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Thread: The Conservation Tide May be Turning

  1. #1
    SirKristoff is a poopiehead Ozzy's Avatar
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    I found this article and it shows alot of promise of the goverment working with conservation groups.

    In case you don't know Baldwin County Alabama has many very important cp sites.

    Mobile Register

    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]Conservation stakes a claim

    Groups mesh to protect tracts


    Staff Reporter

    GULF SHORES -- Typically, development gets the headlines in rapidly growing Baldwin County.

    Conservation efforts, however, are also gobbling up land throughout the county, preserving diverse ecosystems from the bogs of north Baldwin County to the beaches of the Fort Morgan peninsula.

    On Monday, for example, the Nature Conservancy closed a deal to buy 105 acres of freshwater marsh and maritime forest on the north side of the Fort Morgan peninsula.

    The conservation organization is also negotiating a purchase of 558 acres at Splinter Hill Bog, a diverse ecosystem at the headwaters of Perdido River in the northern part of the county, said Nicole Vickey, coastal programs director for the group's Alabama chapter.

    In recent years efforts have also preserved thousands of acres along Weeks Bay and Fish River, in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, Lillian Swamp and other areas of the Fort Morgan peninsula.

    And this week officials from private conservation groups, land trusts, state and federal agencies and scien tists are meeting in Mobile to plan the next preservation pushes.

    While the focus of those meetings includes areas in Mobile County and other parts of Alabama, Baldwin County and its widely varying ecosystems figure largely into conservation schemes.

    In an interview with the Register last year, the director of the Nature Conservancy's Alabama chapter, Chris Oberholster, said that, "People are coming to realize that southwest Alabama is sort of ground zero for biodiversity."

    Last week U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service employees and Nature Conservancy officials and donors toured by boat the 105-acre Fort Morgan tract that will be preserved as part of the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.

    The parcel is composed of a maritime forest interspersed with open grasslands and buffered from the bay by freshwater marsh.

    The marsh features two types of cord grasses -- the taller alternaflora and shorter spartina patens -- which snarl and clump their roots together, trapping sediment that accumulates, forming a spongy floor. This landscape is interrupted only by a winding creek -- on most days too shallow to navigate by boat -- that winds and branches through the northern portion of the tract.

    The marsh acts as a fish nursery, its shallowness protecting young fin fish from predators, and providing flood protection for nearby uplands filled with loblolly and slash pine, Vickey said.

    Bobcats, feral pigs, armadillos, coyotes and burrowing gopher tortoises inhabit the area, and it's an important stopover for migrating neotropical birds on their spring return from Mexico's neotropical forest, said Lyne Askins, manager of the wildlife refuge.

    "When you've got this diversity of habitat, you're going to attract a wide variety of birds," she said.

    Eventually the parcel will be sold to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and made a part of the wildlife refuge, which already protects 863 adjacent acres, called the refuge's Sand Bayou unit. Much of the land that the sanctuary now controls was obtained with the help of the Nature Conservancy, Askins said.

    Both public officials and those who work with various nonprofit organizations geared toward preservation say that this sort of partnership between government agencies and the private groups has helped further conservation efforts despite little increases in state and federal funding.

    For one, the nonprofits such as the Nature Conservancy, the Weeks Bay Reserve Foundation and the Alabama Coastal Heritage Trust, can typically move faster than the state or federal government to buy land when it becomes available.

    These groups often will hold the land until the Fish & Wildlife Service, the state's Forever Wild or another agency can come up with the money to buy it.

    "We're very fortunate in Alabama to have this going on," said Walter Ernest, executive director of the Weeks Bay Reserve Foundation.

    That foundation, for example, recently transferred two tracts totaling about 115 acres along the west bank of Fish River to the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Ernest said.

    The foundation has held one of the parcels since 1996 and the other since 2001, waiting until funds were available from Forever Wild and a federal program to conserve wetlands to buy the tracts and officially add them to the more than 6,000 acres that the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve protects, Ernest said.

    On the western portion of the Fort Morgan peninsula, the Alabama Coastal Heritage Trust used similar techniques to acquire for the Fish & Wildlife Service 40 acres of developable uplands in the middle of the wildlife refuge's Little Point Clear unit last October.

    In total the wildlife refuge, established by Congress in 1980, preserves nearly 7,000 acres on the Fort Morgan peninsula and on Little Dauphin Island in Mobile County.

    Meanwhile, a fourth of the 31 tracts protected under the state's Forever Wild program are either entirely or partially in Baldwin County. These parcels are found in the Weeks Bay area, the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, Lillian Swamp and Splinter Hill bog at the headwaters of the Perdido River.

    Future preservation in Baldwin County, being planned at the Mobile meetings this week, will likely continue to focus on these areas, said Phillip Hinesley, chief of the Alabama Department of Conservation's coastal section.

    "We're making efforts to acquire additional properties in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, Weeks Bay and possibly looking at the Perdido River area," Hinesley said.

    He said the Forever Wild board, made up of scientists and other environmental experts, would examine possible purchases in these and other areas through the state, weighing ecological benefit and manageability versus land prices before buying any land.

    Splinter Hill, located just north of Interstate 65 in Rabun, is one area of particular interest to conservationists because of its sandy uplands and unique wetlands that were once common to the Southeast. In all, about 2,700 acres of the bog remain untouched by development and untraversed by major roads, according to reports.

    The state owns about 725 acres of the bog, and Nature Conservancy officials hope to close on 558 adjacent acres near Dyas Creek within 90 days, Vickey said.

    The bog is home to the last known occurrence in Alabama of American chaffseed and is well known for its abundance of carnivorous and colorful pitcher plants.

    Vickey said the Nature Conservancy plans to keep its parcels in the bog rather than sell them to a government agency.

    "It will become the Nature Conservancy's largest private preserve in Alabama when we close on it," she said. And the group anticipates collecting more adjacent parcels, she said.

    Long-term, the group would like to set aside enough land the Mobile-Tensaw Delta to the state line -- with Splinter Hill at its center -- to create an undisturbed corridor of rapidly disappearing longleaf pine savanna, Vickey said.

    "There's a lot of hope that the black bear could be reintroduced to the area," she said. "We're not sure it would be successful, but a corridor would at least give them the opportunity to roam. Right now they really can't get from Florida to Alabama."

  2. #2
    Copper's Avatar
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    Thank goodness for wildlife, the cps may be saved.
    I am just like a Super Hero, but without the power or motivation.................and the funky suit.

  3. #3

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    Good news!

    BUT, they jjust might rip out all the sundews if they ever find out what your sundews did...

  4. #4

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    Thanks Ozzy, great article, I have kin folk a yonder that way in Mobil
    I always suspect everything is a trap....thats why I'm still alive

    Times fun when you're having flys

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