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Full text of "Natural area inventory of Hyde County, North Carolina"

North Carolina Sufe Library 



H.QL 
Odd 



Natural Areas Inventory 

of 

Hyde County, North Carolina 




- 



% 



J. Merrill Lynch 
S. Lance Peacock 




OCTOBER 1982 



North Carolina 

Coastal Energy Impact Program 

Office of Coastal Management 

North Carolina Department of Natural Resources 

and Community Development 



CEIP REPORT NO. 28 



To order: 

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publications - or to place an 
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Coastal Energy Impact Program 
Office of Coastal Management 
N.C. Department of Natural 

Resources and Community 

Development 
Box 27687 
Raleigh, NC 27611 



Series Edited by James F. Smith 
Cover Design by Jill Miller 



NATURAL AREA INVENTORY OF HYDE COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA 



BY 



J. Merrill Lynch 



2 
S. Lance Peacock 



The preparation of this report was financed through a Coastal 
Energy Impact Program grant provided by the North Carolina 
Coastal Management Program, through funds provided by the 
Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended, which is 
administered by the Office of Coastal Zone Management, 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This 
CEIP grant was part of NOAA NA-80-AA-D-CZ149. 

The natural area inventory was supervised by the North Carolina 
Natural Heritage Program (Division of Parks and Recreation, N.C. 
Department of Natural Resources and Community Development) . 



October 1982 



CEIP Report No. 28 



1 2 

Route 2, Box 222-B P. 0. Box 6006 

Enfield, NC 27823 Raleigh, NC 27628 



PREFACE 



The North Carolina Office of Coastal Management and the 
North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, both units of the 
Department of Natural Resources and Community Development, 
have commissioned a series of natural areas inventories for 
ten counties in the coastal zone of this state. The Hyde 
County inventory was conducted in 1982 and was financed by a 
Coastal Energy Impact Program (CEIP) grant. CEIP funded the 
Hyde County survey because of the potential environmental 
impacts of peat mining and other energy-related development. 

The recommendations made in this report by J. Merrill 
Lynch and S. Lance Peacock are advisory. Their inventory 
and recommendations are designed to help state and federal 
agencies, county officials, resource managers, landowners 
and developers work out effective land management and preser- 
vation mechanisms to protect the seven outstanding or exemplary 
natural areas described in the report. Agencies such as the 
N.C. Division of Environmental Management, Division of Land 
Resources, Division of Marine Fisheries, Wildlife Resources 
Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps 
of Engineers, National Marine Fisheries Service, and Environ- 
mental Protection Agency should find this report useful, as 
may university researchers, private consultants, and private 
conservation groups. The Office of Coastal Management will 
use the report in assessing permit applications and for federal 
and state consistency reviews. 

Merrill Lynch and Lance Peacock are experienced field 
biologists, who have previously been employed with the N.C. 
Natural Heritage Program and are most familiar with natural 
habitats throughout the North Carolina coastal plain region. 
The investigators were exceptionally well qualified to iden- 
tify, describe, and evaluate the most outstanding natural 
areas of the project region. 

Project investigators were instructed to identify natural 
areas that contain highly unique, endangered, or rare natural 
features, or high-quality representations of relatively 
undisturbed natural habitats, and which may be vulnerable 
to threats and damage from land use changes. Consequently, 
the investigators were advised not to report extensively on 
the large expanses of brackish marshes, or on lands and waters 
protected and administered by the U.S. Department of the 
Interior. The Hyde County inventory excludes three categories 
of natural environments possessing important ecological re- 
sources. 



11 



Categories of natural environments not described in this 
inventory are: 

(1) Brackish Marsh . Vast expanses of marsh fringe the shore- 
line along Pamlico Sound. For the most part, this eco- 
system is protected through State and federal regulatory 
programs. 

(2) National Wildlife Refuges . Both the Mattamuskeet and 
Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuges are recognized on 
the State Registry of Natural Heritage Areas. Lake 
Mattamuskeet, in excess of 50,000 acres in size, is the 
largest natural lake in North Carolina. The lake is 
bordered by a narrow band of woodlands and freshwater 
marshes. The refuge supports more than 100,000 wintering 
waterfowl and a large number of breeding ospreys. Bald 
eagles also over-winter at the lake. Swanquarter refuge 
is primarily composed of needlerush-brackish marsh and 
estuarine waters and is noted for large numbers of 
wintering water fows and raptors. It supports a popula- 
tion of American Alligators, and a heron colony is known 
to breed in an old-growth cypress stand. Much of Swan- 
quarter refuge is designated as a National Wilderness 
Area. 

(3) Outer Banks Barrier Islands . Not included in the inventory 
project, Ocraocke Island is primarily owned and managed 

by the National Park Service. The narrow 12-mile-long 
barrier island is relatively undisturbed and provides a 
fine illustration of zonations—beach, fore dunes, sand 
flats, relict dunes, tidal creeks, live oak-wax myrtle 
maritime woods, and spartina marshes. The island supports 
large nesting populations of shorebirds. Also in the 
Ocracoke Inlet, on Shell Castle, Beacon, and North Rock 
Islands, nest the state's largest breeding colony of 
brown pelicans, which is the northernmost breeding colony 
on the East Coast. 

The Office of Coastal Management, and the Coastal Resources 
Commission which it serves, implement the Coastal Area Manage- 
ment Act of 1974 (CAMA) . Under this statute, the North Carolina 
Coastal Management Plan has been prepared and approved. It 
includes the definition and designation of various Areas of 
Environmental Concern (AEC) . In many cases, AECs coincide 
with natural areas that are herein recommended for preservation 
or special management. In some cases, AECs may encompass other 
areas — such as marsh zone wetlands — which are not extensively 
treated in this inventory. 

Peat mining has particular implications for these natural 
areas, some of which overlay exploitable peat deposits. Mining 
will remove natural vegetation, permanently alter the hydrology 
of the region, lower surface soil types from high organic 



in 



histosoils to the clayey, sandy, and loamy soils typical of 
other parts of the outer coastal plain. Thus, natural 
communities, once mining is complete, almost certainly could 
never be re-established or reclaimed on mined-out land. 
Preservation of the best natural areas, and appropriate 
hydrological management, is necessary prior to and during 
active peat mining. 

The Natural Heritage Program is most pleased to have had 
this opportunity to conduct this project for the Office of 
Coastal Management. The inventory has revealed a number of 
extraordinary natural areas that possess natural elements of 
statewide or national priority and may be critical to the 
survival of North Carolina's natural diversity. Most of the 
identified sites were previously unknown and undocumented by 
the state' e scientific community. We are particularly 
impressed by the natural heritage values contained in the 
series of wetlands in the Alligator River corridor, the 
Scranton hardwood forest and the Gull Rock Game Land wetlands. 
The Natural Heritage Program hopes that these areas will be 
protected for the benefits of present and future generations 
of North Carolinians and for the preservation of the state's 
truly exceptional natural heritage. 



Charles E. Roe, Coordinator 
N.C. Natural Heritage Program 
November 16, 1982 



IV 



ABSTRACT . Seven natural areas are described and delineated 
for Hyde County as a result of a field survey December 1981 - 
August 1982. The natural areas contain slightly over 52,000 
acres and at least 42 significant features. All but two of the 
natural areas are wholly in private ownership. Publicly owned 
natural areas are the Gull Rock Game Lands and Salyer's Ridge. 
The entire natural area acreage is comprised of wetland habitats. 



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 



The assistance of the following individuals is gratefully 
acknowledged : 



1. Chuck Roe and Julie Moore of the North Carolina Natural 
Heritage Program, for the preparation of a workable set 

of inventory specifications, advice, and guidance through- 
out the project. 

2. Rod McClanahan, District Biologist, North Carolina Wildlife 
Resources Commission; Otto Florschutz, Jr., Biologist, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service; and Kirby Ballance, Technician, 
Soil Conservation Service, Hyde County, for their assistance 
in helping to identify and document the significant natural 
areas of the county. 

3. Pat White, private consulting forester, Plymouth, for his 
invaluable aid in locating natural areas, identifying land- 
owners, and providing a wealth of information on all aspects 
of the county's natural diversity. 

4. Earl Faison, Roanoke Rapids, our pilot during the reconnais- 
sance flights, who aided our survey immeasurably. 

5. Lee Otte, East Carolina University, Department of Geology, 
who provided valuable comments on pocosin ecology and peat 
information. 



vi 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 
State Library of North Carolina 



http://www.archive.org/details/naturalareainventryhyde 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

PAGE 



PREFACE ii 

ABSTRACT v 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS vi 

LIST OF FIGURES viii 

LIST OF TABLES ix 

INTRODUCTION 1 

NATURAL AREA INVENTORIES 

Alligator River - Swan Lake 14 

Cypress Park 49 

Roper Island 67 

New Lake Fork Pocosin 96 

Gull Rock Game Lands 114 

Scranton Hardwoods 157 

Salyer's Ridge . . 187 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 205 

GLOSSARY 210 



vn 



LIST OF FIGURES 



Page 



1 . Natural Areas of Hyde County 13 

2. Access information map, Alligator River- 

Swan Lake x 5 

3. Significant features map, Alligator River- 

Swan Lake 31 

4. Access information map, Cypress Park 5 

5. Significant features map, Cypress Park 57 

6. Access information map, Roper Island 6 8 

7. Significant features map, Roper Island 7 8 

8. Access information map, New Lake Fork 

Pocosin 97 

9. Significant features map, New Lake Fork 

Pocosin ....... .........00..... 103 

10. Access information map, Gull Rock Game 

Lands 115 

11. Significant features map, Gull Rock Game 

J_lCLilClS aaaa°caeaaoaeoooaB<iaaaaaoaaaaos>asa<>eoaa>a*ci<?ee X 3 1 

12. Access information map, Scranton Hardwoods 158 

13. Significant features map, Scranton Hardwoods 171 

14 . Access information map , Salyer ' s Ridge 188 

15. Significant features map, Salyer's Ridge .............. 194 

LIST OF TABLES 

Page 



1. Selected Characteristics of Otte's 

lOCOS IT! 1 y pGS B.»ao©.»aooeeea»BaBBoao«OBooeo«B«eeea#aooo O 



Vlll 



INTRODUCTION 



Hyde County is in the northeastern section of North Carolina, 
situated in the Coastal Plain Province. The county is one of the 
oldest in the state, formed in 1705 as a sub-unit of the earlier 
Bath County, and having the name of Hyde since about 1712 (Powell, 
1968). Hyde County has an area of about 1364 square miles, of 
which 634 are land and 730 are water. The approximately 873,000 
acres encompass a variety of habitats , ranging from open lakes , 
brackish sounds and embayed rivers to freshwater marshes, pocosins 
and wooded swamps and flats, with minor areas of upland mixed pine- 
hardwood forests, as well as various maritime habitats on the outer 
banks. 

The mainland part of the county, which is the subject of the 
present study, is. located on the south side of the Pamlimarle 
peninsula, and is adjoined by Beaufort, Washington, Tyrrell and 
Dare Counties. Most of mainland Hyde County's boundaries also 
follow natural features: the Pungo River on the west, the Al- 
ligator River on much of the northern boundary, and Pamlico Sound 
on the east and south. The embayed and non-embayed portions of 
the Pungo and Alligator Rivers, and their tributaries, drain 
about half the county, with the other half draining into Pamlico 
Sound, either directly or through Lake Mattamuskeet. Many small 
embayments dissect the Pamlico Sound shoreline, including the 
Long Shoal River, Wyesocking Bay, Juniper Bay, Rose Bay and 
others. Large natural lakes are a prominent feature of the 
county , and include New Lake , part of the Pungo Lake , and Lake 
Mattamuskeet, the largest natural lake in the state. Swan 
Creek Lake, a much smaller blackwater lake, is located in the 
northwest part of the county along the channel of Swan Creek. 
Elevations on the mainland are 18 feet or less. 



SOILS AND RECENT GEOLOGY 



A modern soil survey of Hyde County has not been conducted, 
but a General Soils Map and Interpretations (SCS, 1973) has been 
produced, and is the source of the following soils data. Hyde 
County has six recognized Soil Associations , as follows : 

a) Myatt-Bladen Association - poorly drained soils with 
gray to dark gray fine sandy loam to loam sur- 
face layers and friable sandy clay loam to very 
firm clay subsoils. 



Wet Ultisols which comprise about 7 percent of the 
county's total land acreage and are about 80 percent 
in cultivation. 

Natural areas identified: none. 



b) Weeksville-Pasquotank Association - very poorly 
drained soils with black to gray very fine 
sandy loam or silt loam surface layers over 
friable silt or stratified sands. 

Wet Inceptisols which comprise about 11 percent of 
the county's total land acreage and are 85 percent 
or more in cultivation. 

Natural areas identified: Salyer's Ridge and most 
of the hardwood stands on the Gull Rock Game 
Lands natural area. 



c) Hyde-Bayboro Association - very poorly drained soils 
with thick black loam surface layers over firm 
clay loam to very firm clay subsoils. 

Wet Ultisols which comprise about 12 percent of the 
county's total land acreage and are about 25 percent 
in cultivation with the rest in timberland including 
pine plantations. 

Natural areas identified: Gull Rock Game Lands (in 
part) ; Scranton Hardwoods. 



d) Capers Association - very poorly drained soils with 
dark gray silty clay subsoils and loam surface 
layers over sticky, plastic, silty clay subsoils. 

Wet Entisols (marsh soils) which comprise about 7 
percent of the county's total land acreage and are 
not cultivated. 

Natural areas identified: Gull Rock Game Lands (in 
part) . 



e) Dare-Pungo-Dorovan Association - very poorly drained 
soils with thick to moderately thick organic 
surface layers over mineral subsurface layers 
ranging from sand to clay. 



Deep Histosols which comprise about 20 percent of 
the county's total land acreage. Large acreages 
are being placed in cultivation, and peat mining 
has been proposed within this group of soils. 

Natural areas identified: Alligator River; Roper 
Island (in part) ; New Lake Fork Pocosin. 



f) Ponzer-Belhaven-Wasda Association - very poorly 
drained soils with moderately thick to thin 
organic surface layers and loamy subsurface 
layers. 

Shallow Histosols (Wasda series soils are Histic 
Humaquepts) which comprise about 30 percent of the 
county's total land acreage. Extensively cleared 
for agriculture mostly during the past 20 years. 

Natural areas identified: Alligator River (in part) ; 
Roper Island (in part) ; Gull Rock Game Lands (in 
part) . 



The entire area of mainland Hyde County is on the Pamlico 
terrace or Pamlico surface. The Pamlico is the lowest and 
youngest of the several generalized surfaces of the state's 
Coastal Plain recognized as having been formed during periods 
of higher sea level. The history of sea rise and fall is com- 
plex. About 75,000 years BP (Daniel, 1981), during the Pamlico 
transgression, the edge of the sea lay inland to a point now 
marked by the sandy ridge of the Suffolk Scarp. The toe of 
the scarp is now about 20 feet above modern sea level , and 
15 miles west of the western boundary of Hyde County. During 
the peak of the Wisconsin glaciation (15,000 yrs. BP) , sea 
level stood as much as 400 feet below its modern level (Daniel, 
1981). Since that period the sea has risen to its present level, 
and continues to rise today. 

The complex cycle of marine transgressions and regressions 
has produced differing effects upon the topography of the alter- 
nately exposed and submerged surfaces. Rising seas slowed stream 
erosion by raising stream base level , and planed off or obscured 
with silts and muds the previous surface features. Falling sea 
level in contrast exposed areas of the continental shelf and re- 
juvenated streams, increasing downcutting and topographic relief. 

Concurrently with the recent period of rising sea levels, 
conditions favorable to peat formation have prevailed in Hyde 
County and throughout the North Carolina Coastal Plain, in a 
variety of vegetational and topographic situations. During 



the past 10,000 years, peat nas been forming in blocked drainages, 
Carolina bays and river floodplains; under swamp forests, pocosins 
and marshes (Otte, 1981). Of these, however, only floodplain and 
coastal marsh peats appear to be caused by or directly related to 
sea level rise and position. Interior Hyde County peats are not 
a direct result of sea level rise (Otte, 1981). 

Peat has filled many of the topographic lows which were 
developed on the pre-peat Pamlico surface during the full-glacial 
lower stand of the sea, and peat deposits have spread beyond the 
original lows to mantle adjacent uplands. In the Dismal Swamp 
Oaks and Whitehead (1979) have intensively examined the topography 
at the base of the peat deposits, and find that a dendritic pattern 
of stream drainage was present before peat formation began . De- 
tailed exploration of the sub-peat "topography" has not been con- 
ducted in Hyde County, but extensive sampling of peat depths, in 
conjunction with surveys of energy-grade peat deposits, indicates 
the presence of a sub-peat system of stream channels similar to 
that in the Dismal Swamp (Ingram and Otte, 1982; Plate I). The 
regional trend of these peat-filled channels is from northwest 
to southeast. Stream channel peats are the norm in the vicinity 
of the Alligator River. 



THE VEGETATION 



Much of mainland Hyde County is comprised of a diversity of 
wetland habitat types, under the criteria established by Cowardin, 
et al. (1979) . Uncleared areas of the county, almost without ex- 
ception, support hydrophytic vegetation, and soils of the county, 
whether drained or undrained, are predominantly hydric (90 percent 
or more; SCS, 1973) . Either of these attributes is sufficient to 
indicate the presence of wetlands. As in most counties of North 
Carolina's lower Coastal Plain, large areas of wetland soils and 
vegetation have been cleared and put into agricultural production. 
This land use was concentrated on wet mineral soils throughout 
much of the historical period of development, but recently large 
acreages of peat lands have been intensively developed. 

Scattered areas of better-drained soils, primarily within 
the Myatt-Bladen and Weeksville-Pasquotank Soils Association, 
probably supported more mesic vegetation, but virtually all such 
sites have been cleared for many years. 

The forests of Hyde County, particularly the softwood timber, 
have been exploited since the colonial period. Timber cutting 
and similar activities do not necessarily entail a permanent 
alteration of plant communities, however. Plant communities 
in the north and northeastern and south and southwestern areas 



of the county have retained considerable integrity of composition 
in the face of repeated logging cycles - although with changes in 
the age class structure and increased presence of some species 
which are promoted by disturbance or by selective removal of 
their competitors. Recovery after logging is most complete in 
communities where extensive ditches have not been constructed. 
The vegetation of northeastern Hyde County in particular still 
exhibits a remarkable correlation with soil types, an observation 
which supports the conclusion that edaphic and related hydrologic 
and nutrient conditions still exert a controlling influence on the 
basic wetland communities of that part of the county. 

Contemporary disturbances affecting the Hyde County vegetation 
include continued timber cutting, fire suppression, clearing of 
wetland vegetation and draining of wetland soils for agriculture , 
and potentially, peat mining. The now-common practice of exten- 
sive ditching in conjunction with timbering will shift wetland 
sites toward drier conditions and prevent the self-maintenance 
and recovery of the vegetation. This process is much further 
advanced and readily observable in the Dismal Swamp (cf. Meanley, 
1979) . 

Modern fire control and suppression also contribute to vege- 
tational changes. Fire is a natural and common force in the pocc- 
sin vegetation which dominates the south-central and northeast 
parts of the county. Fire/vegetation relationships cannot be 
adequately expressed solely in terms of fire presence or fire 
absence, however. Where fire occurs, as in Hyde County pocosins, 
its influence on vegetation will be in large measure a function 
of its frequency. Although large wildfires continue to occur, 
fire frequency is being reduced over much of the county, purposely 
through fire control and incidentally through creation of cleared 
areas which act as firebreaks. 

Long term land-use commitments such as agricultural develop- 
ment obviously require an effectively permanent alteration of the 
ecosystem, including both biotic and abiotic components. Recent, 
ongoing and proposed land conversion on the Hyde mainland totals 
many thousands of acres. Peat mining is the ultimate consumptive 
use proposed thus far for mainland Hyde County, in which the soil 
itself is removed from the site and used to produce energy. Peat 
mining is proposed in various areas near the Hyde/Dare County line. 



OUTLINE OF PRINCIPAL VEGETATION TYPES IN MAINLAND HYDE COUNTY 



I. Aquatic Communities - submerged and floating aquatic plants 
are found in numerous areas of Hyde County, and in 
habitats ranging from fresh to brackish water. Pri- 
mary localities include the Alligator River shoreline, 
Pamlico Sound and its embayments, and extensive beds 
of aquatic species in Lake Mattamuskeet . Minor areas 
of aquatic vegetation are found in the small lakes in 
the northeastern part of the county, and in New Lake 
and Pungo Lake. 



II. Wetland Communities 

A. Brackish Marsh - very abundant in mainland Hyde County 

along the shoreline of Pamlico Sound., Vast ex- 
panses are located in Swanquarter National Wildlife 
Refuge . 

B. Freshwater Marsh - naturally uncommon in the county; 

occurs in limited areas along the upper Alligator 
River, near the west end of Roper Island. The most 
extensive examples are in Lake Mattamuskeet. 

C. Cypress-gum-cedar Swamp Forest ( Taxodium distichum-Nyssa 

sylvatica var. biflora-Chamaecyparis thyoides ) - 
One of the most extensive palustrine plant communities 
of Hyde County, although now reduced in area by tim- 
bering and land clearing. Primarily associated with 
the embayed portion of the Alligator River, with dis- 
turbed examples also occurring on Roper Island. 
These palustrine swamps are on deep peat soils ap- 
parently subject to sporadic flooding from adjacent 
waterways (Otte, 1981). Isolated cypress stands were 
noted in the vicinity of West Bluff Bay on the shore 
of Pamlico Sound. Riverine cypress stands are found 
along the Pungo River, which is now channelized. 

D. Atlantic White Cedar - a serai sub-type within the pre- 

ceeding community. Most monospecific stands resulted 
after logging opened sites suitable for seedling 
establishment. In Hyde County occurs principally 
on deep peats, perhaps where underlain by sand 
(Buell and Cain, 1943). 



E. Pocosin - the most common general habitat in Hyde County. 

A fire-influenced group of communities , always oc- 
curring on peats or peaty sands, but with considerable 
variation in the vegetation in response to varying 
peat depth, hydrology and availability of nutrients 
to the system. Four types recognized by Otte (1981) 
are Pond Pine Forest, Pond Pine Woodland, High Pocosin 
and Low Pocosin; his criteria for these types are sum- 
marized in Table 2. 

F. Mixed Hardwood Flats - this community consists primarily 

of oaks , including swamp chestnut oak ( Quercus 
michauxii ) , laurel oak (£. laurifolia ) and cherry- 
bark oak (Q_. pagodaefolia ) . Loblolly pine ( Pinus 
taeda ) is usually a common component. Other hard- 
woods present in varying proportions, depending on 
site conditions, are tulip poplar ( Lir iodendron 
tulipifera ) , red maple ( Acer rub rum ) , green ash 
( Fraxinus pennsylvanica ) , sweetgum ( Liquidambar 
styraciflua ) and shagbark hickory ( Carya ovata ) . 
Beech ( Fagus grandifolia ) occurs at scattered, 
slightly better drained locales. Generally oc- 
cupies flat "upland" areas of poorly drained, silty, 
clayey, or fine loamy soils (usually wet Ultisols) . 

Once an extensive community in Hyde County, Mixed 
Hardwood Flats are now severely reduced by agri- 
cultural clearing, logging and pine plantation 
development, and generally are one of the most 
threatened communities of the North Carolina 
Coastal Plain. 

G. Serai Pine and Hardwoods - distributed throughout Hyde 

County are 'areas of second-growth sweetgum, loblolly 
pine and red maple, which have grown up on disturbed 
sites such as old fields, logged areas, etc. These 
successional communities vary widely in age and size, 
often being disturbed repeatedly. Only one, Salyer's 
Ridge, has attained natural significance. They occur 
predominantly on poorly drained mineral soils. The 
pre-disturbance vegetation of most of these sites is 
not known, but probably was dominated by the same 
hydric to mesic hardwood species associated with 
palustrine Mixed Hardwood Flats. 



III. Terrestrial Communities - we located no true terrestrial plant 
communities in Hyde County. If significant examples 
existed historically, they were cleared at a very early 
stage in the development of the county. Possibly the 
western portion of the county originally supported ter- 
restrial communities on what is now cleared agricultural 
land. 



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Other vegetation and land use types in Hyde County include 
pine plantations, agricultural fields, abandoned fields 
and habitations, four major wildlife refuges, proposed 
peat mines, urban areas, and small expanses of impounded 
brackish marsh. 



STUDY OBJECTIVES, METHODS AND RESULTS 



Contract requirements called for identification and field 
inventory of natural areas in mainland Hyde County: the Outer 
Banks and offshore islands in the sounds were excluded from 
the study area. The field inventory was community-oriented; 
we concentrated on locating natural communities of exceptional 
quality, based on such factors as size and age of canopy species, 
biologic, edaphic and hydrologic diversity, extensiveness of 
habitat (s) and contiguity with other natural areas, absence 
of intensive disturbance and recovery from past disturbance 
and the presence of a full range of communities and ecolo- 
gical conditions functioning as a system. 

To inventory the diverse communities of mainland Hyde County 
first necessitated a general county-wide reconnaissance. After 
review of several sets of aerial photographs, particularly 
November 1981 color infrared photography (US Environmental Pro- 
tection Agency, 1982) , an initial inspection of the county by 
vehicle and on foot was completed in April, 1982. Shortly later, 
an aerial reconnaissance of the entire county was conducted. 
Species and site reports on file with the North Carolina Natural 
Heritage Program were examined concurrently with these activities, 
and knowledgeable individuals were interviewed (see acknowledge- 
ments) . A basic tentative list of potential study areas began 
to emerge early in the reconnaissance, and was finalized by 
early June. 

During the reconnaissance period most of the private and 
public roads in the county were driven. Roads in most of the 
potential study areas identified during photography reviews were 
walked during April, and some areas were visited by boat later 
in the season. Throughout all periods of fieldwork, notes were 
taken on vegetation, both in study areas and, for comparative 
purposes, in areas not exhibiting superior natural qualities. 
Orthophotoquad diazo (blackline) prints were used in the field 
as guides in assessing the extent of large communities, the 
amount of recent disturbance and to some degree the cover com- 
position of inaccessible stands. 

Sites selected as representative of community types to be 
described in this report were examined on foot. Plant species 
lists, tree diameters at breast height, tree height and age 
estimates and a judgement of dominant species were all recorded. 
Examples we considered representative or superlative and on 
which we base our descriptions of the vegetation are mapped 
on the site report maps incorporated in the text. 



10 



We conducted an informal but complete survey of the breeding 
birds at most of the wooded and shrub-bog habitats upon which 
we report. We did not survey the avifauna of marsh habitats 
included as natural areas in this report. Other "high profile" 
vertebrates were noted where observed. 

The seven natural areas we have identified are as follows 
(also see county map) : 



(1) Alligator River Swamp Forest - Swan Lake - 16,300 acres 

(2) Cypress Park - 300 acres 

(3) Roper Island - 9,500 acres 

(4) New Lake Fork Pocosin - 9,300 acres 

(5) Gull Rock Game Lands - 10,575 acres 

(6) Scranton Hardwoods - 6,000 acres 

(7) Salyer's Ridge - 80 acres 



The candidates represent several edaphic and biotic combinations. 
Most of the areas selected have a long history of disturbance of 
the cover vegetation by human activity; but all are considered 
to be recovered from past disturbance and ecologically intact; 
i.e. not drained, having continued frequent fire in fire-adapted 
vegetation, etc. Most of the areas are large, in keeping with 
the expansive and still relatively unbroken character of the 
vegetation in the northern and southern peripheries of the county, 
but no natural area was' chosen on the basis of so-called "wilderness 
values." All support some rare plant and/or animal species, but 
none was chosen based solely on the presence of these organisms. 
Typical questions we considered when examining a potential site 
were: 

(1) Does the site have regional, state or county-wide 
significance as a natural area? 

(2) Are there unusual habitat conditions present? 

(3) Has the site recovered from or escaped prior 
disturbance? 



11 



(4) Is the site representative of a type of habitat 
which is rapidly being converted to other land 
uses? 

(5) Would loss of the habitat constitute an irretriev- 
able loss of resources to Hyde County? 



The inventory results reflect a bias toward large areas of 
relatively undisturbed land. A chief limit inherent in the 
study is that it was too broad; more attention should have 
been focused on analysis of communities at specific locations. 
While such an approach would have satisfied the desire for 
technically complete community descriptions, it would have 
diverted us from our objective to present useful natural 
areas data in the context of the county and its land use 
patterns as a whole. We recognize that certain biologically 
significant areas - and significant features at identified 
sites - have gone unnoted and unreported by us. We wish to 
point out the following areas in need of further inventory: 



(1) Brackish marshes in the upper portion of the 
Pungo River 

(2) Swamp forest along New Lake Fork of the 
Alligator River 

(3) Additional survey work in the New Lake Fork Pocosin 

(4) further survey work on Roper Island 

(5) Mesic hardwood flats east and southeast of New Holland 

(6) additional survey work on low pocosin area of Gull 
Rock Game Lands 

(7) aquatic and marsh communities around Lake Matta- 
muskeet 

(8) further survey work in the wilderness portions of 
the Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge 

(9) further survey work in pond pine pocosins along 
the Dare County line. 

(10) the "bird refuge" tract of the Swanquarter National 
Wildlife Refuge. 



12 



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NATURAL AREA INVENTORY FORM 
(To be prepared for each site) 



Basic Information Summary Sheet 

1. Natural Area Name: Alligator River - Swan Lake Natural Area 

2. County: Hyde 



3. Location: Northeastern Hyde County; the area along the south 
side of the Alligator River between the Intracoastal Waterway 
on the west and the Swan Lake area on the east. 



4. Topographic quadrangle (s) : Fairfield NW (1974), Fairfield NE 
(1974) , Engelhard West (1974) , Engelhard East (1975) , and 
Engelhard NW (1975) . 



5. Size: Approximately 16,300 acres (all private) ; measured with 
a grid calculator 



6. Elevation: 0-5 feet msl 



7. Access: Best access is from the south via First Street and 4th 
Avenue West. Several unnamed spur roads branch off of 4th 
Avenue West into portions of swamp interior. 



!. Names of investigators: J. Merrill Lynch S. Lance Peacock 

Route 2, Box 222-B P. 0. Box 6006 
Enfield, NC 27823 Raleigh, NC 27628 



9. Date(s) of investigation: April 8, May 9, June 30, August 12, 1982 
10. Priority rating: High 



14 



Fig. 2, 



Access information: 



ALLIGATOR RIVER - SWAN LAKE 




15 



11a. Prose Description of Natural Area 



INTRODUCTION 



The most extensive natural lands remaining in Hyde County 
are located along a corridor bordering the Alligator River in 
the northern portion of the county. These lands extend from 
the Dare County line (north of Swan Lake) westward to and in- 
cluding the large island known as Roper Island formed by the 
Intracoastal Waterway channel and the natural Alligator River 
Channel. Because of the size of this area and the varying 
qualities of the natural vegetation types, the Alligator River 
corridor has been divided into two contiguous natural areas , 
Roper Island (see pp. ) and the Alligator River Swamp Forest, 
the latter site which will be discussed in this site report. 

