Tag Archives: wetland treasures

Volunteer Wetland Monitoring Program Completes Four Days of Successful Wetland Monitoring

The volunteers and project team for the Pilot Volunteer Wetland Monitoring Program enjoyed our second round of data collection activities on four consecutive days in early June. Since we were concerned that trying to fit all of the planned monitoring activities would be difficult to complete in a timeframe that would work for volunteers and the VWMP team, we split this monitoring series into four days. The weather cooperated and we had four straight days of warm temperatures and mostly clear skies. 

Our schedule included collecting well and water sampling data on the week days of June 2nd and 3rd and a combination of amphibian observations, site visit surveys and vegetation surveys on the weekend of June 4th and 5th.  

Water Monitoring

Dr. Mike Burchell (NC State Dept of Bio&Ag Engineering) led our group of volunteers in taking water level and water quality samples to analyze and compare to previous sampling data.

Even with the need to do water monitoring on the weekdays, volunteer turnout was good and all of the volunteers were able to get great hands-on experience. We’re looking forward to getting our first glimpses of the results of this sampling as it compares to the sampling done in February. 

Dr. Burchell discusses the water level with Paul

Amphibian Survey

Following the expertise of Thomas Reed (Wake County) we did an amphibian survey at all three wetland locations and the results are available to view on iNaturalist in our project page. Highlights of our survey were observations of a few Green Frogs, an American Water Frog and a Northern Cricket Frog. We also encountered a Spotted Salamander, a Northern Dusky Salamander and a Southern Two Lined Salamander. 

An American Water Frog (Genus Lithobates) sits along the edge of the marsh at Mason Farm Biological Reserve

This time out in the field, we reduced our amphibian survey time since it was deemed a potential habitat disturbance by having too much time and too many people doing the amphibian surveys. We also learned from our previous site visits to take our time and make sure the iNaturalist observations are completed immediately while in the study site and paid particular attention to recording water data when an amphibian was observed in water. 

Wildlife Observations

Other wildlife observations (not included in our monitoring data) including our encounter with a Ring Necked Snake can also been seen in our VWMP project page on iNaturalist.

A Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis Punctatus) in Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve

Vegetation Surveys

Fetterbush (Eubotrys Racemosa) Recorded at Robertson Millpond Preserve
Project Manager, Amanda, works with volunteers on surveying a vegetation plot

Amanda Johnson (VWMP Project Manager) and Rick Savage (Carolina Wetlands Association Executive Director) led us in completing vegetation surveys for 10 x 10 trees & shrubs vegetation plots and 5 x 5 herbaceous vegetation plots.

This survey activity resulted in 159 total vegetation observations that can be accessed through our iNaturalist project.

On our project page, you will be able to view all of the photos and recorded information on each species in our study area vegetation plots. 

Planning and Logistics

Overall, things went pretty smoothly with cold water and snacks helping us to power through our monitoring days. All of our meeting locations worked out great except for one day at Mason Farm where the designated lot was full of attendees at a nearby sporting event. We will again adjust the meeting location for future monitoring visits at Mason Farm and will now meet inside the farm at the grassy area near our site area 1 (this may require us to limit the number of volunteers we can have out at Mason Farm at a time).  

We still feel the need to figure out a way to not feel so rushed to complete all of our monitoring in the time given so will continue to reevaluate the schedule for future site visits. 

Make A Difference Week

Finally, as part of this round of monitoring visits, we represented Carolina Wetlands Association as participants in the Society for Ecological Restoration’s Make a Difference Week project.

We conducted litter sweeps at all three of our wetland sites in the VWMP.

Participating in the Society for Ecological Restoration’s Make a Difference Week

Next Steps

Our next field work days are planned for September of 2022.

A post monitoring site visit survey will be sent to all volunteers to gather information about their feelings toward the various elements of this phase of the pilot project and this will help inform decisions on upcoming site visits and other program activities and events. 

Stay up to date on the Pilot Volunteer Wetland Monitoring Program Website and feel free to reach out to the volunteer coordinator at patty.cervenka@carolinawetlands.org with any questions. 

We want to thank our contacts at each of the wetlands in our program: Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve, Mason Farm Biological Reserve and Robertson Millpond Preserve. 

Photo Gallery:

2022 Wetland Treasures of the Carolinas

The Carolina Wetlands Association joins wetlands enthusiasts all over the country to raise public awareness about the beauty and importance of the nation’s wetlands during May – American Wetlands Month.  The designation of Wetland Treasures of the Carolinas indicates wetlands that are ecologically valuable, protected by conservation plans, and home to an abundance of plant and animal diversity.  All our Wetland Treasures provide many ecosystem services to the benefit of human wellbeing such as water quality, flood control, habitat, recreation, and a host of other services.

Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge

Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge

Location:  Bertie County, NC 
Wetland Type:  Protected forested wetlands consisting of bottomland hardwoods and swamps 
Site Owner: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Unique Feature: Home to over 200 species of birds, including 88 breeding resident species and a diversity of fish species, including the endangered Shortnose Sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum), all connected to each other through the shallow water tables and refuge flooding frequency.

