Thanks to funding from the U.S. Navy and the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF), the Nature Conservancy is adding a significant tract to its McLean Savanna Preserve in Pender County. The newest acquisition brings the preserve to 991 acres.
“The property includes some very nice, mature longleaf pine forest that will be excellent habitat for red-cockaded woodpeckers,” Onslow Bight Project Director Hervey McIver says. The Navy is working to recover the population of this federally endangered bird at and around Camp Lejeune, so it was in their interest to find new homes for the woodpeckers, which almost exclusively nest in older, living longleaf pines. The purchase also protects the headwaters of upper Catskin Creek, which flows from the adjoining Holly Shelter Game Land.
McIver says the purchase will help improve habitat at the game lands. “It is a very oddly shaped piece of property, but it fills in some gaps that will help the Wildlife Resources Commission better manage its lands with controlled burns.” The Conservancy often cooperates with the Commission and other neighboring partners with land stewardship activities.
The new property also contains rare plants including two that are federally endangered, Cooley’s meadowrue and golden sedge. “The land is in good shape, only in need of some careful burning,” McIver says. “Places like this are remnants of biological diversity, critical places without a history of being plowed.”
The CWMTF,created by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1996, is a primary source of grants for hundreds of local governments, state agencies and conservation nonprofits to address water pollution, protect clean water supplies and upgrade water treatment capabilities. The Navy used Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative (REPI) funds for its share. REPI is a Department of Defense Program designed to preserve buffers around military installations.
The Onslow Bight region extends from the lower Northeast Cape Fear River northwards to the Pamlico River, and from offshore waters to approximately 30 miles inland. The area is a unique landform of barrier islands, marshes, riverine wetlands, pocosins, longleaf pine savannas, and many other coastal ecosystems. The Onslow Bight landscape has some of the richest biodiversity along the eastern seaboard. The Conservancy has protected over 54,000 acres in the Bight.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
Director of Communications
4705 University Drive, Suite 290
Durham, NC 27707