Cape Fear Arch Conservation Collaboration
By Dan Ryan, The Nature Conservancy
The Arch was recently notified that its 2015 proposal to National Fish & Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) Longleaf Stewardship Fund, the Cape Fear Arch Longleaf Initiative Phase II, was awarded $300,000. Phase II will continue to contribute substantially to the conservation goals of the Arch partners and many of the range wide objectives of the Longleaf Stewardship Fund. With the participation of private landowners, state agencies, and The Nature Conservancy, Phase II will plant 500 acres of longleaf pine seedlings, 1,048 acres of native grasses, treat 302 acres of mid-story, provide outreach to 300 private landowners, enhance 10 acres of bottomland hardwood habitat, and permanently protect 246 acres of bottomland hardwood habitat and 217 acres of longleaf pine. Outstanding existing partnerships will allow for extensive opportunities to collaborate and execute more than 3,500 acres of prescribed fire in a technically challenging environment filled with encroaching residential development, unpredictable weather patterns, and organic peat soils.
In addition to the lands managed by Cape Fear Arch participants, an emphasis of Phase II will be to continue to engage and benefit the habitat restoration efforts taking place at the Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point (~12,000 acres), privately-held Orton Plantation (~10,000 acres) and the Bladen Lakes State Forest (BLSF) (~35,000 acres).
Image 1: Setting a prescribed fire in North Carolina. Photo by Angie Carl.