Theodore Roosevelt State Natural Area

Location:  Carteret County, NC 
Wetland Type:  brackish salt marsh, freshwater pond, tidal flat  
Site Owner: North Carolina State Parks
Unique Feature: This 292-acre preserve is one of the few remaining tracts of old-growth maritime forests along the North Carolina coast. Its hiking trails feature views of Bogue Sound, maritime forest, salt marsh and an ancient dune ridge. 

Wambaw Swamp Wilderness

Location:  Charleston County, SC 
Wetland Type:  river-bottom land of hardwoods & sloughs   
Site Owner: U.S. Forest Service
Unique Feature: Thick with wild orchids, pickerel weed, sedges, carnivorous pitcher plants, and epiphytes. The wilderness is comprised of bottomland hardwood forest and is edged with small pine stands. Also, home to mature cypress and tupelo trees.

West Branch Nature Preserve

Location:  Mecklenburg County, NC 
Wetland Type:  river floodplain (due to beaver activity)   
Site Owner: Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation 
Unique Feature: Possibly the most ecologically important wetland in the county. Rich plant diversity with 114 species identified. Habitat to numerous species of salamanders, frogs, toads and turtles. Home to beavers, birds, as well as the eastern ribbon snake.  

Wetland Tour: Richardson-Taylor Preserve

Please join us for a walking tour to learn about the wetlands at Richardson-Taylor Preserve. This Carolina Wetlands Association Wetland Treasure site is located in the upper watershed of Jordan Lake water supply which makes these wetlands especially important for water quality protection and water supply for hundreds of thousands of community members. The tour will be led by Tristan Bailey, Marketing and Special Events Coordinator and will be 1 ½ to 2 hours long, and is limited to 10 participants.

Wetland Tour: Weymouth Woods

Please join us for a walking tour to learn about the wetlands at Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve. This Carolina Wetlands Association Wetland Treasure site is a breathtaking representation of sandhill longleaf habitat, and the longleaf pine seep wetlands that occur in this vegetative community. The tour, limited to the first 10 participants, will be led by a park ranger , and will be 1 ½ to 2 hours long.

2021 Wetland Treasures of the Carolinas

 

Raleigh, NC – Carolina Wetlands Association joins wetlands enthusiasts all over the country to raise public awareness about the beauty and importance of the nation’s wetlands during May – American Wetlands Month.  The designation of Wetland Treasures across the Carolinas selects wetlands that are ecologically valuable, protected by conservation plans, and home to an abundance of plant and animal diversity.  All our Wetland Treasures provide many ecosystem services to the benefit of human wellbeing such as water quality, flood control, habitat, recreation, and a host of other services.

This year we are excited to display our Wetland Treasures logo which will give this program a brand and increased significance.  “I am proud of our Wetland Treasures program and this logo will give the program lasting significance.  We hope to see all of our Wetland Treasures make use of this logo as we continue to engage our Wetland Treasure communities”, said Carrie Caviness who is the program coordinator.  “The logo is a wonderful addition to our program and gives greater fulfillment to being designated as a Wetland Treasures of the Carolina Wetlands Association” stated Heather Clarkson who coordinated the development of the logo. 

“We are excited to highlight and celebrate the 2021 Wetland Treasure sites” said Carrie Caviness. “We hope Carolinians will take pride in our wetland heritage, and we owe a great deal of gratitude to the organizations and agencies that are protecting these natural treasures,” said Caviness. This year, we excited to be back to doing in person tours with the proper safety precautions as required by the site managers.  This includes standard COVID-19 protocol of masks and social distancing. 

The 2021 Wetland Treasures of the Carolinas are as follows (click on links to view a factsheet):

Our now 30 Wetland Treasures expand across every ecoregion of both North and South Carolina giving most people the ability to visit one of our wetlands within a short drive and to discover the beauty and significance of being a Wetland Treasure of the Carolina Wetlands Association.  Explore these special places by visiting our Interactive Wetland Treasure Map.

We intend to engage our Wetland Treasures communities in future activities, promote events, and help provide management solutions by sharing information.  This will be emphasized in the coming months as our Wetland Treasure are not a one and done event, but an everlasting significance!

Carolina Wetlands Association thanks the Wisconsin Wetlands Association, whose Wetland Gems program is the model for this program. Carolina Wetlands Association promotes the understanding, protection, restoration, and enjoyment of North and South Carolina’s wetlands and associated ecosystems through science-based programs, education, and advocacy. More information online at carolinawetlands.org.

Contact: Rick Savage, President, Carolina Wetlands Association rick.savage@carolinawetlands.org, carolinawetlands.or

Welcome to Fall, Wetland Lovers!

Happy wetland lovers!

As the season changes, it is nice to reflect on what the Carolina Wetlands Association has been doing and what to look forward to.

