The Neuse River originates in Person County and flows approximately 320 km (199 miles) to Pamlico Sound. The lower Neuse River Bottomlands Important Bird Area includes the area along the Neuse in Craven County between New Bern and Grifton. The site consists of extensive cypress and bottomland hardwood forest bordered by pine forest along the Neuse River. Weyerhaeuser?s Cool Springs Environmental Education Center is also part of the site. The lower Neuse is among the most diverse areas on the North Carolina coast.

Ornithological Summary

This site has significant acreage of cypress-tupelo-gum swamp forest and supports the suite of species associated with these natural communities (Criteria 3). The site also has supports a significant concentration and diversity of neotropical migrant landbirds (Criteria 4g). Twenty species of warblers have been recorded on Weyerhaeuser's Cool Springs, 12 of which breed on the site. Wood Ducks breed and winter in significant numbers. Breeding and migration monitoring programs have been established on Cool Springs.

Conservation Issues

Water quality (pollution, sedimentation, disease), introduced species, cowbird parasitism.

The Neuse River has been listed among the 10 most threatened rivers in North America (2007). Excessive nutrients, primarily nitrogen, in addition to organics and sediments from runoff and other sources, threaten water quality in the river. Swamp forests within this Important Bird Area are essential to North Carolina?s birds. More extensive surveys of landbirds, waterbirds, and waterfowl during breeding season, migration periods, and winter are needed. As recently as late summer 2009, over 20 million fish died from low oxygen levels along the lower Neuse.

Ownership

The site includes an area of approximately 690 ha (1,705 acres) called Cool Springs, which is protected and managed by Weyerhaeuser, Inc. It also includes the Neuse River Game Lands. The majority of the site is privately owned. Organizations such as the Neuse River Foundation are working to protect and improve water quality throughout the Neuse River basin.

Habitat

Bottomland hardwood forest, cypress-tupelo-gum swamp forest, pine forest, mixed hardwood forest, agriculture.

Land Use

Wildlife conservation, other conservation, education, hunting, and logging.

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