The Alligator River Swamp Forest, encompassing about 
16,300 acres, is bordered by Roper Island (Intracoastal 
Waterway) on the west and by Swan Lake on the east (see Fig. 
) . The natural area exists as a corridor along the Al- 
ligator River and varies in width from about 1.5 miles to 3 
miles , and has a length of about 7 miles . The southern 
boundary of the natural area lies adjacent to a huge super- 
farm development, part of a consortium of agricorporations , 
which extend south almost to the western end of Lake Matta- 
muskeet. This vast area, now mostly cleared and planted in 
corn and soybeans, was originally a pond pine pocosin wetland. 
The natural area corridor runs generally east-west except for 
the eastern end near Swan Lake where the Alligator River 
abruptly turns north and the natural area swings to the 
north-northeast where it intercepts the Dare County line. 
Swan Creek Lake , a natural freshwater lake , lies along 
Swan Creek, a poorly defined drainage tributary of the 
Alligator River. This tributary extends south beyond 
Swan Lake into cleared agricultural areas , part of the 
superfarm development mentioned above. A wooded buffer, 
dominated by swamp forest vegetation similar to the Al- 
ligator River corridor proper, extends as a strip h to 1 
mile wide along this drainage for a distance of about 3 
miles. 

The Alligator River Swamp Forest Natural Area is very 
similar in terms of vegetation types, ecology, and soils to 
the Dare County portion of the swamp forest which lies just 
to the north of the site along the east bank of the Alligator 
River. The Dare County Natural Area is described in detail 
in "Natural Areas of the Dare County Peninsula," pp. 



16 



The valuable timber resources of the swamp forests 
have been exploited periodically over the last two cen- 
turies by logging interests. As a result the natural 
area today is a mosaic of various age classes, i.e., 
selectively cut stands, recent clearcuts, and scattered 
old-growth stands, depending on the intensity and methods 
of past logging operations as well as the accessibility 
of the stands. Much of the natural area adjacent to the 
Alligator River is roadless , most of the timber apparently 
having been removed by long-abandoned tram and scid roads 
which are no longer visible. Access roads and ditches are 
primarily located along the margins of the natural area 
and were built for access to the adjacent agricultural 
fields. Land-clearing operations continue to eat away 
at the swamp forest corridor, particularly in the arm 
of the natural area south of Swan Lake. Recently, ad- 
ditional roads and ditches have been constructed into 
some of the pure Atlantic white cedar ( Chamaecyparis 
thyoides ) stands near Swan Lake, and some of these 
stands have been clearcut during the past ten years. 
The logging of swamp forest timber continues today. 

Soils of the natural area are primarily deep Histosols. 
The area is mapped as the Dare-Pungo-Dorovan association: 
very poorly drained soils with thick to moderately thick 
organic surface layers over mineral subsurface layers 
(SCS 1973) . Detailed soil mapping is not available for 
the site although the Alligator River swamp forests just 
to the north in Dare County have been mapped (Barnes, 1981). 
The Pungo soil series, classified as dysic, thermic Typic 
Medisaprists, is the most extensive soil unit, occurring 
as a wide band along the Alligator River. 



VEGETATION 



The predominant vegetation type along much of the Alli- 
gator River in Hyde County is swamp forest composed of four 
principal species which form the canopy in a mixture of 
varying proportions. In most of the stands no single species 
is a true dominant but rather the canopy is a heterogeneous 
mixture of species. Swamp blackgum ( Nyssa sylvatica var. bi- 
flora ) is the tree species which is most widely distributed 
and a conspicuous co-dominant in most of the stands. Based 
on canopy dominance data taken in a fairly typical stand 
south of Swan Creek Lake, swamp blackgum is the predicted 
co-dominant in most of the swamp forest stands in the natural 
area. The physiognomy of the mature swamp blackgum stands 
along the Alligator River is much different from that of 
stands along brownwater river systems, due to the significant 



17 



component of swamp and lowland conifers in the canopy and 
subcanopy layers and to the density of bay trees and other 
wetland shrubs in the shrub layers. 

Atlantic white cedar or juniper ( Chamaecyparis thyoides ) 
and loblolly pine ( Pinus taeda ) join swamp blackgum in the 
canopy, and often can be considered a co-dominant gymnosperm 
component of the canopy. The distribution and relative 
dominance of these two species is much more variable than 
that of swamp blackgum. Atlantic white cedar particularly 
has a patchy distribution as a result of both selective and 
clearcutting operations in many parts of the natural area. 
In most stands it is a less important co-dominant; in others 
its dominance locally exceeds that of swamp blackgum. Through- 
out the natural area in the mature stands , Atlantic white cedar 
is a medium to large and beautiful tree with a shaggy conical 
top and long clear trunk. Some individuals reach 24 inches 
dbh. Loblolly pine is much more scattered in all stands 
investigated, but often attains comparable diameters and 
usually exceeds cedar and swamp blackgum in height. The 
fourth characteristic swamp forest tree is baldcypress 
( Taxodium distichum ) . This species is usually present as 
scattered old-growth, flat-topped, "cull" trees which are 
often 80-90 feet in height. These old-growth giants are 
almost invariably deformed specimens of low commercial 
value left behind from past logging operations. They are 
usually too scattered to be considered co-dominants in the 
community but because of their superior height and trunk 
diameters they are conspicuous members of the swamp forest 
landscape. The cypress of the natural area do not seen to 
regenerate readily after cutting. In most swamp forest 
stands cypress has importance values of 50% or less al- 
though in a few localized old-growth stands it is a true 
dominant, sharing the canopy with a few tall loblolly pines, 
under which swamp blackgum and Atlantic white cedar form a 
subcanopy layer. 

In addition to the four principal tree species just 
discussed, several others reach the canopy but are of far 
less importance. Red maple ( Acer rub rum ) is locally domi- 
nant where cypress, cedar and swamp gum have been removed 
or thinned out by logging, but does not attain dominance 
in stands where the latter species have been less heavily 
cut or where fewer logging cycles have occurred. Pond 
pine ( Pinus serotina ) is occasional in the canopy, as are 
isolated large sweet bays (Magnolia virginiana) . 



18 



Generally, the swamp forest subcanopy consists of 
smaller individuals of swamp blackgum and red maple, with 
an occasional sweet bay. This stratum is not we 11 -developed, 
except as noted where bald cypress forms the true canopy. 
The shrub layers of the swamp forest are rather open and 
are generally occupied by one or two species. A tall shrub 
layer of red bay (Persea borbonia ) is locally present, 
ranging in height from 15-20 feet. Sweet pepperbush 
( Clethra alnifolia ) and fetterbush ( Lyonia lucida ) are 
usually the dominant low shrubs; bitter gallberry ( Ilex 
glabra ) and highbush blueberry ( Vaccinium corymbosum ) 
are scattered. Ground cover is absent except for sphag- 
num mats. The ground surface is wet, with shallow standing 
water present in local depressions during winter and spring. 
Cypress knees (to 2 feet tall) and many fallen logs add to 
the rough and hummocky surface pattern. 

Two main community types are designated in the swamp 
forest portions of the natural area, based on the features 
summarized in the preceding discussion. Occupying most of 
the swamp forest sites is a community consisting of Nyssa 
sylvatica var. biflora- mixed lowland conifers/ Per sea bor- 
bonia/Clethra alnifolia-Lyonia lucida (Swamp black gum- 
mixed lowland conifers/Red bay/Sweet pepperbush-fetterbush; 
CT 1) ; bald cypress is usually present but reduced in im- 
portance due to past cutting. The second community type 
occurs where bald cypress is still dominant: Taxodium 
distichum/Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora- mixed lowland con- 
ifers/Perse^ borbonia/Clethra alnifolia-Lyonia lucida (Bald 
cypress/Swamp black gum-mixed lowland conifers/Red bay/ 
Sweet pepperbush-fetterbush; CT 2) . Both these community 
types are correlated with the Pungo soil series which is 
the predominant soil mapping unit in the Alligator River 
natural area. 

The average height and trunk diameters of these two 
community types varies considerably within the natural 
area. Generally the swamp blackgum-mixed conifer (CT 1) 
stands range from 60-75 feet in height and have average 
dbh values of 12-18 inches. Scattered trees of 24 inches 
dbh and higher are usually present. The baldcypress 
dominated stands are usually taller (75-90 feet) and 
have average dbh values of 14-20 inches, sometimes more. 
Atlantic white cedar is widely distributed throughout the 
natural area and is found in two distinct physiognomic 
forms. Over much of the area is occurs as scattered 
medium to old-growth trees either in the subcanopy or 
canopy layers. It may reach 25%-50% relative dominance 
on these sites. In some areas it occurs as a distinct 
even-age monospecific community ( Chamaecyparis thyoides/ 
mixed shrubs (Atlantic white cedar /mixed shrubs; CT 3) , 



19 



usually in relatively young age classes. In these situations 
the white cedar forms dense , uniform-height stands excluding 
most other species except for bay and pocosin shrubs which 
usually form a rather sparse low shrub layer. These stands 
range in height from 15 feet up to 35-40 feet with the older 
stands having a more diverse mixture of other swamp forest 
canopy trees. 

The shrub layer is moderately well developed in this 
community, but not extremely dense or diverse. Typical 
species include sweet pepperbush, highbush blueberry and 
sweet gallberry. Herbs are scarce; some partridgeberry 
( Mitchella repens ) and netted chain fern ( Woodwardia 
areolata ) are usually found. 

These monospecific stands develop after fire or clear- 
cutting, when open, sunny conditions promote germination 
and subsequent rapid growth of seedlings. Within the 
natural area are several stands ranging from several acres 
to over 200 acres in size almost all of which are located 
within the swamp blackgum-mixed conifer dominated communities. 

A fourth and very different community is a series of 
pond pine stands located in the western and northeastern 
corners of the natural area. The most extensive area is 
located east and northeast of Swan Creek Lake and extends 
into Dare County. This portion was examined only during 
a brief aerial reconnaissance. The western section is 
located along 4th Avenue West near the margin of large 
agricultural fields adjacent to the southern boundary of 
the natural area. 

The community type in closely-examined stands is Pinus 
serotina/Acer rubrum-Persea borbonia/ mixed shrubs (Pond pine/ 
Red maple-red bay /mixed shrubs; CT 4) . The canopy size classes 
are varied in this community but most of the stands are mature 
ranging to old-growth. The largest pines seen are along 4th 
Avenue West on a 700-acre stand (see map ) . Here the average 
dbh is 12-14 inches, height about 70 feet and the canopy is 
open. The subcanopy in this stand is poorly defined; red 
maple is present but not dominant, and a few pockets of 
swamp black gum occur locally. Associated with the latter 
are scattered bald cypress which join pond pine in the canopy. 
A distinctly lower tall-shrub stratum is composed of red bay 
and lesser amounts of small red maples. .The lowest shrubs 
present include fetterbush and bitter gallberry beneath the 
red bay layer; some cane ( Arundinaria gigantea ) also occupies 
this lowest layer. These species do not form a dense growth 
and the ground is fairly open within the stand. 



20 



The community along 4th Avenue West is the best-quality 
pond pine stand in the Alligator River natural area in terms 
of a mature stand of well-developed large trees. 

The pond pine stands near Swan Creek Lake (about 4300 
acres) appear to be very similar to the 4th Avenue West 
stand in composition, but without equivalent size and 
height in the canopy. These stands are excellent examples 
of Otte's (1981) pond pine forest pocosin type, although 
considerably more open than is called for by his classifi- 
cation, perhaps due to fire and/or logging history. The 
canopy is open ranging to scattered; trees are 40-50 feet 
tall and 8-12 inches dbh. The tall shrub layer is again 
distinctly below the canopy, and is comprised of red bay 
and red maple. Cane is locally dense; the low shrubs 
occurring at the 4th Avenue West site are present here 
also. These stands are not burned regularly. 

The pond pine stands are associated with soils of the 
Roper series (mineral with a histic epipedon) and Ponzer, 
Belhaven and Kilkenny series (shallow Histosols) . These 
represent the shallowest organic deposits in the Alligator 
River natural area. 



ECOLOGY OF CYPRESS-GUM AND CEDAR STANDS 



The swamp forests along the Alligator River are non- 
alluvial in the sense that the Alligator is an estuary or 
embayed stream, not heavily loaded with sediment from the 
upstream parts of the Alligator River system, or frequently 
experiencing high overbank flows. These swamp forest com- 
munities correlate closely with deep Histosols of the Pungo 
series (see Barnes, 1981), although certain of the dominant 
tree species are common associates on mineral alluvium and 
floodplain peats along brownwater coastal plain rivers. 
Furthermore, the Pungo series and similar deep peats are 
dominated by pocosin vegetation in other parts of Hyde 
County and elsewhere. Although the Hyde County swamp forests 
are physiognomically and hydrologically distinct from those 
of the river f loodplains , they appear to be much more closely 
related to the distant river swamps than to the nearby poco- 
sins. The question arises as to what ecological influences 
are controlling the development of the swamp forests of the 
Alligator River, and conversely, what factors prevent poco- 
sin development. 

Otte (1981) , in addressing the problem of transitional 
development from swamp forest to pocosin vegetation, states 
that neither peat thickness nor fire can be considered suf- 
ficient to control pocosin development. He points out that 
many thick peats, including those in the Alligator River 
natural area, are vegetated by swamp forest. He also notes 

21 



that fire has historically occurred in such vegetation 
without a subsequent pocosin development, as indicated 
by charcoal layers sandwiched within forest peat pro- 
files. Otte reports that water flow patterns are the 
major difference between swamp forest sites and poco- 
sin sites. 

In swamp forests the water flows primarily 
into and through the system, whereas, in poco- 
sins the major direction of flow is out of the 
system. Thus, for pocosins, the only major 
source of water is precipitation, whereas for 
swamp forests, besides precipitation, a large 
amount of water comes in from the surrounding 
higher ground [or adjacent through- flowing 
streams] (Otte, 1981). 

Daniel (1981) , discussing flow sources and relation- 
ships in peatlands , makes supporting observations of the 
correlation between vegetation types and the predominant 
direction and source of water movements. He links the 
swamp forest vegetation type directly with relatively 
nutrient-rich groundwater, stream and surface flows into 
peatlands which are topographically situated to receive 
such flows; while interstream peatlands elevated above 
the surrounding terrain receive water only from nutrient- 
poor precipitation. Otte (pers. comm. , 1982), based on 
field surveys and laboratory peat analyses conducted on 
the Alligator River peat deposits, feels that the swamp 
forests occupy locations which are and have been subject 
to flooding by sediment-laden waters backing up the Al- 
ligator River during major flooding events in the Albe- 
marle Sound/Roanoke River system, with the resulting sedi- 
ment and nutrient input maintaining the swamp forest system 
as predicted by his and Daniel's hypothesis. Otte's data 
demonstrate that the mineral content in peat is greatest 
close to the river, an expected pattern if river flooding 
provides sediment to the system. The topographic arrange- 
ment of the Hyde County peatlands is consistent with Otte's 
view. Many of the thick peat deposits are not domed, but 
instead are associated with the Alligator River and its 
tributaries (Otte and Ingram, 1980); Ingram and Otte, 1982); 
where they are theoretically exposed to flooding from the river. 

One question which may be asked is whether the Alligator 
River swamp forests might be correctly considered alluvial in 
light of Otte's convincing argument that flood-transported sedi- 
ment so strongly influences the vegetation. An additional 
point of interest is whether the land-clearing activities of 
man have in the past three centuries tended to favor swamp 
forests locally on peats by increasing stream sediment loads 



22 



and thus nutrient influx. Otte (pers. comm. , 1982), without 
proposing an answer to this elusive problem, has noted an 
increased mineral content in the extreme upper layer of 
peats he has sampled which may be subject to flooding; and 
he attributes this to such human activity. At the same 
time the direct effect of logging and clearing for agri- 
culture has been to reduce the extent of the swamp forest 
community throughout the peatlands of North Carolina (Ashe 
and Pinchot, 1897; Kologiski, 1977; Christensen, e_t al . 
1981; Daniel, 1981) . 



OTHER FEATURES 



A geomorphological feature of interest is Swan Creek 
Lake (400 acres; see map). This blackwater lake represents 
a type which is characteristic of small tributaries to the 
Alligator River in Hyde and Dare Counties. These small 
lakes are irregular in shape but often elongate on a north- 
south axis, and usually appear to have been formed by local 
widening along pre-existing stream systems. Long reaches 
of the original narrow channel are often present upstream 
and downstream from a given lake , as is the case with Swan 
Creek Lake. These lakes are of uncertain origin, but may 
be deep peat burns which have been shaped by wave and cur- 
rent action. 



WILDLIFE AND AVIAN DIVERSITY 



Wildlife values through the Alligator River natural 
area are superior. Black bear sign (tracks, scat, clawed 
trees) were common along all roads throughout the site. 
Although no attempt is made here to interpret the highly 
visible sign of this large and mobile animal in terms of 
relative or absolute abundance, the species is evidently 
using all habitats in the natural area. White-tailed deer 
are common at least in association with roads. Raccoon, 
marsh rabbit and gray squirrel are fairly common. 

Breeding bird diversity is exceptional in the natural 
area, due both to the diverse habitats present and to the 
structural diversity of the swamp forests in particular. 
The wood warblers are especially well-represented, with 10 
species breeding in the swamp forest communities proper, 
where certain species are exceptionally abundant (see Table 
1). 



23 



The black-throated green warbler, while found in much 
younger vegetation elsewhere in Hyde County, occurs in its 
greatest densities in mature swamp forests where conifers 
such as bald cypress, Atlantic white cedar and loblolly 
pine are an important component of the canopy; this warbler 
is also common in pure white cedar stands. It is a very 
local breeder in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina (Parnell, 
1977) . 

Two other generally uncommon to rare nesting species 
in the Coastal Plain are Swainson's and worm-eating warblers 
(Potter, et al., 1980); both are fairly common throughout 
the swamp forests of the Alligator River natural area. 
Swainson's warbler prefers shrub thickets, often sweet 
pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia ) , within mature swamp forest 
stands having a closed canopy; it was not recorded in pure 
white cedar stands. Worm-eating warblers are less habitat- 
specific, occurring in mature swamp growth, pure cedar stands 
and second-growth scrub. 

Our Hyde County observations on habitat and relative 
abundance during the 1982 breeding season agree closely 
with Meanley's (1979) conclusions based on field work 
during eight consecutive breeding seasons from 1966 to 
1973 in similar habitats in the Dismal Swamp, centered 
about 70 miles to the northwest. Meanley notes the 
abundance of the black-throated green warbler in the 
Dismal Swamp. He also points out the scarcity of Ken- 
tucky warblers (three in eight seasons) and black-and-white 
warblers; we found none of either species during the nesting 
season. In his study area he found Swainson's warbler slightly 
more common than we did in Hyde, but considered the worm-eating 
warbler a notably rare breeder, whereas it is fairly common 
in the natural area. 



24 



lib. Prose Description of Site Significance: 



The qualities of extent, development and maturity which 
make the stands attractive to various timber companies are 
the same qualities which impart significance to the Alligator 
River swamp forests as a natural area. Although subjected 
to steady and continuing cutting in recent decades, signifi- 
cant amounts of these swamp forests remain as excellent ex- 
amples of a vegetation type which has been exploited since 
the early colonial period. The mature swamp forests of 
southern Dare County also offer an exceptional opportunity 
for research into the ecological factors controlling the 
vegetation over peats in the southeast. Together with 
adjacent wetlands to the north, these swamp forests pro- 
vide an uninterrupted corridor along the Alligator River 
from Roper Island to the Dare County line and on into Dare 
County itself. 

The southern swamp forest fauna is well-represented 
in the natural area . Black bear occur throughout , and the 
available habitat is extensive enough to maintain a popu- 
lation. The avifaunal component particularly is intact 
and notably diverse, in keeping with the structural divers- 
ity of the swamp forest itself. Approximately 40 breeding 
bird species are known to date from the swamp forests proper, 
including 10 wood warblers. 

Two less extensive vegetation types within the described 
area add to the overall diversity and have significant features 
in their own right. The monospecific Atlantic white cedar 
stands, actually part of the general swamp forest system, 
support many of the same breeding birds discussed above. 
The pond pine stands in places attain canopy tree sizes 
of note. 

Also, of geomorphological interest, is the 400-acre 
Swan Creek Lake , a blackwater lake which supports a small 
American Alligator population and is an undisturbed example 
of a natural lake type limited to deep peat areas of Hyde 
and Dare Counties. 



25 



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■-; 




Legal Status, Use, and Management 

13. Ownership type by percent area: Type 

Private 100 
Public 



Unknown 



14. Number of Owners: 



15. Name(s) of owner (s) and/or custodian (s) (with addresses, phone numbers, 
other pertinent information) . 

Pamlico Properties, Inc., P. 0. Box G, Macon, GA 31202 



16. Name(s) of knowledgeable person (s) (with addresses, phone numbers, other 
pertinent information). 



Steve 


Barnes 


.agronomist 


First 


Colony 


Farms 


Route 


1, 


Box 


201 


Creswell 


NC 


27928 







17. Attitude of owner or custodian toward preservation (contacted?) 
Not known. 



32 



18. Uses of natural area: 

Essentially all of the natural area has been logged over in 
several cycles to obtain the successively most valuable remaining 
or regenerated timber. Most of the timber was removed by a com- 
bination of barge and a system of tram roads. Recently, Atlantic 
white cedar stands have been clearcut, particularly in the Swan 
Creek drainage area. Other species which have been selectively 
logged are baldcypress, loblolly pine, and swamp blackgum. 

Hunting is a low- intensity use throughout the area; deer and 
black bear are the principal game species. Bee yards are placed 
seasonally at scattered locations along the roads. 

The inland margins of the natural area are steadily being 
cleared and drained for agricultural development. Portions along 
the southern margin have been ditched and a road system constructed 
although clearing of the vegetation has not yet begun. Peat mining 
for energy production is possible on these soils in the long term. 
Pamlico Properties, Inc. has recently applied for a permit to begin 
experimental peat mining within the natural area. 



19, Uses of surrounding land: 



a. Wildland 50 % 

b. Agricultural land 50 



c. high-intensity forestry 

d. developed % 



20. Preservation Status: 



Cat 


* 9- 
o 


*Description of preservation status 


6 


100 


private land, not protected as a natural area by owner 









21c Regulatory protections in force: 

The Army Corps of Engineers "404" permit regulations apply to this area. 
The Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 protects the American Alligator 
and its habitat. These two sources of regulation are limited in scope and 
ultimate effect. 



33 



22. Threats: 



Timber cutting is the chief threat to the natural integrity 
of the site in the short term. Additional land clearing associated 
with the "super farm" development to the south continues to erode 
the margins of the natural area. Logging, per se, is not the 
primary cause of ecological degradation. It is the associated 
ditch and road construction which results in lowered water tables 
and in increasing aecessibility of the swamp forest interior. Al- 
though the road construction increases the "edge effect" and bene- 
fits certain species, it also increases access and makes large game 
species, such as black bear, more susceptible to hunting pressure. 

There is also a threat of peat mining in the area. Recently, 
a peat mining permit application has been submitted for much of 
the natural area. Otte and Ingram (1980) have found energy grade 
peat (less than 25% ash at 0% moisture) under much of the natural 
area. Agricultural development is limited as a threat to some 
degree because the woody peats are uneconomical to farm. 



23. Management and Preservation Recommendation: 



The Alligator River-Swan Creek Lake natural area offers an 
excellent opportunity for conservation of a superlative palustrine 
(non-riverine) swamp forest system. In conjunction with adjacent 
Dare County natural areas, the tract contains an extensive wetland 
ecosystem containing a diverse assemblage of communities and as- 
sociated wildlife diversity. The Alligator River natural lands 
corridor is one of the largest relatively undisturbed swamp forest 
tracts remaining in the N.C. coastal plain. The U. S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service should look into the possibility of acquiring 
the land and establishing a national wildlife refuge unit. 



34 



Natural Characteristics Summary 

24a. Vegetation - Biotic Community Summary CT 1 

Community type: Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora-mixed lowland conifers/ 
Persea borbonia/Clethra alnifolia-Lyonia lucida 

Community cover type: Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora-mixed lowland 

conifers 

General habitat feature: palustrine swamp 
Average canopy height: 60-75 feet 
Estimated age of canopy trees: 50-75+ years 
Canopy cover : partially open-closed 
Estimated size of community: 9400 acres 
Successional stage: near climax 



Common canopy species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora 
Chamaecyparis thyoides 
Pinus taeda 

Common sub-canopy or shrub stratum species in community cover or 
community type (but not dominant) : 

Acer rubrum 

canopy species transgressives 

Common herb stratum species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

None. 

Sphagnum sp. is abundant ground cover over much 
of area. 



35 



Natural Characteristics Summary 

24a. Vegetation - Biotic Community Summary CT 2 

Community type: Taxodium distichum/Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora- 
mixed lowland conifers/Persea borbonia/Clethra alnifolia-Lyonia lucida 

Community cover type: Taxodium distichum 
General habitat feature: palustrine swamp 
Average canopy height: 75-90 feet 
Estimated age of canopy trees: 75+ years 
Canopy cover: open 
Estimated size of community: 1000 
Successional stage: Climax 



Common canopy species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

Pinus taeda 



Common sub-canopy or shrub stratum species in community cover or 
community type (but not dominant) : 

Acer rubrum 

Common herb stratum species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

None 

Sphagnum sp. is an abundant ground cover of much of the area. 



36 



Natural Characteristics Summary 

24a. Vegetation - Biotic Community Summary CT 3 

Community type: Chamaecyparis thyoides/mixed shrubs 
Community cover type: Chamaecyparis thyoides 

General habitat feature: palustrine swamp 

Average canopy height: 30-40 feet 

Estimated age of canopy trees: less than 50 years 

Canopy cover : closed 

Estimated size of community: 500 

Successional stage: early-mid successional 



Common canopy species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

None 



Common sub-canopy or shrub stratum species in community cover or 

community type (but not dominant) : 

Clethra alnifolia 
Acer rubrum . . 

, Vaccimum corymbosum 

Persea borbonia 

Ilex coriacea 

Common herb stratum species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

None 

Sphagnum sp. mats are usually present. 



37 



Natural Characteristics Summary 

24a. Vegetation - Biotic Community Summary CT 4 

Community type: Pinus serotina/Acer rubrum-Persea borbonia/mixed shrubs 
Community cover type: Pinus serotina 

General habitat feature: palustrine wetland 

Average canopy height: 60-75 feet 

Estimated age of canopy trees: 50-75 years 

Canopy cover: Open 

Estimated size of community: 5000 acres 

Successional stage: near climax to climax (probably pyroclimax) 



Common canopy species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

None 



Common sub-canopy or shrub stratum species in community cover or 
community type (but not dominant) : 

Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora Ilex glabra 
Lyonia lucida 

Common herb stratum species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

Arundinaria gigantea (locally dominant) 

Vines: Smilax laurifolia 



38 



24b. Soil Summary (by community type) CT 1, 2, 3, 4 
Soil series: Pungo 

Soil classification: dysic, thermic Typic Medisaprists 
Soil association: Dare-Pungo-Dorovan 
pH class: Extremely acid (less than 4.5) 



Source of information: General Soil Map of Hyde County, N.C, 

SCS, USDA, 1973 



Other notes: 

24c. Hydrology Summary (by community type) CT 1 , 2, 3, 4 
Hydrologic system: Palustrine 

Hydrologic subsystem: Interaqueous 

Water chemistry: Fresh-acid 

Water regime: Saturated 

Drainage class: Very poorly drained 

Drainage basin: Alligator River 



Hydrology characterization: a very poorly drained, saturated, fresh- 
acid, interaqueous palustrine system. 



39 



24d. Topography Summary: CT 1 , 2, 3, 4 

Land form: Peat-mantled flat 

Shelter: Open 

Aspect: Not applicable 

Slope Angle: Not applicable 

Profile : Not applicable 

Surface patterns: Hummocky; many fallen logs and uprooted trees; 

scattered numerous depressions 

Position: Not applicable 



25. Physiographic characterization of natural area: 

An assemblage of early successional to climax communities 
occupying a very poorly drained, peat-mantled flat plain along 
the Alligator River and Swan Creek in the Coastal Plain Province 
of the Atlantic Plain. 



Geological Formation: 

Pleistocene Pamlico Terrace formation (less than 100,000 yrs. BP) 
overlying the Miocene Yorktown formation (15-25 my BP) . 



Geological Formation age: 
See above. 



References Cited: 

Daniels, R. B. , E. E. Gamble, and W. H. Wheeler. 1978. 
Age of Soil Landscapes in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina. 
Soil Science Society of America Journal 42: 98-105. 



40 



26. Summary - Endangered and threatened species 

Name of species: American alligator 

Species legal status and authority: Federally endangered Endangered 

Species Act of 1973 

Number of populations on site: Unknown. 

Number of individuals per population: Unknown. 

Size or Maturity of individuals: probably all age classes 

Phenology of population: not applicable 

Eg: vegetative % 
flowering % 
fruiting % 



General vigor of population: unknown-not observed by authors 

within natural area. 



Disturbance or threats to population: Illegal trapping 

Habitat characteristics 

Plant community: aquatic communities in Swan Lake 

Topography: n/a 

Soil Series: n/a 

Microclimate: n/a 

Drainage basin: n/a 

Other plants and animal species present: See Master Species Lists, 

AERIAL OR DETAILED MAPS WITH POPULATIONS CLEARLY MARKED. 



41 



26. Summary - Endangered and threatened species 

Name of species: Red-shouldered Hawk 

Species legal status and authority: Threatened in North Carolina 

(Cooper et al. , 1977) 

Number of populations on site: Unknown, probably at least 2-3 

nesting pairs 

Number of individuals per population: 2 adults plus young of the year 

Size or Maturity of individuals: adult and immatures 

Phenology of population: not applicable 

Eg: vegetative % 
flowering % 
fruiting % 

General vigor of population: Excellent 

Disturbance or threats to population: Clearcutting, conversion of 

swamp forest to agriculture 

Habitat characteristics 

Plant community: all of the swamp forest communities 

Topography: 

Soil Series: 

Microclimate: 

Drainage basin: 

Other plants and animal species present: See Master Species Lists. 

AERIAL OR DETAILED MAPS WITH POPULATIONS CLEARLY MARKED. 



42 



26. Suaimary - Endangered and threatened species 



Name of species: Black Bear 



Species legal status and authority: Of Special Concern in N.C. 

(Cooper et al. , 1977) 

Number of populations on site: one 



Number of individuals per population: not known but believed to be 

significantly high 

Size or Maturity of individuals: probably all ages 

Phenology of population: 

Eg: vegetative % 
flowering % 
fruiting % 

General vigor of population: Not known but believed to be good. 
At least one bear was observed (near 4th Avenue West on 12 August) 
and numerous tracks and scat were seen throughout natural area. 

Disturbance or threats to population: Illegal hunting, land clearing 
and conversion of swamp forest and pocosin habitats to agriculture. 

Habitat characteristics 

Plant community: Throughout 

Topography: n/a 

Soil Series: n/a 

Microclimate: n/a 

Drainage basin: n/a 

Other plants and animal species present: See Master Species Lists. 

AERIAL OR DETAILED MAPS WITH POPULATIONS CLEARLY MARKED. 



