Tag Archives: wetlands matter

Message from the President

Dearest wetland supporters:

Just wanted to say a big thank you for all your support. 2019 was a big year for us as we were able to start several new projects and will be starting others in 2020. We cannot do this without your support, both financially and in volunteering.

A major effort that Carolina Wetlands Association was working with the Natural and Working Lands initiative started by the Governor’s office and managed by NC DEQ. This is a stakeholder group of state and federal agencies, NGOs and nonprofits, and experts from academia. Kim Matthews, Heather Clarkson and I work on this effort all year long and recommendations are currently being written up.

The recommendations focus on forest and wetland restoration to sequester more carbon, the co-benefits that result in terms of ecosystem services (such as water quality, flood control, etc.), and the building of community resilience. Along with these recommendations, are many policy suggestions such as expanding the floodplain buyout program to include farms, environmental equity, public outreach and education and the role of citizen science. I was also invited to attend a meeting of the US Climate Alliance in Washington, DC a part of the NC delegation.

From the Natural and Working Lands effort and with meeting with many other environmental organization in the state, Carolina Wetlands Association has taken on the challenge to develop a workshop to educate local decision makers about wetland value, their place in nature-based solutions and how they help build community resilience. The first version of the workshop was presented at the SeaGrant Coastal Conference in Wilmington in November. Amanda Johnson, David Shouse, Kim Mathews and I attended the meeting and presented the workshop. Very valuable feedback was received and the workshop will be updated. It is likely that NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency will partner with us on this workshop which we view as important to implementing the recommendations of the Natural and Working Lands initiative.

We also did our normal events to advocate for wetlands at Cary Arbor day, Reptile and Amphibian day at the NC Natural Science Museum, Bass Lake Day, meet and greet events in Asheville and Durham.

Plans for a SC Wetlands Matter event is being planed for March in Georgetown. There are also plans being made to have a similar Wetlands Matter event in Hilton Head Island, SC with the Coastal Discovery Museum and the HHI Land Trust later in 2020.

Carolina Wetlands Association was a sponsor to the WRRI conference in March for the second straight year. We had one session with four wetland papers and we had a panel discussion with Geoff Gisler (Southern Environmental Law Center and Carolina Wetlands Association), Norton Webster (Carolina Wetlands Association), Phil May (Carolina Ecology), and Michael Flynn (NC Coastal Federation) about the rule changes to the waters of the US (WOTUS).

The Association also was a sponsor for the America Ecological Engineering Society (AEES) annual meeting in Asheville in June. This was a great conference with Kim Matthews, Norton Webster and I attending. We were able to get quite a few ecological engineering/restoration companies interested in Carolina Wetlands as well as many of the attendees. The AEES is a national organization.

This past year also saw our newest Wetland Treasure selections: Bluff Mountain Fen (Ash County, NC), Croatan National Forest (Craven, Carteret, and Jones Counties, NC), Merchants Mill Pond (Gates County, NC), Santee Coastal Preserve (Charleston County, SC), and Woods Bay (Florence, Clarendon, and Sumter counties, SC). The wetland treasure tours were well attended, and all had a great time learning about their area wetlands.

Early in the year there were several meetings between Carolina Wetlands, RTI International and NC State University to talk about a grant to develop a volunteer wetland monitoring program. Michael Burchell and Natalie Nelson of NCSU, Kim Matthews of RTI and Carolina Wetlands Association, and I wrote an EPA Wetlands Program Development grant and was awarded the grant in June. We will be starting work on developing that volunteer wetland monitoring program with a few of our wetland treasures in 2020. This is a major accomplishment for the organization and will provide a project that will hopefully be sustainable with several sources of funding.

We will need to continue to have your support in 2020 as this will be our best year yet. We are making a difference. If you have not made your financial contribution, please do so and contact us if you want to help out on any of these projects.

Happy New Year and start the new year by exploring a wetland.
Rick

Press Release: Celebrate Wetland Treasures this Spring!

