Berryhill Rhododendron Bluffs

Team: Deb, Mary, Louise

<<From George - please note which you will use during presentation, and which is supplemental>>


1.) Dec 11 Supplemental
2.) Conservation Values Scorecard.pdf During presentation
3.) ScorecardToolkitNarrative.pdf Supplemental
4.) MorganCreekCorridor. Supplemental

Berryhill Miradi 120508.mpz

Property Brief: BerryhillSummary.pdf
DRAFTS OF DOCUMENTS (please save in Office 2003 with yymmdd in the name) :
Summary Draft (Louise):

Scorecard Second Draft (Mary):

Scorecard FIRST Draft:
Conservation Scorecard Draft.doc

TFR Format Indicators


Miradi Conceptual Diagram:
Berryhill Miradi 110408.mpz


Comments from george 6 Nov:
I think I like what I'm seeing here. I'm a little confused by the whole "key attribute" definition as ecological or biological conditions needed for persistence of the target. From the definition, I wouldn't think that presence of the target really fits, but then the FOS-CMP examples include attributes of the target. So, in the end, I think it's fair to have the rhododendron and ginseng itself among the key attributes - their presence is certainly an indicator.

I like the fungus health idea, but think the invasives should be labeled as species composition.

Microclimate is great, but the word "change" under good does not make sense. Change is seen through time. What should be in "good" and "very good" are descriptions of the microclimate that are good and very good. I don't know what that is, but note that for "fair" you have "a few things down, minimal exposure" - perhaps that belongs under "good" with fair being "many trees down" and "very good" being "no trees down". Even better from a measurement perspective would be a % canopy cover / opening, with poor being >90% open, VG being <10% open and fair and good somewhere in between.

On ginseng health, what is a "POSSIBLE sign of trampling"? Might this better be handled by looking at % population that appears trampled? Also, trampling is a direct threat, not a key attribute. I'm starting to think that threat indicators should be on a a different part of the table. That would apply to the fungus as well. So that part of the table would have a label of "threat" in place of "key attribute" - how would that work out?

The riparian buffer categories all have an element of change in the rating. Again, change is seen through time. So imagine going out the first time - you've never seen this place before - and trying to fill this in. You have no idea if it has increased or decreased, you just know what it is. I'm thinking that measures like % of bank with buffer, % incised, average width of buffer might be the way to go. These would be pretty simple and require little expertise.

Finally, I'd like to see a Miradi diagram, either in the software or hand-drawn, that shows the vision, goals, targets, threats, etc.

Photos from Visit (Mary):

Info Gathering template: ->edited by Louise, Wednesday October 29, 2:00
-> original version from Debbie dated October 28, 4:45pm
- version Debbie plus Mary dated October 29
-> Debbie, posted Friday, October 31

Berryhill Sample Scorecard:
Berryhill Conservation Scorecard.doc

berry hill-aerial.pdf

morgancreekgreenway v2.doc
Morgan eep .pdf
Berryhill NC Botanical Garden.pdf

<<Comments from George 6 Nov
Your vision for the site says "A healthy riparian buffer that supports healthy communities of catawba rhododendron, mountain laurel, ginseng, and indegenous wildflowers that are indicative of the unique soils and geological formations which characterize Morgan's Creek." A couple of things come to mind.
(1) Is it the riparian buffer that supports these plant populations? Couldn't they be there without the riparian buffer? It seems to me tat the riparian buffer is a separate target, not a key ecological attribute for the persistence of these plants - your diagram implies that as well, because you show the riparian buffers as a target.
(2) Getting to Louise's continuing probes about what scope is ... you note that there are 6 rhodo / laurel sites along Morgan Creek (in your scope description) and show our scope to be just this one site. Now I wonder if the scope should be the 6 sites - more sites are better in terms of conservation, because you have redundancy. Do you know TLC's intent here? In other words, is TLC really intent on conserving rhodo / laurel in the Piedmont, in which case the broader scope makes sense; or do they just want to conserve this one site? I'm not sure how we'd change things if they want all 6 site - though I actually think we'd do it quite differently and not have a site-focused scope and target, and among the strategies would be protecting all six sites.

I see each of your conservation targets linking to one of the public benefits in the regional diagram - wonder if we should include those in the individual property diagrams?

