Introduction to Triangle Land Conservancy and Site Visit to Swift Creek Bluffs

Time
Activity
12:30
Depart NCSU - meet in class room
13:00
Introductions - TLC people and graduate students
13:05
Introduction to Triangle Land Conservancy (Jeff Masten)
:: What is TLC?
:: What are its goals?
:: Area of operation
:: How does it operate?
13:25
Question / Discussion: How might you determine if TLC is attaining its goals?
:: Brainstorm ideas
:: Need someone to write down and later add to notes on Wiki
13:35
Introduction to Swift Creek Bluffs (Walt Tysinger)
:: What is this place? Why is it important?
:: What kinds of management activities are carried out to maintain the site?
13:55
Question / Discussion: How might you determine if SCB is a "successful property?"
:: Brainstorm ideas
:: Need someone to write down and later add to notes on Wiki
14:05
Measuring Conservation Success (Hess)
:: Brief introduction to what we did last semester and what we're planning for this semester
14:15
Water Quality (Kate Golden)
:: Question / Discussion - how do we tell if TLC is meeting its water quality objectives?
:: Introduction to water quality tool
:: Question / Discussion - How can we test how well this tool can be used by TLC volunteers and other civic groups?
14:45
Depart for NCSU
15:15
Back at NCSU Jordan Hall parking lot

NOTES

Introduction to Triangle Land Conservancy and Site Visit to Swift Creek Bluffs

Triangle Land Conservancy
  • Mission: to protect important open space, stream corridors, forests, wildlife habitat, farmland, and natural areas
  • Focus: water conservation, endangered and significant species, partnering with local governments
  • Operates mainly behind the scenes (neutral third party)
Features:
  • Nonprofit organization, 3,000 members, 1800 land trusts
  • Land trust: A nonprofit organization that assists landowners who wish to voluntarily conserve their properties.
Swift Creek Bluffs Preserve
  • Acquired in 1991
  • Designated as a National Heritage Site because of their high quality beech slopes and flats and overcup oaks.
  • 23-acre nature preserve with a mile long trail for the public
  • Contains four plant communities that can be distinguished by their soils: Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forest, Basic Mesic Forest, Floodplain Pools, and Piedmont/Low Mountain Alluvial forest
  • Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forest has steep North facing, well-drained slopes; is dominated by beech and tulip poplar
  • Basic Mesic Forest has well drained basic soil and is characterized by North-facing slopes
  • Floodplain Pools has depressions that hold standing water most of the year and contains overcup oak. Fluctuates with local rainfall; at times the entire floodplain can be underwater. Important for amphibians.
  • Piedmont/Low Mountain Alluvial forest has flood plain soils that are rich in nutrients and high plant diversity. Characterized by riverbirch, sweetgum, and green ash.
  • Low-lying area with beech trees, called a beech flat, that covers 1-2 acres of the floodplain
  • Carved steep with 100-foot-high bluffs that appear over the creek and floodplain
  • North facing slope receives little direct sunlight, so it tends to be cooler and more moist
  • Biggest problem is exoctic invasive species reducing biodiversity.
Goals:
  • Healthier beech trees and surrounding areas
  • Improve and sustain water quality
  • Mitigate and attempt to prevent invasive species
  • Improve habitat for significant species of mussels
Important Questions
  • How are areas determined to be more significant than others may be?
  • How many endangered species are there?
  • Are there updates available to members to show the success of TLC?
  • How are funds allocated?
  • How can you measure the success of TLC and what examples can be used?
  • How can the community participate in activities?
Important Questions (measuring success)
  • How many people make their way through the trail at SCB?
  • What improvements have and can be made?
  • How exactly is erosion controlled?
  • Can we look at the success of the popular mussels?
  • How is water quality being sustained?
Water Quality
  • Using the water quality tool prepared by graduate students, we can (a) evaluate the quality of riparian buffers along sections of streams crossing or bordering TLC property and (b) collect trend information about the same streams’ water conditions and help identify possible water quality problems.
Goal:
  • Identify if prepared rubric is repeatable
  • Collect data on stream condition
  • Compare data with future data to determine successful mitigation options