Cape Fear Arch

A Collaborative Voice for Nature

The Cape Fear Arch is a special geologic feature stretching from Cape Lookout, NC to Cape Romain, SC that contains nationally significant animal and plant communities.

Created in 2006, the Cape Fear Arch Conservation Collaboration is a partnership of organizations and individuals interested in protecting this region while balancing the needs of man and nature.

Its mission is to develop and implement a community conservation vision to build awareness, protection and stewardship of the region’s important natural resources.

Commuter Challenge!

The Cape Fear Commuter Challenge will take place October 17 - 30.  Participants will download a free app called My Open Road.  This app will use their chosen mode of transportation to determine the pounds of CO2 they have saved from being emitted into the air.  At the end of the challenge, we will award prizes to the people who saved the most CO2.  Would you be able to help us spread the word about this challenge?  Emails, social media, etc.?  Below is some additional information, and attached is a flier and logo – feel free to pass along/post/share/print.  

People can participate by taking the following modes of transportation to work, to school, to run errands, to take the kids to school, etc.:

  • bicycling
  • walking/running
  • carpool/vanpool
  • bus
  • driving an electric car
  • driving a hybrid car
  • skateboarding

There are LOTS of great prizes for those who rock the challenge - kayak rentals, stand up paddle board rentals, staycations at local hotels, local restaurant gift cards, cool stuff and services from the local bike shops, free car washes and details, and a lot more 'goodies'.  

Participating is easy - folks will download the free My Open Road app ( and available at the App Store and Google Play) and set up a profile.  People will enter their employer name in the ‘company’ field.  If they carpool kids to school, or attend school outside of work, they can enter that school name in the 'school' field.  Once a  profile is set up, the user will select the mode of transportation they are using, hit 'start' when they are ready to leave, and 'stop' when they have arrived.  The app will calculate the pounds of CO2 they have saved from being emitted into the air by using their mode of transportation, and that will determine if they’ve won any prizes.  Winners will be announced November 4th.

The Facebook event can be located here - 

Here's a video showing how the My Open Road app works - 

If people are interested in finding a carpool match, they can visit and set up a profile there - it's also free and easy.  

If anyone is commuting in from Brunswick County/Leland area, there are 2 Park & Ride Lots that are available for public use.  Both lots are located along the Brunswick Connector bus route to Wilmington.  That map can be found here -

Bike maps can be found here -  

A bus route trip planner can be found here -

You can find more information at

Dan Ryan, Arch Executive Committee Member, Receives Forest Conservationist of the Year Award

Dan Ryan, Director of The Nature Conservancy's NC Longleaf Pine Program, has been chosen by the North Carolina Wildlife Federation to receive their 2015 Forest Conservationist of the Year Award.

Dan has served the Cape Fear Arch Conservation Collaboration on the executive committee for many years and has been a strong voice for forest conservation in our area.  Additionally, Dan and his coworkers at the Nature Conservancy have been strong conservation partners for many of us that work in the Arch area.

Dan was presented his award at the Wildlife Federation’s Annual Governor’s Awards Banquet on Saturday September 10th where he received an engraved statuette and a certificate honoring his work.

This award highlights individuals and organizations that have exemplified conservation activism across the state. 

Congrats Dan!

TNC and RMS protect forested wetlands along the scenic Black River

The scenic Black River, near Andrews, SC, with its wide floodplain forest, hidden creeks, and quiet waters feels like a forgotten place, and the remnant 1,000-year old bald cypress trees are a reminder that being forgotten is sometimes a good thing. 

On December 6th, six-hundred acres of forested wetlands and four miles along the scenic river was protected forever by the South Carolina Chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) through a permanent conservation easement funded by a grant from the North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA) Program.

The easement tract, owned by Resource Management Service LLC (RMS), is directly across the river from TNC’s Black River Preserve and adjoins more than 9,000 acres of additional privately-owned lands under conservation easement with TNC and partner groups including Ducks Unlimited, Pee Dee Land Trust, and USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service. These same partner groups helped to make the project funding possible by providing match for TNC’s NAWCA grant application, which scored among the highest in the country.

Click here to

TNC and NFWF partner to restore longleaf ecosystem

The Nature Conservancy (TNC), as part of the Cape Fear Arch Conservation Collaboration, has received $350,000 of grant funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) Longleaf Stewardship Fund. 

