OWASA owns 2,400 acres of forested lands, the majority of which is in the Cane Creek watershed. Cane Creek Reservoir is a main water source for the Carrboro-Chapel Hill community. Protecting the Cane Creek watershed helps safeguard water quality for the community. Sustainable forest management facilitates the protection plus provides other environmental benefits such as reducing the risk of wildfire.
Our Vision for Forest Management and Guiding Principles serve as a compass as we develop forest stewardship plans and identify actions to improve the health of our forest.
Protect water quality now and for future generations by following science-based principles to manage our forest lands so they are healthy, diverse, resilient and sustainable
A key part of our approach is engaging with residents near our forested land to enable two-way dialogue – to garner local insights and knowledge, exchange ideas, and minimize impacts on neighboring residents – to protect the watershed together.
Sign up for email list!
The US Forest Service and other agencies collected total suspended solids data on our property and five other sites in the Piedmont of North Carolina. They collected data both upstream and downstream of stream crossings; the results do not show significant differences in upstream and downstream concentrations during base flow or storm flow conditions. These results indicate that forest management best management practices help protect water quality.
In accordance with federal requirements, OWASA is implementing a state-approved forest management plan at our 491-acre Cane Creek Reservoir Mitigation Tract near Buckhorn and Mt. Willing Rds. The goal of the plan is to protect the water quality of the streams on the site, as well as in the Cane Creek Reservoir, and to enhance wildlife habitat. The plan includes protecting 151 acres of forested buffers along streams to protect water quality and the promotion of diversity in plants and wildlife.
Since 2010, work at the mitigation tract has included thinning 225-acres to enable more robust growth of trees and improve wildlife habitat, removing a 25-acre pine area and replanting it with loblolly pines, building an earthen access road and stream crossing to support sustainable forest management activities, reseeding and stabilizing roads to prevent erosion and protect stream water quality, spreading out large piles of logs in low areas outside of streams and stream buffers to help filter sediment, and performing a prescribed burn on 24 acres near Martin Rd to maintain and restore oak at the site, benefitting wildlife and wildlife habitat.