North Carolina Sentinel Landscapes is an innovative partnership focused on collaboration and coordination between farmers and foresters, conservationists, and military installations in order to provide mutual benefits to protect the state’s two largest economic sectors – Agriculture and Defense.
At one time much of North Carolina was rural and unplanned development and the encroachment of incompatible land uses had little impact on our working lands and its impact on conservation of natural resources and the ability of the military to train; this is no longer true. As North Carolina grew, our rural landscape changed such that our private landowners and their working lands, the conservation of our natural resources, and our military network in North Carolina were no longer isolated from such threats or immune to such pressures. Unplanned development and the encroachment of incompatible land uses are threatening the health of working lands and natural systems with the same force that it threatens the health of the military network in eastern North Carolina-not only the bases, but also the ranges and airspace they use.
The unlikely allies that make up this partnership include the US Marine Corps, NC Farm Bureau, NC State University, Texas A&M University, NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, NCEast Alliance, Environmental Defense Fund, NC State Grange, NC Forestry Association, NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, NC Foundation for Soil and Water Conservation, NC Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and local soil and water conservation districts, and many others as the partnership grows.
The North Carolina Sentinel Landscapes Partnership came together to collaborate on a forward-looking, proactive program to sustain the landscape needed for a healthy economy, a healthy environment, a healthy military, and healthy communities in eastern North Carolina and beyond. In effect, these partners, including the Marine Corps, would be Sentinels watching out for a valued landscape that supports 3 different and important sets of interests: working lands, conservation and national defense.
With around 90% of the land in North Carolina privately owned, the Partnership realizes that the North Carolina Sentinel Landscapes Partnership cannot succeed unless it offers options and incentives that link the interests of the rural, private landowner with the national defense mission and conservation goals. The Partnership understands that landowners need and deserve to have additional economic opportunities for the good they do to advance society’s long-term well-being by supporting national defense and conservation. The partnership has developed and implemented several important initiatives for eastern North Carolina including:
- Innovative Conservation Strategies
- Local Foods and Fuels
- Working Lands Conservation
- Landscape Scale Conservation