Care for the Kanuga bog a model for wetland management

08.24.2015 - Conference & Retreat, MTOS

One special acre in Kanuga’s 1,400-acre campus is getting quite a bit of attention. This small piece of land adjacent to Kanuga Lake hosts a wetland known as an Appalachian Mountain Bog and is home to several plant and animal species that live in few other places.

Kanuga has joined in partnership with Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy to safeguard this environmentally sensitive area for future generations. This partnership has allowed for the restoration and protection of the Kanuga bog under the “Partners for Fish and Wildlife” program from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

“Our bog has become one of the most actively managed bogs in Western North Carolina,” said Clint DeWitt, Kanuga’s environmental projects manager. “Thanks to USFWS grants and support from the Kanuga community, we’re able to continue caring for this important natural resource.”

The partnerships haven’t ended there: botanists, ecologists, invasive experts, hydrologists, chemists and other professionals from multiple state and national agencies have all shared their expertise with Kanuga’s management team to best care for this critical habitat.

With Little Mud Creek serving as the main water source, the bog is host to several rare species, including the endangered Mountain Sweet Pitcher Plant and the threatened Bog Turtle. To help ensure their well-being, the Kanuga bog is outfitted with special equipment called “pond levelers” to keep water levels just right for these extraordinary residents.

Thanks to a generous donation  by longtime Kanuga supporters Vaughan Hedrick and Don Partington, attractive gates were installed last year to demark the bog’s entry and exit points, along with educational signs and boot scrapers that help visitors clean their shoes of potentially invasive species before entering the delicate area.

“We are fortunate to have such a special place right here at Kanuga,” said Hedrick. “We are honored to help support the preservation of our native plants and animals.”

The spirit of collaboration and support surrounding Kanuga’s bog has made it a model of wetland management for land managers across the region.