43 



27. Master species lists: 

Alligator River Swamp Forest 



ACERACEAE 

Acer rub rum 
ANACARDIACEAE 

Rhus radicans 
AQUIFOLIACEAE 

Ilex glabra 

I. coriacea 

I. opaca 
BLECHNACEAE 

Woodwardia areolata 

W. virginica 
CAPRIFOLIACEAE 

Viburnum nudum 
CLETHRACEAE 

Clethra alnifolia 
CUPRESSACEAE 

Chamaecyparis thyoides 
CYPERACEAE 

Carex spp. 
CYRILLACEAE 

Cyrilla racemiflora 
ERICACEAE 

Leucothoe axillaris 

Lyonia lucida 

Vaccinium corymbosum 
LAURACEAE 

Persea borbonia 
LILIACEAE 

Smilax laurifolia 
LOGANIACEAE 

Gelsemium sempervirens 
LCRANTHACEAE 

Phoradendron serotinum 
MAGNOLIACEAE 

Magnolia virginiana 
MYRICACEAE 

Myrica heterophylla 
NYSSACEAE 

Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora 
ORCHIDACEAE 

Tipularia discolor 
PINACEAE 

Pinus taeda 

P. serotina 



45 



POACEAE 

Andropogon sp . 

Arundinaria gigantea 
POLYPODIACEAE 

Polypodium polypodioides 
TAXODIACEAE 

Taxodium distichum 
THEACEAE 

Gordonia lasianthus 
VITACEAE 

Parthenocissus quinquefolia 



AMPHIBIANS 



Green Frog 

Southern Leopard Frog 

Carpenter Frog 



REPTILES 



Canebrake Rattlesnake 



46 



BIRDS 

(Emphasis of bird lists is on breeding or summering 
species; lack of adequate field work during the other 
seasons prevented compilation of a complete list.) 



KEY 

PR = Permanent resident 
SR = Summer resident 
WR = Winter resident 

T = Transient; spring or fall 
PV, SV, WV = Visitor; permanent, summer, or winter 

* = Breeding or suspected breeding at site 



Wood Duck PR* 

Great Blue Heron PR 

Green Heron SR* 

Red-tailed Hawk PR* 

Red-shouldered Hawk PR* 

Common Bobwhite PR* 

Ring-billed Gull WV 

Mourning Dove PR* 

Yellow-billed Cuckoo SR* 

Screech Owl PR* 

Great Horned Owl PR* 

Barred Owl PR* 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird SR* 

Common Flicker PR* 

Pileated Woodpecker PR* 

Red-bellied Woodpecker PR* 

Hairy Woodpecker PR* 

Downy Woodpecker PR* 

Great Crested Flycatcher SR* 

Barn Swallow SV 

Purple Martin SV 

Common Crow PR* 

Fish Crow PV 

Carolina Chickadee PR* 

Tufted Titmouse PR* 

Winter Wren WR 

Carolina Wren PR* 

Gray Catbird PR* 

Brown Thrasher PR* 
Wood Thrush . SR* 

Hermit Thrush WR 



47 



Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 
White-eyed Vireo 
Prothonotary Warbler 
Swainson's Warbler 
Worm-eating Warbler 
Northern Parula Warbler 
Yellow-rumped Warbler 
Black-throated Green Warbler 
Yellow-throated Warbler 
Pine Warbler 
Prairie Warbler 
Common Yellowthroat 
Hooded Warbler 
Common Grackle 
Brown-headed Cowbird 
Northern Cardinal 
Indigo Bunting 
Pine Siskin 
Rufous-sided Towhee 
Swamp Sparrow 
Song Sparrow 



SR* 

WR 

SR*, 

SR* 

SR* 

SR* 

SR* 

WR 

SR* 

SR* 

PR* 

SR* 

PR* 

SR* 

PV 

PR* 

PR* 

SR* 

WV 

PR* 

WR 

WR 



possibly winters 



MAMMALS 



Raccoon - many tracks, several seen 

White-tailed Deer - abundant tracks , many seen 

Eastern Gray Squirrel - commonly seen 

Black Bear - many tracks and scat, at least one observed 

near 4th Avenue West 
Bobcat - one set of tracks 
Marsh Rabbit - tracks 



48 



NATURAL AREA INVENTORY FORM 
(To be prepared for each site) 



Basic Information Summary Sheet 

1. Natural Area Name: Cypress Park 

2 . County : Hyde 



3. Location: In northeastern Hyde County about 4.3 air-miles 
north of Engelhard 



4. Topographic quadrangle (s) : Engelhard East (1975) 

Engelhard West (1974) 



5. Size: 300 acres (measured with a grid calculator) 



6. Elevation: 4-5 feet mean sea level 



7. Access: The natural area can be reached from one of several ways. 

1) From the Town of Engelhard go north on US 264 for about 4.3 miles 
to junction with 2nd Avenue East on left, a private farm road. Turn 
left (west) and go about 2.8 miles through large cleared fields to 
block of swamp forest on right (north) . Sign marks entrance to gated 
dirt road and trail which enters the natural area. 

2) The site can also be reached by taking SR 1311 north from junction 
with US 264 about 2 miles west of Engelhard. Continue on SR 1311 about 
4.5 miles to junction with private dirt road on right (1st Street) 
which provides access to Mattamuskeet and Lux Farms. Turn right on 
1st Street and go north about 2.6 miles to junction with 2nd Avenue 
East. Turn right (east) on this road and go about 2.7 miles to 
Cypress Park entrance (on left) . 

8. Names of investigators: J. Merrill Lynch S. Lance Peacock 

Route 2, Box 222-B P. O. Box 6006 
Enfield, NC 27823 Raleigh, NC 27628 

9. Dates of investigation: April 7, June 30, 1982 
10. Priority rating: Medium 



49 



Fig. 4, 



Access information: 



CYPRESS PARK 




50 



11a. Prose Description of Site: 

Cypress Park is a 300-acre tract of old-growth swamp 
forest timber located in a very poorly drained, peat-dom- 
inated area northeast of Lake Mattamuskeet . The stand has 
been protected as a natural area for a number of years. 
It probably is the last remaining stand of virgin or near- 
virgin swamp forest remaining in Hyde County. 

The topography of the natural area and the surrounding 
land is essentially flat. There is a poorly defined drainage 
system connected with Swan Creek Lake to the north which ex- 
tends south to Cypress Park. This drainage corridor is 
about 1-1.5 miles wide and is slightly lower (4-5 feet msl) 
in elevation than the surrounding flat landscape (5-7 feet 
msl). Before the advent of drainage canals and ditches, 
natural flow was probably from Cypress Park north along 
the drainage corridor to Swan Creek then into Swan Creek 
Lake and eventually the Alligator River. Storm flooding 
from the Alligator River probably inundated the natural area 
on rare occasions. Today, a well-intregrated network of par- 
allel drainage canals connected by a series of lateral ditches 
has been constructed which completely surrounds the natural 
area. This drainage network has significantly altered the 
natural hydrology of the natural area by diverting runoff 
into adjacent Pamlico Sound and by lowering the water table 
by several feet. This drainage system, accompanied by large- 
scale land clearing for row crop agriculture , has effectively 
isolated the Cypress Park natural area from the drainage cor- 
ridor. The long-term effects of this development on the vege- 
tation community is probably substantial and will be discussed 
later in this section. 

The vegetation of Cypress Park is dominated by an old- 
growth stand of baldcypress ( Taxodium distichum ) . The com- 
munity type is Taxodium distichum/ Acer rub rum/Per sea borbonia 
(baldcypress/red maple/redbay; CT 1) . This community is 
characterized by a tall, open to partially closed canopy of 
baldcypress 80-90 feet tall over a subcanopy of red maple 
and a tall shrub layer of redbay. There is no well-defined 
low shrub layer although redbay transgressives and seedlings 
are common throughout. The ground cover is sparse except for 
scattered patches of Virginia chain-fern ( Woodwardia virginica ) , 
poison-ivy ( Rhus radicans ) , and yellow jessamine ( Gelsemium 
sempervirens ) , the latter species locally abundant in openings. 

Although there are occasional canopy specimens of swamp 
blackgum ( Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora ) scattered throughout, 
the overwhelmingly dominant tree is baldcypress. This is an 



51 



old-age stand with average dbh's of about 33 inches with some 
trees reaching 53 inches dbh. The cypress have characteristic 
flat-topped crowns but do not have very enlarged buttresses, 
a trait which has been observed elsewhere in the Alligator 
River palustrine wetlands of Hyde and Dare Counties. Evidence 
of fire is apparent throughout the tract; almost all of the 
canopy trees have burn scars on their lower trunks. These 
scars do not appear to be very recent however, and it is 
likely that the isolation of the tract by the adjacent land 
clearing has prevented recent fires and will continue to act 
as a fire buffer in the future. 

The average trunk diameter and the canopy height of the 
cypress are strikingly uniform, suggesting that the trees are 
all about the same age. Equally striking is the absence of 
cypress transgressives or seedlings in the stand, indicating 
that the species is not reproducing itself. Other similar 
mature cypress stands in the Alligator River region exhibit 
this apparent lack of successful reproduction. The species 
needs abundant sunlight and a moist but not inundated seedbed 
for successful germination. Young seedlings cannot tolerate 
extended flooding or fire (Fowells, 1965). Con- 
ditions which would prepare an ideal seedbed for cypress 
regeneration probably would include an extended drought 
accompanied by an intense crown fire which would kill the 
existing overshadowing vegetation. Catastrophic events such 
as these probably occurred rarely during pre-settlement times. 
Once the cypress reached sufficient height they were probably 
able to withstand all but the most intense wildfires, as evi- 
denced by the abundant burn marks on the still living trees 
within the tract. 

The stand appears to be slowly changing due to the at- 
trition of the standing cypress. Many old but still standing 
dead trees are scattered throughout and many fallen logs litter 
the ground. Interestingly, the sizeable gaps left by the fallen 
giants are not being occupied by other smaller cypress. As 
mentioned before there are no younger cypress present to re- 
place them. Red maple, red bay, and an occasional sweetgum 
( Liquidambar styraciflua ) are quick to assume dominance within 
these open spots in the canopy. 

The drainage of the region for agricultural development 
began in the 1960's and is continuing at the present time. 
There is now cleared land containing row crops on three sides 
of the natural area and additional swamp forest and pocosin 
wetlands are being drained and cleared. Although difficult 
to quantitatively document, this large-scale regional drainage 
has undoubtedly had a profound effect on the natural area. 
There are several visible signs of disturbance. Cypress 
"knees" up to about one foot tall are scattered throughout 
the natural area. These modified roots indicate that, at 



52 



least formerly, the seasonal high water table ranged up to 
about the one foot depth over much of the site. Today, the 
upper layers of the organic soils covering the area remain 
dried out throughout much of the year. These generally 
drier conditions are coupled with an absence of fire pro- 
vided by the buffering effect of nearby fields. Sweetgum, 
a typical "weed" tree which often invades heavily cut-over 
or drained swamps, is now present within the natural area. 
It is not known to occur in undrained palustrine swamp forests 
in other areas of the Alligator River corridor. Probably this 
species is a recent "invader" on the site. It is also a com- 
petitor with cypress, and because of its less exacting germin- 
ation requirements and fast-growth, it will likely increase 
as the cypress gradually die out from natural diseases and 
other causes. 

The prognosis for the natural area is not a good one. 
Currently the site represents an excellent example of a 
climax swamp forest palustrine wetland, and is probably 
the nearest thing to virgin timber remaining in Hyde County. 
It is a stand which is probably representative of the original 
Alligator River swamp forests of Hyde and Dare Counties before 
the advent of extensive logging operations. However, in a long- 
term sense the stand is dying. In a large, unaltered and un- 
drained wetland system a stand such as this might be expected 
to continue indefinitely, if natural wildfires and other natural 
conditions were allowed to exist. The present situation is far 
from natural conditions. As already mentioned, the stand has 
been almost completely isolated by adjacent land clearing oper- 
ations. The natural hydrological patterns have been altered. 
The stand now is even acting as a wind-borne sediment trap. 
Large amounts of fine-grained peat and silt particles collect 
on the leaves of the .vegetation, blown in from adjacent fields. 

Because of these man-induced conditions which appear to 
be permanent and probably intensifying in the future , the 
natural area is not given a high priority for protection, 
although it is still considered a significant remnant example 
of a swamp forest wetland. 

The soils within the natural area are mapped as the Dare- 
Pungo-Dorovan association, very poorly drained soils with thick 
to moderately thick organic surface layers which range from 
51 to over 91 inches in depth (SCS, 1973). Soil Series desig- 
nation for the natural area proper has not been made but it is 
likely to be Pungo, classified as dysic, thermic Typic Medis- 
aprists (based on soil mapping data from adjacent Dare County; 
Barnes, 1981) . These deep peat soils are prominant throughout 
much of the Alligator River corridor in Hyde, Dare, and Tyrrell 
Counties. 



53 



The wildlife values of the tract are high. The numerous 
cavities supplied by the old-growth cypress provide important 
denning and nesting sites for mammals and many species of 
cavity-nesting birds. Black bears use the area as evidenced 
by common scratch marks on the cypress trunks and by scat 
deposits. Other common game mammals include eastern gray 
squirrel and white-tailed deer. The tract plays an increasingly 
important role as escape cover and refuge for many wildlife 
species as more acreage is continually cleared for agriculture. 
The tract is presently connected via a disturbed but still 
wooded buffer strip to the Alligator River Swamp Forest natural 
area. Because of its small size (300 acres) , its significance 
as wildlife habitat will decline markedly if it is severed 
from the nearby natural area. Unfortunately, it appears 
likely that the adjacent connecting corridor will soon be 
converted to agriculture. 



54 



lib. Prose Description of Site Significance: 



The Cypress Park natural area contains probably the 
last remaining, near-virgin stand of baldcypress in Hyde 
County. Although other mature, old-growth stands exist 
in the Alligator River swamp forest, none are known which 
approach the trunk diameters and overall size of the trees 
in Cypress Park. The stand (structurally and compositionally) 
probably most closely approximates the original presettle- 
ment palustrine swamp forest wetlands along the Alligator 
River corridor. 

The site, when combined with the much larger Alligator 
River Swamp Forest natural area to the north, contains sig- 
nificant habitat for a number of game and non-game wildlife 
species, notably black bear. 



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56 



Fig. 5. Significant features: 



CYPRESS PARK 



(community type occupies 
entire natural area) 




57 



Legal Status, Use, and Management 

13. Ownership type by percent area: Type 



Private 10 ° 



Public 



Unknown 



14. Number of Owners: 



15. Nane(s) of owner (s) and/or custodian (s) (with addresses, phone numbers, 
other pertinent information) . 

Georgia Timberlands 
P. 0. Box G 
Macon, GA 31202 



16. Name(s) of knowledgeable person (s) (with addresses, phone numbers, other 
pertinent information) . 

B. B. (Pat) White 



P. 0. Box 851 



Plymouth, NC 27962 



17. Attitude of owner or custodian toward preservation (contacted?): 
Not definitely known, but apparentl y owner has decided to protect 

site. 



58 



18. 



Uses of natural area: 



The natural area has been protected by the owner as a 
nature preserve for some time. The southern border of the 
site is marked by a large wooden sign proclaiming "Cypress 
Park." A gated narrow road leads into the site from the 
southern border and deadends at the edge of the cypress 
stand. From this point a foot trail leads further into the 
stand and makes a loop, connecting back to the starting point. 
The site is apparently used from time to time for nature walks 
by school groups and other groups . In fact , the site achieved 
a degree of notoriety when a wedding ceremony was performed a 
few years ago under the cypress. It is obvious that the site 
is protected and maintained by the owner in recognition of 
its natural values. 



19, O'ses of surrounding land: 



a. Wildland 10 % 

b. Agricultural land 90 



c. high-intensity forestry_ 
% d. developed % 



20. Preservation Status: 



Cat 


* % 


*Description of preservation status 


4 


100 


Private land, protected by owner or lessee. 




! 



21. Regulatory protections in force: 

The Army Corps of Engineers "404" permit process applies to this area. 



R Q 



22 . Threats i 



Although, as already mentioned, the site is protected 
and maintained in its natural condition, it is imminently 
threatened by the fairly recent land-use alterations which 
have occurred around it. Three sides of the natural area 
are now bounded by extensive agricultural fields, the 
result of large-scale ditching and canal construction 
which lowered the water table sufficiently to allow crop 
production. The natural area itself and a thin buffer 
strip were left intact during this land-clearing process. 
However, the resultant lowering of the water table and 
removal of surrounding vegetation have significantly 
altered the hydrological and ecological processes of 
the swamp forest system, and have effectively doomed 
the site. The lowered water table has allowed the in- 
vasion of "weedy" tree species such as sweetgum, and the 
proliferation of red maple. Unless the former high water 
conditions can be reintroduced, the old-growth cypress 
and swamp blackgum will eventually die out and be re- 
placed by a red maple-sweetgum forest. Unable to re- 
generate itself because of the competition from these 
species, the old-growth cypress stand will slowly 
change as the older trees die out from disease, light- 
ning, and other factors. 



23. Management and Preservation Recommendation: 



The Cypress Park natural area at present represents 
a protected remnant example of a palustrine swamp forest 
wetland in a relatively undisturbed old-growth condition. 
Because of past logging operations, very few swamp forest 
stands remain in the eastern coastal plain which are still 
dominated by old-growth cypress. The site would make an 
ideal study area to use as a comparison with non-cypress 
dominated communities. From a long-term perspective, the 
site has probably been irreparably altered by the clearing 
and drainage operations which have almost completely en- 
circled the area. It is doubtful that water control 
measures could be implemented to raise the water table to 
previous levels and recreate a more natural hydrologic 
regime . 

However, this does not mean the site should not be 
preserved. At the present time and for some years hence- 
forth, it will represent an interesting remnant of a peat- 
dominated, palustrine swamp forest ecosystem which was quite 
extensive but is now rapidly being cleared and converted to 
other uses. The site could be used as an interpretive out- 
door classroom for schools, natural history organizations 
and other interested groups. 

60 



Natural Characteristics Summary 

24a. Vegetation - Biotic Community Summary CT 1 

Community type: Taxodium distichum/Acer rubrum/Persea borbonia 
Community cover type: Taxodium distichum 

General habitat feature: palustrine swamp forest 

Average canopy height: 80-90 feet 

Estimated age of canopy trees: 200+ 

Canopy cover : Partially closed to open 

Estimated size of community: 300 acres 

Successional stage: Climax 



Common canopy species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

None 



Common sub-canopy or shrub stratum species in community cover or 
community type (but not dominant) : 

Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora, Ilex opaca, Liquidambar 
styraciflua, Ilex glabra 

Common herb stratum species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

Woodwardia virginica, Rhus radicans, Gelsemium sempervirens, 
Euonymus americanus 



61 



24b. Soil Summary (by community type) CT 1 
Soil series: not known 
Soil classification: 

Soil association: Dare-Pungo-Dorovan 
pH class: very strongly acid 



Source of information: General Soil Map of Hyde County, N.C., 

SCS, USDA, 1973 



Other notes: 

24c. Hydrology Summary (by community type) CT 1 
Hydrologic system: Palustrine 

Hydrologic subsystem: Interagueous 

Water chemistry: Fresh-acid 

Water regime: Saturated (originally), now temporarily flooded (?) 

Drainage class: Very poorly drained 

Drainage basin: Swan Lake Creek — Alligator River 

Hydrology characterization: A very poorly drained, originally 

saturated now temporarily flooded (?) 
due to artificial drainage, fresh-acid, 
interagueous palustrine system. 



62 



24d. Topography Summary: CT 1 

Land form: Palustrine swamp forest 

Shelter: open 

Aspect : n/a 

Slope Angle : n/a 

Profile: Flat 

Surface patterns: Hummocky; many logs and stumps, shallow depressions 

Position: n/a 

25. Physiographic characterization of natural area: 

A climax community occupying a very poorly drained, peat- 
mantled drainage corridor which drains into Swan Creek and 
eventually into the Alligator River in the Coastal Plain Pro- 
vince of the Atlantic Plain. 



Geological Formation: 

Surficial peat deposits overlying Pleistocene (Pamlico 
Terrace formation) sediments. 



Geological Formation age: 

Recent (less than 10,000 BP) - peat sediments 

Pleistocene (less than 100,000 yrs. BP) - sands and clays of 

Pamlico Terrace 



References Cited: 



Daniels, R. B. , E. E. Gamble, and W. H. Wheeler. 1978. 
Age of Soil Landscapes in the Coastal Plain of N.C. Soil 
Science Soc. of Am. Journal 42: 98-105. 



63 



26. Summary - Endangered and threatened species 



Name of species: Black bear 



Species legal status and authority: Of Special Concern in N.C, 

(Cooper et al. , 1977) 

Number of populations on site: one 



Number of individuals per population: Unknown; a few individuals 
travel through the site from large swamp forest area to the north. 

Size or Maturity of individuals: 

Phenology of population: not applicable 

Eg: vegetative % 
flowering % 
fruiting % 

General vigor of population: unknown 

Disturbance or threats to population: land clearing; illegal hunting 

Habitat characteristics 

Plant community: CT 1 

Topography: 

Soil Series: 

Microclimate: 

Drainage basin: 

Other plants and animal species present: See Master Species List. 

AERIAL OR DETAILED MAPS WITH POPULATIONS CLEARLY MARKED. 

64 



27. Master species lists: 



VASCULAR PLANTS 
(listed alphabetically by family) 



ACERACEAE 

Acer rubrum 
ANACARDIACEAE 

Rhus radicans 
ACjUIFOLIACEAE 

Ilex coriacea 

I. glabra 

I. opaca 
ASPLENIACEAE 

Asplenium platyneuron 
BLECHNACEAE 

Woodwardia virginica 
CELASTRACEAE 

Euonymus americanus 
ERICACEAE 

Vaccinium corymbosum 
HAMAMELIDACEAE 

Liquidambar styraciflua 
LAURACEAE 

Persea borbonia 
LILIACEAE 

Smilax laurifolia 

S . rotundi f ol ia 
LOGANIACEAE 

Gelsemium sempervirens 
LORANTHACEAE 

Phoradendron serotinum 
MAGNOLIACEAE 

Magnolia virginiana 
NYSSACEAE 

Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora 
PINACEAE 

Pinus taeda 
POLYPODIACEAE 

Polypodium polypodioides 
SAXIFRAGACEAE 

Decumaria barbara 
TAXODIACEAE 

Taxodium distichum 



65 



AMPHIBIANS 



None recorded 



REPTILES 



Canebrake Rattlesnake 



BIRDS 
(Emphasis of bird lists if on breeding or summering 
species; lack of adequate field work during the other 
seasons prevented compilation of a complete list.) 

KEY 

PR = Permanent resident 
SR = Summer resident 
WR = Winter resident 

T = Transient, spring or fall 
PV, SV, WV = Visitor; year-round, summer, or winter 

* = Breeding or suspected breeding at site 



Wood Duck PR* 

Great Horned Owl PR* 

Pileated Woodpecker PR* 

Hairy Woodpecker PR* 

Red-bellied Woodpecker PR* 

Downy Woodpecker PR* 

Carolina Chickadee PR* 

Fish Crow PV 

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher SR* 

Carolina Wren PR* 

Hermit Thrush WR 

Yellow-rumped Warbler WR 

Northern Cardinal PR* 

Rufous -sided Towhee PR* 



MAMMALS 

Eastern Gray Squirrel (several seen) 
White-tailed Deer (abundant tracks) 
Black Bear (scratch marks, scat) 



66 



NATURAL AREA INVENTORY FORM 
(To be prepared for each site) 



Basic Information Summary Sheet 

1. Natural Area Name: Roper Island 

2 . County : Hyde 



3. Location: Along the Alligator River in northern Hyde County. 
Island formed by Intracoastal Waterway on south 
and river on north, east, and west. About 6 air- 
miles due north of Lake Mattamuskeet . 



4. Topographic quadrangle (s) : Fairfield (1974) 

Fairfield NW (1974) 
Fairfield NE (1974) 



5. Size: About 9,500 acres; measured with a grid calculator 



6. Elevation: 0-4 feet above mean sea level 



7. Access: By boat only; several private boat ramps along the 
Alligator River in Tyrrell County. Closest ramp 
open to public is on the Intracoastal Waterway at 
the NC 94 bridge, about 3 miles SW of island. 



8. Names of investigators: J. Merrill Lynch S. Lance Peacock 

Route 2, Box 222-B P. 0. Box 6006 
Enfield, NC 27823 Raleigh, NC 2762* 



9. Dates of investigation: April 8, June 16, 1982 
10. Priority rating: Low-medium 



67 



Fig. 6. 



Access information: 



ROPER ISLAND 




68 



11a. Prose Description of Site: 



Roper Island is part of an extensive wetland corridor 
along the Alligator River in the northern portion of Hyde 
County. The most extensive natural lands remaining in the 
county occur along this corridor which stretches from the 
New Lake Fork Pocosin natural area on the west across Roper 
Island, and to the Alligator River-Swan Lake natural area 
on the east, a distance of over 21 air-miles. When com- 
bined the three natural areas encompass over 35,000 acres. 

The Roper Island natural area is about 9500 acres in 
size. It is located in a wide bend of the Alligator River, 
which forms a natural boundary on three sides. The southern 
boundary is along the Intracoastal Waterway (IWW) , a man- 
made channel constructed during the 1930' s creating Roper 
Island (see map) . Much of the land across the IWW from the 
island was formerly pocosin and swamp forest but has now 
been cleared for agriculture. Lands opposite the Alligator 
River (in Tyrrell County) from the natural area are generally 
forested wetlands although former wetlands in the vicinity of 
Gum Neck are now in agriculture. 

The Alligator River channel upstream from the Northwest 
Fork confluence is a typical coastal plain blackwater stream 
characterized by a series of sharp meanders. The slow-moving 
river maintains a channel width of about 400-500 feet in this 
section. Three small blackwater streams drain into this sec- 
tion of the river along the western side of Roper Island. 
These streams originate h to h mile in the island interior. 

Downstream from the Northwest Fork confluence, the Alli- 
gator River widens considerably to about 1500-3000 feet and 
becomes an embayed estuarine stream. The river continues to 
widen gradually to the confluence of the IWW at the extreme 
eastern end of the natural area. 

The topography of Roper Island is essentially flat. 
Elevation of the natural portions ranges from sea level 
along the river, to about four feet msl. The only signifi- 
cant topographic relief on the island is along the IWW spoil 
banks where the elevation reaches 8 feet msl. This sandy 
spoil bank varies from 100-300 yards wide and is approxi- 
mately seven miles long, paralleling the north bank of the 
IWW. 

The remainder of the island is dominated by peaty sands 
and shallow to deep peats. 



69 



Two soil associations are recognized on the island 
(SCS 1973) . The southeastern portion adjacent to the 
IWW (excluding the spoil banks) is classified as the 
Ponzer-Belhaven-Wasda association: very poorly drained 
soils with moderately thick to thin organic surface 
layers. Most of the western, northern, and eastern 
portions are classified as the Dare-Pungo-Dorovan associ- 
ation: very poorly drained soils with thick to moderately 
thick organic surface layers. 

No detailed soil mapping has been done on Roper Island; 
however, based on soils information from similar areas along 
the Alligator River in Dare County, the deeper peats are 
probably the Pungo series (Barnes 1981) . 

Ingram and Otte (1982) have mapped the peat deposits 
of Roper Island as part of a study of deposits throughout 
the Pamlimarle Peninsula. Depths of 8-10 feet are prevalent 
along the Alligator River and gradually thin towards the in- 
terior of the island. Relatively small areas of peaty sand 
or sandy peat are mapped near the IWW. About 75% of the 
island is underlain by peat 2 feet or more in depth. 



THE VEGETATION 



A brackish marsh community is located along the Alligator 
River in the southwestern portion of Roper Island. It extends 
along both sides of the river from the confluence with the IWW 
downstream (north-northeast) for about 7.5 river miles. The 
most extensive marshes are located at the extreme southwestern 
corner of the island near the IWW and gradually become narrower 
and more shrub-dominated towards the northern end of the island 
before the Northwest Fork confluence. 

The brackish marsh community (780 acres) is dominated by 
narrow-leaved cattail ( Typha angustifolia ) with some sawgrass 
( Cladium jamaicense ) intermixed. The primary community type 
is Typha angustifolia (narrow-leaved cattail; CT 1) although 
in some areas sawgrass is frequent enough to be considered a 
codominant. Along the back edges of the marsh shrubs such as 
groundsel tree ( Baccharis halimifolia ) and seashore mallow 
( Kosteletskya virginica ) are common with shrub-sized loblolly 
pine ( Pinus taeda ) , red maple ( Acer rubrum ) , and some Atlantic 
white cedar ( Chamaecypar i s thyoides ) . The shrub marsh zone 
becomes more prominent in the downstream sections, particularly 
past Kilkenny Landing, where it extends from the riverbank in- 
land until grading into various forested wetland communities. 



70 



The cattail marsh is widest near the IWW-Alligator River 
confluence where it reaches a width of about 2000 feet. The 
marshes are also quite extensive on the Tyrrell County side 
of the river where they extend downstream to the NC 94 bridge. 

The Roper Island marshes are characterized by an abundance 
of standing dead baldcypress ( Taxodium distichum ) . These "skele- 
ton" stands of dead timber occur throughout the brackish marsh 
community, from along the riverbank inland to the forested edge 
of the marsh community. The dead cypress vary in size class. 
Most are rather small, about 6-8 inches dbh and about 20-30 
feet tall. There are scattered stands of much larger dead 
cypress, up to 70 feet tall and 18 inches dbh (diameter at 
breast height) . 

The cause of the massive cypress kill is believed to be 
saltwater intrusion associated with storm tides in the late 
1950' s and early 1960's (Otto Florschutz , pers. com. 1982). 
"Skeleton" cypress stands are a common feature along the upper 
reaches of tidal creeks and estuarine rivers in the lower North 
Carolina coastal plain. 

The cypress die-off has resulted in more extensive marshes 
on Roper Island although there are signs that woody vegetation 
is invading rapidly and may eventually replace the marsh system. 
As mentioned earlier, red maples and loblolly pine are vigorously 
invading the marsh, particularly in the downstream sections more 
distant from the IWW. These shrub-sized (5-15 feet) trees are 
also spreading from the forested interior towards the riverbank. 
It is noteworthy that the most extensive, best developed portions 
of the marsh are near the IWW. This implies that the saline in- 
fluence of the waterway may be controlling the establishment of 
woody vegetation in this section. 

The cattail marsh community also extends up the several 
major and the numerous minor streams draining the west side 
of Roper Island. Along the shallow margins of these streams 
beds of pickerelweed ( Pontederia cordata ) are common. Other 
species noted include water pimpernel ( Samolus parviflorus ) , 
various bladderworts ( Utricularia spp.), and fragrant water- 
lily ( Nymphaea odorata ) . The blackwater streams range from 
several hundred feet in length (many) to h-h mile long (three) . 

American alligators have been reported from Roper Island 
by local fishermen and Wildlife Resources Commission personnel 
(N.C. Natural Heritage Program files) . Although we saw no sign 
of the species , there appeared to be excellent habitat available 
along these blackwater tributary streams. Other wildlife noted 
included abundant raccoon tracks and many nesting birds. One 
active Osprey nest was seen in a dead cypress tree and nesting 
red-winged blackbirds, eastern kingbirds, prothonotary warblers, 
common yellowthroats, and great crested flycatchers were very 
common. Secretive marsh nesting birds are probably present 



71 



although we saw only least bitterns on our boat trip. 

