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State of the Environment

The quality of our water and benefits of our recycling and waste management programs have improved over the past 20 years.

April 17, 2008 



Charlotte, NC – The air we breathe in Mecklenburg County still could be better, but surface water quality has improved, and our recycling and waste management programs are the most comprehensive in the state. Those are a few of the facts offered up by Mecklenburg County's 2008 State of the Environment Report (SOER), now in its 20th year of publication. 

The newest edition of the semiannual report -- which assesses the County's progress in air, water, land, and waste management – takes an honest, comprehensive look at what we have accomplished environmentally since 1987, when our greenways were still in the planning stages, "smart growth" was a buzzword yet to be created, and Huntersville was a sleepy village of a few thousand people. In 2008, the good news is that we've learned a lot and made some great strides toward improving our environment. 

"We have stretched ourselves honestly to evaluate both progress and regression from the original 1987 report," the newest SOER states. "Since the first State of the Environment Report, we have made significant progress toward addressing environmental issues, and we have identified issues that continue to need work." 

The 2008 SOER reflection is based on the same four goals of the 1987 publication: 

  • To describe Mecklenburg County's current environmental status for the public and the Board of County Commissioners,
  • To highlight the major environmental issues facing us,
  • To recommend direction concerning those issues, and
  • To give the County objective measures to evaluate progress toward a clean healthy environment.

A 2007 survey shows that 88 percent of respondents believe that protecting the environment is important to the overall quality of life in Mecklenburg County, the highest response in the last 20 years. Current population has increased more than 81 percent since 1987, and land use decisions now are beginning to incorporate consideration for the environment, as an increase in knowledge has allowed for a clearer connection between these two complicated topics.  

You can read the entire SOER at A limited number of hard copies are available by contacting Heidi Pruess at, or you can access the hard copy at any County library.

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