I note that there are no contributing factors / indirect threats to fungal disease and suspect that's just lack of knowledge on our part. Someone will need to read / consult to find that out - fungus and moisture usually go along (might be inherent problem to these plants growing in moist sites and you can't do anything about it); people might help spread it, as might animals.

Riparian buffer results chain. I note that many of the things shown as strategies are perhaps activities in a Miradi sense: patrols, buid fence, report trespass, post signs, remove trails ... are all activities for an overall strategy of reducing / controlling / eliminating public access. I think "public access stopped" might better be worded as "public access reduced and controlled" because you will not stop it. Similarly, stopping runoff in ravines is likely a results of the strategy "restore stream bank" rather than a separate strategy. Restore bank -> reduced runoff in ravines -> reduced hillside erosion -> reduced erosion.
Generally, I think "stopped" is not the best word choice, with "reduced" being more pragmatic.

Ginseng results chains combines aspects of both of the others and suggest following same course to modify. You have "ginseng survives" as your target - is that all you ask for? I think "Ginseng" is the target and you need a vision for the ginseng - what do you want to see?

What is different between this site and TFR? I'm thinking about our final discussion, when we show TFR and then highlight different things we've learned at the other sites. What would you say about this one?

Other documents:

Project Description: Triangle Land Conservancy purchased Berryhill in 1998. There is no official baseline documentation, but the property has been inventoried by the NC Natural Heritage Program. The NCNHP has identified Berryhill as one of six sites that support communities of catawba rhododendron (Rhododendron catawbiense) and mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) growing along the steep, northfacing slopes that characterize the unique geology of the area. Berryhill is also the only site where ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), has been found. Ginseng is listed as a plant of special concern in North Carolina and there is some debate about whether populations remain on-site. The last know recorded sighting was in 2004. The current TLC land steward is unsure about its location on the property and no information was conveyed to him about location.

Project Scope: Berryhill is located within the Morgan's Creek Watershed which contains a network of perrennial and intermittent streams that drain approximately 50 square miles of hills, bluffs and bottomlands. The lower portion of the creek stretches 17 miles from Jordan Lake to Univserity Lake, and continues to drain into Orange County, providing potable water for Chapel Hill and Carrboro. The Berryhill site is 5.5 acres within the Chapel Hill USGS quad and is adjacent to Morgan's Creek.

Vision Statement: A healthy riparian buffer that supports healthy communities of catawba rhododendron, mountain laurel, ginseng, and indegenous wildflowers that are indicative of the unique soils and geological formations which characterize Morgan's Creek.

Conservation Targets:

  • Ginseng
  • Catawba rhododendron
  • Riparian buffer

  • Poaching of ginseng (high priority)
  • Stream bank erosion (high priority)
  • Trampling (high priority)
  • Invasive species (high priority)
  • Dumping (low priority)
  • Rhododendron fungal disease (low priority)

  • Educate local communities about ginseng - won't work because you don't want people to know that ginseng is there because it fetches a high price on the market due to its medical values
  • Patrol areas - won't work because of lack of resources
  • Ask neighbors to report tresspassers - won't work because property is open to the public
  • Restore stream bank - won't work because of lack of resources
Because of the inability to articulate strategy, TLC is unable to manage the property for the conservation targets it was protected for -> Research other stakeholders and develop partnerships.

Potential partners:
Town of Carrboro is beginning the conceptual plan for Morgan Creek Greenway. As part of the planning process, the contractor will be doing field surveys and investigating land ownerships/easements required for a greenway. Greenway construction is expected to begin in a year. Potential partners could be the Town of Carrboro, NC Botanical Garden Foundation (sub-committee Morgan Creek Valley Alliance)

Activities & Disscussion

Site visit scheduled Tuesday, October 21,2008.
  • Is there a complete BDR in the works?
  • Can TLC donate the property to the Morgan's Creek Alliance or City of Carrboro?
  • Are the plants of consern still there?
  • Are the plants of consern viable targets?
  • Have public utilities been contacted?
  • Town of Carrboro Morgan Creek Greenway plan?