Unlike the brackish marsh community which is easily acces- 
sible by boat, the interior forested wetlands of the island are 
much more difficult to survey and inventory. Comprising about 
90% of the island's acreage, these forested wetlands are acces- 
sible from only one location along a road and canal leading from 
the Alligator River about h mile into the island interior (see 
map) . Notes taken along this canal were compared with observ- 
ations made during our aerial reconnaissance of the entire island. 
Extrapolations were made using a combination of our ground and 
aerial observations. We emphasize that more detailed ground 
field work is needed to more accurately describe and delineate 
the various plant communities present on the island. The fol- 
lowing descriptions are general in nature and point to the need 
for more field work. 

The forested wetlands of the island can be divided into 
two major types: 1) a swamp forest dominated by various com- 
binations of baldcypress ( Taxodium distichum , red maple ( Acer 
rub rum ) , loblolly pine ( Pinus taeda ) , swamp blackgum ( Nyssa 
sylvatica var. biflora ) , and Atlantic white cedar ( Chamaecyparis 
thy o ides ) ; and 2) an open pond pine ( Pinus serotina ) forest over 
a dense understory of bay trees and evergreen shrubs. 

The swamp forest is located primarily along the northern 
portion of the island adjacent to the embayed section of the 
Alligator River, and in the southwestern corner near the head 
of Jack's Creek (see map). Most of the areas surveyed along 
the river contain young to medium growth closed stands of lob- 
lolly pine , red maple , and sweetgum ( Liquidambar styraciflua ) . 
Canopy heights are generally 40-60 feet. Most of the cypress 
have been removed during past timber operations. Swamp black- 
gum is sometimes present in almost pure stands. Occasional 
stands of baldcypress are also present but these are relatively 
minor in extent and are composed of trees in young age classes. 
Most cypress stands seen were 40-50 feet in height and 12-14 
inches dbh. The swamp forest stands appear to be limited 
mainly to a fairly narrow band (to 2500 feet) adjacent to the 
river channel. We saw no stands in the northern section which 
were significant enough to be granted community type designations 
or mentioned in the significance summary of this report. 

The swamp forest stands in the southwestern corner of the 
island are centered around the headwaters of Jack's Creek. This 
area was surveyed by air only. Several stands of baldcypress 
were observed along with scattered small groups of Atlantic 
white cedar. One area south of Jack's Creek has a fairly high 
density of white cedar. Swamp blackgum is fairly common with 
the cypress and white cedar in this section. The height of 
the vegetation and the underlying shrub composition could not 
be determined during our aerial observations. However, some 



72 



of the cypress appeared to be fairly tall (+70 feet) and flat- 
topped, indicating a mature or climax condition. The white 
cedar appeared to be young to medium growth (10-40 feet tall) . 
Most of the white cedar of the island is located in the Jack's 
Creek area. Some of the white cedar stands appear to be dense 
enough to be considered a monospecific community and are clas- 
sified as Chamaecyparis thyoides (Atlantic white cedar; CT 2) . 

The combined acreage of the swamp forest vegetation is 
estimated to be about 800-1000 acres. Most of this area was 
probably originally dominated by a greater proportion of bald- 
cypress, swamp blackgum, and white cedar. Today, most of the 
timber is composed of red maple, sweetgum, and loblolly pine, 
species which assumed dominance when the more valuable timber 
species were cut out. 

The vegetation association most prominent on the island, 
and the least disturbed by past logging activities , is the 
pond pine-dominated wetlands. Most of the island interior 
is dominated by this association (about 7200 acres) . 

This association is characterized by open stands of pond 
pine, some of which reach 80 feet in height and have dbh's of 
12-14 inches. These older-growth stands are composed of flat- 
top pines and represent the least disturbed forest community 
on the island. 

The understory vegetation is somewhat variable , both 
structurally and in species composition. Based on our ground 
observations along a transect adjacent to a canal (see map) , 
the understory is composed of a dense tall shrub layer of red 
maple, redbay, and some sweetbay. This layer ranges from 20- 
40 feet tall. Underneath is a dense low shrub (2-20 feet) 
layer dominated by smaller redbay, fetterbush ( Lyonia lucida ) , 
sweet gallberry ( Ilex coriacea ) , and locally, giant cane 
( Arundinaria gigantea ) . Virginia chain fern ( Woodwardia 
virginica ) is common as a ground cover over much of the area, 
and is particularly abundant in openings or in disturbed cut- 
over sections . The lower shrub layer is covered by very dense , 
impenetrable tangles of laurel-leaved greenbriar ( Smilax lauri- 
folia) . 

Scattered amongst the flattop pond pines are a few old- 
growth baldcypress which are about the same size. These cypress 
are probably "cull" trees left by past timber operations because 
of various imperfections. 

Based on our aerial observations, the open pond pine stands 
are quite extensive in the island's interior. In some areas red 



73 



maple and the bay species form a distinct subcanopy under the 
pines. In other areas, a dense evergreen shrub layer composed 
of bays, fetterbush, and gallberries is the dominant under- 
growth with red maple essentially absent. 

Also present in scattered dense stands is swamp blackgum. 
This species usually seems to occur in dense, almost monospecific 
stands within the pond pine community. Scattered individuals of 
small to medium-size Atlantic white cedar are present. No dense 
stands of this species are present in the pond pine stands. 

The community type(s) can be classified as Pinus serotina/ 
Acer rubrum-Persea borbonia/Persea borbonia and mixed evergreen 
shrubs// Smilax laurifolia (Pond pine/red maple-redbay/redbay 
and mixed evergreen shrubs//laurel-leaved greenbriar or Pinus 
serotina/Persea borbonia and mixed evergreen shrubs// Smilax 
laurifolia; CT 3) . 



WILDLIFE AND AVIAN DIVERSITY 



The wildlife values of the pond pine stands and the swamp 
forest areas are probably significant . White-tailed deer sign 
is prevalent and the species is reported to be very common on 
the island (Florschutz 1979) . Florschutz ( op . cit . ) also reports 
plentiful bobcat and raccoon although we saw no sign of the former. 
Black bear are present, as evidenced by tracks and other sign, and 
the habitats are sufficiently diverse and extensive to support a 
viable population of this declining mammal. The American alligator, 
a federally listed endangered species, has been reported and suit- 
able habitat is present in the small creeks draining into the 
Alligator River on the island's west side. At least 39 species 
of breeding birds are present, including species such as Osprey 
and Wood Duck. Additional field work will undoubtedly reveal the 
presence of additional nesting species. Although no evidence was 
seen, there is a good possibility that one or two clans of red- 
cockaded woodpeckers, a federally endangered species, are present. 
The open stands of old-growth pond pines provide excellent habitat 
for the species. 

An active cavity tree was discovered this summer in an open 
pond pine stand directly across the IWW from the island. The 
location of this cavity is only about 1000 feet from the natural 
area,- it is highly possible that the birds of this colony use the 
pines on Roper Island as foraging habitat. Intensive ground recon- 
naissance is needed to assess the species' status on the island. 



74 



lib. Prose Description of Site Significance: 



The Roper Island natural area is situated within an extensive 
corridor of nearly contiguous natural wetlands associated with the 
Alligator River. The New Lake Fork Pocosin natural area (9300 
acres) lies about 5 miles west of the island. The Alligator 
River-Swan Lake natural area (16,300 acres) lies directly ad- 
jacent to the east side of the natural area. When combined 
these three tracts encompass about 35,100 acres containing 
almost the entire spectrum of wetland habitats associated with 
the deep peat landscape of the lower coastal plain. These wet- 
lands have superlative wildlife values, particularly for nesting 
birds and for many species of furbearers including bobcat and 
black bear, which require substantial amounts of land to main- 
tain viable populations. 

Roper Island does not contain the best examples of forested 
wetland types known in the coastal plain. Less disturbed, older- 
growth stands are present in other sections of the Alligator River 
corridor. Its wetland vegetation, the majority of which is not 
in a pristine condition, nonetheless represents a significant 
acreage which has never been drained or clearcut, and which still 
retains a relatively natural hydrological system. The construction 
of the Intracoastal Waterway, which may have had a negative impact 
on the natural drainage systems of the region, also has had a 
positive effect on the Roper Island natural area, isolating it 
from the mainland and, in effect, creating a de facto wilderness. 

Another significant aspect of the natural area is the pristine 
esthetic quality of the Alligator River, particularly the meandering 
section along the west side of Roper Island. The clear, unpolluted, 
tea-colored water, the scenic marshes, and the vast, undeveloped 
landscape combine to give this section a high mark as an estheti- 
cally pleasing landscape. 

Wildlife values of Roper Island are considered high. The 
American alligator, a federally endangered species, is reported 
to occur in the small streams along the island's west side. Other 
rare species, such as black bear and red-shouldered hawk are also 
present. There is a good possibility, though there is no definite 
proof at present, that the island supports a small but significant 
population of red-cockaded woodpeckers , a federally endangered 
species. 



75 



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Legal Status , Use , and Management 

13. Ownership type by percent area: Type 



Private 


100 


g. 

"5 


Public 




% 


Unknown % 



14. Number of Owners: 



15. Name(s) of owner(s) and/or custodian(s) (with addresses, phone 
numbers, other pertinent information). 

1) Adams-Roper, Inc. (8210 acres) - primary owner 
c/o Jay M. DeVoss, Sec. 

Devoss and Scott 

P. 0. Box 30 

Decatur, Indiana 47633 

2) Glenn B. O'Neal (275 acres) 
Creek Road 

Piperville, PA 18947 

3) Harry M. DeWitt (370 acres) 
11619 Gibson St. 

Silver Spring, MD 20962 

*Adams-Roper, Inc. went bankrupt in July, 1982 - present status 
of ownership is not known. 



16. Name(s) of knowledgeable person (s) (with addresses, phone numbers, 
other pertinent information) . 

1) Otto Florschutz, Jr., Biologist 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
P. 0. Box 581 
Washington, NC 27889 



17. Attitude of owner or custodian toward preservation (contacted?) 
Not known; previous owners were interested in selling property 
to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or The Nature Conservancy. 



79 



18. Uses of natural area: 

Much of the natural area has been logged over in several 
cycles to obtain the successively most valuable remaining or 
regenerated timber. Early loggers used barges and a series 
of tram roads to remove timber. Recently (1979) , loggers dug 
a short canal into the Alligator River side of the island and 
selectively cut timber along this canal and along a series of 
skidder trails. The canal construction was halted when the 
Army Corps of Engineers issued a cease-and-desist order re- 
quiring a "404" wetlands permit. Some logging continues at 
the present time by cable. 

There has been no agricultural development on the island. 

However, there have been some small-scale logging, clearing, 

and bush-hogging operations along the Intracoastal Waterway 

(IWW) spoil area. A portion of the spoil area has been opened 
to cattle grazing. 

Construction of the IWW in the 1930 's created Roper Island 
and effectively curtailed many uses by cutting the area off from 
the mainland. 

Some deer hunting is done by the present and neighboring 
owners. Excellent fishing is reported along the Alligator 
River and along the three major streams which drain out of 
Roper Island. 



19 j Uses of surrounding land: 

a. Wildland 70 \ 

b. Agricultural land 



c. high-intensity forestry_ 

d. developed 30 % 

(Intracoastal Waterway) 



20. Preservation Status: 



Cat 


* % 


*Description of preservation status i 


6 


100 


Private land, not protected as a natural area by owner. 









21„ Regulatory protections in force: 

The Army Corps of Engineers "404" permit process applies to this 
area. 



80 



22. Threats: 



The major threat to Roper Island is continued logging 
operations. Much merchantable loblolly and pond pine, 
baldcypress, swamp blackgum, and some Atlantic white cedar 
are present on the island. Much of this timber is located 
in the relatively inaccessible interior. Logging of course 
results in locally severe disturbance; however, the island 
may have some degree of protection from modern timbering 
practices (i.e. , construction of access roads and associ- 
ated drainage canals) because of the requirements for 
federal dredge and fill permits (Section 404 of Clean Water 
Act) . This permit regulation has already halted one attempt 
to construct an access canal on the island. 

Peat mining is a potential threat; Otte and Ingram 
(1980) found energy grade peat (less than 25% ash at 0% 
moisture) under much of the island. 

However, the lack of vehicular access to the natural 
area and the low elevation of the site will probably pro- 
hibit any mining in the foreseeable future. 

Agricultural development is another potential threat. 
The southeastern portion of the island is shallow peat or 
peaty sand and could be successfully farmed if drained. 
Again, the problem of access and the federal permit re- 
quirements pose a severe constraint for any development 
plans. 



23. Management and Preservation Recommendation: 



The section of the Alligator River from the southwest 
confluence with the IWW downstream to the Northwest Fork 
confluence should be nominated for designation as a wild 
and scenic river. 

If Roper Island is offered to The Nature Conservancy 
as a bargain sale or as a gift, TNC should accept and trans- 
fer the lands eventually to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser- 
vice as a part of the national wildlife refuge system. Other 
more significant natural areas in the Alligator River corridor 
of Hyde and Dare Counties should receive a higher priority for 
protection and this should be taken into account if and when 
negotiations for the acquisition of Roper Island occur. 



The entire island should be acquired, including the 
400-acre IWW spoil bank, so that management activities 
such as controlled burning could be freely implemented. 
The interior of the island should be protected and pre- 
served in its natural state with only limited trails, 
boardwalks, and other public use facilities maintained. 



82 



Natural Characteristics Summary 

24a. Vegetation - Biotic Community Summary CT 1 

Community type: Typha angustifolia 
Community cover type: Typha angustifolia 

General habitat feature: Brackish marsh 

Average canopy height: 

Estimated age of canopy trees: 

Canopy cover: 

Estimated size of community: 780 acres 

Successional stage: successional to forested wetland 



Common canopy species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

standing dead Taxodium distichum 



Common sub-canopy or shrub stratum species in community cover or 
community type (but not dominant) : 

None 



Common herb stratum species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

Cladium jamaicense 



83 



Natural Characteristics Summary 

24a. Vegetation - Biotic Community Summary CT 2 

Community type: Chamaecyparis thyoides 
Community cover type: Chamaecyparis thyoides 

General habitat feature: White cedar bog 

Average canopy height: unknown 

Estimated age of canopy trees: unknown 

Canopy cover: closed 

Estimated size of community: 200 acres 

Successional stage: early-mid successional 



Common canopy species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

None 



Common sub-canopy or shrub stratum species in community cover or 
community type (but not dominant) : 

Not known. 

Common herb stratum species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

Not known. 



84 



Natural Characteristics Summary 



24a. Vegetation - Biotic Community Summary CT 3 



Community type: Pinus serotina/Acer rubrum-Persea borbonia/ 
Persea borbonia and mixed evergreen shrubs// 
Smilax laurifolia 

or 

Pinus serotina/Persea borbonia and mixed 
evergreen shrubs//Smilax laurifolia 

Community cover type: Pinus serotina 

General habitat feature : palustrine swamp or pocosin 

Average canopy height: 50-60 up to 80 feet 

Estimated age of canopy trees : 50 to 100+ years 

Canopy cover: open 

Estimated size of community: 7200 acres 

Successional stage : late successional to pyroclimax 



Common canopy species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

none 



Common sub-canopy or shrub stratum species in community cover 
or community type (but not dominant) : 

Lyonia lucida, Ilex coriacea, Magnolia virginiana 



Common herb stratum species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

Arundinaria giganta (occasionally dominant) 



85 



24b. Soil Summary (by community type) CT 1 , 2, 3 



Soil series: not known 



Soil classification: not determined 



Soil association: l) Ponzer-Belhaven-Wasda 

2) Dare-Pungo-Dorovan 

pH class: extremely acid 



Source of information: General Soil Map of Hyde County, 

N.C., SCS, 1973 



Other notes: 

24c. Hydrology Summary (by community type) CT 1 , 2, 3 
Hydrologic system: Palustrine 

Hydrologic subsystem: Interaqueous 

Water chemistry: Fresh-acid 

Water regime: Saturated (CT 2, 3) to intermittently flooded (CT 1) 

Drainage class: Very poorly drained 

Drainage basin: Alligator River 



Hydrology characterization: A very poorly drained, saturated to 

intermittently flooded, fresh-acid, 
interaqueous, palustrine system. 



86 






24d. Topography Summary: CT 1 , 2, 3 

Land form: Peat-mantled terrace or flat 

Shelter: Open (CT 1) to sheltered (CT 2, 3) 

Aspect : not applicable 

Slope Angle : not applicable 

Profile: Flat 

Surface patterns: generally smooth, except for small depressions, 

stream channels, etc. 
Position: not applicable 

25. Physiographic characterization of natural area: 

An assemblage of early successional to pyroclimax brackish 
marsh and palustrine forested wetland communities occupying a 
very poorly drained, peat-mantled flat plain along the Alligator 
River and the Intracoastal Waterway in the Coastal Plain Province 
of the Atlantic Plain. 



Geological Formation: 

Recent peats over Pleistocene Pamlico Terrace Formation 
sands and clays over Upper Miocene Yorktown Formation sands 
and clays. 



Geological Formation age : 

Recent = less than 10,000 yrs. BP 

Pleistocene Pamlico Terrace = less than 100,000 yrs. BP 

Upper Miocene Yorktown Formation = 18-22 million years BP 



References Cited: 

Daniels, R. B. , E. E. Gamble, and w. H. Wheeler. 1978. Age 
of Soil Landscapes in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina. Soil 
Science Society of America Journal 42: 98-105. 



37 



26. Summary - Endangered and threatened species 

Name of species: American alligator 

Species legal status and authority: Federally endangered (Endangered 

Species Act of 1973) 

Number of populations on site: ? 

Number of individuals per population: ? 

Size or Maturity of individuals: ? 

Phenology of population: not applicable 

Eg: vegetative % 
flowering % 
fruiting % 



General vigor of population: Unknown. Not seen by authors but 
reported by WRC personnel and local fishermen to occur in small 
creeks draining into Alligator River on west side of island. 

Disturbance or threats to population: Illegal shooting 



Habitat characteristics 

Plant community: CT 1, open water of creeks 

Topography: 

Soil Series: 

Microclimate: 

Drainage basin: 

Other plants and animal species present: See Master Species Lists. 

AERIAL OR DETAILED MAPS WITH POPULATIONS CLEARLY MARKED. 



33 



26. Summary - Endangered and threatened species 



Name of species: Red-shouldered Hawk 



Species legal status and authority: Threatened In N.C. (Cooper, 

et al. , 1977) 

Number of populations on site: 2-3 pairs 



Number of individuals per population: 2 (male and female) plus 

young of year 

Size or Maturity of individuals: adult and immature 

Phenology of population: not applicable 

Eg: vegetative % 
flowering % 
fruiting % 



General vigor of population: Excellent. Habitat extensive and 

diverse. 



Disturbance or threats to population: Clearcutting , drainage, 

pesticides. 

Habitat characteristics 

Plant community: Throughout 

Topography: 

Soil Series: 

Microclimate: 

Drainage basin: 

Other plants and animal species present: See Master Species Lists. 

AERIAL OR DETAILED MAPS WITH POPULATIONS CLEARLY MARKED. 



89 



26. Summary - Endangered and threatened species 

Name of species: Osprey 

Species legal status and authority: Of Special Concern in N.C. 

(Cooper et al . , 1977) 

Number of populations on site: one 

Number of individuals per population: 2 plus young of year 

Size or Maturity of individuals: adult and immature 

Phenology of population: not applicable 

Eg: vegetative % 
flowering % 
fruiting % 



General vigor of population: Good. At least one nest observed in 

top of dead cypress along Alligator 
River about 1 mile upstream from con- 
fluence with Northwest Fork. 

Disturbance or threats to population: pesticides, illegal shooting 



Habitat characteristics 

Plant community: CT 1, open water 

Topography: 

Soil Series: 

Microclimate: 

Drainage basin: 

Other plants and animal species present: See Master Species Lists. 

AERIAL OR DETAILED MAPS WITH POPULATIONS CLEARLY MARKED . 



90 



26. Summary - Endangered and threatened species 

Name of species: Black Bear 

Species legal status and authority: Of Special Concern in N.C. 

(Cooper, et al., 1977) 

Number of populations on site: one 

Number of individuals per population: undetermined 

Size or Maturity of individuals: unknown 

Phenology of population: not applicable 

Eg: vegetative % 
flowering % 
fruiting % 



General vigor of population: Unknown. One set of tracks seen by 
authors along canal edge in northern section of island. Florschutz 
(1979) reports den tree on island. Habitat extensive and diverse; 
most of island is inaccessible to hunters. 
Disturbance or threats to population: clearcutting, drainage 



Habitat characteristics 

Plant community: Throughout 

Topography: 

Soil Series: 

Microclimate: 

Drainage basin: 

Other plants and animal species present: See Master Species Lists. 

AERIAL OR DETAILED MAPS WITH POPULATIONS CLEARLY MARKED. 

91 



27. Master Species List: 



VASCULAR PLANTS 
(arranged alphabetically by family) 



ACERACEAE 

Acer rubrum 
ALISMATACEAE 

Sagittaria sp. 
ANACARDIACEAE 

Rhus radicans 
AQUIFOLIACEAE 

Ilex coriacea 

I. glabra 
ASTERACEAE 

Baccharis halimifolia 
BLECHNACEAE 

Woodwardia virginica 
CLETHRACEAE 

Clethra alnifolia 
CUPRESSACEAE 

Chamaecyparis thyoides 
CYPERACEAE 

Carex spp „ 

Cladium jamaicense 

Scirpus americanus 
CYRILLACEAE 

Cyrilla racemiflora 
ERICACEAE 

Leucothoe axillaris 

Lyonia lucida 

Rhododendron viscosum 

Vaccinium corymbosum 
HAMAMELIDACEAE 

Liuqidambar styraciflua 
LAURACEAE 

Persea borbonia 
LENTIBULARIACEAE 

Utricular ia spp. 
LILIACEAE 

Smilax laurifolia 
LOGANIACEAE 

Gelsemium sempervirens 
MAGNOLIACEAE 

Magnolia virginiana 
MALVACEAE 

Kosteletskya virginica 



92 



MYRICACEAE 

Myrica cerifera 

M. heterophylla 
NYSSACEAE 

Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora 
NYMPHAEACEAE 

Nymphaea odorata 
OSMUNDACEAE 

Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis 
PINACEAE 

Pinus serotina 

P. taeda 
POACEAE 

Arundinaria gigantea 
PONTEDERIACEAE 

Pontederia cordata 
PRIMULACEAE 

Samolus parviflorus 
TAXODIACEAE 

Taxodium distichum 
TYPHACEAE 

Typha angustifolia 



AMPHIBIANS 



Green Treefrog 
Gray Treefrog 
Southern Cricket Frog 
Carpenter Frog 
Green Frog 



REPTILES 



None recorded 



93 



BIRDS 

(Emphasis of bird lists is on breeding or summering 
species ; lack of adequate field work during the other 
seasons prevented compilation of a complete list.) 

KEY 

PR = Permanent resident 
SR = Summer resident 
WR = Winter resident 

T = Transient; spring or fall 
PV, SV, WV = Visitor; year-round, summer or winter 

* = Breeding or suspected breeding at site 



Great Blue Heron PV 

Green Heron SR* 

Least Bittern SR* 

Wood Duck PR* 

Turkey Vulture PR* 

Red-shouldered Hawk PR* 

Osprey SR* 

Common Bobwhite PR* 

Laughing Gull SV 

Mourning Dove PR* 

Yellow-billed Cuckoo SR* 

Chimney Swift SV 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird SR* 

Belted Kingfisher PV 

Common Flicker PR* 

Pileated Woodpecker PR* 

Red-bellied Woodpecker PR* 

Downy Woodpecker PR* 

Red-headed Woodpecker PR* 

Eastern Kingbird SR* 

Great Crested Flycatcher SR* 

Eastern Pewee SR* 

Barn Swallow SV 

Common Crow PR* 

Fish Crow PR* 

Carolina Chickadee PR* 

Carolina Wren PR* 

Gray Catbird PR* 

Wood Thrush SR* 

White-eyed Vireo SR* 

Prothonotary Warbler SR* 

Northern Parula Warbler SR* 



94 



Yellow-throated Warbler SR* 

Pine Warbler PR* 

Prairie Warbler SR* 

Ovenbird SR* 

Common Yellowthroat PR* 

Hooded Warbler SR* 

Red-winged Blackbird PR* 

Common Grackle PR* 

Brown-headed Cowbird PR* 

Northern Cardinal PR* 

Indigo Bunting SR* 

Rufous-sided Towhee PR* 



MAMMALS 



Raccoon - tracks common 
White-tailed Deer - abundant tracks 
Black Bear - one set of tracks 



95 



NATURAL AREA INVENTORY FORM 
(To be prepared for each site) 



Basic Information Summary Sheet 



1. Natural Area Name: New Lake Fork Pocosin 



2 . County : Hyde 



3. Location: Southeast of Alligator (New) Lake between New 

Lake Fork of the Alligator River and the Intra- 
coastal Waterway 



4. Topographic quadrangle ( s ) : New Lake SE (1974) 

5. Size: Approximately 9300 acres, measured with grid calculator 

6. Elevation: 2-12 feet above mean sea level 



7. Access: The southwestern side can be reached by taking SR 1303 

north towards Alligator (New) Lake. About 4 miles north 
of the SR 1302 junction, the road bends sharply to the 
right (east) ._ At this corner take the unmarked private 
dirt road on the right (southeast) which intersects SR 
1303 . Natural area begins about one mile down this road 
(named Boundary Road on some maps) . 



8. Names of investigators: J. Merrill Lynch S. Lance Peacock 

Route 2, Box 222-B P. 0. Box 6006 
Enfield, NC 27823 Raleigh, NC 27628 



9. Date(s) of investigation: April 8, August 11, 1982 
10. Priority rating: Medium. 



96 



Fig. 8. Access information: 



NEW LAKE FORK POCOSIN 




97 



11a. Prose Description of Site: 



The New Lake Fork Pocosin is a 9300-acre tract of various 
pocosin habitats located about one mile southeast of Alligator 
(New) Lake. The predominantly high pocosin vegetation of the 
tract is associated with a long, finger-like extension of deep 
peat which occurs along the drainage and headwaters region of 
the Alligator River. The natural area contains a representative 
example of high pocosin vegetation which has not been drained 
and which is contiguous with other pocosin and swamp forest 
wetlands in the Alligator River drainage corridor. Other poco- 
sin vegetation types present are pond pine woodland and possibly 
pond pine forest. These and the high pocosin type are categories 
of pocosin vegetation proposed by Otte (1981) . His definitions 
of the types are summarized in Table 1. 

The natural area is bordered on the west and southwest by 
drained pocosin and cleared fields. The southern border is 
along the Intracoastal Waterway and the east and north boundary 
is the New Lake Fork of the Alligator River. 

The entire natural area was intensely burned during the 
spring of 1982. This fire completely killed about 90% of the 
pond pines; the remaining 10% were resprouting from the trunk 
during our visit. At least some sections of the pocosin peat 
were still burning in August. Smoke rising from a bed of peat 
near Boundary Road was observed. 

Before the fire the site was dominated by an open stand of 
low, second-growth pond pines ( Pinus serotina ) , about 15 feet 
tall with average dbh's of 4-6 inches. Several different age 
classes of taller pines were also present. Trees in the 30-40 
foot height range were fairly common but widely scattered. A 
few old-growth, flat-topped pines 60-70 feet tall were also 
present. Frequent fires and/or timbering probably removed 
most of the old-growth trees, leaving a thicker growth of 
scrubby, second-growth trees. 

The post-fire community has a distinctly different aspect. 
Standing dead pond pine trunks are numerous and are variable 
in height depending on age class as discussed in the previous 
paragraph. This skeleton forest extends along both sides of 
Boundary Road as far as one can see. 

The shrub layer underneath the pine trunks is very dense , 
averaging 2-4 feet in height. The fire burned most of the 
shrub stems to the ground but there was vigorous new growth 
from root sprouts. Although a close examination of the shrub 



98 



flora indicated a number of species present, honeybells 
( Zen obi a pulverulenta ) appeared to be most abundant. This 
species forms a dense shrub layer over about 80% of the 
pocosin. Scattered with honeybells is fetterbush ( Lyonia 
lucida ) , bitter gallberry ( Ilex glabra ) , a blueberry 
( Vaccinium sp.) , chokecherry ( Sorbus arbutifolia ) , and 
dwarfed red bay ( Persea borbonia ) . Throughout the site 
numerous pond pine seedlings about one foot tall are present. 

Laurel-leaved greenbriar ( Smilax laurifolia ) is a common 
vine in the shrub layer but has not yet developed the inpene- 
trable tangle characteristic of many burned pocosins. The herb 
layer is poorly developed. In the more open areas, Virginia 
chain fern ( Woodwardia virginica ) forms dense colonies. It 
is also present in smaller numbers under the denser shrub 
layers. In some openings with standing surface water, a 
sedge ( Carex walteriana ) is present in small patches. 

Some portions of the pocosin are dominated in the shrub 
zone by dense patches of giant cane ( Arundinaria gigantea ) . 
Cane is usually associated with shallow peats or peaty mineral 
soils so it is assumed that these patches are correlated with 
shallow peat or where there is a significant mineral component 
in the soil. 

The community type of the pocosin can be classified as 
dead Pinus serotina trunks/ Zenobia pulverulenta- mixed pocosin 
shrubs or Arundinaria gigantea (dead pond pine trunks/honey- 
bells-mixed pocosin shrubs or giant cane; CT 1) . The giant 
cane-dominated areas are relatively minor in extent (20%) 
and are not separated out in the vegetation mapping. The 
other pocosin vegetation types are also not mapped. 

The natural area boundary extends to the New Lake Fork of 
the Alligator River. This northern section of the natural area 
is inaccessible except by boat and time constraints prevented a 
field survey. Aerial reconnaissance and review of aerial photo- 
graphy indicates that the pocosin vegetation described above is 
gradually replaced by swamp forest along New Lake Fork. A zone 
dominated by what appears to be swamp blackgum ( Nyssa sylvatica 
var. biflora ) , red maple ( Acer rub rum ) , and some baldcypress 
( Taxodium distichum ) is present. 

The extent of fire damage to the swamp forest section is 
unknown. Dense smoke in the vicinity during our aerial recon- 
naissance prevented a close inspection of the swamp forest. 

The entire natural area is underlain by shallow to moderately 
deep peats (Ingram and Otte, 1982). Peat depths vary from 0-8 
feet. Generally the deeper peats (6-8 feet) extend NE-SW across 

\ 



99 



the central portion of the natural area and gradually thin 
out toward Alligator Lake to the north and the Intracoastal 
Waterway to the south. 

Two soil associations are found in the natural area 
(SCS, 1973). The shallower peat areas are mapped as the 
Ponzer-Belhaven-Wasda association. The deeper peats are 
mapped as the Dare-Pungo-Dorovan association. Both soils 
associations are characterized by organic surface layers 
which are very poorly drained. 



100 



lib. Prose Description of Site Significance: 



The New Lake Fork Pocosin is one of the two largest 
relatively undisturbed pocosins remaining in Hyde County. 
It and the Gull Rock Game Lands Pocosin are the two most 
extensive examples of a wetland ecosystem which once was 
a widespread and dominant aspect of the county landscape. 
Most of the other large pocosins in the county, located 
north of Lake Mattamuskeet and west of Alligator Lake, 
have been ditched, drained, and in most cases cleared 
for agriculture. Relatively small tracts of ditched 
pocosin remain in these areas. 

