The North Carolina Coastal Federation holds two conservation easement sites in Tyrrell County. Federation staff monitored the easements by air on Dec. 21, and results from the flyover indicated that they are successfully protecting habitats and water quality of the Scuppernong River, as intended.

Federation member and volunteer Charles Hardy piloted the monitoring trip conducted by Erin Fleckenstein, coastal scientist and regional office manager for the Wanchese office, and Michelle Clower, coastal fellow.

Monitoring of easement sites is required once a year. Fleckenstein said that on-the-ground monitoring and flyover monitoring allow them to observe different types of changes. She also noted that flyover monitoring is a fun, quick way to see large-scale changes on the properties.

“For the easement monitoring we alternate on the ground monitoring with aerial flyovers. Being on the ground is important because we can replace easement markers and see if there are concerns or changes, natural or manmade, to the property that weren’t observed from the air,” Fleckenstein said. “But flyovers allow us to see the whole property and more easily compare changes to the easement over time.”

When land is placed into a conservation easement, the owners sell the development rights and agree that the land can’t be altered, developed, cleared or built upon, and the land is to be used for conservation purpose. Areas of exclusion and certain types of development like trails and such can be included in the easement negotiation process. The owners of these properties along the Scuppernong put the 165-acre and 87-acre tracts of land along the river into easement to protect the riverine forests and water quality of the river. The federation has held the conservation easements for the past ten years.

“Results from the monitoring show that both easements are a treasure to have and are continuing to be managed by the landowners to protect the natural habitats and water quality as they were designated,” Fleckenstein said.

For more information about the federation’s work to protect and restore important coastal lands, visit this page.

Check out some of the pictures from the day!