Tag Archives: Croatan National Forest

Exploring North Carolina — Where Rivers are Born, WUNC

Pocosins, Where Rivers are Born

Join host Tom Earnhardt for this weekly series highlighting the state’s diverse local landscapes & unique natural features—from the Black Mountains trails atop Mount Mitchell, and the gold and gemstone mines lining the piedmont to the endless fossil digs in the clay beds of the coast.  This episode explains Pocosins, Where Rivers are Born, and the important role they play in coastal hydrology.  Hofmann Forest’s important role is also presented.

Google+FacebookTwitterEmailShare

Sept 23rd Izaak Walton Meeting

Jessica Hult wrote:
Howdy ya’ll!

I’m excited about this month’s meeting!  Donnie has confirmed Daniel Baumgardner will be our speaker this month.  Daniel has been working long and hard on the Weetok trail, which was one of local legend Elmer Eddy’s pet projects.  The Weetok runs appx from Hwy 58 along Holstein Creek on the northern end, along the White Oak River, then along Hunter’s Creek back out to Hwy 58 a bit further south.  This link is 10 years old, but gives you a basic idea of the route this trail takes. http://www.waterwaystewards.us/wwsblog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/2004-02-01-WEETOK-TRAIL-SECTION-1.pdf
[Here’s a newer map by Daniel, but please do look at the one above, too! 2014-07-28 Daniels Weetock Trail Map Thanks! – John]
Daniel has been instrumental in re-routing this trail–something that is inevitable after years of storms, as we well know at the IWLA.  He is also helping to officially document some real neat archaeological finds- a mass grave of over 200 African-Americans, once thought by locals to be an old hospital cemetery.  There’s lots more, going back thousands of years & including several Native American specific sites.  The Weetok is rich with history & I’m encouraging all our members, friends, and Scouts to come & see Daniel’s presentation on the Weetok Trail on Tuesday September 23rd.
Meet-n-greet begins at 5:30, eatin at 6, & Daniel at 6:30.  Please come out & join us.  Dinner this month is going to be potluck…. you know I’m gonna bake some bread for this one!  Don’t miss out!

YiS,
Jessica Hult
BSA ECC Croatan Trails Membership Chair
IWLA White Oak River Chapter President
NC-WRC Hunter’s Ed Instructor
Follow IWLA White Oak River Chapter on facebook:

Hofmann’s Future is Region’s Future

In response to “Hofmann’s future is White Oak’s future,”  Tideland News (Posted: Thursday, August 28, 2014 7:08 am | Updated: 10:18 am, Fri Aug 29, 2014):

The White Oak River is the poster child for the regional impacts that will be felt if the Sale of Hofmann Forest is consummated. Regionally, all coastal waters and communities downstream of Hofmann Forest would directly feel the impact of the proposed land use changes outlined in the Prospectus. This includes the New River, the White Oak River, the Trent River, the Neuse River, the estuarine systems of all these rivers, Pamlico Sound, Bogue Sound, Topsail Island, Bear Island, Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach, Shackleford Banks, Portsmouth Island, Ocracoke Island, Jacksonville, Sneads Ferry, Camp Lejeune, New Bern, Swansboro, Oriental, the Atlantic Ocean, and beyond.

Development of the Forest itself will be felt regionally and there will be secondary impacts on lands and waters surrounding the Forest that will amplify and extend the negative impacts.  Development pressure on adjacent land will increase, compounding the negative impact of development within Hofmann Forest itself. North Carolina will also lose a significant historical, cultural, and natural resource.
Hofmann Forest is unique and extremely valuable as a research forest. It is also a connecting link in a much larger ecosystem chain comprised of Croatan National Forest, Hofmann Forest, Camp Lejeune, and Holly Shelter Game Lands. When linked, they create an ecosystem that is greater than the sum of its parts. Many species depend on this large, regional ecosystem. Loss of Hofmann Forest will break this link and diminish the synergistic habitat value of all of these public lands.

Beyond the Forest, the increased quantity of polluted stormwater runoff will have the most obvious and immediate impact on the region. In 2007, the White Oak River Basinwide Water Quality Plan stated that 100 percent of the saltwater miles and 44 percent of the freshwater miles of the White Oak River are impaired. The main reason for the impairment – stormwater runoff from agriculture and development. The New River and Neuse River are also impaired and for the same reasons. Manifestations of these water quality issues are fish kills, reduced recreational and commercial catches, closed shellfish waters, and waters closed to swimming.

