Unique ‘Pink Sundew’ plant spotted at Wildlands‘ Devil’s Racetrack Mitigation Site

This spring, Wildlands’ land stewards found a new population of pink sundew (Drosera capillaris) within a restored wetland at our Devil’s Racetrack Mitigation Site.  The pink sundew is a carnivorous, perennial plant found in pine savannas and wet, peaty areas. They are low-lying plants with rounded traps of sticky, tentacle-like leaves to hold their insect prey. This specimen was the first such sighting at the site and is also believed to be the first county record of the species (LeGrand et.al., 2021). Prior to restoration, the site was in agricultural production for decades.  Seeing this plant recolonize after so many years in agriculture is truly remarkable!

The Devil’s Racetrack Mitigation Site successfully reached the close-out milestone in August 2021 and is now in long term stewardship.

Source: LeGrand, H., B. Sorrie, and T. Howard. 2021. Vascular Plants of North Carolina [Internet]. Raleigh (NC): North Carolina Biodiversity Project and North Carolina State Parks. Available from https://auth1.dpr.ncparks.gov/flora/index.php.


Wildlands helps NCDOT protect critical aquatic habitat to mitigate impacts from construction of Interstate 540

In 2018, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) worked out an agreement with the Southern Environmental Law Center to mitigate potential effects to critical aquatic habitat from the Interstate 540 expansion. As part of this agreement, NCDOT committed to preserving land along the Little River and Buffalo Creek in northeastern Johnston County. Wildlands was one of the firms selected by and contracted with NCDOT to acquire the necessary land to meet the agreement conditions.

This past summer, Wildlands met with landowners along Little River and Buffalo Creek and successfully purchased 450 acres of conservation easements along 37,897 linear feet of stream (over 7 miles) from 27 different landowners. The conservation easement areas contain Little River Aquatic Habitat, dubbed by the North Carolina Heritage Program as a Natural Heritage Area with exceptional collective conservation value. This habitat area hosts imperiled species, including the dwarf wedgemussel (Alasmidonta heterodon), yellow lance (Elliptio lanceolata), Atlantic pigtoe (Fusconaia masoni), Neuse River waterdog (Necturus lewisi), and Carolina madtom (Noturus furiosus).  The project landowners expressed deep love for the streams and were excited to do their part to protect them in perpetuity.

Wildlands will work with subcontractors this winter to plant native hardwood trees on previously unforested areas within the conservation easements. Triangle Land Conservancy, who assisted in the acquisitions, will serve as the long-term land steward.

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Wildlands’ Norkett Branch Mitigation Site reaches the “close-out” milestone

Wildlands is pleased to announce that the NC Interagency Review Team (IRT) has approved the Norkett Branch Mitigation Site in Union County for close out! As the prime consultant for this full-delivery project, Wildlands performed existing site assessment, conservation easement acquisition, permitting, stream restoration design, construction, and seven years of post-construction monitoring of geomorphic stability and vegetation. As a result of these successful efforts, this project delivered 10,098 stream credits to the Division of Mitigation Services to offset unavoidable impacts in the Yadkin 05 River Basin. For the past ten years, our team has been dedicated to creating this 30-acre riparian corridor and respite habitat to benefit the ecology and water quality in the Yadkin watershed.


Wildlands Completes Ward Mill Dam Removal

Wildlands recently partnered with the Blue Ridge Resource Conservation & Development Council, MountainTrue, and American Rivers to remove the Ward Mill Dam, located in Watauga County, NC. The dam was a concrete and rock structure approximately 25 feet high and stretching 110 feet wide across the river. The on-site historic mill and powerhouse, which served the community for over a century, was preserved and protected in place. The removal of the dam has reconnected 35 miles of aquatic habitat in the mainstem of the Watauga River, dozens of miles of tributary reaches and has returned free-flowing aquatic habitat and greater resiliency for the eastern hellbender, native fishes, mussels, and other riverine species. The North Carolina and Southeast Aquatic Barrier Prioritization tools highly ranked Ward Mill Dam as a removal priority for the connectivity benefits.


Wildlands conducted assessment and sediment analyses to evaluate impounded sediment volume, sediment potential for contamination, and to analyze the ability of the Watauga River to assimilate sediment release from the dam removal and develop a sediment management plan. Wildlands used USGS gage flow data, sediment grain size distribution analysis, and hydraulic and sediment transport modeling to support project recommendations.



Also, check out this project video by Blue Ridge Resource Conservation & Development Council.