Nature Conservancy Acquires Horse Swamp Preserve

Tract Buffers Camp Lejeune, Protects Wildlife, Preserves Rare Plant

Durham | January 06, 2014

The Nature Conservancy today announced the acquisition of the 738-acre Horse Swamp Preserve in the community of Hubert in Onslow County. The landowners, James and Mary Ann Kellum Sharpe, helped make this possible by donating a portion of the conservation land’s value. The U.S. Navy helped to fund the purchase, because the property will provide a buffer for Camp Lejeune. The state’s Clean Water Management Trust Fund provided the remainder of the funding.  

“This builds on other conservation work we have done around Camp Lejeune,” says the Conservancy’s Hervey McIver, who acquired the property. “We’ve been involved with protecting more than 45,000 acres around the base or beneath important airspace, which helps to ensure that development doesn’t keep the military from fulfilling its mission. Keeping the land undeveloped also provides good wildlife habitat.” 

The tract is home to at least one federally endangered plant – rough-leaf loosestrife.

McIver says it is likely that other rare plants will be found on the property after the Conservancy begins to conduct controlled burns there. “Horse Swamp is in pretty good shape, except it needs fire,” he explains. “Once we start burning there, it is going to be a beautiful place. I suspect we’ll see a lot of interesting plants spring up once we put fire back on the land.” Regular, small fires were once common across North Carolina’s Coastal Plain

At its December meeting, the Clean Water Management Trust Fund Board of Trustees provided an additional $320,000 that will be used to purchase another 310 acres at the preserve. The Navy will match those funds with approximately $155,000. “The partnership between the military and conservation is a win/win for everyone,” says McIver.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the web at To learn about the Conservancy’s global initiatives, visit To keep up with current Conservancy news, follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Debbie Crane
(919) 794-4373 or (919) 619-8613


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