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2012 Mecklenburg County State of the Environment Report 

Charlotte-Mecklenburg has an abundance of surface water. More than 3,000 miles of streams run through Charlotte-Mecklenburg and at least 88 of those streams have names. Those streams are located in 22 watersheds. Local streams flow toward larger rivers: the Catawba River to the west or the Yadkin to the east. 

Duke Energy dams along the Catawba River created three Charlotte-Mecklenburg lakes. Those lakes cover more than 47,000 acres with 1,048 shore-line miles in Mecklenburg County. The lakes are managed and monitored to provide drinking water, and for electric power production, environmental protection and recreational opportunities such as boating, swimming and fishing. Groundwater continues as a vital water supply resource serving approximately 15% of our residents.

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Water Quality Environmental Indicators





  • Continue the effective implementation of the Post-Construction Storm Water Ordinances adopted by the City of Charlotte, six Towns and Mecklenburg County by ensuring adequate funding and support of plan reviews, inspections, enforcement, and maintenance activities, so that the intent and goals of the ordinances are met. Evaluate these ordinances and the accompanying Design Manual on a regular basis to determine their effectiveness and modify as necessary to ensure that established water quality goals are fulfilled.
  • Develop and fund implementation of watershed management plans to restore those watersheds that have been identified as impaired or not meeting their designated uses and to protect those that have remained fully supporting of their uses.
  • Continue to monitor fish tissue, in cooperation with the State, and advise the public of consumption risks.
  • Participate in regional Catawba River planning group. The Catawba River system is the sole source of drinking water for more than 85% of the population of Mecklenburg County. As the watershed area of the Catawba River upstream of Mecklenburg County continues its rapid development, the quality and quantity of the water for use by our area will be increasingly threatened. Efforts are underway to develop a regional Catawba River planning group. Charlotte-Mecklenburg should become actively engaged in these efforts and support upstream communities as they work to protect the region's drinking water supply.
  • Develop and implement efforts to increase volunteerism in protecting and restoring water quality conditions. Encourage and offer incentives for "green development" to supplement the "green" practices required by the Post-Construction Storm Water Ordinances adopted by the jurisdictions (see #1 above). Promote environmental stewardship on a countywide level by recognizing and rewarding the good work and accomplishments of both the public and private sector.
  • Continue to aggressively identify and track contamination sites, and the location of wells, and to support the enforcement of the Groundwater Well Regulations to ensure safe drinking water throughout Mecklenburg County.

More information

The trends shown in the State of the Environment Report are not all based on tests of statistical significance. Data analysis, anecdotal evidence, and best professional judgment have been compiled to represent these trends. The State of the Environment Report takes a snapshot of important environmental indicators in an effort to educate the public while highlighting challenges, successes and the general direction of change for each indicator. For additional information on these indicators and the determination of trends, please follow the links and feel free to contact the appropriate resources.

Last updated 4/16/12 

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