Cape Fear River Watershed Protection

Green Fence owns and protects riparian land in Durham County, North Carolina, along Third Fork Creek, which is part of the Cape Fear River Watershed. The water in this creek flows into Jordan Lake and the Cape Fear River. By protecting riparian lands within this watershed, Green Fence reduces runoff and enhances water quality, which is important for protecting the diverse array of life in this threatened watershed as well as protecting the drinking water quality for the region.

The Cape Fear River ends as a 35-mile-long coastal estuary that is an important nursery area for juvenile fish, crabs, and shrimp. Many different aquatic ecosystems in the Cape Fear River Basin are home to at least 95 species of commercial and recreational fish. Estuaries, blackwater rivers, and rocky streams in the basin support 42 rare aquatic species. The Cape Fear Shiner, a fish that is federally listed as endangered, has been found nowhere in the world except the Cape Fear River Basin. Other endangered species include the shortnose sturgeon, the red-cockaded woodpecker, the Saint Francis' satyr (a butterfly), and the West Indian manatee, a visitor to coastal estuaries. Also found in this estuary are the American alligator and the loggerhead sea turtle, listed nationally as threatened species, meaning they are at risk of becoming endangered. It is more important than ever to safeguard this watershed as a third of its streams are considered threatened, and over a quarter of its estuarine waters are impaired due to fecal levels, low oxygen, and pollution.

Approximately twenty percent of North Carolina's population lives within the Cape Fear River basin, and the population is predicted to grow from roughly three million to five million over the next twenty years, making protection of this watershed vital. Jordan Lake is the largest lake in the basin at 46,768 acres and a major recreational lake for the region. Areas utilizing Jordan Lake for drinking water are Apex, Cary, Chatham County-North, Durham, Holly Springs, Morrisville, Orange County, and Wake County-RPT South.

This holding also lies along the American Tobacco Trail, a 20-mile long trail located in the Research Triangle region and open to the public. By protecting land adjoining the trail, Green Fence prevents development and preserves the natural vistas of the trail.

With your help, Green Fence can increase its holdings and further protect this fragile ecosystem. Please consider making land donations in this and other regions. Our work is only possible through your support. We are a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization.