Biodiversity and Wildlife Habitat

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1 Biodiversity and Wildlife Habitat A Comprehensive Conservation Plan for Chatham County Allison Schwarz Weakley, Conservation Planner NC Natural Heritage Program NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources

2 Goals of the Chatham Conservation Plan A community vision for natural resources A greater understanding and awareness of the importance and location of natural resources An understanding of the economic importance of forest resources for timber, recreation and water quality An increased knowledge of the impacts and threats to important natural resources Preferred strategies to manage and protect important natural resources

3 Project Overview Conservation Plan Conservation Analysis and Mapping Environmental Resource GIS Data Stakeholder Involvement On-line Mapping Tool

4 Chatham County s Public Resources Biodiversity/Wildlife Habitat Natural Plant Communities Plant and Animal Species Significant Natural Heritage Areas Wildlife Habitat Working Lands Forestland Farmland Water Resources Streams and waterbodies Water supply Recreation

5 Building on State and Regional Conservation Planning Efforts NC Conservation Planning Tool NC State Wildlife Action Plan NC Forest Assessment Southern Forest Land Assessment

6 Priority Habitats and Species Rare species, high-quality/rare natural communities, and special animal habitats tracked by NC Natural Heritage Program (NCNHP) Priority species and their habitats identified by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) in the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP)

7 Rare Species and Natural Communities in Chatham County 68 records, tracked by the NCNHP (May 2011) Animal assemblages (1) Natural communities (21) Vascular plants (17) Invertebrate animals (19) Vertebrate animals (10)

8 NC State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) Priority Species Species of greatest conservation concern, and those with greatest conservation need 71 of these species occur in Chatham, including birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, crayfish, freshwater fish, freshwater snails, and freshwater mussels Priority Habitats Identified by their associations with priority species, and grouped by ecoregion

9 SWAP Priority Habitats in Chatham County Upland Hardwood Forests Dry coniferous woodlands Oak forest (& mixed hardwoods/pine) Mesic forest Floodplain forests Riverine aquatic communities Small wetland communities Lakes and reservoirs Early successional habitats Dry longleaf pine* Low elevation cliff/rock outcrops*

10 SWAP Priority Habitats include Hardwood forest blocks Upland forest blocks >75 acres Contiguous upland and bottomland forest blocks >500 acres SWAP Priority Species that occur in these habitats include 13 birds, 2 mammals, 5 amphibians, and 11 reptiles (31 total)

11 SWAP Priority Habitats include Floodplain Forests Occur along streams and rivers, dominated by bottomland canopy species Important for water quality, amphibians, and as migratory corridors for mammals, reptiles, and birds SWAP Priority Species occur in this habitat type in Chatham County: 11 birds, 4 amphibians, and 7 reptiles (22 total)

12 SWAP Priority Habitats include Early successional Low woody and herbaceous vegetation created and maintained by disturbance. Examples: pasture/hay, regenerating forests, field borders. SWAP Priority Species that occur in this habitat include 13 birds, 4 mammals, 4 reptiles (21 total)

13 SWAP Priority Habitats include Riverine Aquatic Communities Occur along and within rivers and streams Provide habitat for terrestrial, semiaquatic and aquatic wildlife SWAP Priority Species that occur in this habitat include 1 amphibian, 1 reptile, 8 fish, 15 mussels, and 1 crayfish (25 total)

14 SWAP Priority Habitats include Small Wetland Habitats Includes vernal pools, seeps, small depression ponds, ephemeral wetlands, and beaver ponds Important breeding sites for amphibians and birds and important habitats for crayfish SWAP Priority Species that occur in this habitat include 5 amphibians and 2 reptiles (7 total)

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19 High Priority Natural Landscapes in North Carolina Individual Landscape Habitat Indicator Guilds (LHIGs) are mapped and ranked based on empirical data and spatially show core wildlife habitat areas and connectivity.

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22 Landscape Habitat Indicator Guilds (LHIGs) Cape Fear River Basin

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25 Guild State Rank EO Rank Dry-Wet Hardwood and Mixed Forests S5 A Piedmont Dry-Wet Basic Hardwood Forests S4 B Piedmont Freshwater Marshes S5 B Piedmont Heath Bluffs S3 B Piedmont Open Mires S5 A Piedmont Wet Hardwood Forests S5 C Piedmont Wet-Mesic Hardwood Forests S5 A Sparsely Settled Mixed Habitats S5 C Scarlet Tanager Eastern Box Turtle Marbled Salamander

26 Duke Forest New Hope Gameland Raven Rock State Park

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30 Gray fox White-tailed Deer Raccoon

31 Biodiversity/Wildlife Habitat Analysis Prioritizes aquatic and terrestrial species and habitats Considers landscape function and connectivity core areas and connectors Includes land and water resources important for ecosystem processes

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47 Check out the CCP Wiki!

48 Contact Information (919) The Haw River at Bynum

49 QUESTIONS?

50 Photo Credits CCP Nature Photo Contest Winners 2009 Allison Weakley Elaine Chiosso, Haw River Assembly Gerald Pottern, RJG&A NC Soil and Water Conservation NC Wildlife Resources Commission Triangle Land Conservancy

The Comprehensive Conservation Plan for Chatham County

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