The are other less obvious and immediate impacts and costs associated with the loss of Hofmann Forest. Regional availability of drinking water and the quality of that water will be diminished. Due to salt water intrusion into high quality Cretaceous aquifers from over use, the near-surface aquifer system is increasingly being tapped for public water supplies. Water from the near-surface aquifer system already requires more treatment than that drawn from Cretaceous aquifers. Hofmann Forest is the source of much of the region’s near-surface groundwater. If this huge area is converted to agriculture, residential and commercial development, and other uses, as outlined in the Prospectus, more rainfall will be converted to runoff instead of being available for infiltration. This will reduce the near-surface aquifer system recharge rate, reducing the water available for sustainable use. Rainfall runoff and infiltrating rainfall both carry all of the agricultural and landscaping chemicals and fertilizers, hydrocarbons, and other pollutants associated with such development. Increased rainfall runoff results in surface water quality impairment, but what happens to the infiltrated water and pollutants carried by it?

Some infiltrating pollutants will be filtered by soil or treated by biological processes in soil. Those pollutants that are not filtered or treated by soil will end up in the near-surface aquifer system. It is well established that there is connectivity between surface waters and the near-surface aquifer system in the region (CDC Study of Contaminated Wells at Camp Lejeune).

Development will necessarily create a huge increase in water demand with a commensurate increase in sewage discharge. Taxpayers will have to foot the bill for developing and treating the increasingly polluted water of the near-surface aquifer system. Taxpayers will also have to pay for sewage treatment and disposal for the sewage generated by that development. Of course, not all sewage will be treated by municipal systems. A large percentage, if not the majority, of sewage generated will be leached, via private septic systems, into the same near-surface aquifer system from which regional drinking water will be increasingly drawn.

The sale of Hofmann Forest should be stopped because it is wrong on many fronts. It it bad public policy (not transparent and stakeholders given no real voice), it makes a mockery of North Carolina’s substantial and successful efforts to protect water quality through multiple state agencies and public campaigns (ever seen an “Entering X Basin sign?), it contravenes the intent of the North Carolina Constitution, it is being conducted in a manner inconsistent with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) and the UNC System Policy created for compliance with SEPA, and, above all else, it is not what the citizens of North Carolina want!

Setting all that aside, the sale should be stopped on the basis of the following known negative regional impacts alone. Development as presented in the Prospectus will cause:
– An increase in the area of Impaired Surface Waters in three basins
– A decrease of critical habitat area and a reduction of the value of remaining habitat areas
– A decrease in recreational and commercial catches
– An increase in closed shellfish waters
– More frequent closures of waters for swimming
– A lower sustainable withdrawal rate from the near-surface aquifer system
– A decrease in groundwater quality in the near-surface aquifer system
– Higher taxes and/or higher cost of services for water and sewer

Please join in the public outcry against this sale! This is your backyard after all!

NCSU officials need to hear from you if you think this sale is just plain wrong and they should be ashamed for violating the genius of Julius Hofmann when he worked to establish Hofmann Forest. They also need to hear from you if you think they should practice what they preach — ethics, sustainability, and conservation.

Attorney General Roy Cooper needs to hear from you if think that spending your tax dollars defending the sale is wrong when it is going to do you direct harm.  Also, Roy Cooper needs to hear from you if you don’t think it is OK for NCSU to claim the Forest is public to avoid paying property taxes and then turn around and claim it is private when conducting the sale. If it is private, shouldn’t they have paid property taxes just like you and I?

Trail gets a ‘run-by’ clean

See the article by Brad Rich in the April 16 edition of the Tideland News.

Thanks Daniel! We’ll do a much better job promoting next year!!!