Black bear are known to occur and the tract is ex- 
tensive enough along with adjacent wooded buffers along 
the Alligator River to support a viable population. Bob- 
cat are also present in the natural area along with a 
sizeable population of white-tailed deer. A small 
breeding population of Red-shouldered Hawks, a state 
threatened species, is present. 

The undrained condition and extensive size of the 
natural area coupled with its location contiguous or nearly 
contiguous with adjacent forested wetlands is of primary 
significance. 



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Legal Status, Use, and Management 
13. Ownership type by percent area: 



15. 



Ty^e 

Private 100 

Public 



Unknown 



14. Number of Owners: 



Name(s) of owner (s) and/or custodian(s) (with addresses, phone numbers, 
other pertinent information) . 



1) First Colony Farms 



2) Rich Farms 



Route 1, Box 201 



Belhaven, NC 27810 



Creswell, NC 27928 



16. Name(s) of knowledgeable person(s) (with addresses, phone numbers, other 
pertinent information) . 



None known . 



17. Attitude of owner or custodian toward preservation (contacted?) 
Not known. 



104 



18, 



Uses of natural area: 



The natural area has been logged over in the past and much 
of the larger merchantable pond pine has been removed. Wildfires 
have removed most remaining merchantable timber from the tract. 

Hunting is a low intensity use throughout the western portion 
of the area accessible by roads. The degree of illegal hunting, 
if any, is unknown. 

Modern agricultural development has not been attempted in 
the natural area; the predominantly deep peat soils are considered 
inferior for agricultural use due to excessive wood content (Barnes, 
pers. coram. , 1982) . Peat mining for energy production is possible 
on these soils in the long term. 



19 , Uses of surrounding land: 
a. Wildland 40 



b. Agricultural land 



30 



c. high-intensity forestry_ 

d. developed 30 % 

(Intracoastal Waterway) 



20. Preservation Status: 



Cat 



*Description of preservation status 



100 



Private land, not protected as a natural area by owner. 



21. Regulatory protections in force: 

The Army Corps of Engineers "404" permit process applies to this area. 



105 



22. Threats: 



Peat mining is a potential threat; Otte and Ingram (1980) 
have found energy grade peat (less than 25% ash at 0% moisture) 
under much of the natural area. Agricultural development is 
limited as a threat to some degree because the woody peats 
are currently uneconomical to farm. 



23. Management and Preservation Recommendation: 



The area should be recognized as a crucial component of the 
Alligator River wetlands corridor which extends east of the natural 
area and includes Roper Island and the Alligator River Swamp Forest. 
Its importance as an excellent representative pocosin ecosystem 
will increase as additional drainage and clearing operations con- 
tinue to fragment the remaining pocosin areas along the Alligator 
River corridor. 

Contact with the owners should be made by the N.C. Natural 
Heritage Program to determine their short and long-term plans 
for the tract and to inform them of the natural area's biological 
significance as a relatively large, intact pocosin system. 

If, in the future, the site is protected, management 
will be required to maintain the pocosin vegetation in its 
present state. Controlled burning should be implemented 
to maintain the diversity of the pocosin system. Patrolling, 
gates , and enforcement agreements with the state ' s Wildlife 
Resources Commission may be needed to control unlawful hunting. 



106 



Natural Characteristics Summary 

24a. Vegetation - Biotic Community Summary CT 1 

Community type: dead Pinus serotina trunks/Zenobia pulverulenta- 
mixed pocosin shrubs or Arundinaria gigantea 

Community cover type: Zenobia pulverulenta-mixed pocosin shrubs or 

Arundinaria gigantea 

General habitat feature: high pocosin 

Average canopy height: pre-fire = 15 feet, now 2-4 feet (shrubs) 

Estimated age of canopy trees: 

Canopy cover : not applicable 

Estimated size of community: 8000+ acres 

Successional stage: Pyroclimax 



Common canopy species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

None 



Common sub-canopy or shrub stratum species in community cover or 
community type (but not dominant) : 

Lyonia lucida, Ilex glabra, Vaccinium sp. , Persea 
borbonia, Sorbus arbutifolia 

Common herb stratum species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

Smilax laurifolia 
Woodwardia virginica 
Carex walteriana 



107 



24b. Soil Summary (by community type) CT 1 



Soil series: not known 



Soil classification: 



Soil association: 1) Ponzer-Belhaven-Wasda (shallow peats) 

2) Dare-Pungo-Dorovan (deep peats) 

pH class: Extremely acid 



Source of information: General Soil Map of Hyde County, 

SCS, 1973 



Other notes: 

24c. Hydrology Summary (by community type) CT 1 
Hydrologic system: Palustrine 

Hydrologic subsystem: Interaqueous 

Water chemistry: Fresh-acid 

Water regime: Saturated 

Drainage class: Very poorly drained 

Drainage basin: New Lake Fork of Alligator River 



Hydrology characterization: A very poorly drained, saturated, 

fresh-acid, interaqueous palustrine 
system. 



108 



24d. Topography Summary: CT 1 

Land form: peat -mantled flat 

Shelter: Open 

Aspect: not applicable 

Slope Angle: not applicable 

Profile : Flat 

Surface patterns: Hummocky, many small depressions and 

fallen tree trunks 
Position: not applicable 

25. Physiographic characterization of natural area: 

Pyroclimax and successional communities occupying a very 
poorly drained, peat -mantled flat near the headwaters of the 
New Lake Fork of the Alligator River in the Coastal Plain 
province of the Atlantic Plain. 



Geological Formation: 

Recent peats over Pleistocene (Pamlico Terrace) sands and 
clays over Upper Miocene (Yorktown Formation) fossiliferous 
sands and clays. 



Geological Formation age: 



Recent - less than 10,000 yrs. BP 
Pleistocene - 10,000 to 100,000 yrs. BP 
Upper Miocene - 18-22 million years BP 



References Cited: 

Daniels, R. B. , E. E. Gamble, and W. H. Wheeler. 1978. Age 
of Soil Landscapes in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina. Soil 
Science of America Journal 42: 98-105. 



109 



26. Summary - Endangered and threatened species 

Name of species: Red-shouldered Hawk 

Species legal status and authority: Threatened in N.C. 

(Cooper et al. , 1977) 

Number of populations on site: one 

Number of individuals per population: 2 plus young of year 

Size or Maturity of individuals: adult and immature 

Phenology of population: not applicable 

Eg: vegetative % 
flowering % 
fruiting % 



General vigor of population: Believed to be good. One pair with 

young seen along Boundary Road; other 
pairs probably present along New Lake 
Fork. 

Disturbance or threats to population: Land clearing and drainage 



Habitat characteristics 

Plant community: CT 1 

Topography: 

Soil Series: 

Microclimate: 

Drainage basin: - 

Other plants and animal species present: See Master Species List. 

AERIAL OR DETAILED MAPS WITH POPULATIONS CLEARLY MARKED. 



110 



26. Summary - Endangered and threatened species 

Name of species: Black Bear 

Species legal status and authority: Of Special Concern in N.C. 

(Cooper e_t al_. , 1977) 

Number of populations on site: one 

Number of individuals per population: unknown 

Size or Maturity of individuals: unknown 

Phenology of population: not applicable 

Eg: vegetative % 
flowering % 
fruiting % 



General vigor of population: Not known. One set of tracks seen 

along Boundary Road. 



Disturbance or threats to population: Land clearing, drainage, road 

construction, illegal hunting. 

Habitat characteristics 

Plant community: CT 1 

Topography: 

Soil Series: 

Microclimate: 

Drainage basin: 

Other plants and animal species present: See Master Species List. 

AERIAL OR DETAILED MAPS WITH POPULATIONS CLEARLY MARKED. 



Ill 



27. Master Species List: 



VASCULAR PLANTS 
(listed alphabetically by family) 



ACE RACE AE 

Acer rub rum 
AQUIFOLIACEAE 

Ilex glabra 

I. coriacea 
BLECHNACEAE 

Woodwardia virginica 
CYPERACEAE 

Carex walteriana 
ERICACEAE 

Gaylussacia frondosa 

Kalmia angustifolia 

Lyonia lucida 

Vaccinium sp. 

Zenobia pulerulenta 
LAURACEAE 

Persea borbonia 
LILIACEAE 

Smilax laurifolia 
MAGNOLIACEAE 

Magnolia virginiana 
NYSSACEAE 

Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora 
PINACEAE 

Pinus serotina 
POACEAE 

Arundinaria gigantea 
ROSACE AE 

Sorbus arbutifolia 
THEACEAE 

Gordonia lasianthus 



AMPHIBIANS 
None recorded 

REPTILES 

None recorded. 



112 



BIRDS 

(Emphasis of bird lists is on breeding or summering 
species; lack of adequate field work during the other 
seasons prevented compilation of a complete list.) 



KEY 



PR = Permanent resident 
SR = Summer resident 
WR = Winter resident 

T = Transient; spring or fall 
PV, SV, WV = Visitor; year-round, summer or winter 

* = Breeding or suspected breeding at site 



Great Blue Heron 
Turkey Vulture 
Red-shouldered Hawk 
Common Bobwhite 
Mourning Dove 
Screech Owl 
Common Flicker 
Downy Woodpecker 
Red-headed Woodpecker 
Belted Kingfisher 
Eastern Kingbird 
Tree Swallow 
Fish Crow 
Carolina Chickadee 
Gray Catbird 
Brown Thrasher 
Eastern Bluebird 
Prairie Warbler 
Common Yellowthroat 
Blue Grosbeak 
Indigo Bunting 



PV 

PV 

PR* 

PR* 

PR* 

PR* 

PR* 

PR* 

PR* 

PV 

SR* 

T 
PR* 
PR* 
PR* 
PR* 
PR* 
SR* 
SR* 
SR* 
SR* 



MAMMALS 



Raccoon (tracks) 

White-tailed Deer (abundant tracks) 

Bobcat (1 set of tracks) 

Black Bear (1 set of tracks and scat) 



113 



NATURAL AREA INVENTORY FORM 
(To be prepared for each site) 



Basic Information Summary Sheet 



1. Natural Area Name: Gull Rock Game Lands 



County : Hyde 



3. Location: In the southern part of the county between New 
Holland and Pamlico Sound. 



4. Topographic quadrangle (s) : New Holland (1974) 

Bluff Point (1951) 



5. Size: Approximately 10,575 acres, measured with a grid calculator 



6. Elevation: 0-4 feet above mean sea level 



7. Access: There are several access points. The sweetgum stand is 

best reached by taking SR 1122 to Hydeland and from there 
a private dirt road due east 0.7 miles. The eastern side 
of the sweetgum stand can be reached from several points 
along SR 1164 0.3-1.3 miles south of New Holland. The 
pond pine pocosin is along the west side of SR 1164 be- 
tween 3.1 and 4.2 miles south of New Holland. The eastern 
margin of the low pocosin can be reached by going south 
from New Holland 3.1 miles on SR 1164 to dirt road on 
right (west) . Turn right and walk down dirt road for 
about 1.2 miles to junction with north-south dirt road. 
Low pocosin is along west side of this road. A repre- 
sentative example of brackish marsh can be seen at end 
of SR 1164 at Pamlico Sound. 



8. Names of investigators: J. Merrill Lynch S. Lance Peacock 

Route 2, Box 222-B P. O. Box 6006 
Enfield, NC 27823 Raleigh, NC 2762E 



9. Date(s) of investigation: April 9, 29, June 16, 17, 28, 1982 
10. Priority rating: High 

114 



Fig. 10. 



Access information: 



GULL ROCK GAME LANDS 




115 



11a. Prose Description of Natural Area 



INTRODUCTION 



Located between Lake Mattamuskeet and Pamlico Sound in 
the southern part of Hyde County, the Gull Rock Game Lands 
Natural Area encompasses a variety of wetland habitats ranging 
from hardwood-dominated swamp forest and pond pine pocosin to 
shrub marsh and brackish marsh systems. This wide band of 
contiguous wetland habitats forms an uninterrupted transect 
which begins in the Hydeland sweetgum-mixed hardwoods swamp 
forest, proceeds through the extensive pond pine pocosins 
in the central portion of the natural area, and includes an 
area of open, low shrub pocosin. Beyond that the natural 
area extends to the Pamlico Sound brackish marshes. 

This wide band of natural wetlands is split into four 
distinct habitat units based on differences in soils, hydrol- 
ogy, and fire regime. The four major vegetation associations 
correlated with each unit are discussed in the following pages 
along with their soil-habitat relationships, general ecology, 
and wildlife components. 

The Gull Rock Game Lands natural area, about 10,575 acres 
in size , is bounded on the east by the Lake Mattamuskeet Out- 
fall Canal (SR 1164) and on the west by agricultural fields 
near SR 1122 (in the vicinity of Hydeland) and the Swanguarter 
National Wildlife Refuge boundary. Much of this immense tract 
is located within the boundaries of the state-owned Gull Rock 
Game Lands, but there are also privately-owned tracts along 
the northern periphery and in the central interior. 

In terms of local topography, the entire natural area is 
a broad, very poorly drained flat associated with the head- 
water region of the Juniper Bay Creek drainage system. Overall 
drainage is poorly developed but water flow appears to be in a 
southwestward direction into Juniper Bay Creek. Elevation 
ranges from sea level to about 4 feet. 

Soils of the natural area have been mapped as four dis- 
tinct soil associations (SCS 1973) . No detailed soil mapping 
is currently available. These four soil associations occur 
as wide bands trending generally east-west parallel to the 
long axis of Lake Mattamuskeet and the Pamlico Sound shore- 
line. There is a significant correlation between the soil 
associations and the four habitat units which comprise the 
natural area. The four soil associations are (north to 
south) : 



116 



1) Weeksville-Pasquotank: Very poorly and poorly drained 
mineral soils with black to gray very fine sandy loam 
or silt loam surface layers (Typic Humaquepts and Typic 
Haplaquepts) 

2) Hyde-Bayboro: Very poorly drained mineral soils with 
thick black loam surface layers (Typic Umbraquults 
and Umbric Paleaquults) 

3) Ponzer-Belhaven-Wasda: Very poorly drained organic 
soils with moderately thick to thin organic surface 
layers (Terric Medisaprists and Histic Humaquepts) 

4) Capers: Very poorly drained mineral soils with dark 
gray silty clay and loamy surface layers (Typic 
Sulfaquents) Descriptions from SCS (1973) . 



VEGETATION 

The vegetation of the natural area is a diverse assemblage 
of hardwood-dominated stands , baldcypress stands , pond pine 
pocosin, low shrub pocosin, shrub marsh, and brackish marsh. 
In general these vegetation associations occur as wide bands 
or zones in a transect running north to south. They are closely 
correlated with the four soil associations described in the pre- 
ceding section. These vegetation-soil associations do not ex- 
hibit discrete boundaries, but rather change gradually along 
moisture and peat depth gradients. 

For the sake of clarity, it is best to describe these 
vegetation associations individually. In the following dis- 
cussion they are arranged in order as they are encountered 
along a north-south transect beginning near Hydeland and 
ending at Pamlico Sound: 

1) Hydeland-Gull Rock Sweetgum-Hardwoods Stand 

2) Gull Rock Pond Pine Pocosin (this includes several 
small, isolated baldcypress stands) 

3) Gull Rock Low Pocosin 

4) Gull Rock brackish marshes (includes shrub marsh 
zone) 



117 



(1) Hydeland-Gull Rock Sweetgum-Hardwoods Stands 



Along the northern portion of the natural area is a 
band of swamp or bottomland hardwoods dominated in many 
areas by sweetgum ( Liguidambar styracif lua ) . These stands 
occupy an area about one mile wide by two miles long. The 
eastern end is along the Outfall Canal (SR 1164) just south 
of New Holland. The western end is at the edge of agri- 
cultural fields about 0.7 mile east of Hydeland. The 
northern boundary runs along the edge of agricultural 
fields adjacent to US 264 and the southern boundary grades 
into pond pine pocosin. The areal extent of this associ- 
ation is about 1000 acres. 

Sweetgum is the most widespread of the many hardwoods 
comprising the stands, exhibiting the most consistent dens- 
ity and distribution. Red maple ( Acer rub rum ) is also very 
common and often is codominant with sweetgum in the canopy. 
Other less common but widely distributed canopy trees include 
laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia ) , American elm (Ulmus americana ) , 
baldcypress ( Taxodium distichum ) , and swamp blackgum ( Nyssa 
sylvatica var. biflora ) . Surprisingly, loblolly pine ( Pinus 
taeda ) is generally very uncommon in the area. Age and size 
classes of the sweetgum-mixed hardwoods stands vary consid- 
erably from one area to another, probably due to varying 
intensity and frequency of past logging operations. 

Several community types at least are present within the 
natural area, of which the two most commonly encountered are 
described here. The oldest, least disturbed stands are char- 
acterized as Liguidambar styraciflua- mixed hydric hardwoods/ 
locally dominant Symplocos tinctoria-Ligustrum sinense/ mixed 
mesic herbs and ferns (sweetgum-mixed hydric hardwoods/locally 
dominant horsesugar-swamp privet/mixed hydric herbs and ferns, - 
CT 1) . Sweetgum accounts for about 50% of the importance 
value. Other common canopy trees are baldcypress, American 
elm, red maple, and laurel oak. There is essentially no sub- 
canopy layer in these stands. Horsesugar and swamp privet 
form locally dense shrub thickets 10-20 feet tall. However, 
over much of the area these two shrubs are only sparingly 
present along with scattered canopy transgressives. Almost 
everywhere a number of ferns and herbs form a 100 percent 
ground cover. Most common is netted chain fern ( Woodwardia 
areolata ) . In some areas this species forms almost pure 
populations. Other common species include Virginia chain 
fern ( Woodwardia virginica ) which is usually associated with 
depressions of standing water, cinnamon fern (Osmunda cin- 



118 



namomea) , poison ivy ( Rhus radicans ) , southern lady fern 
(Athyrium asplenioides ) f enchanters ' nightshade ( Circaea 
lutetians ) and giant cane ( Arundinaria gigantea ) . In- 
terestingly, Japanese honeysuckle ( Lonicera japonica ) is 
rather uncommon and, except in disturbed areas, does not 
form extensive ground patches. 

High-climbing vines are abundant throughout the 
hardwood stands. Most common species are trumpet creeper 
( Campsis radicans ) , cross vine ( Anisostichus capreolata ) , 
poison ivy, climbing hydrangea ( Decumaria barbara ) , and 
wild grape ( Vitis sp.). 

The canopy height of the sweetgum-mixed hydrichard- 
woods community ranges to a maximum 75-80 feet although 
generally it is in the 60-75 foot range. The canopy is 
usually closed except where windfalls or other disturbances 
have created openings. The average dbh of the canopy trees 
ranges from 16 to 19 inches. The absence of a subcanopy 
layer and the absence of a well-defined shrub layer (except 
locally) gives the understory an open, park-like aspect. 
This openness makes traversing the area on foot relatively 
easy and provides esthetic appeal. 

The fern diversity of the community is worth mentioning. 
Eleven species are known to occur: Southern lady, cinnamon, 
netted and Virginia chain, royal ( Osmunda regal is var. spec- 
tabilis ) , bracken ( Pteridium aquilinum ) , resurrection ( Poly- 
podium polypodioides ) , N ew Y ork ( Thelypteris noveboracensis ) , 
ebony spleenwort ( Asplenium platyneuron ) , sensitive ( Onoclea 
sensibilis ) , and log ( Dryopteris celsa ) . We know of no other 
area in the North Carolina coastal plain (with the possible 
exception of the Great Dismal Swamp) with a comparable di- 
versity of ferns. It is likely that further field work in 
the area will uncover the presence of rare hybrids or ad- 
ditional species. 

A second widely distributed community type is Liquidambar 
styraciflua-Acer rub rum/ locally dominant Myrica heterophylla/ 
mixed hydricherbs and ferns (sweetgum-red maple/locally domi- 
nant bayberry /mixed hydricherbs and ferns) . This community is 
similar to the one previously described except that red maple 
is a co-dominant canopy component with sweetgum. Local patches 
of bayberry are associated with wet depressions. This community 
is generally younger in age with corresponding lower average 
canopy height (50-60 feet) and average dbh (12-14 inches) . 
This is probably a result of more intensive and/or more fre- 
quent cutting disturbances. Understory density of canopy 
transgressives is somewhat higher than in the older sweetgum- 



119 



mixed mesic hardwood stands. Ground cover is usually 100% 
with the same species composition present. 

The ground surface of the sweetgum-hardwood stands is 
slightly undulating or uneven. There are many scattered 
depressions which contain standing water up to 6 inches 
deep. These semipermanent pools are not large enough to 
noticeably affect the canopy tree distribution. However, 
they clearly affect the distribution of the ground cover 
species and some of the shrubs. Virginia chain fern 
usually is found growing in dense patches only within the 
depressions. Bayberry is also associated with the pools; 
it forms dense thickets in and around some of them. It 
is probable that standing water covers most if not all 
of the area periodically during the winter months and that 
only the deeper depressions retain standing water during 
the late summer and autumn. 

Scattered old stumps are present throughout. There 
is no evidence of cutting within the past 40-50 years, 
at least within the game lands portion of the hardwood 
stands. Although the entire area shows signs of past 
cutting disturbance, much of it has regained characteristics 
usually associated with mature or climax stands : distinct 
zonation of canopy and herb layers; open, park-like under- 
story; and low density and frequency of introduced exotics, 
i.e., Japonese honeysuckle and swamp privet. 

The soils of the sweetgum-hardwood stands has been 
mapped as the Weeksville-Pasquotank association (SCS 1973) . 
These are very poorly drained mineral soils which occur 
around the periphery of Lake Mattamuskeet. Portions of 
the hardwood stands rrtay lie in areas dominated by the Hyde- 
Bayboro association. This association of very poorly 
drained mineral soils occurs as a wide zone south of the 
Weeksville-Pasquotank soils and is transitional to the 
shallow organic soils occurring within the Pungo-Belhaven- 
Wasda association. 



(2) Gull Rock Pond Pine Pocosin 



This vegetation association occupies much of the central 
and southern portions of the natural area. It is characterized 
by dense stands of pond pine ( Pinus serotina ) . 

The association is located south of the adjoining sweet- 
gum-hardwood stands. It is by far the largest of the four 
associations, encompassing about 7000 acres. The eastern 



120 



border is along the Outfall Canal (SR 1164) and the western 
border grades into the Gull Rock Low Pocosin described later 
in this report. The southern border grades into shrub marsh 
near Pamlico Sound. 

Otte (1981) proposes a basic pocosin classification 
which relates vegetation to combined factors of peat depth, 
seasonal wetness, and nutrient availability from underlying 
mineral strata or elsewhere (See Table) . His system is em- 
ployed in the following description of the plant communities 
present in the Gull Rock Pond Pine Pocosin and the Low Poco- 
sin. 

The most extensive natural community within this area 
is Otte's pond pine forest type. The essential criteria 
for this pocosin type are: sandy peats less than two feet 
in depth, water table which drops down into the underlying 
mineral sediments during dry seasons , rare to absent standing 
water, and site dominated by 10-20 feet tall "bay" shrubs with 
dense canopy layer of pond pines usually less than 50 feet 
tall. 

A representative example of this pond pine forest type 
observed in the field is located along the Outfall Canal 
(SR 1164) about 3.2 miles south of New Holland. The com- 
munity type is classified as Pinus serotina/Persea borbonia/ 
mixed pocosin shrubs// Smi lax laurifolia (pond pine/red bay/ 
mixed pocosin shrubs//laurel-leaved greenbriar; CT 2) . The 
closed canopy is 40-50 feet tall and dominated exclusively 
by pond pine; dbh's are less than 12 inches. A dense tall 
shrub layer of red bay is located underneath with an under- 
lying dense low shrub layer composed of several pocosin 
shrubs such as bitter gallberry ( Ilex glabra ) , fetterbush 
( Lyonia lucida ) , and chokecherry ( Sorbus arbutifolia ) . 
There is essentially no ground layer. The intertwining 
vine, laurel-leaved greenbriar, is ubiquitous and forms 
an almost inpenetrable tangle in the shrub layers. Other 
"bay" shrubs are scattered within this community. Sweet 
bay ( Magnolia virginiana ) and loblolly bay ( Gordonia 
lasianthus ) occur but are not common enough to be con- 
sidered co-dominant components of the tall shrub layer. 

This community occupies much of the natural area be- 
tween the hardwood stands located on mineral soils to the 
north and the low pocosin area located on deep peat to the 
southwest. 

The dense pond pine-redbay pocosin community is situated 
on sandy peats and shallow peats around the outer margin of a 
deeper peat deposit near the headwaters of the Juniper Bay 



121 



Creek, drainage. The deepest peat deposits are located in an 
area dominated by low pocosin and some high pocosin, situated 
southwest of the dense pond pine stands described above. In 
general , the vegetational pattern as one moves from the outer 
margins of the peat deposit to the inner "center" of maximum 
peat thickness is across a moisture and peat thickness gradi- 
ent. Pond pine forest around the shallow peat margins grades 
into high pocosin and finally to low pocosin in the center of 
the peat body. This pattern follows the general intrapocosin 
variation described by Otte (1981) . 

The soils of the pond pine pocosin vegetation association 
have not been mapped in detail. The soil association is pro- 
bably Ponzer-Belhaven-Wasda: very poorly drained organic soils. 
The pond pine stands are associated with the shallower peat 
deposits of this soil association. 

A distinctly different vegetation type is present within 
the pond pine pocosin area. Baldcypress ( Taxodium distichum ) 
stands occur as small (less than 50 acres) isolated "islands" 
along the southern portion of the natural area within 1.5 
miles of Pamlico Sound. These stands were not investigated 
from the ground but were surveyed aerially and located on 
aerial photographs. Baldcypress predominates in the canopy 
along with a few tall pines (either Pinus taeda or P. sero- 
tina) . Canopy height is 70-90 feet. Understory vegetation 
could not be definitely determined but appeared to consist 
of red maple ( Acer rubrum ) and bay shrubs. The physiognomy 
of these stands is striking when compared with the adjoining 
pond pine stands. The controlling factors determining the 
distribution and formation of these cypress stands is unknown. 
Soil differences and hydrology are probable factors; further 
field work is needed -to determine what the controlling factors 
are. 



(3) Gull Rock Low Pocosin 



This vegetation association is located in the central por- 
tion of the natural area. It is surrounded on all four sides 
by the pond pine pocosin described earlier. The low pocosin, 
about 1900 acres in size , is located almost wholly within the 
state-owned game lands except for a very small area along its 
eastern margin contained in the Ficklen tract. 

Otte (1981) describes the following characteristics of 
low pocosin: greater than 4 feet of peat, saturated soils 
with abundant surface water up to 2 feet deep during wet 
seasons, dense pocosin shrub vegetation with heights of 2-4 
feet with scattered, stunted pond pines up to 10 feet tall. 



122 



A representative example of low pocosin observed in the 
field is located along a north-south access road situated 
about 1.25 miles west of the Outfall Canal Road (SR 1164). 
The dominant vegetation observed here is titi ( Cyrilla race- 
miflora ) , 4-6 feet tall over an assemblage of slightly lower 
shrubs including stunted redbay ( Persea borbonia ) , fetterbush 
( Lyonia lucida) , honeybells ( Zenobia pulverulenta ) and choke- 
cherry ( Sorbus arbutifolia ) . In more open patches a dense 
herb layer composed of Virginia chain fern ( Woodwardia vir- 
ginica ) is present. Pond pines are very scattered to almost 
completely absent. They are stunted, less than 10 feet tall 
and with dbh's less than three inches. Scattered small lob- 
lolly bays ( Gordonia lasianthus ) 5-10 feet tall are also 
present. 

The community type is Cyrilla racemi flora- mixed pocosin 
shrubs/ Woodwardia virginica (titi-mixed pocosin shrubs/Vir- 
ginia chain fern; CT 3) . There is much local variation in 
dominance of the shrub species. In some areas there are 
open zones dominated exclusively by Virginia chain fern. 
Sweet pepperbush ( Clethra alnifolia ) forms locally dense 
zones in scattered locations. Other zones dominated by 
honeybells, chokecherry, and fetterbush are also present. 

Laurel-leaved greenbriar ( Smilax laurifolia ) forms a 
dense tangle throughout much of the shrub zone. 

In some open, wet depressions several pitcherplants 
occur ( Sarracenia purpurea , S_. flava) . Pitcherplants are 
also found along the ditch and road margins. 

Unfortunately, the wettest and lowest portions of the 
low pocosin were not field checked. An area of about 500 
acres located southwest of the north-south access road 
appears to be dominated by low shrubs 2-4 feet in height 
and possibly by a sedge marsh system. This area was sur- 
veyed by air in April 1982 . From our aerial observations 
this area appears to be a very wet, treeless, low shrub 
and/or sedge marsh dominated wetland. Ground field work 
is needed to determine the community types present. 

The low pocosin vegetation types described above appear 
to be correlated with a deep peat deposit mapped by Otte and 
Ingram (1980). Their peat survey covered six square miles, 
of which approximately 1.5 are underlain by peat up to 2 
feet thick, 2.25 by peat 2-4 feet thick, and 2.25 by peat 
4-5 feet thick. The deepest parts of this peat deposit are 
believed to lie underneath the low pocosin area. 



123 



It should also be mentioned that a third pocosin type , 
high pocosin, is also present within the natural area. This 
type is transitional between low pocosin and pond pine forest. 
Its characteristics are: peat depth of 2-4 feet, saturated 
organic soils with water tables which drop 1-2 feet below 
the surface in dry seasons , dense shrub layer dominated by 
bay species 4-8 feet tall with scattered pond pines to 25 
feet tall. Areas sampled which match this description are 
located between the Outfall Canal Road and the Low Pocosin 
area. There is a gradual increase in pond pine density and 
height and shrub layer height as one proceeds east from the 
low pocosin to the pond pine forest along the Outfall Canal. 
Most areas of high pocosin are included in the Gull Rock pond 
pine pocosin vegetation association. Because there is a con- 
tinuum of vegetation types it is not practical to delineate 
the areal extent of the high pocosin-dominated areas. 

The soils of the low pocosin have been mapped as the 
Ponzer-Belhaven-Wasda association (SCS 1973) . The deeper 
organics, i.e. , Ponzer and Belhaven series, probably dom- 
inate in this area. 



(4) Gull Rock Brackish Marshes 



This vegetation association occupies about 675 acres 
along the Pamlico Sound shoreline in the southern portion 
of the natural area. The brackish marsh zone is fairly 
extensive along the sound and its many small bays, averaging 
between 1000 and 3000 feet in width. 

Three distinct zones are present which are controlled 
by flooding frequency and duration. Adjacent to the open 
water is a zone dominated by almost pure stands of black 
needlerush ( Juncus roemarianus ) . The needlerush marsh is 
irregularly flooded by above average high tides and storm 
tides. Threesquare ( Scirpus americanus ) forms small, dense 
patches within the needlerush zone. The next higher marsh 
is dominated by sawgrass ( Cladium jamaicense ) . These plants 
form a dense layer up to nine feet in height. The separation 
of the needlerush and sawgrass zones is usually quite distinct. 
Flooding occurs only occasionally in this zone. These two 
marsh types are listed as CT 4 in the significance summary 
and biotic summary tables. 

Further inland the sawgrass grades gradually into a 
shrub marsh system which contains along with sawgrass 
various shrubs such as bayberry (Myrica sp.) , groundsel 



124 



tree ( Baccharis halimifolia) , small red maple ( Acer rub rum) 
transgressives and small pond pine. The shrubs assume in- 
creasing dominance and gradually increase in height as one 
moves inland. The shrub zone grades gradually into a pond 
pine-red maple low tree zone which eventually becomes pond 
pine pocosin. The shrub marsh zone is flooded on rare oc- 
casions by storm tides. 

