New Photos of RS' Bear Creek Wetland Mitigation Bank — Year 8 Since Restoration

I enjoyed great weather today for a flight to take some pics of RS’ Bear Creek Wetland Mitigation Bank straddling US 70 between Goldsboro and Kinston, NC. My family and I are staying with friends further east in Morehead City, and the nearby Beaufort, NC, airport is a convenient place to get up for some photos. Unfortunately, we had less than two hours for the flight and I was unable to photograph any other RS sites in the region.

But Bear Creek is special and can justify its own trip. It is the first project Restoration Systems put in the ground, in 2001. The wet and sloppy areas you see in these photos were bone-dry cornfields before we purchased, restored and protected the wetlands eight years ago. We planted twenty native species and 200,000 trees, as well as removed agricultural levees and backfilled major canals and drainage ditches. The Bear Creek bank and its associated site, Sleepy Creek, required the assemblage of over 1000 acres of property from more than twenty land owners at three locations in Lenoir and Craven Counties.

I look forward to putting up some “before and after” photos of Bear Creek. We have been taking photos of the mitigation bank since 1998 and can show in vivid detail the miracle of environmental restoration.

Feel free to click on a pic to be taken to Google Albums. From there you can play them full screen or download them!

Update: I put some photos of a ground reconnaissance hike we took at Bear Creek a little over a year ago:

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VIDEO: Bear Creek Wetland Mitigation Bank Year 7 Reconnaissance Hike

I put together a little video from last year’s hike of Restoration Systems’ Bear Creek Mitigation Bank. John Preyer, George Howard (yt) and Adam Riggsbee of RS are hiking the site with Wes Newell and Adam McIntyre from our consultant and contractor, Backwater Environmental. Bear Creek was restored in 2001 by backfilling large drainage canals and removing artificial agricultural levees that impeded natural floods. As the water returned that winter, RS planted nearly 80,000 trees of 20 native wetland species. Since then, several hundred acres of old growth wetland preservation have been added at locations in Lenoir and Craven County. All told, the bank, and the adjacent Sleepy Creek Mitigation Site, encompasses over 1000 acres at six locations of both restored and natural bottomland hardwoods along the Neuse River. Keep in mind: All the property you see was a bone dry fertilized corn field less than a decade ago.