make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

ONLY ON 3: Orton owner told to stop work on wetlands

READ MORE: ONLY ON 3: Orton owner told to stop work on wetlands
orton300.jpg

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- For nearly a year, the gates at Orton Plantation in Brunswick County have been locked. Now we are finding out more about what's going on behind the iron bars, and some of it may land the owner in trouble. That's because the Army Corps of Engineers has ordered the new owner to cease and desist all renovations he's making on the wetlands.

"We got a phone call from some citizens, and they were concerned about possible destruction of wetlands on the Orton Plantation property," said Mike Giles of the NC Coastal Federation.

Giles said the wetlands are a vital part of our area.

Orton Plantation owner Louis Moore Bacon said he has never had intentions to harm the ecosystem. In a statement to WWAY Bacon said: "It was its intention at the time of purchase to restore the historic rice fields as an important piece of North Carolina's agricultural heritage. It remains the intention to restore these fields."

Bacon had a permit to do some agricultural work, but the Corps of Engineers found out he may have been doing more than was allowed, and ordered Bacon to stop work on April 20.

Giles said although the property belongs to Bacon and he can do with it what he wants, he still has to follow certain guidelines to preserve the wetlands.

"They act like a sponge and absorb water that would normally run off and cause problems," Giles said. "Also they act as an important wildlife habitat and fisheries habitat. Unique species live in wetlands, and species who don't live in wetlands depend on those."

He said the wetlands also act as a buffer to collect toxins and pollutants before the runoff gets into drinking or fishing waters. The Corps of Engineers and Bacon are scheduled to meet May 3 to decide whether he's going to apply for a permit to continue doing the renovations or if he's going to restore the wetlands.

Giles said he's not sure what Bacon plans to do with the property, but he believes Bacon is interested in waterfowl hunting and observation.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

»

Any intention to open to public again? Update needed...

Kudos to the owner and workers who are putting the old property to rights again. How about an update?

Orton's new owner

I will be visiting the Orton area in mid-June 2011 and hoped that Orton was open again for viewing and picture taking. After reading the articles about the new owner and how he wouldn't allow the future brides to get married there, I won't ever give them any business. What a real jerk. He sounds very shady and I feel sorry for the people of Brunswick County that now such a pretty place is in the hands of someone who obviously doesn't care about the public. He sounds very selfish. I think he has marred the image of the plantation with his antics.

Good luck on trying to get anyone to visit there now.

I really don't think Mr.

I really don't think Mr. bacon cares what anybody thinks or does, since he's worth billions. What a shame.