The soils of this vegetation type have been mapped as 
the Capers association: very poorly drained mineral soils 
which are mildly alkaline due to the salt influence from 
the adjacent brackish sound. 



WILDLIFE AND AVIAN DIVERSITY 



The Gull Rock Game Lands natural area has superlative 
values for a diversity of game and non-game species. The 
natural area, by virtue of its size, remoteness, and habitat 
diversity, supports one of the last viable black bear popu- 
lations in the coastal plain. The natural area, along with 
the adjacent wilderness areas of Swanguarter National Wild- 
life Refuge and more disturbed portions of the Gull Rock 
Game Lands, encompasses a total of about 20,000 acres. 
Much of this acreage is either formally designated wilder- 
ness (8800 acres of the Swanguarter National Wildlife Refuge) 
or de facto wilderness (much of the Gull Rock Game Lands) . 
Its large size and ecological diversity provide crutial 
nesting, denning, and feeding habitat for many wildlife 
species. 

Sixty-three species of breeding birds are known to 
occur and at least 8 species of mammals are present. Ac- 
cording to Rod McClanahan (WRC District biologist) the area 
supports "very large" black bear and "large" white-tailed 
deer populations. Our observations of numerous track and 
scat sign of both black bear and white-tailed deer support 
McClanahan' s information. Bear sign are particularly pre- 
valent in the low pocosin area. Bobcat are also reported 
to be present in undetermined numbers. 



125 



lib. Prose Description of Site Significance: 



The Gull Rock Game Lands natural area contains the 
highest diversity of wetland habitat types in a relatively 
natural state remaining in Hyde County. The natural area 
contains excellent examples of brackish marsh; low, high, 
and pond pine-dominated pocosin; and sweetgum-mixed hard- 
wood flats. All of these vegetation types are situated 
in one contiguous tract and form an uninterrupted corridor 
from Pamlico Sound inland to New Holland, with extensive 
marshes adjoining to the west on Swanquarter National 
Wildlife Refuge. Although subjected to periodic cutting 
in the past , the pocosin and hardwoods communities have 
retained significant natural qualities in the present 
second-growth timber. 

The sweetgum-hardwood flats are an example of a 
rapidly disappearing coastal plain vegetation association. 
Although more disturbed than the hardwood flats contained 
in the Scranton Hardwoods natural area, they nevertheless 
contain a substantial amount of mature timber and provide 
habitat for a number of wildlife species. 

The low pocosin community is an excellent example of 
an undrained, shrub-dominated wetland system and is buffered 
by an extensive pond pine pocosin surrounding it. 

The brackish marshes along Pamlico Sound are critical 
habitat for a number of invertebrate as well as vertebrate 
animals. These marshes are widespread along the sound and 
are included in the natural area primarily because they are 
part of a continuum of habitats which add to the natural 
area's diversity. 

The southern coastal fauna is well-represented in the 
natural area. Black bear occur throughout and the diversity 
and extensiveness of the habitats is sufficient to maintain 
a viable population. The avifaunal component is notably 
diverse, in keeping with the habitat diversity present. 
Approximately 63 breeding bird species are known to occur, 
including five species of woodpeckers and 12 species of 
wood warblers. 

The natural area provides habitat for a small American 
Alligator population, an endangered species. A state en- 
dangered peripheral plant, Southern Twayblade, is present 
in the sweetgum-hardwood flats. An unusually high diversity 
of ferns (eleven species) is also a noteworthy feature of 
that habitat. 



126 



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130 



Fig. 11. Significant features: GULL ROCK GAME LANDS 




Legal Status, Use, and Management 

13. Ownership type by percent area: Type 



Private 


15 


% 


Public 


85 


Q, 


Unknown 




% 



14. Number of Owners: 17 



15. Name(s) of owner (s) and/or custodian (s) (with addresses, phone 

numbers, other pertinent information). (in order of importance) 

1) State of North Carolina 
Wildlife Resources Commission 
Gull Rock Game Lands Unit 
512 N. Salisbury Street 
Raleigh, NC 27611 

2) James S. Ficklen, Jr. (agent) 
P. 0. Box 2127 

E.C.U. Station 
Greenville, NC 27834 

3) C. Gilbert Gibbs 
Engelhard, NC 27824 

4) Zelma Howard 
Route 1, Box 131 
Swanquarter, NC 278-85 

plus additional 13 owners of small fractions of sweetgum section 
of natural area; various addresses. 



16. Name(s) of knowledgeable person (s) (with addresses, phone numbers, 
other pertinent information) . 

1) Rod McClanahan 

Route 1, Box 442-B 
Jamesville, NC 27846 



17. Attitude of owner or custodiam toward preservation (contacted?) : 
Not known. 



132 



18. Uses of natural area: 

The state-owned gamelands section of the natural area is open 
to public hunting and is managed for that purpose. The primary 
game species is white-tailed deer; other smaller game such as 
squirrel, rabbit, quail, and dove are also hunted. The game- 
lands is a protected black bear sanctuary; no hunting is allowed 
for that species. Hunting is also a primary use on the privately 
owner tracts within the natural area, particularly those adjoining 
agricultural fields along the northern border. 

Timber harvesting is an on-going use throughout the state 
game lands where there is merchantable timber. Blocks of timber 
are periodically sold to private companies to generate revenue. 
Much of the recent timber sales have been in the extensive pond 
pine stands where clearcutting methods have been used to remove 
the timber. Much of the game lands portion on the sweetgum- 
hardwood stands has been selectively cut (high-graded) over the 
years. Logging in this area was periodically active at least 
back into the 1800' s and early 1900 's when much of the timber 
was removed by rail. An old tram road, now maintained as a 
hunting access trail, runs east-west across the natural area 
between Hydeland and SR 1164. There has apparently been no 
timbering in this portion of the natural area within the past 
twenty years or so. The privately owned portions of the sweet- 
gum-hardwood stands have a similar cutting history. 

Portions of the pond pine pocosin stands on the gamelands 
just outside the natural area boundaries have recently been 
burned, diked, and impounded to create waterfowl impoundments. 
Two large impoundments are located near the end of SR 1164 
along the west side of the road. Several others are planned 
east of SR 1164 several miles from the natural area. As far 
as is known, the Wildlife Resources Commission has no plans 
to impound any areas within the natural area boundaries. 



19. Uses of surrounding land: 

a. Wildland 75 % c. high-intensity forestry 



b. Agricultural land 25 % d. developed 



133 



20. Preservation Status: 



Cat 


* % 


*Description of preservation status 


2 


85 


Public land, informally recognized as a natural area 


6 


15 


Private land, not protected by owner or lessee 



21. Regulatory protections in force: 

The Army Corps of Engineers "404" permit process applies to this 
area; the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 protects the American 
alligator and its habitat. These two sources of regulation are limited 
in scope and effect. 



22. Threats: 



The natural area contains a relatively small body of energy-grade 
peats (Otte and Ingram, 1980). Barnes (pers. coram., 1982) states 
that peats of the Ponzer soil series , which are prevalent on the site , 
are considered generally well suited to peat energy production, within 
certain mineral (ash) content limits which must be tested on a per- 
site basis. Exploitation of peat for energy must be considered a 
potential activity at the site, although it is highly unlikely that 
the Wildlife Resources Commission will find such use compatible with 
present wildlife management policies. 

Timber management on the game lands, particularly in the pond 
pine stands, is an ongoing use. Blocks of timber have been clearcut 
within the past ten years and additional areas are slated to be cut. 
The associated road and ditch construction has a negative impact on 
some wildlife species, notably black bear, by increasing access and 
likelihood of illegal hunting. 

The hardwood stands , although not timbered in recent years , 
may be subject to cutting in the future. 

Waterfowl impoundments have been established adjacent to the 
natural area in areas formerly dominated by high marsh and pond 
pine pocosin. There are no additional impoundments planned for 
the near future within the natural area. 



134 



23. Management and Preservation Recommendation: 



The natural area offers an excellent opportunity for con- 
servation of a variety of wetland habitats. The N.C. Natural 
Heritage Program, should initiate contact with the N.C. Wildlife 
Resources Commission about the possibility of designating por- 
tions of the game lands as registered natural areas. Portions 
of the sweetgum-mixed hardwoods stands and the low pocosin 
should receive top priority for additional protection because 
of their superlative natural values. 

Management of the natural area should include controlled 
burning of portions of the low pocosin area, and restrictions 
on timber sales in the best preserved, mature hardwood and 
baldcypress stands. 



135 



Natural Characteristics Summary 

24a. Vegetation - Biotic Community Summary CT 1 

Community type: Liquidambar styracif lua-mixed hydric hardwoods/ 
locally dominant Symplocos tinctoria-Ligustrum sinese/mixed hydric 
herbs and ferns. 

Community cover type: Liquidambar styracif lua-mixed hydric hardwoods 
General habitat feature: hardwood flats 

Average canopy height: 75-80 feet 

Estimated age of canopy trees: unknown 

Canopy cover : closed 

Estimated size of community: less than 1000 acres 

Successional stage: late successional 



Common canopy species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

Ulmus americana, Acer rubrum, Quercus laurifolia, Taxodium 
distichum 

Common sub-canopy or shrub stratum species in community cover or 
community type (but not dominant) : 

Leucothoe axillaris, Ilex opaca 

Common herb stratum species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

Woodwardia areolata, W. virginica, Circaea lutetiana, 
Osmunda cinnamomea, Arundinaria gigantea, Rhus radicans , 
Athyrium asplenioides , Lonicera japonica 



136 



Natural Characteristics Summary 

24a. Vegetation - Biotic Community Summary CT 2 

Community types Pinus serotina/Persea borbonia/mixed pocosin shrubs// 
Smilax laurifolia 

Community cover type: Pinus serotina 

General habitat feature: pond pine pocosin 

Average canopy height: 40-50 feet 

Estimated age of canopy trees: unknown 

Canopy cover : closed 

Estimated size of community: less than 7000 acres 

Successional stage: mid to late successional 



Common canopy species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

none 

Common sub-canopy or shrub stratum species in community cover or 
community type (but not dominant) ; 

Magnolia virginiana, Gordonia lasianthus, Acer rubrum, Lyonia 
lucida. Ilex glabra, Sorbus arbutifolia 

Common herb stratum species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

Woodwardia virginica 



137 



Natural Characteristics Summary 
24a. Vegetation - Biotic Community Summary CT 3 



Community type: Cyrilla racemi flora-mixed pocosin shrubs/Woodwardia 
virginica 

Community cover type: Cyrilla racemif lora-mixed pocosin shrubs 



General habitat feature: low pocosin 

Average canopy height: not applicable 

Estimated age of canopy trees: not applicable 

Canopy cover : not applicable 

Estimated size of community: 1900 acres 

Successional stage: late successional or pyro-edaphic climax? 



Common canopy species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 



none 



Common sub-canopy or shrub stratum species in community cover or 
community type (but not dominant) : 

Persea borbonia, Lyonia lucida, Zenobia pulverulenta , Sorbus 
arbutifolia, Clethra alnifolia, Gordonia lasianthus 

Common herb stratum species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

Smilax laurifolia 



138 



Natural Characteristics Summary 

24a. Vegetation - Biotic Community Summary CT 4 

Community type: 1) Juncus roemarianus , 2) Cladium jamaicense 
Community cover type: 1) Juncus roemarianus, 2) Cladium jamaicense 

General habitat feature: irregularly flooded brackish marsh 

Average canopy height: not applicable 

Estimated age of canopy trees: not applicable 

Canopy cover: not applicable 

Estimated size of community: 675 acres 

Successional stage: climax 



Common canopy species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

None 



Common sub-canopy or shrub stratum species in community cover or 
community type (but not dominant) : 

Baccharis haliminifolia, Myrica cerifera 

Common herb stratum species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

Scirpus americanus 



139 



24b. Soil Summary (by community type) CT 1 

Soil series: Undetermined 

Soil classification: Weeksville: Typic Humaquepts 

Pasquotank: Typic Haplaquepts 

Soil association: Weeksville-Pasquotank 
pH class: very strongly acid 



Source of information: General Soil Map of Hyde County, 

SCS, 1973 



Other notes: 

24c. Hydrology Summary (by community type) CT 1 
Hydrologic system: Palustrine 

Hydrologic subsystem: Interaqueous 

Water chemistry: fresh 

Water regime: Intermittently flooded 

Drainage class: Very poorly drained 

Drainage basin: Juniper Bay Creek into Pamlico Sound 

Hydrology characterization: A very poorly drained, intermittently 

flooded, fresh, interaqueous, palustrine 
system. 

140 



24b. Soil Summary (by community type) CT 2 
Soil series: Undetermined 



Soil classification: Ponzer: Terric Medisaprists 

Belhaven: Terric Medisaprists 
Wasda: Histic Humaquepts 

Soil association: Ponzer-Belhaven-Wasda 



pH class: Extremely acid 



Source of information: General Soil Map of Hyde County, 

SCS, 1973 



Other notes: This community is probably dominated by the 
shallower organics. 



24c. Hydrology Summary (by community type) CT 2 
Hydrologic system: Palustrine 

Hydrologic subsystem: Interaqueous 

Water chemistry: fresh 

Water regime: temporarily flooded to saturated 

Drainage class: very poorly drained 

Drainage basin: Juniper Bay Creek into Pamlico Sound 



Hydrology characterization: A very poorly drained, temporarily 

flooded to saturated, fresh, inter- 
aqueous palustrine system. 



141 



24b. Soil Summary (by community type) CT 3 
Soil series: probably Ponzer 
Soil classification: See CT 2 
Soil association: Ponzer-Belhaven-Wasda 
pH class: Extremely acid 



Source of information: General Soil Map of Hyde County, 

SCS, 1973 



Other notes: 

24c. Hydrology Summary (by community type) CT 3 
Hydrologic system: Palustrine 

Hydrologic subsystem: Interaqueous 

Water chemistry: Fresh 

Water regime: saturated 

Drainage class: Very poorly drained 

Drainage basin: Juniper Bay Creek into Pamlico Sound 



Hydrology characterization: A very poorly drained, saturated, 

fresh, interaqueous palustrine system. 



142 



24b. Soil Summary (by community type) CT 4 

Soil series: undetermined, probably Capers 
Soil classification: Capers: Typic Sulfaquents 
Soil association: Capers 
pH class: unknown 



Source of information: General Soil Map of Hyde County, 

SCS, 1973 



Other notes: 

24c. Hydrology Summary (by community type) CT 4 
Hydrologic system: Estuarine 

Hydrologic subsystem: Intertidal 

Water chemistry: Brackish 

Water regime: Irregularly flooded 

Drainage class: Very poorly drained 

Drainage basin: Pamlico Sound 



Hydrology characterization: A very poorly drained, irregularly 

flooded, brackish, intertidal, 
estuarine system. 



143 



24b. 1) Topography Summary: CT 1 

Landform: non-alluvial flat 

Shelter: Sheltered 

Aspect: not applicable 

Slope Angle: not applicable 

Profile: Flat 

Surface patterns: Generally smooth; many scattered 

depressions 

Position: not applicable 

2 ) Topography Summary : CT 2 , 3 

Landform: non-alluvial, peat -mantled flat 

Shelter: sheltered 

Aspect: not applicable 

Slope Angle : not applicable 

Profile: Flat 

Surface patterns: hummocky; particularly in CT 3 

Position: not applicable 

3) Topography Summary: CT 4 
Landform: brackish marsh 
Shelter: open 

Aspect: not applicable 

Slope Angle : not applicable 

Profile: Flat 

Surface patterns: Smooth, except for small scattered 

depressions and small tidal creeks 

Position: not applicable 

144 



25. Physiographic characterization of natural area: 



Mid-successional to near-climax communities on 
mineral and peat -dominated landscape on the Pamlico 
Terrace in the Coastal Plain Province of the Atlantic 
Plain. 



Geological Formation : 



Pleistocene Pamlico Terrace formation over the 
Upper Miocene Yorktown Formation. 



Geological Formation age : 



Pleistocene Pamlico Terrace: less than 100,000 yrs. BP 
Upper Miocene Yorktown Formation: 18-22 million yrs. BP 



References Cited: 



Daniels, R. B. , E. E. Gamble, and W. H. Wheeler. 1978. 
Age of Soil Landscapes in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina. 
Soil Science Soc. of Am. Journal 42: 98-105. 



145 



26. Stuimary - Endangered and threatened species 



Name of species: Listera australis 



Species legal status and authority: Endangered peripheral in 

North Carolina (Cooper et_ al. , 
1977) 

Number of populations on site: one 



Number of individuals per population: Present as scattered 

individuals over a large area. 

Size or Maturity of individuals: all ages 

Phenology of population: not known 

Eg: vegetative % 
flowering % 
fruiting % 

General vigor of population: Excellent 

Disturbance or threats to population: Clearcutting or conversion of 

hardwood forests to other uses 

Habitat characteristics 

Plant community: CT 1 

Topography: slightly elevated rises 

Soil Series: Weeksville-Pasquotank association 

Microclimate: 

Drainage basin: 

Other plants and animal species present: See Master Species Lists. 

AERIAL OR DETAILED MAPS WITH POPULATIONS CLEARLY MARKED. 

146 



26. Summary - Endangered and threatened species 



Name of species: American Alligator 



Species legal status and authority: Federally Endangered (Endangered 

Species Act of 1973) 

Number of populations on site: one 



Number of individuals per population: undetermined; not observed by 

authors , reported to occur in 
potholes and drainage ditches 
in portions of natural area. 

Size or Maturity of individuals: not known 

Phenology of population: not applicable 



Eg: vegetative % 
flowering % 
fruiting i 

General vigor of population: not known 

Disturbance or threats to population: none known 

Habitat characteristics 

Plant community: CT 2 , 3, 4 

Topography: 

Soil Series: 

Microclimates 

Drainage basin: 

Other plants and animal species present: See Master Species List. 

AERIAL OR DETAILED MAPS WITH POPULATIONS CLEARLY MARKED. 

147 



26. Suacnary - Endangered and threatened species 



Name of species: Red-shouldered Hawk 



Species legal status and authority: Threatened in North Carolina 

(Cooper et al. , 1977) . 

Number of populations on site: 2+ pairs 



Number of individuals per population: 2 (male and female) per 

pair plus young of year 

Size or Maturity of individuals: all ages 

Phenology of population: not applicable 

Eg: vegetative % 
flowering % 
fruiting % 

General vigor of population: Excellent 

Disturbance or threats to population: Drainage and conversion to 

agriculture , pesticides , clear- 
cutting 

Habitat characteristics 

Plant community: CT 1, 2 

Topography: 

Soil Series: 

Microclimate: 

Drainage basin: 

Other plants and animal species present: See Master Species List. 

AERIAL OR DETAILED MAPS WITH POPULATIONS CLEARLY MARKED. 

148 



26. Summary - Endangered and threatened species 



Name of species: Black Bear 



Species legal status and authority: Of Special Concern in N.C. 

(Cooper, et al . , 1977) 

Number of populations on site: one 



Number of individuals per population: Undetermined but believed 

to be relatively high 

Size or Maturity of individuals: all ages 

Phenology of population: not applicable 

Eg: vegetative % 
flowering % 
fruiting % 

General vigor of population: Probably excellent 

Disturbance or threats to population: Clearcutting , conversion 

of wetlands to agriculture , 
illegal hunting 

Habitat characteristics 

Plant community: throughout 

Topography: 

Soil Series: 

Microclimate: 

Drainage basin: 

Other plants and animal species present: See Master Species Lists, 

AERIAL OR DETAILED MAPS WITH POPULATIONS CLEARLY MARKED. 



149 



27. Master Species List: 



VASCULAR PLANTS 
(listed alphabetically by family) 



ACERACEAE 

Acer rubrum 
ANACARDIACEAE 

Rhus radicans 

R. copalina 
API ACE AE 

Centella asiatica 

Sanicula sp. 
AQUIFOLIACEAE 

Ilex coriacea 

I. glabra 

I . opaca 
ARACEAE 

Arisaema triphyllum 
ARECACEAE 

Sabal minor 
ASCLEPIADACEAE 

Matelea sp. 
ASPIDIACEAE 

Athyrum asplenioides 

Dryopteris celsa 

Onoclea sensibilis 

Thelypteris noveboracensis 
ASPLENIACEAE 

Asplenium platyneuron 
ASTERACEAE 

Baccharis haliminifolia 
BALSAMINACEAE 

Impatiens capensis 
BLECHNACEAE 

Woodwardia areolata 

W. virginica 
BIGNONIACEAE 

Anisostichus capreolata 

Campsis radicans 
CAPRIFOLIACEAE 

Lonicera j aponica 
CELASTRACEAE 

Euonymus americanus 
CLETHRACEAE 

Clethra alnifolia 
COMMELINACEAE 

Commelina virginica 



150 



CONVOLVULACEAE 

Cuscuta sp. 
CORNACEAE 

Cornus stricta 
CUPRESSACEAE 

Juniperus virginiana 
CYPERACEAE 

Carex spp. 

Scirpus americanus 

Cladium jamaicense 
CYRILLACEAE 

Cyrilla racemiflora 
D I OS CORE ACE AE 

Dioscorea villosa 
ERICACEAE 

Galussacia sp. 

Vaccinium corymbosum 

Vaccinium sp. 

Leucothoe axillaris 

Zenobia pulverulenta 

Lyon i a lucida 

L. mariana 
FAGACEAE 

Quercus laurifolia 

Q> michauxii 
GENTIANACEAE 

Bartonia virginica 
HAMAMELIDACEAE 

Liquidambar styraciflua 
JUNCACEAE 

Juncus roemarianus 

Juncus sp. 
LAURACEAE 

Persea borbonia 

Lindera benzoin 
LILIACEAE 

Smilax rotundifolia 

S. laurifolia 
LOGANIACEAE 

Gelsemium sempervirens 
LORANTHACEAE 

Phoradendron serotinum 
MAGNOLIACEAE 

Magnolia virginiana 

Liriodendron tulipifera 
MORACEAE 

Morus rubra 
MYRICACEAE 

Myrica cerifera 

M. heterophylla 



151 



NYSSACEAE 

Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora 
OLEACEAE 

Fraxinus pennsylvanica 

Ligustrum sinense 
ONAGRACEAE 

Circaea lutetiana 

OPHIOGLOSSACEAE 

Botrychium sp. 
ORCHIDACEAE 

Listera australis 
OSMUNDACEAE 

Osmunda cinnamomea 

O. regalis var. spectabilis 
OXALIDACEAE 

Oxalis sp. 
PHYTOLACCACEAE 

Phytolacca americana 
PINACEAE 

Pinus taeda 

P. serotina 
POACEAE 

Arundinaria gigantea 

Distichlis spicata 

Uniola sessiliflora 
POLYGONACEAE 

Polygonum sp. 
POLYPODIACEAE 

Polypodium polypodioides 
PONTEDERIACEAE 

Pontederia cordata 
PTERIDACEAE 

Pteridium aquilinum 
RHAMNACEAE 

Berchemia scandens 
ROSACE AE 

Crataegus sp . 

Prunus serotina 

Rubus sp . 

Sorbus arbutifolia 
RUB I ACE AE 

Cephalanthus occidentalis 

Mitchella repens 

Galium spp. 
SALICACEAE 

Salix sp. 

Populus heterophylla 
SARRACENIACEAE 

Sarracenia flava 

S . purpurea 



152 



SAURURACEAE 

Saururus cernuus 
SAXIFRAGACEAE 

Decumaria barbara 

Itea virginica 
SYMPLCCOCEAE 

Symplocos tinctoria 
TAXODIACEAE 

Taxodium distichum 
THEACEAE 

Gordonia lasianthus 
TYPHACEAE 

Typha latifolia 

To angustifolia 
ULMACEAE 

Ulmus americana 
URTICACEAE 

Boehmeria cylindrica 
VERBENACEAE 

Callicarpa americana 
VIOLACEAE 

Viola sp. 
VITACEAE 

Parthenocissus quinque folia 

Vitis sp. 



AMPHIBIANS 



Gray Tree frog 
Southern Toad 



REPTILES 



Eastern Kingsnake 
Banded Watersnake 
Hog-nosed Snake 
Rough Green Snake 
Black Rat Snake 
Painted Turtle 
Yellow-bellied Turtle 
Five-lined Skink 
Broad -headed Skink 



153 



BIRDS 

(Emphasis of bird lists is on breeding or summering 
species; lack of adequate field work during the other 
seasons prevented compilation of a complete list.) 

KEY 

PR = Permanent resident 
SR = Summer resident 
WR = Winter resident 

T = Transient, spring or fall 
PV, SV, WV = Visitor; year-round, summer, or winter 

* = Breeding or suspected breeding at site 



Common Loon WR 

Double-crested Cormorant PV 

Green Heron SR* 

Louisiana Heron PV 

Great Blue Heron PR* 

Least Bittern SR* 

Black Duck PR (may breed) 

Godwall PR (may breed) 

Wood Duck PR* 

Turkey Vulture PR* 

Black Vulture PV 

Red-tailed Hawk PR* 

Red-shouldered Hawk PR* 

Osprey SR* 

Common Bobwhite . PR* 

Sora • T 

Clapper Rail PR* 

Spotted Sandpiper T 

Lesser Yellowlegs T 

Least Sandpiper T 

Great Black-backed Gull WR 

Herring Gull WR 

Ring-billed Gull WR 

Laughing Gull SR 

Forster's Tern SR* 

Least Tern SV 

Royal Tern SV 

Mourning Dove PR* 

Chuck -wi 1 1 ' s -Widow S R* 

Common Nighthawk SR 

Yellow-billed Cuckoo SR* 

Chimney Swift SV 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird SR* 



154 



Common Flicker 

Pileated Woodpecker 

Red-bellied Woodpecker 

Hairy Woodpecker 

Downy Woodpecker 

Eastern Kingbird 

Great Crested Flycatcher 

Acadian Flycatcher 

Eastern Pewee 

Barn Swallow 

Purple Martin 

Blue Jay 

Common Crow 

Fish Crow 

Carolina Chickadee 

Tufted Titmouse 

Brown-headed Nuthatch 

Carolina Wren 

Long-billed Marsh Wren 

Gray Catbird 

Brown Thrasher 

American Robin 

Wood Thrush 

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 

Starling 

White-eyed Vireo 

Red-eyed Vireo 

Prothonotary Warbler 

Swainson ' s Warbler 

Yellow Warbler 

Northern Parula Warbler 

Yellow-rumped Warbler 

Black-throated Green Warbler 

Yellow-throated Warbler 

Pine Warbler 

Prairie Warbler 

Northern Waterthrush 

Ovenbird 

Common Yellowthroat 

Yellow-breasted Chat 

Hooded Warbler 

American Redstart 

Bobolink 

Eastern Meadowlark 

Red-winged Blackbird 

Orchard Oriole 

Boat-tailed Grackle 

Common Grackle 



PR* 
PR* 
PR* 
PR* 
PR* 
SR* 
SR* 
SR* 
SR* 

sv 
sv 

PR* 

PR* 

PR* 

PR* 

PR* 

PR* 

PR* 

PR* 

PR* 

PR* 

PR* 

SR* 

SR* 

PV 

SR* 

SR* 

SR* 

SR* 

T 

SR* 

WR 

SR* 

SR* 

PR* 

SR* 

T 

SR* 

PR* 

SR* 

SR* 

SR* 

T 

PR* 

PR* 

SR* 

PR* 

PR* 



(may winter) 



155 



Brown-headed Cowbird PR* 

Northern Cardinal PR* 

Blue Grosbeak SR* 

Indigo Bunting SR* 

American Goldfinch PV 

Rufous-sided Towhee PR* 

Seaside Sparrow PR* 

Swamp Sparrow WR 

Song Sparrow WR 



MAMMALS 



White-tailed Deer - abundant tracks throughout 

Marsh Rabbit - several seen 

Cottontail Rabbit - several seen 

Bobcat - no sign observed by authors, 

reported by WRC personnel 
Raccoon - tracks common 

Opossum - several sets of tracks 

Eastern Gray Squirrel - several seen 
Black Bear - numerous signs observed 

including scratched trees , 

scat, and 4-5 sets of tracks; 

most sign around low pocosin area. 



156 



NATURAL AREA INVENTORY FORM 
(To be prepared for each site) 



Basic Information Summary Sheet 



1 . Natural Area Name : Scranton Hardwoods 



2 . County : Hyde 



3. Location: Along the east side of US 264 between Scranton 
Creek and the Intracoastal Waterway. 



4. Topographic quadrangle ( s ) : Ponzer (1974) 

Scranton (1974) 



5. Size: Approximately 6000 acres; measured with grid calculator 



6. Elevation: 4-8 feet above mean sea level 



7. Access: Any number of points along US 264 which forms west 
boundary of natural area. Old-growth stands are 
located primarily between 1.4 and 2.5 miles south 
of the Intracoastal Waterway bridge. 



8. Names of investigators: J. Merrill Lynch S. Lance Peacock 

Route 2, Box 222-B P. 0. Box 6006 
Enfield, NC 27823 Raleigh, NC 2762E 



9. Date(s) of investigation: February 26, April 9, June 28, 

August 12, 1982 



10. Priority rating: High-very high 



157 



Fig. 12. 



Access information: 



SCRANTON HARDWOODS 




158 



11a. Prose Description of Site: 



INTRODUCTION 



The Scranton Hardwoods natural area is a 6000-acre 
wetland containing the most extensive tract of non-alluvial , 
hydric hardwoods known in the Pamlimarle Peninsula and prob- 
ably the largest contiguous block anywhere in the North 
Carolina coastal plain. The wetland hardwood stands are 
an outstanding example of an undrained, relatively undis- 
turbed system and include several tracts of climax-7 old- 
growth timber representing several plant communities which 
are endangered in the coastal plain. The area also has 
superlative wildlife values and supports a diversity of 
game and nongame wildlife species. 

Hydric hardwood flats, otherwise known as oak flats 
or bottoms, are similar in species composition and struc- 
tural physiognomy to bottomland hardwoods found on alluvial 
terraces and natural levees along brownwater rivers in the 
coastal plain. The major difference is the geomorphic land- 
form with which they are associated. Hardwood or oak flats 
are situated on "upland" terraces underlain by poorly drained 
soils, and differ from alluvial bottomland hardwoods in not 
being associated with stream or river floodplains and there- 
fore not subject to annual stream flooding. These non-alluvial 
oak flats are usually associated with poorly drained silty, 
clayey, or fine loamy soils located on the lower marine ter- 
races of the lower coastal plain. The oak flats wetland 
system is discussed in more detail in the Vegetation section. 

The Scranton Hardwoods natural area is located in 
western Hyde County between Lake Mattamuskeet and the 
Pungo River. The tract is bordered on the north by the 
Intracoastal Waterway , on the south by Scranton Creek , 
on the west by US Highway 264, and on the east by exten- 
sive pine plantations and agricultural fields. 

