Cooperatove Conservation Project

Onslow Bight Conservation Forum

Location: Southeastern Region: North Carolina

Project Summary: Regional collaboration across 9 counties on the Atlantic coastal plain to conserve saltwater marshes, long leaf savannahs, estuaries, wetlands, and pocosins.
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A group of volunteers restore a marsh in the North River as part of the Coastal Federationís ongoing efforts to restore wetlands.
Resource Challenge
Coastal North Carolina’s Onslow Bight stretches from Cape Lookout to Cape Fear. A rich mosaic of saltwater marshes, wetlands, longleaf pine savannahs, and other coastal ecosystems, it supports several rare and endangered plant and animal species, including the Red-cockaded woodpecker. The region is developing rapidly and beginning to lose its rural character and ecological integrity. The Onslow Bight Conservation Forum was jointly initiated by The Nature Conservancy and Camp Lejeune in response to encroachment issues at the military installation. Most of the partners own land in the region. Partners represent a broad spectrum of land managers and conservation advocates who are working to identify areas that should remain natural, develop political support for land acquisition, and work toward acquiring these lands.


Examples of Key Partners
The Nature Conservancy North Carolina Chapter, North Carolina Coastal Federation, North Carolina Coastal Land Trust, Endangered Species Coalition, Wildlife Resources Commission, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, USDI Fish and Wildlife Service, Raleigh, USDA Forest Service Region 8.


Results and Accomplishments

The Onslow Bight Conservation Forum was instrumental in protecting 2,400 acres adjacent to the Camp Lejeune tank and rifl e ranges—land once slated for development with more than 3,000 housing units. Besides being a serious encroachment threat to the Marine Corps, the potential for noise complaints from homeowners was staggering. Development would have caused further habitat loss and placed greater demands on federal and state lands to maintain the region’s biodiversity. In 2003, The Nature Conservancy purchased the parcel using funds pooled from participants. In exchange for its contribution, the Marine Corps obtained a restrictive easement governing property development. For its contribution, the State of North Carolina obtained title to the property, which is now part of the state’s game preserve system, and open for public use.








The Forum represents a unique partnership between military units who are concerned about incompatible land use and encroachment around their installations and traditional conservation organizations in the region.

Project Contact
Fred Annand
Associate Director of Conservation
The Nature Conservancy, North Carolina Chapter

John Townson
Natural Resources Manager
US Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune


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