Give the problems presented by the pandemic, our tours of the 2020 Wetland Treasures of the Carolinas were put on hold and we did virtual tours instead.  The virtual tours are a nice addition to our webpage; however, we are looking to scheduling in person tours soon, so keep checking our newsletter and webpage for announcements.  We look forward to seeing you again.

For those of you who have volunteered to help with our Volunteer Wetlands Monitoring Program, we know it has been frustrating since the pandemic has altered our plans.  We are working to prepare training materials on the volunteer monitoring protocol.  Be patient and we will get some of you out in the field soon to start test the monitoring protocol and help with initial site set-up.

We have also been working on our proposal for Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge (a 2020 Wetland Treasure of the Carolinas) to be designated as a Wetland of International Importance (a.k.a. Ramsar Site) link.  If accepted, it would be the first Ramsar Site in North Carolina.  Huge thanks to George Howard, Kristie Gianopulos, and Curt Richardson.  There are two Ramsar sites in South Carolina:  Francis Beidler Forest and Congaree National Park.  This is truly an exciting effort by the Carolina Wetlands Association.

Finally, we are very busy working on getting funding to help with our efforts with three coastal communities to protect and preserve their wetland resources and to restore wetlands that can help mitigate flooding. 

We are currently operating our wetland photo contest that will be used to make our 2021 calendar.  I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to show your photography skills. If one of your pictures are chosen for the calendar, you get a free calendar, so let’s see those beautiful wetland photos!

There is a lot of important and exciting work going on by the organization and I hope you will consider making a financial contribution and volunteer in one or more of our efforts.  We cannot do this work without your support.

Thanks much and go explore a wetland!

Rick

Webinar: 5-year Celebration of Wetland Treasures Program

This year marks the 5th year of the Wetland Treasures of the Carolinas program. That means that 25 wetlands in North and South Carolina have been honored as Wetland Treasures by the Carolina Wetlands Association.

Watch the video to learn more about the Wetland Treasures Program, how the wetlands are selected, and the unique qualities and services they provide. The video is presented by Rick Savage (Board President) and Dr. Carrie Caviness (Leader of the Wetland Treasures Program).n Lakes (NC

 

Additional information, videos, and factsheets are available on our web page.

Webinar: Wetland Treasures of the Carolinas Program Celebration

Carolina Wetlands Association joins wetland enthusiasts all over the country to raise public awareness about the beauty and importance of the nation’s wetlands during May, American Wetlands Month. To promote the importance of wetland ecosystems, the Carolina Wetlands Association announces recognizes five Wetland Treasures of the Carolinas each May.

Wetland Treasures are ecologically valuable wetlands, protected by conservation plans, and home to a diversity of plants and animals. This year marks the 5th year of the program meaning that 25 wetlands have been honored as Wetland Treasures.

Join us for a a 30-minute webinar that will you an overview of the program, highlight the wetlands recognized by this designation, and learn how you can explore more information about our Wetland Treasures in North and South Carolina.

Strange Times: Message from Rick

Dear Wetlands Enthusiasts: 

Strange times, indeed! I had written a message for the March newsletter entirely focused on the 5th anniversary of the Carolina Wetlands Association and our Wetland Treasures of the Carolinas program. Then, like everyone else, I became consumed by the coronavirus.  I have been hunkered down like most of you trying to figure out how to carryout life in this kind of environment.  I am definitely learning I don’t need to go out in my carbon emitting vehicle as much as I do. I am walking more, planning my trips better, and thinking how the Carolina Wetlands Association needs to operate during the pandemic which could go on for months.  We are conducting our Board and Committee meetings virtually and we are planning on doing some webinars and posting information on Facebook. Stay alert for these announcements; you will not want to miss them. 

On April 22, we will be announcing the 2020 Wetland Treasures of the Carolinas. Unfortunately, the tours which were scheduled for May will be delayed until the risk from the virus has been eliminated.  I would like to reflect a little on what our Wetland Treasures program is about.  

First, the program was inspired by Laura England who brought her experience with the Wetland Gems of the Wisconsin Wetlands Association to the Carolinas.  The Wetland Treasures program recognizing these wetlands as having special value is important to keeping them protected, well managed, and open to you, our wetland enthusiasts to enjoy.  Selecting wetlands for this recognition is not an easy task because there are so many good wetlands in North and South Carolina to choose from.  The members of our Program Committee identify and select the Treasures based on our selection criteria. Once selected, we contact the wetland owner/manager and work with them to develop fact sheets and schedule tours to each site. The fact sheets are available on our website and can be used by teachers to broaden their student’s knowledge about the value of wetlands.  Once all of this is done, we then announce the Wetland Treasures to the world.  Truly this is a lot of work and I want to thank Carrie Caviness for leading this program for the last few years.   And of course, I need to also thank Jessica Tisdale and Amin Davis who have been the backbone of the program since it started.  It is a lot of work, but the dedication to this program is clear. A tremendous thanks to you all. 

So, for now stay tuned, stay in, and enjoy a wetland, remotely.  Check our You Tube Channel for videos of some of our past treasures. 

Stay safe all, 

Rick