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 April, Earth Month. To promote the importance of wetland ecosystems, the Carolina Wetlands Association announces its fourth class of Wetland Treasures of the Carolinas. Wetland Treasures contain ecologically valuable wetlands, protected by conservation plans, and diversity of plants and animals.

“We are thrilled to celebrate these Wetland Treasures,” said Carrie Caviness, coordinator of this project. “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. The 2019 Wetland Treasures of the Carolinas are as follows (click on links to view a factsheet):

“We are offering tours of all our 2019 wetland treasure sites starting the first weekend in May thru June 8. We invite Carolinians to come experience the beauty, wonder and ecology of wetlands up close with us,” said Rick Savage, President of the Carolina Wetlands Association. Field tours details are listed above, as well as on the Carolina Wetlands Association website at carolinawetlands.org.

Wetlands play an important role in both the ecology and economy of the Carolinas. They are beautiful, magical places and are sanctuaries for people and wildlife. These hardworking ecosystems provide natural flood control and filter runoff, which helps keep our rivers, lakes, and drinking water clean.

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.org

Message from the President

Happy New Year to all of our wetland supporters!  The past year has seen a lot of changes for Carolina Wetlands Association and with that, the new year brings some serious challenges.

First, we are very fortunate to have two new Board members.  Heather Clarkson holds a J.D. degree from the University of South Carolina and works for the Defenders of Wildlife where she is Outreach Representative.  Tara Allden works for Kimley-Horn in Columbia, SC, where she is a Natural Resources Specialist.  Tara deals with aquatic resource mitigation, wetlands delineation, permitting and local governments.  She also has a law degree from the University of South Carolina. Both Heather and Tara strengthen our board with their diverse experience and their SC connections. We want to thank the two departing Board members, John Dorney and Stratford Kay.  John is a founding member of Carolina Wetlands Association and was the Secretary on the Board for three years. Both  John and Stratford continue to serve on committees for Carolina Wetlands Association. We are so thankful for the dedicated service of John and Stratford for playing critical roles in the formation of the organization.

Second, we had our third round of Wetland Treasures of the Carolinas announced in May: Pink Beds, Black River Swamp, Hemlock Bluffs, Lewis Ocean Bay, and Sparkleberry Swamp.  The tours were well attended, and all had a great time. The Wetland Treasures program remains a very successful Program Committee program.  We also participated in events at the Town of Cary’s Arbor day, Reptile and Amphibians Day at the NC Natural Science Museum, and Mud Day at the Walnut Creek Wetlands Park.  We continue to be a significant part of the Wetland Forest Initiative with myself serving as one of three co-chairs of the Steering Committee. Heather Clarkson, Chad Guthrie, and I participate in the Watershed Alliance run by the NC Conservation Network and the Carolina Wetlands Association became affiliated with Wake NaturePerserve.  We are also involved with Albemarle Pamlico National Estuary Partnership’s Wetland Assessment team.

In November we had our first “Wetlands Matter” networking and information event.  We were overwhelmed by the great response to this event with over 100 people in attendance. A special thank you to our keynote speaker, Mr.  Derb Carter of the Southern Environmental Law Center, who talked about proposed changes the Waters of the US (WOTUS) by the US EPA. We ended the year with our annual Giving Campaign – thanks to your generosity we were able to raise over $4,000!

In 2019, we are faced with challenges from both within and outside the organization.  We have set an ambitious goal to raise $40,000 to implement our core competencies and hire a small staff.  We have plans to strengthen our partnership with our Wetland Treasures sites, publish the first State of the Wetlands report for the Carolinas, and host more networking events and tours throughout both states. The other big challenge we all face is the revisions to the Waters of the US rule which threatens over 50% of our wetland resources and many headwater streams. We are preparing a media campaign and working with many other organizations to be sure our wetland and stream resources are protected.  This is a critically important issue and we are counting on you to help with our efforts!

Your Carolina Wetlands Association has a lot going on this year and your help is needed.  Please contact me, one of our board members, or register on our website to be a volunteer.   Lastly, be sure to go out and explore a wetland!

Rick Savage

President