This page is for discussion of the application and approval process for WakeNature Preserves.

Subcommittee meeting on 2009 Sept 11 // Cienek, Hess, Lisk, Ramsey, Reis

The question on the table is "What are the steps needed to designate a property as a WakeNature Preserve?" There are actually two parts to this: (1) What does WakeNature have to say/do about it? (2) What has to happen in the jurisdiction? We are concerned mostly with the 1st question, but would also like to provide (as needed) some guidance on the 2nd to jurisdictions that ask for it. We do NOT wish to become involved in running public meetings, etc.

Question: Who holds / owns the moniker "WakeNature Preserve?" Consensus is that it is owned by the Partnership, which has the right to grant or revoke the status of a site as a WakeNature Preserve.

Reis brought up the example of the Forest Landbirds Legacy Program (FLLP) being instituted in NC by US Fish & Wildlife, NC Wildlife Resources Commission, and USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service. This is a voluntary program through which landowners may have their property designated for bird conservation, if it meets certain criteria (mainly that it will be managed to support "birds of conservation concern" identified by Partners in Flight) - cost sharing is available for the management. Main point is that there a lot of parallels between what we're trying to do and what FLLP is doing.

Consensus was that we need a subcomm of the WNPP to approve applications for WakeNature Preserve status. Should include reps from the University, WRC, NHP, Wake County, some munis. This group could bring others into reviews of individual application for needed expertise. There was consensus that the review process should be more than looking at a checklist of items for presence / absence - it should include an assessment of whether there is a reasonable expectation that the proposed management will conserve the resource.

Application should be fairly simple. There are two possible paths (1) the applicant is ready to go and seeking approval (final application) (2) the applicant is seeking preliminary guidance and assistance (preliminary application). Can we do this on the same form?

Possible application form items ... intended to be on a single form

- Name of property
- Approximate size of property
- Owner of property
- Contact person for application
- Brief description of why you think the property meets WNPP criteria
- Type of application [ ] Preliminary [ ] Final

A preliminary application is used when seeking assistance with the process of designating a preserve. What type of assistance are you seeking.
[ ] Preliminary consultation
[ ] Inventory
[ ] Site visit to help determine eligibility
[ ] Management plan consultation
... and so forth

A final application is used when submitting full documentation requested for approval as a WakeNature Preserve.
- Please attach a management plan that contains all of the elements described in the WNPP Management Plan Template
- Have the elected officials in your jurisdiction approved this application? Y / N
[[ This raised a few issues that need to be discussed among the full WNPP membership. Do we want to review applications that do not have the blessing of elected officials of someone higher up the chain of command from the park director? Do we want to require a letter from, eg, town manager indicating that the applicant has permission to submit this application? This could lead to requirement of further attachments for the final application]]

Ultimately, will we need funding to provide signage? Or do we simply provide the design and expect the jurisdiction to post WNPP signage? Could NC Correction Enterprises make signs? We will need a web site and a way to print brochures (and update them) for the WNPP site network. This could be a design / business school project.

Charlynne 09/23: I spoke with Correction Enterprises about signs. There is some variation in cost, but ballpark / base cost below
- two color sign with background is $10.25 per sign (12x18) and $20.29 per sign (18x24). Adding a third color increases cost. - there is also an artwork set up fee starting at $25. That is a one time fee for initial print, after that signs are ordered at cost.
- Who can purchase from Correction Enterprises? Tax-payer supported organizations (federal, state, county, muni governments, NCSU...), and non-profit organizations that receive government grant funding.

Other items discussed ...
  • We did spend some time discussion how WNPP might offer assistance for inventories and management plans. The idea that generated the most excitement was to designate particular properties each semester / year around which courses could focus project activity. So, for example, if Jurisdiction A needed a more detailed inventory of birds and vegetation on Property B ... appropriate courses in biology and plant biology could have their student projects (esp at the graduate level) on Property B to develop the inventory. We might ask the Jurisdiction to (1) participate in the course (2) provide some funding to defer travel and equipment expenses.
  • We also noted that students in courses might be asked to review the management plans that are submitted.
  • We talked about whether we wanted to accept applications on a rolling basis or have specific deadlines each year. Consensus was that we'd go rolling unless and until volume forced us to do otherwise.
  • We talked about a checklist of items that agency might want to consider as they go through the process of designating a nature preserve - things like public meetings, preliminary talks with superiors, kinds of information to gather. These would not be requirements, but suggestions of things that might help the process. Holcombe's research might be a good presentation of some of these issues (she's looking into processes that have been used elsewhere).
  • Will also need a checklist for review of applications - things that reviewers must do. This would also be made available to applicants so they're sure they've submitted the right stuff. Could be part of application form.

Action items ...
  • Hess to type initial notes (done 11 Sept)
  • Ramsey to develop first-cut guidance checklist and application review checklist --- See this link (first draft done 12 Sept)
  • All present to review these notes and edit them as needed

Kathryn's edits:
Thank you, George, for piecing together a comprehensive review of our meeting! I only offer an extra item for partnership discussion. As stated above, we may want an official above the park managers to indicate personal interest in letting the park area be designated as a WakeNature Preserve. The committee members said this may be important to ensure WNPP doesn't get engaged in a political dispute, as well as to protect the park managers. But this concern also indicates to me why WNPP should consider creating a Memorandum of Understanding/Agreement. If the high up officials sign a MOU, would they need to submit a cover letter for each individual application? Couldn't the MOU get the high up officials' approval form the start. The MOU could then designate park managers (or other relevant positions) as responsible agents for identifying park lands to designate for WakeNature Preserve status.