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N.C. Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP). Briefing. Ecosystem Enhancement Program. Is a DENR Program that: Improves our environment. Facilitates responsible economic development. Restores streams and wetlands: Where the need is greatest.

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Ecosystem Enhancement Program

  • Is a DENR Program that:
    • Improves our environment.
    • Facilitates responsible economic development.
  • Restores streams and wetlands:
    • Where the need is greatest.
    • By working with local and state partners, including willing landowners.
  • The N.C. Department of Transportation and other developers voluntarily use EEP to move their projects forward in a timely and affordable manner.
  • Launched in 1997 for local government and general public.
  • Retooled in 2003 as Ecosystem Enhancement Program.
  • Four funds:
    • DOT (Wetlands and Streams)
    • General Public (Wetlands and Streams)
    • Buffers enhancements (Tar/Pam, Neuse and Cape Fear basins)
    • Nutrient Offset (Tar-Pam and Neuse basins)

EEP Overview

• Voluntary, non-regulatory, receipt-based – no appropriations

• EEP is an option. However, 85% of applicants choose EEP

(Permittee options: self, bank, EEP)

• State/federal oversight – strict compliance standards

• State and national recognition for innovation

program objectives
Program Objectives
  • Improve quality of wetland and stream projects
  • Streamline infrastructure and private development permitting processes
    • Accommodate mitigation needs
    • Stimulus as an example
how eep helps developers
How EEP Helps Developers

Original Plan




Revised Plan





EEP Assistance




EEP Mitigation



Example: Economic Stimulus Package


(rules of thumb)

DOT- $6b 220,000 jobs

EEP- $750m 10-20,000 jobs





EEP: Four Programs, Many Partners

  • ILF Programs:
    • DOT Steam and Wetland
    • General Public Stream and Wetland
    • General Public Nutrient Offset
    • General Public Buffer
  • Partnerships:
    • DOT Agreement – $5 billion in road projects, no permitting delays
    • Businesses, homebuilders, military, schools - 900 total permits
    • Developers – 1700 permits for pollutants in two rivers
    • Willing landowners – Tax credits/deductions; fair economic return; no condemning of land, or taking away property rights
  • Engineering/Design
  • Planning
  • Construction Contracting
  • Mitigation Bankers

To date: Outsourcing of work, $450+ million


Administration at a Glance

Program Director: Bill Gilmore

Registered professional engineer and land surveyor (30 years)

Career in civil engineering, planning and design, natural systems

History: @ NCDOT: environmental manager, highway engineer (15 years)

@ Private firms: area manager, project manager (16 years)

@ NCDENR (5 years)

Employees: 60 total; 52 in main office in Raleigh, eight in Asheville

Budget: Receipts of approximately $48.5 million in FY 07-08

Frozen Positions: Policy and Procedures Supervisor; Engineer II and Vegetation Specialist


EEP Key Points

  • Production At a Glance:
    • Watershed Plans: 27 compete, 9 in production
    • 700 projects in some stage of development
    • 400+ miles of stream restoration
    • 15,000+ acres of wetlands
  • Benefits at a Glance:
    • Local Watershed Plans – best projects, best location
    • Philosophy – “most bang for buck, help environment and public”
    • Restoring natural functions --control floods/pollution/erosion; protecting fish and wildlife habitats