Chatham Conservation Partnership Summary January 19, 2012; 9:00am-12:00pm Chatham Community Library Meeting Room Attendees: David Blevins, photographer/author/ecologist Phil Bradley, NC Geological Survey Elaine Chiosso, Haw River Assembly Kacy Cook, NCWRC Catherine Deininger, Robeson Creek Watershed Council Francis Ferrell, USACE Leigh Ann Hammerbacher, TLC Stephen Harrison, USACE Chris Hopper, Chatham County Environmental Quality Brena Jones, NCWRC Tandy Jones, Chatham Landowner Sarah McRae, USFWS Jim and Judy Pick, Chatham landowners; CTNC board Judy Ratcliffe, NCNHP Anna Readling, Town of Cary Tabitha Roberson, TLC Amanda Sand, Chatham Soil and Water John Ann Shearer, USFWS Gretchen Smith, Chatham landowner Allison Weakley, NCNHP What is next for CCP? Sarah McRae presented a look back at the past 5 years of the CCP. The mission and goals of the CCP were highlighted, as were several of the successes. Examples of some of the successes include the fact that we have 35 signatories to our MOU/Charter, over 140 people on our listserve, we’ve had over 30 meetings and more than a dozen field trips, we’ve had a hugely successful outreach campaign that has included products like our brochure, display and endangered species pocket guide, as well as events like the Let’s Talk Trash and Land Conservation Symposium. One of the biggest successes is our Comprehensive Conservation Plan – the first one for any North Carolina county. We raised over $90,000 for the effort, and over 100 citizens have engaged in the process of reviewing and rolling out the plan. Another big accomplishment is the GIS data warehouse that is held on the Chatham County website. There are also several data layers available through the Conservation Plan. In summary, we’ve had over 5 years of partnering and progress on conservation of Chatham County’s natural resources. Thank you! SPOT/SWOT Analysis Amanda Sand lead the group through an exercise where we defined the CCP’s strengths, problems, opportunities and threats. Strengths Diverse network of key organizations/people Enthusiasm Knowledge Survived 5 years – survival skills Commitment Goal incorporation in daily work – ongoing execution of goals SYNERGY!!! Resources worth protecting!!! Good track record – tangible results Mutual respect Grant writing abilities Strong relationships within community/interest groups Planning ahead of the curve – no retrofits Formal structure, legitimate Established educational outreach program Practical, science-based Proactive, not reactionary Broad perspective Problems Resources worth protecting Meeting times conflict with work schedules Missing active key players – municipalities, NRCS, elected officials, corporate, developers, landowners, farmers Lack of dedicated staff Members have exhausted time schedules Lack of awareness of CCP mission Lack of prominence in local community – need more general CCP outreach Meeting location – focus is on development pressured areas in Chatham Not enough diversity – need more focus on environmental justice No membership benefits Opportunities Membership benefits Supporting initiatives through letters of support, etc. – membership benefit Chatham EDC branding program – small window opportunity High-profile region in legislature – small window – political education outreach School environmental education curriculum The Plan – disseminate information, use GIS data Use of large constituency in CCP CCP can be neutral entity –diffuse perception of conflict Threats Lack of support from elected officials Funds drying up in grant world Economic downturn – distracting from big picture and long term o How do we do conservation on a dime? Lack of follow up – information not easily accessible Introduction of Committee Structure and Break-out Session Leigh Ann Hammerbacher introduced the idea of how our meetings may look over the next year – we’d have one or two speakers on topics of interest or have topic forums, and then spend the rest of the time working in committee subgroups to get things accomplished. The three committees presented were: Plan Implementation, Capacity Building (funding, building membership, participation, etc.), and Education and Outreach. Groups were tasked with discussing ideas from last meeting as well as priorities for the next year and come away with at least 2 priorities and at least 2 action items for each priority. Plan Implementation 1) Address Fracking Issue by summarizing key resources in the Triassic Basin. Action Items: 1) compose brief letter to DENR (Trina Ozer); 2) compose 2-3 page letter (with map) to be used to inform legislators; 3) attempt to meet with legislators in person Working Group: Elaine Chiosso, Jim Pick, Allison Weakley, Brena Jones, Sarah McRae 2) Spread the message of the CCP’s plan Action items: 1) present about the plan to Pittsboro, Siler City, Cary; 2) Work with Economic Development Council on the branding initiative – inform them of the plan and how it can be used in their effort; 3) possibly create a video to promote the plan (could work in conjunction with the EDC’s branding effort – cobble together $$ - create a joint message) Capacity Building 1) Create a publication Action Items: 1) decide format; 2) who will contribute 2) How can CCP accept money? Action Items: 1) decide whether we want to become a 501c3; 2) can we use other organizations (like TLC) to funnel money as has been done in the past 3) Tap into markets we don’t currently connect with Action Items: 1) work with Green Scene at Fearrington; 2) set up a LinkedIn account; 3) Facebook page? 4) create CCP liaisons for each Commission district 4) Have CCP meetings evolve into issues forums – discuss hot topics Outreach 1) Photography workshop and exhibition for spring 2012 – David Blevins will lead this effort – field trips would be made available for photography participants as well as others who may not have interest in photography 2) Guided field trips – presentations will be made on different topics, and these can be taken to a variety of audiences Future Topics for CCP meetings Francis Ferrell led the group in a brainstorming session about what topics we would like to see at future CCP meetings: Geology/ Fracking Branding EDC (shoot for April meeting?) Marketing Conversation with Development Community Water Quality/Quantity – perhaps look into USGS gauge issue Dam Removal Hunting/Fishing – can talk about encroachment issues; tap into their concerns Recreation- DPR Deep River update Outreach Update In May we will have a Carbonton Dam removal site field trip – Wes Newell, George Howard and Tim Savidge will present. Looking to have another event to discuss the geological history of Chatham County (Phil Bradley and Rich Hayes will lead). July – Johnny Randall will lead a group to see Harperella in bloom. Aspire to have a kayak trip for the photography workshop – there will likely be a fee for this outing. Working with Jeff Bell (restoration ecology professor) to create a video on Harperella. NEXT MEETING: THURSDAY, APRIL 19TH.