Coastal Land Trust purchases ‘ecologically significant’ floodplain forest near Navassa
The property will be protected forever by the non-profit conservation organization and will be managed as a natural area.
âThe area is a vast floodplain forest rich in wildlife,â said Walker Golder, Executive Director of Coastal Land Trust. âProtecting this forest will help reduce the risk and severity of flooding in downstream communities, protect wildlife habitat, and improve water quality.
The conserved land is the heart of the Dollison Marsh, a site identified as “Ecologically Very Significant” by the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program. This designation is due to its age and its almost pristine hardwood and cypress gum forest.
It has also been identified as a high priority site to be protected by the town of Navassa and the Coastal Land Trust.
The region’s floodplain forest, streams, and freshwater marshes provide important nursery grounds for fish such as striped bass, American shad and hickory shad, and possibly Atlantic sturgeon.
The area also provides habitat for rare or endangered bat species, bottom forest dependent wading birds, waterfowl, raptors and songbirds.
âBrunswick County’s wild and wonderful Dollison Marsh is home to countless foothills and tupelos, many of which are ancient. Anglers, kayakers and boaters regularly take advantage of this scenic and secluded location. Downstream, residents of the greater Wilmington area reap a myriad of benefits, as the marsh moderates flood waters, filters water, and provides critical habitat for fish and wildlife.
Janice Allen, Director of Land Protection, NC Coastal Land Trust
Funding for the purchase was provided through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Damage Assessment, Repair and Restoration program and a grant from the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund.
The acquisition is part of the Kerr-McGee Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Program, with funding administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
The project was selected for funding because of its proximity to the Kerr-McGee site and because of the conservation importance of the area.
The forest is connected to a 1,337 acre property held under a conservation easement by the Coastal Land Trust and adds to the more than 14,000 acres that the land trust already protects along the Lower Cape Fear River.