Nassawango Creek is one of the last pieces of true wilderness left on the East Coast. Dominated by bald cypress and black gum, the massive trees of this primeval forest envelop visitors with ample shade and security.
The preserve recently celebrated its 40th anniversary! Starting with a gift of 154 acres given by E. Stanton Adkins in 1978, the effort to establish the preserve was spearheaded and led by a group of Worcester County residents who recognized the beauty and diversity of Nassawango Creek and its intrinsic value to the region.
Since those beginnings in 1978, we have worked to protect 14,787 acres of swamp and upland forest along Nassawango Creek. Today the preserve includes 9,953 acres of this land, and is one of the northernmost remaining examples of a bald cypress swamp.
Current Conservation At Work
Since 2009, more than 36,000 Atlantic white cedar trees have been planted at Nassawango Creek Preserve in partnership with the National Aquarium and with the help of the Maryland Conservation Corps. Many of the seedlings were grown in the classrooms of Wicomico and Worcester County middle schools, and the students come out to the preserve every spring to plant their trees.
In 2014, TNC acquired the 693-acre Taylor farm which sits at the headwaters of Nassawango Creek. We're working with partners to restore 381 acres of Taylor's cropland to forested wetland. An additional 312 acres of forested uplands and wetlands will also be protected.
These restoration efforts will reverse the impacts from extensive drainage, grazing, and crop production. Restoring the natural hydrology will improve the quality of water and habitat in Nassawango Creek and downstream water bodies.
A long-term monitoring program will allow the Taylor farm to become a “living laboratory”. The data we collect through this restoration will inform our conservation strategies on a larger scale and will be shared with other landowners as we work collaboratively to conserve the productive lands and waters of the Eastern Shore.
At several bogs deep within the preserve, our stewardship staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly to thin encroaching hardwoods to make room for native vegetation. We have already seen a resurgence of pitcher plants, rare grasses and rare sedges growing in the bog. View a video from Maryland Outdoors about these efforts (begins at 18:50).
A legacy of support
The Nassawango Creek Stewardship Committee was formed in 1979, and has been going strong ever since! The committee ranks among the longest-serving groups of preserve volunteers in the history of The Nature Conservancy.
Contact Joe Fehrer at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can become a part of this dynamic committee and help ensure the ongoing care of this beloved preserve.