Carolina Counties Pledge Creek’s Protection

Mecklenburg, York, and Lancaster Counties signed a statement outlining their intent to work together to restore the Sugar Creek watershed, balancing the economic needs of this fast growing region with protection of its water supply. Several land conservation groups, including TPL also signed the agreement, which details several steps to preserve the creek and its tributaries.

Charlotte, NC, 11/21/01 – More than two centuries ago, the Sugaree Indians made their homes on the banks of Little Sugar Creek – using its water for drinking, cooking and bathing. One century ago, Mecklenburg County residents could turn to the cool waters of Sugar Creek and many other streams for relief on a hot summer day.

Fast forward to the 21st century and Sugar Creek is at risk, as are its many tributaries – Little Sugar Creek, Briar Creek, Four Mile Creek, Irwin Creek, McMullen Creek, McAlpine Creek, Steele Creek and Taggart Creek. As one of the fastest growing regions in the nation, local leaders face the challenge of balancing economic needs with the need to protect our natural resources, especially life-supporting clean water. That is why Mecklenburg, York and Lancaster Counties have agreed to a landmark partnership dedicated to the preservation of the Sugar Creek watershed.

The historic agreement was signed Friday, November 16 at the Voices and Choices 2001 Leaders Caucus on the campus of York Technical College in Rock Hill, SC. The Caucus featured discussions on open space and quality of life. The County Commission chairperson from each community signed the agreement: Parks Helms from Mecklenburg County, Mike Short from York County and Polly Jackson from Lancaster County.

Several area land conservation groups, including the Trust for Public Land, also signed the agreement. The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit organization that preserves land for people, concentrating in and around cities. Other groups include the Catawba Lands Conservancy, the Katawba Valley Land Trust, and the Nation Ford Land Trust.

The “Memorandum of Understanding” is meant to be a non-binding and non-regulatory statement of the counties’ intent to work together to restore the Sugar Creek watershed. It details several steps to preserve the quality of the water. Those steps include:

  • Developing a 50-year strategy to restore and permanently protect the Sugar Creek watershed.
  • Acquiring and preserving remaining undeveloped lands within the historic floodplain of Sugar Creek and its tributaries.
  • Restoring minimally altered or degraded portions of the creeks to the historic floodplains and establish upland buffers to protect these areas.
  • Developing a regional communications protocol to address emergencies such as flooding or contamination.
  • Developing funding mechanisms to purchase lands for publish use.
  • Developing regional stewardship programs for these lands.
  • Sponsoring an annual forum to discuss efforts to restore water quality in the Sugar Creek watershed.

To read the agreement in its entirety, click on the document attached below or check Mecklenburg County’s citizen information Web site