This project and its funding was only possible with the unique forum the Arch partnership allows. The following entities are involved in what we named the “Cape Fear Arch Longleaf Initiative”: NC Forest Service, NC State Parks, NC Plant Conservation Program, NC Wildlife Resources Commission, Orton Plantation, The Nature Conservancy and private landowners in proximity to MOTSU. The project would not have been possible without the generous matching support from Orton Plantation, the NC Wildlife Resources Commission and official support from MOTSU.

The purpose of the Initiative is to increase the establishment of longleaf pine, enhance existing longleaf habitat and develop innovative techniques to safely implement controlled burns in the wildland-urban interface and the organic peat soils of the pocosin-longleaf pine habitat matrix. The project area includes the southeast coastal plain of North Carolina, stretching from the Bladen Lakes Significant Geographic Area south to the Department of Defense’s Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point (MOTSU) and includes the Greater Green Swamp Subarea. With the participation of private landowners and state agencies, the Initiative will:

  1. Plant more than 1,200 acres of longleaf pine seedlings;
  2. Restore 1,900 acres of wiregrass;
  3. Treat 1,000 acres of mid-story during the project period;
  4. Execute more than 5,200 acres of prescribed fire in a technically challenging environment filled with encroaching residential development, unpredictable weather patterns and organic peat soils.

For more information about the Longleaf Stewardship Fund, please visit:

Final Cape Fear River Basin Action Plan Released

The Cape Fear River Partnership, a coalition of state and federal natural resources agencies, academic entities and private and non-governmental organizations, will release the final version of the “Cape Fear River Basin Action Plan for Migratory Fish” — a blueprint that provides long-term, habitat-based solutions for the most pressing challenges to migratory fish in the Cape Fear River basin.

The plan will be unveiled during a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Bladen County on May 31, 2013 to celebrate the completed construction of a rock arch ramp — or “fish passage way” — at the Cape Fear River Lock and Dam No. 1, which is located 32 miles upriver from Wilmington.

Members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which constructed the rock arch ramp, will cut the ceremonial red ribbon at 10 a.m. to mark the official opening of the rock arch ramp.

The rock arch ramp is expected to improve passage of anadromous fish such as striped bass, American shad, river herring and sturgeon, during their spring migrations to reach historical spawning grounds. An evaluation will follow the rock arch ramp construction, assessing fishes’ use of the ramp over a two-year period.

At more than 9,000 square miles, the Cape Fear River basin is the largest watershed in North Carolina. Poor habitat quality in rivers and streams threatens fish, such as American shad, striped bass, river herring, American eel, and endangered Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon populations. Dams and other blockages prevent or delay many migratory fish from swimming upstream to spawn.

While completion of the rock arch ramp at Lock and Dam No. 1 is the first step in restoring access to historic migratory fish habitat, passage past 2 additional lock and dams on the river in Bladen County will have to be provided before these species will have unimpeded access to their historical spawning grounds located at Smiley Falls near Erwin in Harnett County. Providing fish passage beyond these two barriers is critical to re-building migratory fish populations in the Cape Fear River and is a top priority of the action plan.

In addition to providing a blueprint for restoring fish access and improving habitat and water quality, the action plan will assess the community and economic benefits of improved migratory fish populations on tourism, recreation, fishing and other commercial uses. 

“A strong migratory fish population could have immense environmental, economic and recreational benefits for local communities,” said Anne Deaton, Habitat Protection Section Chief for the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries. “For example, in 2011, North Carolina anglers spent more than $1.5 billion on fishing related activities. This number emphasizes the economic importance of restoring aquatic habitat connectivity to support sustainable fish populations in North Carolina.”

Read the final version of the “Cape Fear River Basin Action Plan for Migratory Fish” or visit the Cape Fear River Partnership page ( for more information.

Now Available: Compatible Land Use Funding Program Resource Tool

This program assists US Marine Corps Installations East, the seven MCIEAST subordinate garrisons, and communities surrounding these installations in identifying opportunities to obtain external environmental grants. This Tool can help anyone (private landowner, Tribe, local municipality, community group, Federal government, university, etc.) in the region search for and narrow the field of appropriate land use options available to them.

To learn more, visit the website by clicking HERE.

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