N.C. Ecosystem Enhancement Program
EEP UNVEILS NEW INITIATIVES FOR IMPROVED EFFICIENCY, EFFECTIVENESS

October 22, 2010

Four new initiatives will guide the Ecosystem Enhancement Program’s operations, including a proposed Science Advisory Panel, improved financial data-sharing, greater efficiency in contracting and increased access to EEP for private mitigation banks.

The initiatives continue the evolution of the program’s mission and will dovetail with the implementation of a new legal instrument in compliance with revised federal mitigation rules. NCDENR collaborated with key stakeholders in developing the four initiatives, which include: 

   Science Advisory Panel 
   Improving Financial Data-Sharing 
   Expediting Contracts and Amendments 
   Bank Programming Initiative

SCIENCE ADVISORY PANEL 

A Science Advisory Panel, a group of professionals with appropriate expertise, would advise NCDENR, its pertinent agencies and ultimately the state/federal Interagency Review Team on mitigation issues and policy decisions. The panel would help to support the objectives of successful mitigation practices based on sound science, and implemented with effective and innovative technical methods for the protection of North Carolina’s natural resources. 

IMPROVING FINANCIAL DATA-SHARING 

Ongoing steps to improve the availability of information on EEP functions and finances will be supplemented by new information technology in the form of an interactive website.

The complexity involved in implementing the state’s public-sector compensatory mitigation initiatives has resulted in misunderstanding by some parties. Improvements in financial data-sharing will increase the visibility and clarity of the inner workings of EEP, and allow EEP website visitors to mine data to the extent desired.

EXPEDITING CONTRACTS AND AMENDMENTS 

At the request of NCDENR, an independent analysis of EEP's outsourcing system was conducted in 2010 under the leadership of the School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This analysis, coupled with ongoing outreach efforts with key private-sector partners at the N.C. Environmental Restoration Association and the American Council of Engineering Contractors/North Carolina, led NCDENR to propose streamlined methods to expedite contract processing and increase efficiency in contract administration.

BANK PROGRAMMING INITIATIVE 

The passage of Session Law 2009-337 by the N.C. General Assembly promoted the use of mitigation banks and specified how governmental and private-sector developers may satisfy permit requirements. To further this concept, NCDENR is implementing a new initiative to evaluate the availability of existing bank credits for possible purchase as part of its regular mitigation programming decisions.
NCDENR appreciates the input and support of partners in the development of these initiatives, and looks forward to working in collaboration with all stakeholders in their implementation. For more information on these initiatives, please contact EEP Director of Communications Tad Boggs at (919)715-2227 or tad.boggs@ncdenr.gov.