The natural area is situated about 1.75 miles east 
of the embayed Pungo River estuary and is drained by two 
small tributaries of that river. Wilkerson Creek, a 
portion of which has been modified by the Intracoastal 
Waterway, drains the northern portion of the tract. A 
poorly defined, narrow drainage basin or floodplain occurs 
along the stream channel. Water flow is intermittent in 
the upper parts of the stream basin. The southern part 
of the natural area is drained by Scranton Creek, a some- 
what larger stream which is affected by tidal influence 
from the Pungo River. Most of the natural area between 



159 



these two streams is essentially flat; elevations range 
from about 4 feet along the streams to 8 feet in the 
eastern margin of the tract. This interstream flat is 
essentially undrained. Surface ponding is common, 
particularly during the winter months , and the seasonal 
high water table is at or near the surface during this 
period. 

Soils of the natural area are primarily wet Ultisols. 
No detailed soil mapping is available for the area al- 
though the soil association is mapped as Hyde-Bayboro 
(SCS, 1973). The Hyde silt loam series is classified 
as fine-silty, mixed, thermic Typic Umbraquults. The 
Bayboro loam series is classified as clayey, mixed, 
thermic Umbric Paleaquults. Both soil types are very 
poorly drained soils with thick loamy surface layers 
over firm clay loam to very firm clay subsoils. 



VEGETATION 



The natural area is dominated for the most part by 
stands of mixed hardwoods or pine-mixed hardwoods. The 
hardwood stands vary in structure, age, and species com- 
position depending on a number of interrelated factors , 
including soil differences and past logging history. In 
these mesic hardwood stands there are no dominant canopy 
species; rather a number of species share co-dominance 
with loblolly pine ( Pinus taeda ) in varying proportions. 
Slight rises or depressions affect soils and drainage 
with a corresponding shift in canopy species composition 
and relative dominance. Differences in canopy composition 
between slightly higher and lower portions of the landscape 
are slight compared with the differences between the climax, 
old-growth stands and recently cut, younger growth stands. 
Frequency and intensity of past logging operations account 
for most of the vegetation differences. 

A series of quarter points was taken to quantitatively 
determine the relative frequency, dominance, and density 
of the various canopy tree species. Based on this data 
the mature climax stands are classified as Mixed hydric 
oaks and Pinus taeda/Carpinus caroliniana/Carex spp. or 
Saururus cernuus (Mixed hydricoaks and loblolly pine/iron- 
wood/mixed sedges or lizard's tail; CT 1). The principle 
oaks in this community, listed in order of their importance 
are: cherrybark oak ( Quercus falcata var. pagodae folia ) , 
laurel oak (Q. laurifolia ) , and swamp chestnut oak (Q. 
michauxii) . Other hardwoods present in varying proportions 



160 



include (in order of importance) : tulip poplar ( Lirio- 
dendron tulipifera ) , red maple ( Acer rubrum ) , green ash 
( Fraxinus pennsylvanica ) , American elm ( Ulmus americana ) , 
sweetgum ( Liguidambar styraciflua ) , shagbark hickory 
( Carya ovata) , and swamp blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica var. 
biflora ) . Scattered throughout the slightly higher, 
better drained areas are large beech ( Fagus grandifolia ) . 

In general, swamp chestnut and cherrybark oaks along 
with loblolly pine are more common on the slightly better 
drained areas of the tract and laurel oak, green ash, and 
American elm are more frequent in the lower, more poorly 
drained areas. There is no subcanopy layer. A tall shrub 
zone dominated by ironwood is present throughout much of 
the natural area although pawpaw ( Asimina triloba ) , and 
spicebush ( Lindera benzoin ) are locally common. There is 
much variation in dominance of the ground cover. The higher 
areas are dominated by spanglegrass ( Uniola sessiliflora ) or 
in some areas by giant cane ( Arundinaria gigantea ) . Other 
slightly wetter sites are dominated by various sedges ( Carex 
spp.) or by lizard's tail. There appears also to be some 
seasonal variation in ground cover dominance. Lizard's 
tail and spanglegrass form dense colonies during the late 
summer but are much less abundant during the early part 
of the growing season. 

Vines are common throughout the natural area. Common 
species include cross-vine ( Anisostichus capreolata ) , 
trumpet creeper ( Camps is radicans ) , rattan vine ( Berchemia 
scandens ) , grape ( Vitis sp.) , and climbing hydrangea ( Decum- 
aria barbara ) . 

The canopy is .essentially closed although numerous wind- 
thrown trees provide openings. Canopy height ranges from 
75-90 feet and individual crowns of the oaks are character- 
istically broad and expansive, a common condition in old- 
growth hardwood stands. Consequently, the individual trees 
are rather widely spaced. In one area sampled there was an 
average of 100 canopy trees per acre. The average dbh (diam- 
eter at breast height) of the stands varies considerably. In 
the mature, climax stands along US 264, the average dbh is 20 
inches although there are many scattered old-growth trees much 
larger. Some of the maximum dbh's measured were: green ash 
(38 inches) , swamp chestnut oak (51 inches) , cherrybark oak 
(45 inches), and laurel oak (66.5 inches). 

The understory layer of ironwood is essentially open. 
The low density of shrubs and canopy transgressives gives 
the area an open, park-like aspect. 



161 



The plant community (CT 1) described above is represented 
by mature stands just east of US 264 (see map) . Thes high- 
quality stands have undergone the least disturbance in terms 
of past timber cutting. Scattered old stumps and old logging 
trails are still visible and indicate that at least some of 
the high-grade timber was removed. The age of the stumps 
suggests that logging operations were conducted some time 
ago, probably no more recently than 75 years ago. The high 
average dbh (20 inches) and the presence of numerous old- 
growth trees indicates that the cutting was not very intense. 

The surface underlying much of the pine-mixed oaks com- 
munity is relatively flat. There are numerous slight, localized 
rises and depressions. Relief is on the order of 1-2 feet be- 
tween these topographic highs and lows. Some low-lying areas 
have ponded waters up to several inches deep even during mid- 
summer. These and other slightly higher areas are probably 
often inundated during the winter months when water tables 
are high and evapotranspiration rates are low. Numerous 
depressions formed by uprooted trees are scattered through- 
out. These depressions along with the slight undulations 
mentioned above give the ground surface an uneven appearance. 

The best-formed, mature stands of mixed oaks and loblolly 
pine occupy an area of about 1720 acres (see map) . 

Other sections included within the natural area have 
been subjected to recent heavy thinning and clearcutting. 
One rectangular block (75 acres) located in the northern 
interior of the natural area has been clearcut and reseeded 
in dense loblolly pines 10-20 feet tall. Another much larger 
tract located in the eastern part of the natural area has been 
heavily thinned within the past 10-15 years. Thinning removed 
almost all of the high-grade oaks, ash, and pine. The canopy 
in this section is now dominated by sweetgum, tulip poplar, 
red maple, and swamp blackgum. The canopy is more open than 
in the mature stands and there is an abundance of shrubby 
canopy transgressives. Understory layers are much denser 
due to the increased amount of sunlight. Although these more 
heavily timbered stands are not considered to be of high 
natural significance relative to the undisturbed stands, they 
still retain some natural qualities because of the continued 
domination by hardwood species. This point can be more clearly 
understood when one compares the vegetation surrounding the 
natural area to the thinned hardwood stands. Intensively 
managed loblolly pine plantations covering several thousand 
acres now almostly completely encompass the natural area. 
Conversion of the hardwood stands to managed tree farms 
greatly reduces both floristic and faunistic diversity; 
artificial drainage associated with the development of 
these tree farms further alters the ecosystem. 



162 



The thinned hardwood stands may, over time, slowly 
develop into mature mixed oak communities similar to the 
present old-growth stands. There is an abundant seed 
source present and gradual replacement of more "weedy" 
tree species by the climax forest species can occur on 
the site, if no further cutting occurs. The thinned 
stands occupy about 4180 acres and serve as an important 
hardwood buffer adjoining the surrounding pine plantation. 

Contrasting with the hardwood-dominated forest com- 
munity described above is a small area (100 acres) of 
brackish marsh located along Scranton Creek. This marsh 
can be divided into three distinct zones which are cor- 
related with flooding frequency and duration. The lower 
marsh zone along the stream channel is dominated by an 
almost pure zone of black needlerush ( Juncus roemarianus ) . 
The higher marsh zone is dominated by dense stands of 
sawgrass ( Cladium jamaicense ) . Salt grass ( Distichlis 
spicata ) forms small, concentric zones within the saw- 
grass marsh. This zonation pattern seems to be typical 
of most brackish creeks in western and southern Hyde County. 
Because much more extensive examples of these brackish 
marsh communities occur elsewhere in the county, the 
natural area marsh is not considered to be a highly 
significant example of this habitat type. 



Ecology of HydricHardwood or "Oak" Flats 



The term "oak flats" has been used to describe this 
characteristic bottomland hardwood forest type in the 
coastal plain. Pinchot and Ashe (1897) in a discussion 
of the various vegetation types in the North Carolina 
coastal plain listed four general bottomland or wetland 
forest types: 1) pond pine pocosin, 2) Atlantic white 
cedar swamps, 3) gum and cypress swamps, and 4) oak flats. 

In their definition of oak flats Pinchot and Ashe 
( op . cit . ) described them as forests "... in which numerous 
broad-leaf trees, chiefly oaks, constitute the greater 
portion of the growth ..." They further state that oak 
flats occur along the borders of cypress and gum swamps 
on damp or moist usually deep loams , and are often inun- 
dated during the spring. They mention a diversity of 
bottomland oaks along with loblolly pine as characteristic 
canopy components. They include bottomland associations of 
broad-leaf trees which occur on floodplain terraces and 
natural levees along brownwater streams and rivers in the 
oak flats category. 



163 



Although similar in many respects we feel that the 
alluvial bottomland forests and the non-alluvial, "upland" 
wetland forests should be considered distinct types based 
on their position on different geomorphological landforms. 

Non-riverine oak flats were probably once extensive 
in Hyde County in areas dominated by fine loamy, silty and 
clayey soils with high water tables. Soils of this type 
occur as wide bands around Lake Mattamuskeet and along 
the Pungo River (SCS 19'73) . However, these soil types 
when properly drained have high agricultural productivity, 
and most have been drained, cleared, and converted to farm- 
land. The wettest, most poorly drained mineral soils have 
been largely converted to silviculture, as evidenced by the 
extensive pine plantations surrounding the natural area. 
The remaining "scraps" of hardwood flats are typically 
small (less than 100 acres) and isolated. Their ecological 
integrity has been severely reduced as a result of the 
large scale clearing operations. 

Today in Hyde County there are only two remaining large 
blocks of hardwood flats which have not been converted to 
other uses. The Scranton Hardwoods stand is the last pri- 
vately owned tract and the state-owned Gull Rock Gamelands 
south of Lake Mattamuskeet contains the remaining stands . 
The conversion of the oak (hardwood) flats has not been 
limited to Hyde County; once-extensive stands in other 
lower coastal plain counties have also been reduced to 
small, isolated remnants. Other than Hyde County, the 
best remaining stands are located in Pamlico County. For 
a description of these see "Natural Areas of Pamlico County" 
(Peacock and Lynch, 1982; pp. 16-49). 

The hardwood stands in Hyde County and elsewhere tend 
to occur as concentric bands surrounding areas of medium 
to deep peats. To the east of the natural area is a large 
peat deposit associated with the Alligator River drainage. 
This peat body extends across the northern part of the 
county and includes much of the area between Alligator 
(New) and Pungo Lakes. The peaty surface layers gradually 
thin out in the direction of the Pungo River and the natural 
area. Several miles east of the natural area the peat-dom- 
inated (organic) soils are gradually replaced by mesic to 
hydric mineral soils. This soil change has a pronounced 
effect on the vegetation communities. Pond pine-bay shrub 
pocosin and swamp blackgum communities associated with the 
peat soils are replaced by mesic hardwoods occupying the 
wet mineral soils. The gradation between the two vegetation 
types is gradual and has been altered by extensive land-use 
changes in the area (pine plantations and cleared fields) . 



164 



The same relative position of hardwood flats along 
the outer margins of a peat -dominated landscape is found 
in Pamlico County in and around the Light Grounds Pocosin. 
There hardwood flats similar to the Scranton Hardwoods 
stands occur as a concentric band surrounding the peaty 
pocosin wetland. This relationship has not been described 
previously in the literature and further, more intensive 
field work by hydrologists, botanists, pedologists and 
others is urgently needed to describe this unique and 
rapidly disappearing pocosin-hardwood flats ecosystem. 



Wildlife and Avian Diversity 



The Scranton Hardwoods natural area has superlative 
values in terms of wildlife habitat and avian diversity. 
The tract supports the largest deer herd in Hyde County 
(Rod McClanahan, WRC District biologist, pers. comm. 
1982) and probably some of the densest populations known 
anywhere in the state. 

The area is designated an official black bear sanctuary 
by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. Although no bear 
sign was observed by us , bears are reported to feed in and 
pass through the area occasionally (McClanahan, pers. comm. 
1982) . Because of the increasing isolation of the tract 
due to massive land clearing operations north and east of 
the natural area, it is unlikely that the site can support a 
viable bear population in the future. 

The natural area also contains a Wild Turkey population 
as a result of a February 1981 release of 15 birds (Rod Mc- 
Clanahan, WRC biologist, pers. comm. 1982) . At least one 
brood was successfully reared in the summer of 1982 and 
it is likely that a viable breeding population will become 
established. The mature oak stands provide ideal habitat 
for the species and its large size (6000 acres) insures 
sufficient space to support a population. 

Wild Turkeys were probably originally native in Hyde 
and adjacent counties until illegal hunting and habitat 
destruction caused their demise some years ago (McClanahan, 
pers. comm. , 1982) . 

The forested wetland supports at least 35 species of 
breeding birds including 5 species of woodpeckers and 7 
species of wood warblers. The only known Hyde County 
population of White-breasted Nuthatches is found here. 
In the lower coastal plain this species is restricted 
to mature riverine cypress-gum swamps and hardwood 
flats. 



165 



lib. Prose Description of Site Significance: 



Scranton Hardwoods natural area is the most extensive 
example of a hydric palustrine (non-riverine) hardwood 
system located in the North Carolina coastal plain. The 
old-growth hydric hardwood stands total about 1700 acres 
and are surrounded by about 4000 acres of less significant 
but still important buffer hardwood stands of various age 
classes. 

The old-growth component is the largest contiguous 
"block" of relatively undisturbed, hydric oaks and other 
hardwoods in a climax successional stage known in the 
North Carolina coastal plain. 

The hardwood stands are one of the most endangered 
wetland forest systems in the coastal plain. When ade- 
quately drained, the soils of the hardwood "flats" make 
productive cropland and they are also excellent for in- 
tensive loblolly pine tree farms. For these reasons, 
much of what once was dominated by these wetlands is 
now in row crop agriculture and pine plantations. The 
last remnants of natural vegetation have been reduced 
in most cases to scattered woodlots and other small, 
isolated blocks. 

The Scranton Hardwoods tract protects by far the 
largest "block" of these wetlands known in the coastal 
plain. The natural area should receive top priority 
for the protection of this last protected example of 
a once extensive wetland system. 

Equally significant is the superlative wildlife values 
of the natural area. Its large size (6000 acres) coupled 
with an abundance of mast-producing oaks and other hard- 
woods provides ideal habitat for a number of species de- 
pendent on mature hardwood stands. The tract supports a 
very large white-tailed deer population (reported to be 
one of the largest in the county) and serves as an im- 
portant sanctuary for black bear during their seasonal 
movements. A Wild Turkey restoration program is under- 
way on the property and an additional 35 species of 
breeding birds are known to occur. Birds associated 
with mature hardwoods are particularly abundant. 

At least one endangered plant species is known to occur. 
Southern twayblade , a species of orchid listed as a state 
endangered peripheral, is found over much of the natural 
area. Further field work may reveal additional rare or 
endangered species. 



166 















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c U 

D 



170 



Fig. 13. Significant features: 



SCRANTON HARDWOODS 




171 



Legal Status, Use, and Management 
13. Ownership type by percent area: 



Ty^e 

Private 100 

Public 



Unknown 



14. Number of Owners: 



15. 



Nane(s) of owner (s) and/or custodian (s) (with addresses, phone numbers, 
other pertinent information) , 

Bruce B. Cameron 



P. 0. Box 3649 






Wilmington, NC 


28406 











16. 



Name(s) of knowledgeable person (s) (with addresses, phone numbers, other 
pertinent information) . 



Rod McClanahan 


Bill Lawrence 


WRC District Biologist 


WRC Wildlife Protector 


Route 1, Box 44 2 -B 


Box 27 


Jamesville, NC 27846 


Scranton, NC 27875 







17. Attitude of owner or custodian toward preservation (contacted?) 
Not contacted. 



172 



18. Uses of natural area: 

All of the natural area has been selectively logged in 
several cycles to obtain the successively most valuable re- 
maining or regenerated timber. Some of the older growth 
stands contain old stumps which appear to be cypress. These 
stands contain a significant amount of valuable mature standing 
timber, mostly loblolly pine, swamp chestnut oak and cherrybark 
oak. The older growth stands do not appear to have been logged 
during the past fifty to seventy-five years. Other stands have 
been selectively logged for valuable oak, pine, and hickory 
timber much more recently. These stands contain a higher 
proportion of lower quality timber such as sweetgum and red 
maple mixed in with oaks and other species. 

A network of roads and associated clearings is maintained 
within the natural area. These roads are used primarily for 
hunting activities and secondarily for fire control and access 
for timber removal. In addition to the road system, a grass 
airplane runway is maintained along with several cabins near 
the Intracoastal Waterway. 

The area is used as a private hunting and fishing retreat 
by the owner and is actively managed for wildlife production 
by the owner in conjunction with the N.C. Wildlife Resources 
Commission (WRC) . Access to the property is strictly limited 
and all roads leading in from the adjacent US 264 highway are 
blocked by locked gates. Hunting rights in the area are re- 
stricted and there are no areas open to the general public. 
This policy of access restrictions and limited hunting along 
with accompanying game management in effect protects the wild- 
life of the area. 

Although some timber harvesting is done on the tract, it 
appears that this practice is mainly to enhance wildlife 
habitat by creating more edge effect and a greater diversity 
of game foods rather than providing cash flow or timber sales 
profits. 

The tract is regularly patrolled by WRC personnel and 
"no hunting" signs are posted at frequent intervals along 
US 264. Recently, WRC biologists have cooperated with the 
owner in attempting to establish a Wild Turkey population 
in the area. Wild birds were released about a year ago and 
reproduction was successful this spring with at least one 
brood produced. 

Apparently at least a portion of the natural area was 
the site of attempted farming operations. Old furrows can 
still be seen in some areas adjacent to US 264. Judging 
from the size of the present vegetation, these operations 
ceased at least 75 years ago if not longer. 



173 



19. Uses of surrounding land: 

a. Wildland 10 % 

b. Agricultural land 



c. High-intensity forestry 90 
% d. Developed % 



20. Preservation Status: 



Cat 


*% 


*Description of preservation status 


4 


100 


Private land, protected by owner 




> 





21. Regulatory protections in force: 
None known . 



22. Threats: 

Timber cutting is the chief disruptive activity in the 
short term. The selective cutting which has been practiced 
over much of the natural area has maintained dominance by 
valuable wildlife food trees such as oaks, hickories, and 
other hardwoods. More intense cutting in the future could 
cause a proportional shift to less desirable hardwoods such 
as sweetgum and red maple , and significantly lower the site ' s 
natural and wildlife values. 

Good conservation techniques are presently being practiced 
to maintain the mature oak-pine stands along with some desirable 
edge effect along the roads. It appears that the present owner 
intends to maintain a high-quality bottomland hardwoods habitat 
for wildlife. However, in the long-term the tract could be 
sold or divided and the present conditions altered. The long 
term plans of the owner are not known. 

Another more minor threat is the possible widening of the 
existing dual-lane highway to a four-lane superhighway. This 
would damage a significant portion of the old-growth stands , 
most of which lie adjacent to the highway. 

23. Management and Preservation Recommendation: 

The Scranton Hardwoods natural area offers an excellent 
opportunity for conservation of a significantly large block 
of an undrained, palustrine (non-riverine) mesic hardwoods 
system. It is the largest contiguous block of palustrine 



174 



mesic hardwoods known in the coastal plain of North Carolina. 
Its values are enhanced by its relatively undisturbed character, 
the presence of old-growth forest stands, and its superlative 
wildlife values. 

The owner should be encouraged to continue the wise 
management of the tract's wildlife and natural values in 
cooperation with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. 
In addition, the tract should be registered as an out- 
standing example of a mesic hardwoods ecosystem by the 
N.C. Natural Heritage Program. To assure protection in 
the long term, The Nature Conservancy should make contact 
with the owner and investigate the possibility of establishing 
a nature preserve in an estate settlement. 



175 



Natural Characteristics Summary 
24a. Vegetation - Biotic Community Summary CT 1 



Community type: Mixed hydricoaks and Pinus taeda/Carpinus caroliniana/ 
Carex spp. or Saururus cernuus 

Community cover type: Mixed hydricoaks and Pinus taeda 



General habitat feature: nonalluvial hardwood flats 

Average canopy height: 80 feet 

Estimated age of canopy trees: 100+ 

Canopy cover : Closed 

Estimated size of community: old-growth stands total about 1720 acres 

Successional stage: near-climax to climax 



Common canopy species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : Listed in order of importance value (based 
on 10 quarter points) : Quercus pagodaefolia, Pinus taeda, Quercus 
laurifolia, Liriodendron tulipifera, Acer rubrum, Quercus michauxii 

Common sub-canopy or shrub stratum species in community cover or 
community type (but not dominant) : 

Diospyros virginiana, Asimina triloba, Cornus sp. , Magnolia 
virginiana, Vaccinium corymbosum, Crataequs sp. , Sabal minor, 
Lindera benzoin 

Common herb stratum species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) s 

Galium sp. , Tipularia discolor, Lonicera japonica, Asplenium 
platyneuron, Mitchella repens, Euonymus americanus , Uniola 
sessilifolia 



176 



24b. Soil Summary (by community type) CT 1 

Soil series: unknown, probably Hyde and Bayboro 



Soil classification: Hyde: fine-silty, mixed, thermic Typic Umbraquults 

Bayboro: clayey, mixed, thermic Umbric Paleaquults 



Soil association: Hyde-Bayboro 
pH class: Very strongly acid 



Source of information: General Soil Map of Hyde County, North 

Carolina, SCS, USDA, 1973. 



Other notes: 



24c. Hydrology Summary (by community type) CT 1 
Hydrologic system: Palustrine 

Hydrologic subsystem: Interaqueous 

Water chemistry: Fresh-acid 

Water regime: intermittently flooded 

Drainage class: Very poorly drained 



Drainage basin: Wilkerson and Scranton Creeks — Pungo River — Pamlico 
River 

Hydrology characterization: A very poorly drained, intermittently 

flooded, fresh-acid, interaqueous 
palustrine system. 



177 



24d. Topography Summary: CT 1 

Land form: Interstream flat dominated by mineral soils 

Shelter: sheltered 

Aspect : n /a 

Slope Angle: n /a 

Profile: Flat 

Surface patterns: Generally smooth, except for small depressions 
and slightly elevated ridges; elevation gradient less than 2 feet 
over much of the area. 

25. Physiographic characterization of natural area: 

A series of mid-successional to climax bottomland hardwoods 
and brackish marsh communities located on the Pamlico Terrace 
and drained by Wilkerson and Scranton Creeks , in the Coastal 
Plain province of the Atlantic Plain. 



Geological Formations 

Pleistocene Pamlico Terrace deposits overlying Upper Miocene 
Yorktown Formation. 



Geological Formation age: 

Pamlico Terrace: less than 100,000 yrs. BP 
Yorktown Formation: 15-25 million yrs. BP 



References Cited: 

Daniels, R. B. , E. E. Gamble, and W. H. Wheeler. 1978. Age 
of Soil Landscapes in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina. Soil 
Science Soc. of Am. Journal 42: 98-105. 



178 



26. Summary - Endangered and threatened species 

Name of species: Listera australis 

Species legal status and authority: Endangered peripheral in N.C. 

(Cooper et al . , 1977) 

Number of populations on site: one 

Number of individuals per population: 500 plus 

Size or Maturity of individuals: immature and mature 

Phenology of population: not known 

Eg: vegetative % 
flowering % 
fruiting % 

General vigor of population: excellent 

Disturbance or threats to population: none known 

Habitat characteristics 

Plant community: CT 1 

Topography: slightly elevated flats 

Soil Series: Hyde-Bayboro association 

Microclimate: 

Drainage basin: Pungo River 

Other plants and animal species present: See Master Species List. 

AERIAL OR DETAILED MAPS WITH POPULATIONS CLEARLY MARKED. 

17 9 



26. Susunary - Endangered and threatened species 



Name of species: Red-shouldered Hawk 



Species legal status and authority: Threatened in North Carolina 

(Cooper et al. , 1977) 

Number of populations on site: 2+ breeding pairs 



Number of individuals per population: 2 adults plus young of the 

year 

Size or Maturity of individuals: adult and immature 

Phenology of population: not applicable 

Eg: vegetative % 
flowering % 
fruiting % 

General vigor of population: Excellent 

Disturbance or threats to population: Clearcutting, conversion of 

hardwoods to pine plantations 

Habitat characteristics 

Plant community: Throughout 

Topography: Flat 

Soil Series: Hyde -Bay boro 

Microclimate: 

Drainage basin: Pungo River 

Other plants and animal species present: See Master Species List. 

AERIAL OR DETAILED MAPS WITH POPULATIONS CLEARLY MARKED. 



180 



26. Summary - Endangered and threatened species 

Name of species: Black bear 

Species legal status and authority: Of Special Concern in North 

Carolina (Cooper et al. , 1977) 

Number of populations on site: unknown 

Number of individuals per population: unknown 

Size or Maturity of individuals: all ages 

Phenology of population: not applicable 

Eg: vegetative % 
flowering % 
fruiting % 



General vigor of population: Not seen nor sign observed by authors. 
Reported to pass through the area occasionally on way to and from 
large pocosin areas to northeast (WRC biologists, pers. comm. , 1982) 

Disturbance or threats to population: 



Habitat characteristics 

Plant community: Throughout 

Topography: 

Soil Series: 

Microclimate: 

Drainage basin: 

Other plants and animal species present: See Master Species List. 

AERIAL OR DETAILED MAPS WITH POPULATIONS CLEARLY MARKED. 

181 



27. Master Species List: 



VASCULAR PLANTS 
(listed alphabetically by family) 



ACANTHACEAE 

Ruellia caroliniensis 
ACERACEAE 

Acer rubrum 
ANACARDIACEAE 

Rhus radicans 
ANNONACEAE 

Asimina triloba 
AQUIFOLIACEAE 

Ilex opaca 
ARECACEAE 

Sabal minor 
ASPIDIACEAE 

Athyrium asplenioides 

Polystichum acrostichoides 
ASPLENIACEAE 

Asplenium platyneuron 
BERBERIDACEAE 

Podophyllum peltatum 
BETULACEAE 

Carpinus caroliniana 
BLECHNACEAE 

Woodwardia areolata 

W. virginica 
BIGNONIACEAE 

Anisostichus capreolata 

Campsis radicans 
CAPRIFOLIACEAE 

Lonicera japonica 
CELASTRACEAE 

Euonymus americanus 
CLETHRACEAE 

Clethra alnifolia 
CORNACEAE 

Cornus stricta 
CYPERACEAE 

Carex spp. 
EBENACEAE 

Diospyros virginiana 
ERICACEAE 

Vaccinium corymbosum 

Leucothoe axillaris 



182 



FAGACEAE 

Fagus grandifolia 

Quercus laurifolia 

Q. michauxii 

Q. phellos 

Q. falcata var. pagodaefolia 
HAMAMELIDACEAE 

Liquidambar styraciflua 
JUGLANDACEAE 

Carya ovata 

C. glabra 
JUNCACEAE 

Juncus sp . 
LAMIACEAE 

Scutellaria sp. 
LAURACEAE 

Lindera benzoin 

Persea borbonia 
LI LI ACE AE 

Smilax rotundifolia 

Smilax spp. 
LOGANIACEAE 

Gelsemium sempervirens 
LORANTHACEAE 

Phoradendron serotinum 
MAGNOLIACEAE 

Liriodendron tulipifera 

Magnolia virginiana 
NYSSACEAE 

Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora 
OLEACEAE 

Fraxinus pennsylvanica 
OPHIOGLOS SACEAE 

Botrychium sp. 
ORCHIDACEAE 

Listera australis 

Tipularia discolor 
PINACEAE 

Pinus taeda 

P. palustris 
POACEAE 

Arundinaria gigantea 

Uniola sessiliflora 
POLYPODIACEAE 

Polypodium polypodioides 
RANUNCULACEAE 

Ranunculus sp. 
RHAMNACEAE 

Berchemia scandens 

183 



ROSACEAE 

Crataegus spp. 
RUB I ACE AE 

Galium sp. 

Mitchella repens 
SALICACEAE 

Populus heterophylla 
SAURURACEAE 

Saururus cernuus 
SAXIFRAGACEAE 

Decumaria barbara 
TAXODIACEAE 

Taxodium distichum 
ULMACEAE 

Ulmus americana 
URTICACEAE 

Boehmeria cylindrica 
VIOLACEAE 

Viola sp. 
VITACEAE 

Parthenocissus quinquefolia 

Vitis spp. 



AMPHIBIANS 



Spring Peeper 
Fowler ' s Toad 
Gray Tree frog 



REPTILES 



Eastern Box Turtle (common) 
Ground Skink 
Five-lined Skink 
Black Rat Snake 



184 



BIRDS 
(Emphasis of bird lists is on breeding or summering 
species; lack of adequate field work during the other 
seasons prevented compilation of a complete list.) 

KEY 

PR = Permanent resident 
SR = Summer resident 
WR = Winter resident 

T = Transient, spring or fall 
PV, SV, WV = Visitor; year-round, summer, or winter 

* = Breeding or suspected breeding at site 



Wood Duck PR* 

Turkey Vulture PR 

Black Vulture PR 

Red-tailed Hawk PR* 

Red-shouldered Hawk PR* 

Wild Turkey PR* (introduced; 15 

birds released 
February 1981) 

Mourning Dove PR* 

Yellow-billed Cuckoo SR* 

Barred Owl PR* 

Chimney Swift SV 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird SR* 

Common Flicker PR* 

Pileated Woodpecker PR* 

Red-bellied Woodpecker PR* 

Hairy Woodpecker PR* 

Downy Woodpecker PR* 

Great Crested Flycatcher SR* 

Acadian Flycatcher SR* 

Eastern Pewee SR* 

Blue Jay PR* 

Common Crow PR* 

Carolina Chickadee PR* 

Tufted Titmouse PR* 

White-breasted Nuthatch PR* 

Carolina Wren PR* 

American Robin PR 

Wood Thrush SR* 

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher SR* 

Golden-crowned Kinglet WR 

Ruby-crowned Kinglet WR 

White-eyed Vireo SR* 

Red-eyed Vireo SR* 

Prothonotary Warbler SR* 



185 



Yellow-rumped Warbler WR 

Black-throated Green Warbler T 

Yellow-throated Warbler SR* 

Pine Warbler PR* 

Ovenbird SR* 

Common Yellowthroat SR* 

Hooded Warbler SR* 

Louisiana Waterthrush SR* 

Brown-headed Cowbird PR* 

Summer Tanager SR* 

Northern Cardinal PR* 

Evening Grosbeak WR 

White-throated Sparrow WR 



MAMMALS 



White-tailed Deer - abundant; up to 35 seen each trip; 

tracks and scat everywhere 
Eastern Cottontail Rabbit - several seen , tracks 
Raccoon - tracks common 
Opossum - tracks 

Eastern Gray Squirrel - several seen 
Black Bear - no tracks or sign observed by authors; 

reported to occur in area by WRC personnel 



186 



NATURAL AREA INVENTORY FORM 
(To be prepared for each site) 



Basic Information Summary Sheet 

1. Natural Area Name: Salyer's Ridge Natural Area 

2 . County : Hyde 



3. Location: Along the southern border of Rose Bay Canal near 
where it enters Lake Mattamuskeet. Natural area 
is completely within the Mattamuskeet National 
Wildlife Refuge. 