Discussion with Randy Dodd (918-7326), Environmental Planner with City of Carrboro. Storm water is managed by town with NPDES storm water permit from state. No current plans to restore Morgan's Creek along this property. Stream has incision problem, to fix would require relocation of stream channel.
Carrboro's Environmental Planning homepage:
Per Town of Carrboro (Brendan Moore and Adina Messinger) Morgan Creek Greenway in conceptual planning stage, construction would be about a year out. Route of greenway trail not yet determined.
The Carrboro Greenways Commission home page:
Greenways Commission members.
  • SOIL
Here is the soil map from the websoils survey. I now have lots of information about erosion, parent material, and other ratings for structures based on soil composition (includes slope).
Basically, the site is located in the slate belt created through volcanic activity, with rich soils weathered from metavolcanics. Streams cut through and "created microclimates that support biological relics from the last glacial period, 10,000 years ago" (triangle greenprint project).
Due to topography, soil composition, riparian buffer rules, and general hydrology, the site is not going to be developed any time soon.
As dinky as it is, I did notice that the Natural Heritage inventory called this "the most significant site in carborro" due to the natural communitiy types and rare vegetation present.
Orange County Natural Area Inventory 2004

Initial thoughts from Mary:
- We need a site visit soon since there isn't a complete BDR
- Contact should be made with Donna about the site
- Find out about the current status of the drainage easement damage
- There were several documents I couldn't view, and the aerial of the property boundary wasn't so great
- need to research specific threats

Limited to TLC owned portion because of surrounding residences?? Wondering if the drainage easement is on TLC property..

Might need to be limited access due to state species of concern and having to cross through private property to reach the site. As it says in the brief, the surrounding residences will have to be considered in any plan.

Rhododendron catawbiense and over two dozen individuals of ginseng (Panax quinquefolius//), as well as the surrounding forest communities, Morgan Creek, bluffs, ravines, and wildflowers (?)

Comments from Deb:
I stopped past the property today. It was hard to find as the apartments have a new name "Bridges at Chapel Hill". I stopped at the rental office and the rental agent didn't even know about the TLC property behind the apartments. I walked back there behind apartments, definitely not accessible to the general public. The other side borders a housing development. There are some cut 4x4's, lawn debris, small amount of trash at the perimeter behind the apartments and trees downed from storms. Then it slopes quickly down toward creek. Lots of spindly rhododendrons on hill. I didn't go all the way down to creek since didn't have hiking boots on. I didn't find the walking trail mentioned in the documents. Hard to tell where property lines are, will need to look around. Five acres is really, really small (less than 600 feet by 300 feet?). Will probably want to know what ginseng looks like in case we encounter it on site visit. Obvious targets are the endangered species. Question whether such small properties should be TLC targets unless they are connected with other properties. Contacted listed land steward, Donna Wright - she is not the land steward for this property and has only been on it once or twice. Need to contact TLC to find out if there is a land steward.

Direct Threats:
Surrounding development
Trespassing on property leading to trampling and trash
Erosion of bluffs and Morgan Creek
Sewer line/storm drains

Further investigation:
Soil composition
Trail location
Sewer/storm drain location and easement
Location of ginseng
Protection of Morgan Creek watershed
Greenway connections


Description:This project represents a five acre property bought by Triangle Land Conservancy in 1998. There is no official baseline documentation. This property was purchased by TLC because of the presence of two plant species on site. One is rare for the particular region and the other is an endangered species.

Project Scope: The Morgan's Creek Watershed is located * and contains a network of perrennial and intermittent streams that drain approximately 50 square miles of hills, bluffs and bottomlands. The creek stretches out approimately 17 miles as it drains from Jordan Lake into Orange County. Morgan Creek is a primary source of potable water fro Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Berry Hill is an example of one of the several ecosystems along the creek that house rare plant ecosystems.

Vision Statement:**__ The continued presence of catawba rhododendron (Rhododendron catawbiense) and ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) as well as a stabilized stream bank

Proposed Class Schedule:
10/3 Flat Rock Result chains. Project discussions.
10/10 Fall break (no class)
10/17 Flat Rock complete. Discuss project conceptual diagrams.
10/24 Panel. Project conceptual diagrams w/result chains complete
10/31 Draft of project write-ups. Discuss in-class.
11/7 Present project to class. Discuss final combined presentation in class.
11/14 Draft of final combined presentation review in class (Note: Debbie will be attending NAI conference, so will not be in class this week)
11/21 Final presentation draft to TLC
11/28 Holiday (no class)
12/5 Final Presentation to TLC