|U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service News
Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge Established in North Carolina
The new Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge in western North Carolina, formally established in April, is devoted to the conservation of southern Appalachian mountain bogs, one of the rarest and most imperiled habitats in the United States.
Mountain Bogs Refuge is the nation’s 563rd national wildlife refuge. North Carolina is home to 11 refuges; Mountain Bogs Refuge is the first one west of Charlotte.
“The establishment of Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge marks a turning point in the efforts of a number of dedicated partners in preserving this unique and threatened habitat,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Director Jim Kurth. “It will provide a focal point for mountain bog conservation in the area, and highlights the importance of our National Wildlife Refuge System in preserving our nation’s spectacular biodiversity for future generations of Americans.”
The Nature Conservancy donated an easement on a 39-acre parcel in Ashe County, which formally established the refuge.
Less than 20 percent of the mountain bogs that once existed still remain. They are typically small and widely scattered across the landscape, often isolated from other wetlands. Important to wildlife and plants, mountain bogs are home to five endangered species – bog turtles, green pitcher plant, mountain sweet pitcher plant, swamp pink (a lily) and bunched arrowhead.
Bogs also are habitat for migratory birds and game animals, including mink, woodcock, ruffed grouse, turkey and wood duck. They also provide key benefits by their natural capacity for regulating water flow, holding floodwaters like giant sponges and slowly releasing water to nearby streams, decreasing the impacts of floods and droughts.
Bogs are breeding habitat for many species of amphibians, especially salamanders, of which the Southern Appalachians have the greatest diversity in the nation.
The refuge may eventually grow to 23,000 acres, depending on the willingness of landowners to sell and the availability of funds to purchase lands. To guide acquisition of land and conservation easements and bog conservation in general, the Service has identified 30 sites -- or Conservation Partnership Areas -- containing bogs and surrounding lands.
Funding to acquire land and easements would likely come from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, funded by fees collected from the sale of publicly-owned offshore oil and gas drilling leases.
For more information about Mountain Bogs Refuge, visit www.fws.gov/mountainbogs
Bog turtles – the smallest North American turtle – is one of five endangered species that find a home on the newly-established Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina.
For more stories like this, visit http://www.fws.gov/refuges/friends/newswire/