Originally Posted by [bQuote[/b] ]N.C. areas eyed for new 'Unique Wetlands' designationhttp://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/mld....598.htmOriginally Posted by [bQuote[/b] ]By Steve Jones
The Sun News
SHALLOTTE, N.C. - North Carolina may designate three wetland areas in Brunswick County among the state's first round of a new Unique Wetlands classification.
The classification would protect the wetland from any development other than that deemed to have a public need.
The four areas in Brunswick total more than 120 acres and are on land The Nature Conservancy owns along Myrtle Head Road and in the Green Swamp.
"There aren't that many sites left that haven't been plowed up or aren't grown over," said Hervey McIver of The Nature Conservancy in Raleigh, N.C.
The sites are among 30 being considered in 20 counties statewide.
Although one of the Green Swamp areas is just miles from a proposed private landfill in Columbus County, its designation as a Unique Wetland likely won't affect the landfill's permitting, McIver said. The two sites drain into different watersheds, so runoff from the landfill would not affect the designated site.
Two of the sites have plants that are classified as federally endangered species and threatened plants such as the Venus' flytrap and pitcher plants.
The third site, a small cypress pond, is home to frogs and salamanders found nowhere else.
McIver said there are a number of similar ponds in Boiling Spring Lakes but all have been altered somewhat by the development around them.
The Myrtle Head Preserve, which is near Ash, N.C., in the most northwestern corner of Brunswick County, is one of three areas nationally where Cooley's meadowrue is found. A second population is in Pender County; the third is in Florida.
The plant grows only in areas where marl desposits underlie the land and depends on fires that burn taller plants and trees so it can get the sunlight it needs.
The Green Swamp savanna site has rough-leaf loosestrife and Carolina goldenrod among other rare plants.
McIver said North Carolina is precise in the areas it has proposed for the Unique Wetlands classification. The Nature Conservancy owns 72 acres at the Myrtle Head Preserve and 15,551 acres in the Green Swamp.
The state chooses the sites to be classed Unique Wetlands based on the presence of endangered, threatened and rare species.
Private land will not be considered for the classification without permission of the landowner.
All the sites being considered in the initial round, except for one in New Hanover County owned by the federal government, are either in state parks or are owned by The Nature Conservancy.
Proposed Unique Wetlands
Myrtle Head Preserve
Wet pine savanna, 36.6 acres
Wet pine savanna, 81.23 acres
Cypress pond, 3 acres