county’s latest State of the Environment Report. Three of four water quality indicators are rated “good,” while “streams,” is rated only “fair.”
Apr 24, 2012
Only about a dozen of these rare landscapes remain in the Charlotte region, but those that have been protected are doing well, experts say. 
Feb 10, 2012
A Faison subdivision off Beatties Ford Road and Abersham near Davidson were purchased by Mecklenburg County for parks, after the developments stalled. But generally, the region's land conservationists lack money to protect tantalizing properties available after the financial crash. 
Feb 06, 2012
The Flat Branch Nature Preserve, in the southernmost tip of Mecklenburg County, holds the county’s largest remaining upland depression swamp forest. It's a place where water naturally fills forest depressions in winter and early spring. But just weeks ago, the pools were gone and the ground parched. And when the pools returned in recent days, they were smaller than they used to be. What does that mean for the future of this uncommon ecosystem?