4. Topographic quadrangle (s) : Swanquarter (1974) 



5. Size: 80 acres 



Elevation: 3-5 feet above mean sea level 



Access: At Swindell Fork (junction of US 264 and SR 1304) , go 

north on SR 1304 for 4.7 miles to Rose Bay Canal. Turn 
right (east) on dirt access road parallel to canal and 
go about 0.2 mile to deadend at entrance to refuge. 
Natural area is south and east of the refuge boundary 
on south side of canal. 



8. Names of investigators: J. Merrill Lynch S. Lance Peacock 

Route 2, Box 222-B P. 0. Box 6006 
Enfield, NC 27823 Raleigh, NC 2762? 



9. Date(s) of investigation: April 8, 1982 
10. Priority rating: Low 



187 



Fig. 14, 



Access information: 



SALYER'S RIDGE 




188 



11a. Prose Description of Site: 



The Salyer's Ridge Natural Area contains a mature stand of 
loblolly pine, one of the oldest-growth stands dominated by this 
species known in Hyde County. The 80-acre stand is part of the 
Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge and is designated a Re- 
search Natural Area by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The 
size and stature of the pines gives the tract impressive esthetic 
and scenic qualities although its overall significance as a natural 
area is not exceptionally high because of its suspected anthro- 
pomorphic origins. 

The tract is located near the southwestern corner of Lake 
Mattamuskeet, a large natural freshwater body encompassing about 
40,000 acres. Much of the lake margin itself is dominated by 
emergent marsh vegetation and many sites have been impounded 
to enhance waterfowl habitat. Behind the marsh fringe is a 
forested swamp forest which, depending on location and past 
disturbance, is dominated by a number of wetland trees. 

The natural area proper is a part of the "lake margin" 
forested swamp forest complex. It is located about 0.5 mile 
from the present-day lake margin. In order to understand the 
natural area's relationship to the lake and the underlying soils 
it is necessary to describe briefly the geomorphology of the lake 
and the immediately surrounding lands. 

Lake Mattamuskeet ' s origin is not known. It has been sug- 
gested that the lake formed as a result of a deep peat burn and 
subsequently enlarged itself by wind and wave erosion along its 
shoreline. Another theory suggests that the lake may be multi- 
ple Carolina bays although this view is not a popular one at the 
present time (Mattamuskeet NWR Master Plan, no date) . 

Regardless of its origin, the lake must at one time have 
been substantially larger than it is today. Examination of 
topographic maps covering the Lake Mattamuskeet area clearly 
indicate an arcuate series of slightly elevated ridges (5-8 
feet msl) which encircle the lake at distances which average 
about one mile from the current lakeshore. These ridges were 
formed by a former lake shoreline when lake water levels were 
3-5 feet higher than present levels. The area between these 
ridges and the present lakeshore is presently occupied by a 
mosaic of swamp forest wetlands, waterfowl impoundments, and 
drained cultivated fields. Many North Carolinians have pro- 
bably heard or read about the ill-fated attempt during the 
1930' s to drain the lake and convert it to agriculture. Al- 
though unsuccessful , this drainage attempt did allow some 
marginal farming operations to become established particularly 



189 



around the rim of the lake. Other slightly higher areas, 
particularly on the southern and eastern sides of the lake, 
have been under agriculture for a long time, probably at 
least since the mid-1700' s. 

The natural area is situated in the area between the 
ridges (the former lake margin) and the present lake margin. 
At only 3-5 feet above sea level, the natural area occupies 
a low flat which was probably originally dominated by either 
a hardwood wetland or a baldcypress-hardwood wetland. 

The soils of the natural area are classified as the 
Weeksville-Pasquotank association: very poorly and poorly 
drained soils with black to gray very fine sandy loam or silty 
loam surface layers (SCS, 1973). The majority of this associ- 
ation in Hyde County occurs as a large, homogeneous body around 
the perimeter of Lake Mattamuskeet. Approximately 85% of the 
association acreage has been cleared for cultivation with many 
additional acres in the process of being cleared (SCS, 1973). 

The vegetation of the natural area is dominated by lob- 
lolly pine (Pinus taeda ) . The community type is Pinus taeda/ 
Symplocos tinctoria or locally Persea borbonia (loblolly pine/ 
horsesugar or locally by redbay,- CT 1) . This community is 
characterized by a tall closed canopy of pines 90-100 feet 
tall over a distinct shrub layer of horsesugar (also known 
as sweetleaf) and in places by dense patches of redbay. There 
is essentially no herb layer although poison ivy ( Rhus radicans ) 
is a locally abundant ground cover. 

Red maple ( Acer rub rum ) and sweetgum ( Liquidambar styra- 
ciflua ) are present as scattered individuals in the subcanopy 
layer (40-60 feet tall) but are not dominant enough to be con- 
sidered a subcanopy component in the community type. Vines are 
abundant throughout and include a diversity of high-climbing 
species: poison ivy, trumpet creeper ( Campsis radicans ) , 
cross-vine ( Anisostichus capreolata ) , rattan-vine ( Berchemia 
scandens ) , Virginia creeper ( Parthenocissus quinguefolia ) , 
and yellow jessamine ( Gelsemium sempervirens ) . Almost every 
pine trunk has at least one vine attached. Many of the vines 
appear to have started growing when the pines were quite small. 
The vines are free-swinging and are attached to the lower 
branches of the pines at heights of about 75 feet. 

The loblolly pines are impressive in their height (average: 
90-100 feet) and in their trunk diameters (average: 22 inches). 
One of the more striking aspects of the pine stand's physiognomy 
is the overall even-age character of the trees. Most of the 
pines have about the same height and trunk diameter measurements. 
The age of the stand is estimated to be about 110 years old (Steve 
Frick, pers. comm. 1982). The even-aged character of the stand 



190 



suggests that the pines germinated and began growing in an open 
situation, probably in an abandoned field. The moist mineral 
soils of the area provided an ideal seedbed and the pines grew 
at a rapid rate , overtopping competing hardwoods and establishing 
canopy dominance. The scarcity of oaks and hickories in the 
subcanopy also suggests that the stand developed in an old- 
field situation. Oaks and hickories are typically slow growing 
species and their seed dispersion is usually by animal agents. 
This puts them at a distinct disadvantage in pioneer oldfield 
succession when there is an abundance of red maple, loblolly 
pine, and sweetgum in the vicinity, all of which produce seeds 
which are primarily wind dispersed. Apparently these latter 
species were able to colonize the area quickly and the pine, 
by virtue of its faster growth rate, eventually attained canopy 
dominance . 

The ground surface of the natural area is relatively 
smooth. There are some shallow depressions scattered about 
which may hold water after heavy rains but generally the 
surface is dry. The dense canopy of pines essentially blocks 
most sunlight from reaching the ground layer and there is very 
little herbaceous ground cover. 



191 



lib. Prose Description of Site Significance: 



The Salyer's Ridge natural area contains an old-growth 
stand of loblolly pine, and is probably the largest and 
oldest stand of this species in Hyde County. Because of 
its probable origin from an abandoned field, the stand can- 
not be considered completely "natural", although it can be 
considered to be an excellent example of a pine forest in 
the final stages of^oldfield succession. 



192 



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193 



Fig. 15. Significant features: 



SALYER'S RIDGE 



(community type occupies entire 
natural area) 



MATTJ 




194 



Legal Status, Use, and Management 

13. Ownership type by percent area: Type 

Private 



Public 100 



Unknown 



14. Number of Owners: 



15. Nane(s) of owner (s) and/or custodian (s) (with addresses, phone numbers, 
other pertinent information) , 



Department of the Interior 




U.S. Fish and Wildlife 


Service 




Mattamuskeet 


National Wildlife 


Refuge 


Route 1 , Box 


W-2 






Swanquarter , 


NC 27885 









16. Name(s) of knowledgeable person(s) (with addresses, phone numbers, other 
pertinent information) . 

Steve Frick, Manager 

Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge 

Route 1, Box W-2 



Swanquarter, NC 27885 



17. Attitude of owner or custodian toward preservation (contacted?): 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serivce re cognizes the site as an official 
research natural area. 



195 



18. 



Uses of natural area: 



The natural area has been set aside as a Research Natural 
Area within the Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge. It is 
to be managed for scientific and esthetic values. Natural suc- 
cession will be allowed to continue and no cutting or other dis- 
turbance to the vegetation is planned. The area receives little 
use from the public. No hunting is allowed within the tract. 
There is a maintained jeep trail which follows the refuge boundary 
and skirts the edge of the natural area. This trail is probably 
used infrequently by hikers, birdwatchers, and others. 

The tract is also registered as an outstanding natural area 
along with other sites within the refuge by the N.C. Natural 
Heritage Program. 



19 t Uses of surrounding land: 

a. Wildland 100 

b. Agricultural land 



c. high-intensity forestry 

d. develooed % 



20. Preservation Status; 



Cat 


* 5 



*Description of preservation status 


1 


100 


Public land, formally designated as a natural area. 




1 



21. 



Regulatory protections in force: 
protected by Fish and Wildlife Service regulations as a Research 



Natural Area. 



196 



22. Threats: 



At the present time there is no threat to the natural 
area. It is identified as a Research Natural Area and 
managed in its natural state for scientific research. 



23. Management and Preservation Recommendation: 



Refuge personnel should continue to protect the site 
in its natural state. Natural succession within the forest 
should be allowed to continue and scientific research activ- 
ities should be encouraged. 



197 



Natural Characteristics Summary 

24a. Vegetation - Biotic Community Summary CT 1 

Community type: Pinus taeda/Symplocos tinctoria or locally Persea 
borbonia 

Community cover type: Pinus taeda 

General habitat feature: non-alluvial, bottomland flat 

Average canopy height: 90-100 feet 

Estimated age of canopy trees: 110 years 

Canopy cover : closed to partially open 

Estimated size of community: 80 acres 

Successional stage: Late successional 



Common canopy species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

None 



Common sub-canopy or shrub stratum species in community cover or 
community type (but not dominant) : 

Liquidambar styraciflua 
Acer rubrum 

Common herb stratum species in community cover or community type 
(but not dominant) : 

Vines : Rhus radicans Berchemia scandens 

Campsis radicans Parthenocissus quinquefolia 

Anisostichus capreolata Gelsemium sempervirens 



198 



24b. Soil Summary (by community type) CT 1 



Soil series: not known 



Soil classification: Weeksville: coarse-silty, mixed, acid, thermic 

Typic Humaquepts 
Pasquotank: coarse-silty, mixed, acid, thermic 

Typic Haplaquepts 
Soil association: Weeksville-Pasquotank 

pH class: Very strongly acid 



Source of information: General Soil Map of Hyde County, N.C., 

SCS, 1973 



Other notes: 



24c. Hydrology Summary (by community type) CT 1 
Hydrologic system: Palustrine 

Kydrologic subsystem: Interaqueous 

Water chemistry: Fresh 

Water regime: Intermittently flooded 

Drainage class: Very poorly drained 

Drainage basin: Lake Mattamuskeet 



Hydrology characterization: A very poorly drained, intermittently 

flooded, fresh, interaqueous, palustrine 
system. 



199 



24d. Topography Summary: CT 1 

Landform: non-alluvial flat (former lake margin) 

Shelter: closed 

Aspect : n/a 

Slope Angle: n/a 

Profile: Flat 

Surface patterns: Generally smooth 

Position: n/a 

25. Physiographic characterization of natural area: 

A late successional community occupying a very poorly 
drained, non-alluvial flat near the margin of Lake Matta- 
muskeet in the Coastal Plain Province of the Atlantic Plain. 



Geological Formation: 

Pleistocene (Pamlico Terrace) sands and clays over Upper 
Miocene (Yorktown Formation) fossiliferous sands and clays. 



Geological Formation age: 

Pleistocene (Pamlico Terrace) : less than 100,000 yrs. BP 
Upper Miocene (Yorktown Formation) : 18-22 million yrs. BP 



References Cited: 



Daniels, R. B. , E. E. Gamble, and W. H. Wheeler. 1978. 
Age of Soil Landscapes in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina. 
Soil Science Soc. of Am. Journal 42: 98-105. 



200 



26. Summary - Endangered and threatened species 

Name of species: None recorded. 

Species legal status and authority: 

Number of populations on site: 

Number of individuals per population: 

Size or Maturity of individuals: 

Phenology of population: 

Eg: vegetative % 
flowering % 
fruiting % 

General vigor of population: 

Disturbance or threats to population: 

Habitat characteristics 
Plant community: 
Topography: 
Soil Series: 
Microclimate: 
Drainage basin: 
Other plants and animal species present: 

AERIAL OR DETAILED MAPS WITH POPULATIONS CLEARLY MARKED. 

201 



27. Master species lists: 



VASCULAR PLANTS 
(listed alphabetically by family) 



ACERACEAE 

Acer rubrum 
ANACARDIACEAE 

Rhus radicans 
ANNONACEAE 

Asimina triloba 
APIACEAE 

Centella asiatica 
ASPIDIACEAE 

Athyrium asplenioides 
BIGNONIACEAE 

Anisostichus capreolata 

Campsis radicans 
BLECHNACEAE 

Woodwardia areolata 

W„ virginica 
BROMELIACEAE 

Tillandsia usneoides 
CELASTRACEAE 

Euonymus americanus 
CLETHRACEAE 

Clethra alnifolia 
CYPERACEAE 

Carex spp. 
ERICACEAE 

Vaccinium sp. 
FAGACEAE 

Quercus laurifolia 
HAMAMELIDACEAE 

Liguidambar styraciflua 
LAURACEAE 

Persea borbonia 
LILIACEAE 

Smilax rotundifolia 
LOGANIACEAE 

Gelsemium sempervirens 
MAGNOLIACEAE 

Liriodendron tulipifera 

Magnolia virginiana 
MYRICACEAE 

Myrica cerifera 
NYSSACEAE 

Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora 
ORCHIDACEAE 

Goodyera pubescens 

Tipularia discolor 

202 



OSMUNDACEAE 

Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis 
PINACEAE 

Pinus taeda 
POLYPODIACEAE 

Polypodium polypodioides 
RHAMNACEAE 

Berchamia scandens 
RUBIACEAE 

Mitchella repens 
SYMPLOCACEAE 

Symplocos tinctoria 
TAXODIACEAE 

Taxodium distichum 
VITACEAE 

Parthenocissus quinquefolia 

Vitis sp. 



AMPHIBIANS 
None recorded. 



REPTILES 



None recorded. 



203 



BIRDS 

(Emphasis of bird lists is on breeding or summering 
species; lack of adequate field work during the other 
seasons prevented compilation of a complete list.) 

KEY 

PR = Permanent resident 
SR = Summer resident 
WR = Winter resident 

T = Transient, spring or fall 
PV, SV, WV = Visitor; year-round, summer, or winter 

* = Breeding or suspected breeding at site 



Common Flicker PR* 

Pileated Woodpecker PR* 

Red-bellied Woodpecker PR* 

Hairy Woodpecker PR* 

Downy Woodpecker PR* 

Fish Crow PV 

Carolina Chickadee PR* 

Tufted Titmouse PR* 

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher SR* 

Prothonotary Warbler SR* 

Yellow-rumped Warbler WR 

Pine Warbler PR* 

Ovenbird SR* 



MAMMALS 



White-tailed Deer (tracks) 



204 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 



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Products of Eastern North Carolina. N.C. Geol. Surv. 
Bull. #5. 128 pp. 

Ashe, W. W. , and G. Pinchot. 1897. Timber Trees and Forests 
of North Carolina. N.C. Geol. Surv. Bull. #6. 227 pp. 

Barnes, J. S. 1981. Soils Map of First Colony Farms Lands, 
Dare County. First Colony Farms, Inc. Unpublished map. 

Barnes, J. S. 1982. First Colony Farms agronomist, Creswell, 
N.C. Pers. communication. 

Bellis, V., M. P. O'Connor and S. R. Riggs . 1975. Estuarine 

Shoreline Erosion in the Albemarle-Pamlico Region of North 
Carolina. University of North Carolina Sea Grant Publi- 
cation UNC SG 75-29. 67 pp. 

Biswell, H. H. , and J. E. Foster. 1942. Forest Grazing and 
Beef Cattle Production in the Coastal Plain of North 
Carolina: Results of a survey of 100 Cattle Producing 
Farms. N.C. Ag. Exp. Station Bull. #334. 22 pp. 

Biswell, H. H. , R. W. Collins, J. E. Foster and T. S. Boggess, 
Jr. 1945. Native Forage Plants: Species Utilized by 
Beef Cattle on Forest Range in the North Carolina Coastal 
Plain. N.C. Ag. Exp. Station Bull. #353. 27 pp. 

Buell, M. F. , and R. L. Cain. 1943. The Successional Role of 
Southern White Cedar , Chamaecyparis thyoides , in South- 
eastern North Carolina. Ecology 24: 85-93. 

Campbell, R. G. , and J. H. Hughes. 1981. Forest Management 
Systems in North Carolina Pocosins: Weyerhaeuser, pp. 
199-213 in C. J. Richardson, (ed.). Pocosin Wetlands. 
Hutchinson Ross Publ. Co. , Stroudsburg, PA. 364 pp. 

Christensen, N. L. 1980. Fire Regimes in Southeastern Eco- 
systems, pp. 112-136 in H. A. Mooney, T. Bonnicksen, 
N. L. Christensen, W. A. Reiners, and J. Lotan, (eds.). 
Fire Regimes and Ecosystem Properties. USDA For. Serv. , 
Gen. Tech. Report, Washington, D.C. 593 pp. 



205 



Christensen, N. L. , R. Burchell, A. Liggett and E. Simms. 
1981. The Structure and Development of Pocosin Vege- 
tation, pp. 43-61 in C. J. Richardson, (ed.). Pocosin 
Wetlands. Hutchinson Ross Publ. Co., Stroudsburg, PA. 
364 pp. 

Cooper, J. E. , S. S. Robinson and J. B. Funderburg (eds.). 
1977. Endangered and Threatened Plants and Animals 
of North Carolina. N.C. State Museum of Natural 
History, Raleigh. 444 pp. 

Cowardin, L. M. , V. Carter, F. C. Golet and E. T. LaRoe. 1979. 
Classification of Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats of the 
United States. US FWS Office of Biological Services, 
Washington, D.C. 103 pp. 

Daniel, C. , III. 1981. Hydrology, Geology and Soils of Poco- 
sins : A Comparison of Natural and Altered Systems, pp. 
69-108 in C. J. Richardson, (ed.). Pocosin Wetlands. 
Hutchinson Ross Publ. Co. , Stroudsburg, PA. 364 pp. 

Daniels, R. B. , E. E. Gamble, and W. H. Wheeler. 1978. Age 

of Soil Landscapes in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina. 
Soil Science Society of America Journal 42: 98-105. 

Environmental Protection Agency. 1982. Land Cover Inventory: 
Albemarle/Pamlico Peninsula. Vol. 2. Infrared aerial 
photography. 

ETCO. 1980. First Colony Farms Peat to Methanol Project. 
Unpublished report to Synthetic Fuels Corporation. 

Florschutz , Otto, Jr. 1979. Roper Island Preliminary Beiolo- 
gical Evaluation Report. Unpublished report. U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service. Asheville, N.C. 

Florschutz, Otto, Jr. 1982. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
East Coast Biologist, Washington, N.C. Pers. communi- 
cation. 

Fowells, H. G. 1968. Silvics of Forest Trees of the United 
States. USDA, Agriculture Handbook #271, 762 pp. 

Giese, G. L. , H. B. Wilder, and G. G. Parker, Jr. 1979. 

Hydrology of Major Estuaries and Sounds of North Caro- 
lina. U.S. Geo. Survey, Water Resources Investigations 
79-46, Raleigh. 175 pp. 



206 



Godfrey, P. J., and M. M. Godfrey. 1977. Barrier Island 

Ecology of Cape Lookout National Seashore and Vicinity, 
North Carolina. NPS Scientific Monograph Series, #9. 
Washington, D.C. 160 pp. 

Hamilton, R. J. , and R. L. Marchinton. 1980. Denning and 
Related Activities of Black Bears in the Coastal Plain 
of North Carolina, pp. 122-126 in_ C. J. Martinka and 
K. L. McArthur, (eds.). Bears-their Biology and Manage- 
ment. Proceedings, International Bear Biol. Assoc. 
Conf . , Kalispell, Montana. 

Hughes, R. H. 1957. Response of Cane to Burning in the North 
Carolina Coastal Plain. N.C. Ag. Exp. Station Bull. #402. 
24 pp. 

Hughes, R. H. 1966. Fire Ecology of Canebrakes. Tall Timbers 
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Hughes, R. H. , E. U. Dillard and J. B. Hilmon. 1960. Vegetation 
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in North Carolina. N.C. Ag. Exp. Station Bull. #412. 27 pp. 

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North Carolina. Prepared for the U.S. Dept. of Energy and 
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Martof , B. S. , W. M. Palmer, J. R. Bailey, and J. R. Harrison. 
1980. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Vir- 
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427 pp. 



207 



Mixon, R. B. , and 0. H. Pilkey. 1976. Reconnaissance Geology of 

the Submerged and Emerged Coastal Plain Province , Cape Lookout 

Area, North Carolina. Geological Survey Professional Paper 
859. Washington, D.C. 45 pp. 

Noff singer, Robert. 1982. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division 
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208 



Soil Conservation Service. 1973. General Soil Map of Hyde County, 
N.C. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 

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209 



GLOSSARY 
(from Bellis et al. , 1975) 



Area of Environmental Concern- (AEC) Especially fragile or ecolo- 
gically unique areas of the North Carolina Coast where development 
should occur only if it is in harmony with natural processes. Areas 
of the coast where the public welfare might be endangered by unwise 
manipulation of the environment. 

BP - Before present. 

canopy - A layer of leaves and branches formed by the interlocking 
mosaic of tree tops in a forest. 

Coastal Area Management Act of 1974 - An act passed by the North 
Carolina legislature in 1974 intended to promote wise development 
of North Carolina 'a coastal resources. Among other provisions 
this act calls for the designation of certain especially sensi- 
tive areas as 'Areas of Environmental Concern. ' 

cypress fringe - A straight or curved line of cypress running paral- 
lel to the shoreline. Older cypress fringe has its trees standing 
in water while young cypress fringe occupies sandy beaches in front 
of eroding sand or clay banks, 

dbh - Diameter at breast height (diameter of tree in inches measured 
at a point 4.5 feet above the ground). 

ecological succession - Process by which one community of living 
organisms is gradually replaced by another. Usually each succes- 
sive community is more stable than the last, thus leading toward 
a final community especially well suited to the particular environ- 
mental conditions existing at that location. 

flood plain - Lowlands adjacent to a river or stream which become 
inundated during periods of high flow. Flood plains are a natural 
component of the river system and function as overflow storage areas. 

msl - Mean sea level. 

Pamlico Terrace - A low, flat, featureless, topographic surface 
extending over the Coastal Plain of the Southeastern U.S. at 
elevations less than 20 feet above sea level. It is considered 
the relict sea floor of the Sangamon Interglacial. 

Pamlimarle Peninsula - The peninsula bounded on the north by Albe- 
marle Sound and on the south by the Pamlico River. Includes all of 
Washington, Beaufort, and mainland portions of Dare and Hyde Counties. 



210 



peat - Accumulations of slowly decomposing plant remains. 
Peat is formed in swamps and marshes. Erosion of peat soils 
releases suspended organic matter into coastal waters as well 
as certain 'humic acids' which give water a tea colored stain. 

Pleistocene Epoch - That period of earth history which saw the 

advance and retreat of the four great Ice Ages. It is generally 

considered to have begun between 1 and 2 million years ago and 
to have continued up until about 18,000 years ago. 

relict beach ridge - Throughout the Southeastern U.S. ancient 
shorelines are detected at various elevations inland from the 
coast. These shorelines are often manifested as continuous 
ridges and are considered a product of higher stands of the 
sea during the Pleistocene Ice Ages. 

Sangamon Interglacial - A period of deglaciation (no continental 
ice sheets) during the Pleistocene Epoch between the Illinoian 
and Wisconsin Ice Ages. This period is generally considered 
to have taken place about 80-100,000 years ago. 

sp and spp - Species (singular and plural) . 

Suffolk Scarp - A topographic ridge rising from 20 to 40 feet above 
sea level which runs parallel to the coast throughout North Carolina. 
It is considered an ancient shoreline formed during the Pleistocene 
Epoch. 

swamp forest - Type of forest characterized by seasonal flooding 
and water saturated organic soils. Water tupelo, swamp black gum 
and bald cypress are dominant tree species. 

Talbot (Chowan) Terrace - A rather flat but stream-dissected sur- 
face lying at an average elevation of 40-45 feet throughout South- 
eastern United States. It is considered to have been a sea floor 
during the Pleistocene Epoch. In North Carolina it lies west of 
the topographic ridge known as the Suffolk Scarp. 

Yorktown Formation - An ancient deposit of clay and clayey sand 
which typically contains abundant marine fossils including clams, 
snails, whale vertebrae, and shark teeth. It occurs extensively 
over eastern North Carolina and is generally considered a deposi- 
tional product of the Miocene Epoch which took place 15-20 million 
years ago. 



211 



CEIP Publications 

1. Hauser, E. W., P. D. Cribbins, P. D. Tschetter, and R. D. Latta. 
Coastal Energy Transportation Needs to Support Major Energy Projects 

in North Carolina's Coastal Zone. CEIP Report #1. September 1981. $10. 

2. P. D. Cribbins. A Study of OCS Onshore Support Bases and Coal Export 
Terminals. CEIP Report #2. September 1981. $10. 

3. Tschetter, P. D., M. Fisch, and R. D. Latta. An Assessment of 
Potential Impacts of Energy-Related Transportation Developments on 
North Carolina's Coastal Zone. CEIP Report #3. July 1981. $10. 

4. Cribbins, P. S. An Analysis of State and Federal Policies Affecting 
Major Energy Projects in North Carolina's Coastal Zone. CEIP Report 
#4. September 1981. $10. 

5. Brower, David, W. D. McElyea, D. R. Godschalk, and N. D. Lofaro. 
Outer Continental Shelf Development and the North Carolina Coast: 
A Guide for Local Planners. CEIP Report #5. August 1981. $10. 

6. Rogers, Golden and Halpern, Inc., and Engineers for Energy and the 
Environment, Inc. Mitigating the Impacts of Energy Facilities: A 
Local Air Quality Program for the Wilmington, N. C. Area. CEIP 
Report #6. September 1981. $10. 

7. Richardson, C. J. (editor). Pocosin Wetlands: an Integrated Analysis 
of Coastal Plain Freshwater Bogs in North Carolina. Stroudsburg (Pa): 
Hutchinson Ross. 364 pp. $25. Available from School of Forestry, 
Duke University, Durham, N. C. 27709. (This proceedings volume is for 
a conference partially funded by N. C. CEIP. It replaces the N. C. 
Peat Sourcebook in this publication list.) 

8. McDonald, C. B. and A. M. Ash. Natural Areas Inventory of Tyrrell 
County, N. C. CEIP Report #8. October 1981. $10. 

9. Fussell, J., and E. J. Wilson. Natural Areas Inventory of Carteret 
County, N. C. CEIP Report #9. October 1981. $10. 

10. Nyfong, T. D. Natural Areas Inventory of Brunswick County, N. C. 
CEIP Report #10. October 1981. $10. 

11. Leonard, S. W., and R. J. Davis. Natural Areas Inventory for Pender 
County, N. C. CEIP Report #11. October 1981. $10. 

12. Cribbins, Paul D., and Latta, R. Daniel. Coastal Energy Transporta- 
tion Study: Alternative Technologies for Transporting and Handling 
Export Coal. CEIP Report #12. January 1982. $10. 

13. Creveling, Kenneth. Beach Communities and Oil Spills: Environmental 
and Economic Consequences for Brunswick County, N. C. CEIP Report 
#13. May 1982. $10. 



2-5 

CEIP Publications 

14. Rogers, Golden and Halpern, Inc., and Engineers for Energy and the 
Environment. The Design of a Planning Program to Help Mitigate Energy 
Facility-Related Air Quality Impacts in the Washington County, North 
Carolina Area. CEIP Report #14. September 1982. $10. 

15. Fussell, J., C. B. McDonald, and A. M. Ash. Natural Areas Inventory 
of Craven County, North Carolina. CEIP Report #15. October 1982. 
$10. 

16. Frost, Cecil C. Natural Areas Inventory of Gates County, North 
Carolina. CEIP Report #16. April 1982. $10. 

17. Stone, John R., Michael T. Stanley, and Paul T. Tschetter. Coastal 
Energy Transportation Study, Phase III, Volume 3: Impacts of Increased 
Rail Traffic on Communities in Eastern North Carolina. CEIP Report #17. 
August 1982. $10. 

19. Pate, Preston P., and Jones, Robert. Effects of Upland Drainage on 
Estuarine Nursery Areas of Pamlico Sound, North Carolina. CEIP 
Report #19. December 1981. $1.00. 

25. Wang Engineering Co., Inc. Analysis of the Impact of Coal Trains 
Moving Through Morehead City, North Carolina. CEIP Report #25. 
October 1982. $10. 

26. Anderson & Associates, Inc. Coal Train Movements Through the City of 
Wilmington, North Carolina. CEIP Report #26. October 1982. $10. 

27. Peacock, S. Lance and J. Merrill Lynch. Natural Areas Inventory of 
Mainland Dare County, North Carolina. CEIP Report #27. November 1982. 
$10. 

28. Lynch, J. Merrill and S. Lance Peacock. Natural Areas Inventory of 
Hyde County, North Carolina. CEIP Report #28. October 1982. $10. 

29. Peacock, S. Lance and J. Merrill Lynch. Natural Areas Inventory of 
Pamlico County, North Carolina. CEIP Report #29. November 1982. $10. 

30. Lynch, J. Merrill and S, Lance Peacock. Natural Areas Inventory of 
Washington County, North Carolina. CEIP Report #30. October 1982. 
$10. 

31. Muga, Bruce J. Review and Evaluation of Oil Spill Models for Applica- 
tion to North Carolina Waters. CEIP Report #31. August 1982. $10. 

33. Sorrell, F. Yates and Richard R. Johnson. Oil and Gas Pipelines in 
Coastal North Carolina: Impacts and Routing Considerations. CEIP 
Report #33. December 1982. $10. 

34. Roberts and Eichler Associates, Inc. Area Development Plan for Radio 
Island. CEIP Report #34. June 1983. $10. 

35. Cribbins, Paul D. Coastal Energy Transportation Study, Phase III, 
Volume 4: The Potential for Wide-Beam, Shallow-Draft Ships to Serve 
Coal and Other Bulk Commodity Terminals along the Cape Fear River. 
CEIP Report #35. August 1982. $10.