Agreement with EPA to restore natural water flow at Hofmann Forest

Hofmann Forest map. (Associated Press)

RALEIGH, N.C. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, following a review of Hofmann Forest operations, has reached an agreement with N.C. State that will restore natural water flow on 120 acres of the 79,000-acre working forest.

The NC State Natural Resources Foundation, which manages forest operations on the property, have agreed to plug ditches to restore natural water flow. The Foundation will also update and enhance the water management plan for Hofmann Forest to ensure consistency with the Clean Water Act.

“The Foundation, Endowment Fund (of N.C. State University), and university are pleased to have reached this agreement and appreciate EPA’s expeditious review and willingness to enter into this settlement,” said Mary Watzin, dean of the College of Natural Resources. “We look forward to moving ahead with plans to maximize benefits from the property for our academic programs while continuing to protect the majority of the 79,000-acre forest from intensive development.”

Work has begun to plug 10 ditches to allow natural water flow to restore forested wetlands. While the Foundation may continue to grow and harvest trees on the property, it may not use machinery to plant trees in these areas. This work is scheduled to be completed within six months.

There had been talk of the state selling part or all of the forest to timber and other interests. However, after concerns of the public, environmentalists and conservationists, it was announced a year ago that the University would retain control over the land.

Hofmann Forest was purchased in 1934 by the North Carolina Forestry Foundation Inc. The Foundation, today known as the NC State Natural Resources Foundation, gifted the land to the NC State Endowment Fund in 1977 specifically for the sole benefit of the College of Natural Resources.

The N.C. State Endowment Fund, an entity that is separate from the university but exists to provide financial support to it, holds title to the property. The N.C. State Natural Resources Foundation, a private, nonprofit organization, serves as the manager of the forest and its operations,

Funds generated through forest activities to toward strengthening research and academic offerings within the College of Natural Resources by providing additional scholarships, funding new education opportunities for students, facilitating research and supporting new professorships.

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