Eastern North Carolina Sentinel Landscape

  • North Carolina

  • Established 2016


The Eastern North Carolina Sentinel Landscape spans nearly 11 million acres across a 33-county region in North Carolina’s Coastal Plain and Sandhills. The sentinel landscape is home to five key military installations and ranges: Fort Bragg, Dare County Bombing Range, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Air Stations Cherry Point and New River, and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. Behind agriculture, military-related activity is the second largest economic driver in the state. For years, Eastern North Carolina Sentinel Landscape partners have worked together to support endangered species recovery, while simultaneously strengthening the military mission and energizing local agricultural economies.

Interactive Landscape Map

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Total Funding by Partner

Partner Funding Through Fiscal Year 2018 In Millions
USDA $6.70M $7.60M $9.30M $7.40M
DoD $7.90M $6.60M $19.60M $4.90M
DOI $1.10M $0.10M $1.10M $0.60M
Private $2.40M $2.50M $4.80M $4.70M

Total Acres Protected and Enrolled

Acres Protected49400.24
Acres Enrolled757786.54

Partnership Highlights

Strengthening Military Readiness through Endangered Species Recovery

Sentinel landscape partners strengthen military readiness at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune by supporting the recovery of the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker (RCW). Since 2015, partners have collaborated on an effort to preserve 60 RCW clusters on two properties adjacent to the installation through the Recovery and Sustainment Program Partnership. Protecting the RCW and expanding its habitat off-base enhances training flexibility at Camp Lejeune by relieving the Marine Corps of restrictions that were activated by the Endangered Species Act.

Promoting Landowner Education Opportunities

The College of Natural Resources at North Carolina State University collaborated with sentinel landscape partners to publish two reports that educate the public on the value of landscape scale conservation. The publications are titled the Landowner Guide for Working Lands Conservation and Establishing a Partnership for Sentinel Landscapes: The North Carolina Experience. Sentinel landscape partners also hosted educational workshops about working land conservation with private landowners and piloted a working lands outreach program in five counties around Marine Corps Installations East.

Improving Agricultural Productivity

In 2018, the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program awarded $7 million in funding to create the North Carolina Sentinel Landscapes High Priority Protect Program, a partnership between the U.S. Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and others. Through this program, agriculture, conservation, and defense stakeholders work with willing landowners to place easements on properties that sentinel landscape partners have identified as high priority for protection.

Streamlining Government Resources to Protect the Military Mission and Promote Agriculture

The Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Program Trust Fund collaborated with defense partners to develop a single easement template for the Eastern North Carolina Sentinel Landscape that can theoretically streamline resources from multiple sentinel landscape partners. The partners designed the template to reduce the anticipated easement acquisition timeline from 3-4 years to 1-2 years by having legal and logistical negotiations pre-approved by all potential funding resources.

Acknowledging Private Landowners for Stewardship

In 2018, the North Carolina Forest Service collaborated with several other sentinel landscape partners to develop a landowner recognition and appreciation letter that will be distributed to individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to sustainably managing their working lands. By voluntarily implementing practices related to prescribed fire, wildlife restoration, and recreational management, these landowners have directly contributed to the Sentinel Landscapes Partnership’s mission.

Our Partners

In The News

  • Partnering for Success with Sentinel Landscapes

    Federal, state and local partners, including the NC State College of Natural Resources and NC State Extension Forestry, have joined efforts to protect North Carolina’s working farmland and forests, military training grounds, and natural resources and habitat. In 2016, 33 eastern and Sandhills counties in North Carolina were designated as the Eastern North Carolina Sentinel Landscape.

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  • Troxler Announces Eastern North Carolina Sentinel Landscapes Designation

    N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler announces the federal designation of 33 counties as the North Carolina Sentinel Landscape, and the development of voluntary programs as incentives for landowners and local governments that desire to participate. Troxler was joined for the announcement at the Cherry Research Farm by leaders of North Carolina’s military installations, county managers, academic institutions, representatives of conservation and environmental groups, and many other public and private partners.

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  • North Carolina Sentinel Landscapes—Building Capacity While Promoting Conservation and National Defense

    Dewitt Hardee, the Farmland Preservation Director for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services manages the NC Agricultural Development & Farmland Preservation Trust Fund. Dewitt introduces the North Carolina Sentinel Landscape, a land preservation program focused on conserving working and rural lands and promoting national defense.

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  • 33 North Carolina Counties Designated as the Eastern North Carolina Sentinel Landscape

    The latest designation from a joint federal partnership between the U.S. departments of Agriculture, Interior and Defense that aims to strengthen farms, ranches and forests while conserving habitat and natural resources and protecting vital training grounds for military installations.

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  • Marines and Woodpeckers Share the High Ground

    At Camp Lejeune, an endangered species thrives amidst simulated battles. Above the distant din of 50-caliber machine gun fire and Cobra attack helicopters, John Hammond, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, hears the unmistakable sound of a red-cockaded woodpecker as he approaches Combat Town, where U.S. Marines routinely assault a mock Iraqi village at Camp Lejeune.

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  • 2019 Sentinel Landscapes Accomplishments Report

  • Eastern North Carolina Sentinel Landscape Fact Sheet

  • Conserving Working Lands: A Land Legacy Workbook with Tools and Resources to Guide Your Conservation Planning

  • Establishing a Partnership for Sentinel Landscapes: The North Carolina Experience, a Dissemination Guide for Other States

Meet the Coordinator

Dr. Mary Lou Addor


Lou currently serves as the Eastern North Carolina Sentinel Landscape Coordinator and as adjunct professor with NC State's College of Education. With considerable experience in program, partnership, and leadership development including facilitation of multi-stakeholder environmental decision-making since 1995, Lou assists partnerships, communities and organizations with integrative problem solving and professional development. Lou serves/has served on several national committees and initiatives including the Association of Conflict Resolution Environmental and Public Policy Leadership Council; U.S. Institute of Environmental Conflict Resolution National Roster of Environmental Conflict Resolution Practitioners; University Network for Collaborative Governance Steering Committee and Network member; and serves on the Public Deliberation Community of Practice of eXtension.

“North Carolina supports a large military presence, including Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Stations New River and Cherry Point. … Private lands enable essential military training opportunities that are important in protecting the military’s mission. Partnerships like these facilitate agreements with private landowners that may allow mutually beneficial and compatible uses, thus further enabling our ability to conduct realistic training in preparation to go into harm’s way – and win. Marine Corps Installations East is proud and honored to be a part of programs that synchronize federal, state, and local interests, conservation, and our training requirements.”

Brigadier General Thomas Weidley, U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune