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RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) announced Tuesday the formation of the Office of Land and Water Stewardship, which will coordinate the efforts of the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership, the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund, and the N.C. Natural Heritage Stewardship Program. The office will report to Cecilia Holden, special assistant to Secretary Skvarla.
“One of the many ways we protect North Carolina’s environment is to act as good stewards of our resources,” said John E. Skvarla, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. “So it makes sense to combine our stewardship programs into one office to capitalize on their similar resource needs. Cecilia’s experience and expertise will ensure the programs are run as efficiently as possible for the benefit of the environment and our citizens.”
Through legislation passed this summer, key provisions of the Natural Heritage Trust Fund’s mission were incorporated into the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and the funds themselves were merged.
Holden’s business management background has focused on people and project management, data and expenditure analysis, customer satisfaction improvement, and business plan composition. Her career breadth includes 12 years in local and state government positions in North Carolina as well as a decade in the private sector.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science and business from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, a Master’s of Business Administration degree from Duke University, and a certificate in public administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership works to identify, protect and restore the significant resources of the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system. It is a cooperative effort jointly sponsored by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and in partnership with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.
The program area extends across most of the Albemarle-Pamlico watershed, including the Neuse, Tar-Pamlico, Roanoke, Chowan, lower Roanoke, and parts of the White Oak River basins.
The Clean Water Management Trust Fund provides grant assistance to conservation nonprofits, local governments and state agencies across the state for the protection and restoration of surface waters, including drinking water supplies; the protection of significant ecological, cultural and historic sites; and the provision of buffers around bases to protect the state’s critical military mission.
The mission of the Natural Heritage Program is to survey natural areas with the goal of finding and documenting locations of rare species and high quality natural communities and sharing that information to support economic development.
The Stewardship Program provides monitoring and management of conservation easements and lands held by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources for stream and wetland mitigation.