Environment

Find the story in the numbers. See below to explore facts about Environment in the Charlotte region. See how the region's counties compare to one another and how the metro area compares to peers around the country.

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Articles

  • A hellbender being measured on the New River.

    Hellbenders offer a window into water’s health

    Hellbenders - a species of large salamander with an evocative name - can tell us something about the health of a river. Macroinvertebrates are good indicators of water health across the state. Insects, crustaceans, molluscs, and arachnids can all tolerate water quality in different degrees. Mayflies, caddisflies, stoneflies, hellgrammites are all highly sensitive to pollution. Their presence anywhere indicates good water quality. Dragonflies, damselflies, crayfish and clams are somewhat tolerant of pollution. Black fly larvae, lunged snails, and leeches are all pollution-tolerant.
  • a corkscrew rush (Juncus effusus) in a garden setting.

    Rushes can restore some ecosystems - and beautify your backyard

    Common rush (Juncus effusus) is often used in riparian restoration projects. It provides cover for wildlife and helps stabilize soil and filter stormwater runoff, and it can be found throughout the Uwharries. Jim Matthews, professor emeritus at UNC Charlotte and founder of Habitat Assessment and Restoration Professionals, calls it the “Cadillac of wetland plants” because it can grow in standing water but also tolerate dry spells.
  • White-bracted sedge mingles with lobelia, liatris and jewelweed in the author’s Charlotte garden.

    A native plant that adds habitat - and flair - across North Carolina

    Found primarily along the Southeast coast, white-bracted sedge also grows with abandon in wet, sunny meadows you can create in your Charlotte backyard. The flowers attract a crazy array of pollinators - bumblebees and honeybees, bizarre bugs and colorful moths, tiny bees and flies. And the bracts remain attractive deep into fall, even after a hard freeze has turned them to parchment.
  • Falls Reservoir, a small lake in between Badin Lake and Lake Tillery.

    Beyond Crowders and Morrow Mountain: 8 great spots to get your nature fix near Charlotte

    Most people who visit the Uwharrie region, east of Charlotte, for recreation probably know about spots like the Uwharrie Trail and Morrow Mountain State Park. Or maybe you’re used to driving west, to Crowders Mountain State Park. However, there are a lot of lesser-known gems in the region that many tourists miss out on, and some that even locals have never been to see.