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Lake Waccamaw clearcutting concerns

READ MORE: Lake Waccamaw clearcutting concerns
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Lake Waccamaw residents and officials are trying to save the last remaining wetlands in the cove canal swamp. Riverstone Properties, a Virginia based company, plans to clear cut more than 400 acres of land northwest of Lake Waccamaw. Officials and residents are concerned that doing so would wreak havoc on a very diverse ecosystem. Cove Swamp lies just across from Lake Waccamaw. The fear is that Riverstone Properties could turn the field of tall trees lying along the swamps edge into a valley of stumps and branches caused by clear cutting. Deborah Kelso of the Friends of Lake Waccamaw state park said, “That's a big problem because that sets up non point source pollution. It destroys habitat, and we've got endemic and endangered and threatened species of animals that need protection.” If the trees are cut down it could cause sediment to flow across the cut through and lower the water quality. That in turn could cause the lake to lose its outstanding resource water classification. Lake Waccamaw state parks officials say the land needs to be protected from clear cutting. “In this type of a use, it's an area that needs to be protected for the actual direct impact for the animals that live there, but also the impacts it would have on the lake as a whole.” said Chris Helms, superintendent of Lake Waccamaw state park. If clear cutting like this becomes the fate of Cove Swamp, it could not only damage many animal habitats, but it could also pose a threat to local homes. Frank Gault is a Waccamaw resident. He said “If you cut the trees, they're not there of course, and then you have flooding conditions.” The clean water management trust fund and the nature conservancy came up with 600,000 dollars to buy the land from Riverstone, but Riverstone is asking for nearly 800,000 dollars due to a rise in timber prices. If they are successful in raising the extra 200,000 dollars, officials will make sure to protect the swamp.

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Clearcutting vs land clearing

Thank you Hydrologist for trying to put things in perspective for other people. I'd just like to add that clearcutting is a forestry practice that is followed by reforestation. Forestry clearcutting does not affect water quality because of the reforestation and because logging practices must adhere to NC's Forest Practices Guidelines Related to Water Qaulity. The preamble of the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act of 1973 even states that "Sedimentation occurs from the erosion or depositing of soil and other materials into the waters, principally from construction sites and road maintenance." What developers do is land conversion. The author of this article and the Friends of Lake Waccamaw are irresponsible (and probably ignorant) for making this proposed land conversion sound like a forestry issue.

I am very familiar with Cove

I am very familiar with Cove Swamp. It is all old grow Cypress and Gum Trees growing out of the water that is almost always present and sometime a few feet deep. It was actually part of Lake Waccamaw before befor the canal was dug. It lies in an area classified a an Outstanding Resource Water. This is not an ongoing silvaculture area (which is requred for forestry to be exempt from Water Quality Laws)and it is not legal to harvest here.

Where things come from...

I can understand an emotional attachment to the trees here and there is a valid argument for preservation. However, to say things like the land is always flooded and never recovers after b/c of a timber harvest is grossly inaccurate. First, trees affect hydrology primarily through interception and transpiration, which returns when the trees grow back. Recovery time is usually published on the order of 4 - 10 years. Second, those trees, like almost everything in NC, except in Joyce Kilmer, are probably not pre-european. The forests you think of as 'untouched' have in all likely hood been harvested at least once in the last century - and did grow back just fine. Third, the land is always flooded b/c is below the average water table height, which is why it is a swampland in the first place. The culprit for water quality and flooding issue lies in land conversion of forest to development. So all those who live in a drained swamp in houses made of wood (pretty much all of New Hanover), ought to blame themselves. Unfortunately, the wood is the only renewable building material in your house - the rest are mined (brick, concrete, steel, etc...). Not to mention that if we don't get forest products from NC, they will come from somewhere like Brazil - then there's your carbon footprint to consider. It really puts you in a pickle to have to consider where all of things you use everyday come from. Why does no one complain when they 'clear-cut' corn every year? Those fields were once a forest too, like your Target and Starbucks parking lot. Just thought I'd throw an unrepresented opinion out there. -Hydrologist

Lake Waccamaw

North Carolina will most likely not learn. I live in New Hanover County and money means more to the powers that be then saving our natural resources. So be prepared Lake Waccamaw for the trees to be cut. It's just the way of the world & making money is TOP priority & increasing the economy. But what they don't take into account is that it will cost more in the long run and the future will have to cover the cost of repairing the damage that we are doing to our natural resources.

clear cutting is why this

clear cutting is why this watershed is always flooded except during droughts. the land never recovers.

Clearcutting trees

When will the people of North Carolina wakeup and start protecting their natural resources??