Wake County Watershed Protection Programs

Watershed management is a term used to describe the process of implementing land-use practices and water management practices to protect and improve the quality of the water and other natural resources within a watershed by managing the use of those land and water resources in a comprehensive manner.

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Our Watershed Management approach differs from other efforts because it integrates the activities of other Wake County programs but also with our external partnerships. The focus is on solving environmental problems at their source and improving watershed health overall, not merely complying with individual regulations.

The following programs act as the regulatory arm of Wake County's Water
shed Management Program.

Stormwater Management Program

Stormwater runoff is generated when precipitation from rain and snowmelt events flows over land or impervious surfaces and does not percolate into the ground. As the runoff flows over the land or impervious surfaces (paved streets, parking lots and building rooftops), it accumulates debris, chemicals, sediment or other pollutants that could adversely affect water quality in a watershed if the runoff is discharged untreated.

Erosion & Sedimentation Control

Wake County operates an erosion prevention program that aims to prevent sediment from leaving construction sites and contaminating streams, lakes, and river within Wake County's watersheds. We accomplish this by enforcing state and local erosion prevention regulations and by working with developers, builders and landowners in Wake County.

Floodplain Management

This program seeks to promote public health, safety and general welfare and to minimize public and private losses due to flood conditions within flood prone areas by implementing ordinance provisions designed to:

  • Restrict or prohibit uses that are dangerous to health, safety, and property due to water or erosion hazards or that result in damaging increases in erosion, flood heights or velocities
  • Require that uses vulnerable to floods, including facilities that serve such uses, be protected against flood damage at the time of initial construction
  • Control the alteration of natural floodplains, stream channels and natural protective barriers, which are involved in the accommodation of floodwaters
  • Control filling, grading, dredging and all other development that may increase erosion or flood damage
  • Prevent or regulate the construction of flood barriers that will unnaturally divert flood waters or that may increase flood hazards to other lands.