Natural Resources

Surrounded by water on three sides, New Hanover County’s geography, geology, and landscape make it a truly unique place. The way the county uses and develops land can have a direct effect on the health of the community, so New Hanover County works to balance growth with the protection of important natural resources.

New Hanover County holds land in permanent conservation through conservation easements to make sure the property will not be developed. These land resources have been purchased with grant funds or have been graciously donated, and they serve as vegetative buffers that help protect water quality. The land can also be used for passive recreation areas or for stormwater improvement projects.

New Hanover County’s Zoning Ordinance includes rules that protect other natural resources such as habitats and marshes.

Tree Retention: These rules protect significant trees from being cut down during development.

Conservation Overlay District: This district limits the use of areas with important natural resources.

Low Impact Development (LID)

LID is an approach to developing sites and managing stormwater that includes using or mimicking natural processes in order to protect water quality off site.

New Hanover County staff has worked with the City of Wilmington and other partners to create a LID guidance manual and modeling tool to encourage the use of LID throughout the county.

Green Building


Department of Energy (DOE) –  information about renewable energy, energy-saving strategies, rebates, and tax incentives.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) EPA provides information about green building principles, programs, and funding.

U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) – Leadership for Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, includes ratings for homes, neighborhoods, interiors, existing buildings, and more.

Whole Building Design Guide – a program of the National Institute of Building Sciences, provides a comprehensive overview of whole building design principles and provides extensive resources and publications related to sustainable building design.

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resource (NC DENR): NC Project Green –  case studies, resources and information specific to North Carolina.

NC Energy Division, Department of Commerce – information about the NC Energy Office, the Weatherization Assistance Program, and the Office for Green Business Development.

NC Green Building Technology Database – projects and case studies from across the state that have implemented strategies and technologies related to green building. Also provides additional links to green resources.

NC Green Power – an energy program designed to supplement NC’s existing power supply with renewable energy sources.

NC Healthy Built Homes Program – a certificate rating system for homes in North Carolina meeting specific green building guidelines.

NC Solar Center at NC State University – information about alternative energy and sustainable design, provides technical assistance and resources.

Cape Fear’s Going Green Magazine – articles about sustainability and green topics throughout the Cape Fear region, also provides a comprehensive overview of green and sustainability-related resources.

Cape Fear Green Building Alliance – a local non-profit that advances education regarding sustainable building practices for industry professionals and the public through monthly meetings and a variety of workshop training sessions. The CFGBA also publishes a comprehensive “Green Directory” of local professionals in green building trades.

Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) – provides water and sewer services for the residents of the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County, also provides water conservation tips and resources for the public

New Hanover County – Environmental Management – provides information about the landfill, recyclable materials, locations of recycling centers, and links to the recycling websites for the City of Wilmington, and the Towns of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach. and Wrightsville Beach.

WAVE Transit – Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority, operating as Wave Transit, provides information about alternative transportation (buses, shuttles, trolleys) and also about their Breathe Easy initiatives which includes the Green Wave.

Wilmington-Cape Fear Home Builders Association – local chapter of the National Association of Home Builders which has a Green Building Council committee that provides workshops and educational outreach to industry professionals.

Planning and Land Use: 230 Government Center Dr, Suite 110 • Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-7165 • Fax 910-798-7053
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