Profile: Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge
Pocosin is a Native American word meaning "swamp on a hill." They are a unique type of wetland characterized by deep organic soils known as mucks or peats. The depth of organic soil depth over mineral soil, though not evident at the surface, has a tremendous influence on the potential uses of the land. These peat soils can act as a chemical sponge over time, locking-up metals, carbon, and nutrients in their vegetation and soil.
Inundation of hundreds of thousands of acres of lowlying pocosins east of Pocosin Lakes from sea level rise is anticipated, and conversion of thousands of acres of low pocosin wetlands to marsh in and near Pocosin Lakes is likely.
Restoring their hydrology stops the loss of peat soils while allowing soil generation and biomass accumulation to resume. Over time, this results in increasing elevation of previously drained pocosins. Restoring peatlands provides an adaptive mechanism to sea level rise. The re-accumulation of soil also helps mitigate the impacts of flooding and storm events while improving water quality, wildlife and vegetation.
"By working with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Service is restoring the pocosins as nature’s nutrient sponges, re-saturating nearly 11,000 acres on Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina.
That’s the equivalent of taking about 6,000 cars off the road every year."
Map Depicting Pocosins with Restoration Potential and Pocosins in Conservation Ownership