 

Elmer Eddy was a local guy who loved the White Oak River and showed it, he used to canoe and kayak up and down the river and tributaries picking up trash. He picked up trash in the White Oak until he was 91 years old. When he first started, it took him and a few others about a year to get the river to a point that it wasn’t a trash dump. This group has grown and they are known as the Waterway Stewards and I’m proud to say I’m in an alliance with them. I hate trash in our woods and water! SOOO to bring awareness to Elmer’s Cause!!!! on April 5th at 10 am, I will run/jog/hike/walk/crawl until 10 am April 6th near Haywood and Long Point Landing picking up trash. If you would like to join me, this will be a free event, but I will make personally engraved Machete’s for anyone who does 6, 12, 18, or 24 hours and donates $20.00  to the White Oak-New RiverKeeper Alliance. I will list it as a free race online. It will be a GPS Tracked run, meaning we will count mileage via GPS so think about backup batteries. I will have tents, generator or way to charge backup batteries, camping is allowed at Long Point Landing so we will base camp there. GET PEOPLE TO SPONSOR you by mile say .10 cents or a 1.00 a mile and donate the money to the Waterway Stewards. The money will be used to put some signs along the Weetok Trail. Any questions? Email me! [masked] Aluminum I collect will be sold and the proceeds will be donated to the Waterway Stewards. If you would like to just make a donation contact me but I won’t personally take anyone’s money. IT WOULD ALSO BE NICE TO HAVE SOME CREW MEMBERS FOR ME OR OTHERS WHO DO THE WHOLE THING. You could volunteer to do a block of time.

 

Croatan-Hofmann Connection in Chadwick Area

The Community of Chadwick along US 17, a traditionally African-American Community, is at the center of the Hofmann Forest to Croatan National Forest Wildlife Corridor connection.    This map shows the proximity of Chadwick to Hofmann Forest and Croatan National Forest: Chadwick Area  The shaded area to the west (left) is Hofmann Forest. Shaded area to the east (right) is Croatan National Forest.

NCDOT, recognizing the use of the Community of Chadwick as a Wildlife Corridor between Hofmann Forest to Croatan National Forest plans to include dual bridges to facilitate wildlife movement between these two important habitats.  The State Record of Decision (1),  includes under PROJECT COMMITMENTS:

NCDOT will construct a wildlife underpass between Maysville and the Community of Chadwick to
provide wildlife passage under US 17 from the Hofmann Forest to the Croatan National Forest.
Dual bridges, 120 feet long, with a 10-foot vertical clearance are proposed, coupled with fencing
parallel to US 17 to help channel animals to the underpass. With the condition that the Department
reserves the right to withdraw this commitment, if prior to the start of bridge construction, there is a
change or planned change in use on the private property near the bridge that will serve as a
deterrent to wildlife movement in the area. The US Fish and Wildlife Service requested that the
fencing associated with the Wildlife Underpass include a wire mesh at the bottom of the fence to
prevent smaller species from passing through the chain link fencing. The wildlife underpass is
depicted in Figure 6 at the end of this document.

It goes without saying that these dual bridges would represent a significant expenditure of state funds.   With the proposed changes to Hofmann Forest after the sale, will there be any need for this expenditure?  Some depictions of the proposed development convert much of Hofmann Forest to commercial and agricultural uses.  Because there are no significant deed restrictions as part of the NCSU Endowment Fund and Hofmann, LLC, agreement for sale (only assurances), there is no certainty as to whether expenditure for a wildlife underpass is justified.  Would there be a need for a wildlife underpass if Hofmann is no longer the significant regional ecosystem and habitat that it is today?

So there appears to be a case of dysfunction within the state, and our tax dollars and environment are on the line.  On the one hand, we have NCDOT trying to do the right thing by spending significant state money to construct a wildlife underpass to preserve what they recognize as an obvious and important connection between Hofmann Forest and Croatan National Forest.  On the other hand, we have the NCSU Endowment Fund selling Hofmann Forest, with little or no protection on  possible land use, contrary to overall environmental well being, and which may render the effort and expenditure by NCDOT unnecessary.  Classic left hand-right hand dysfunction.

Reference:

(1)  STATE RECORD OF DECISION, North Carolina Department of Transportation, US 17 Improvements From SR 1330 / SR 1439 south of Belgrade to the New Bern Bypass at the Jones / Craven County line Onslow and Jones Counties, Project No. 34442, TIP No. R-2514 B, C, and D, In compliance with the North Carolina Environmental Policy Act of 1971, G.S. 113A-1 through 113A-13, June 2012, Updated by Right of Way Consultation Memo to File, June 3, 2013.