Protection of Rare Habitats Continues in the Pocomoke River Watershed
Top: Forested wetland in the Pocomoke watershed. Photo by Dan Murphy, USFWS. Bottom: Elfin butterfly. Photo by Dan Feller, MD DNR
Through the Chesapeake Bay Field Office Coastal Program and Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, the North American Wetland Conservation Act grant program, The Nature Conservancy, and Maryland Department of Natural Resources a 280-acre property in the Nassawango Creek watershed MD has been protected. Nassawango Creek is one two main tributaries flowing into the Pocomoke River.
The property currently consists of 53 acres of forested wetlands and 227 acres of mostly loblolly pine forests of varying age classes. The property falls within a State-designated Ecologically Sensitive Area that supports seven state-listed species including a wild lupine and its codependent butterfly, the frosted elfin.
Much of forest will succeed into a diverse mixture of tree species that will provide better habitat for forest interior-dwelling wildlife, neotropical migratory birds, and the federally-endangered Delmarva fox squirrel. Additionally, 25 acres will be restored to the savannah-like conditions needed by the wild lupine and the frosted elfin.
In addition, a 141-acre farm on the Pocomoke River has been protected through the purchase of a perpetual conservation easement. The property supports 91 acres of mature cypress forest and 50 acres of farmland.
To date, more than 2,500 acres on the Pocomoke River and its two main tributaries, Nassawango Creek and Dividing Creek have been protected. The forests and wetlands of the Pocomoke River are considered to be a biodiversity hotspot and a highly significant region for neotropical migratory birds, waterfowl, and rare, threatened, and endangered plants and animals. This is part of a larger landscape-scale project to protect and restore more 4,000 acres of wildlife habitat in the Pocomoke River watershed, a major tributary to the Chesapeake Bay.
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