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Duke Energy Grant, Volunteers Restore Riparian Buffers

The Catawba Lands Conservancy’s Pinhook Preserve is a spectacular part of a 1,200 acre area of land conserved by the CLC along a two mile stretch of the South Fork Catawba River in Gaston County. Unfortunately, there are large tracts along the river with dense thickets of Chinese privet and stilt-grass that are choking out many of the area’s native plants.

In order to restore this area with native plants, the invasive plants in the area must first be controlled by cutting the large shrubs and hand pulling the smaller plants. Carolina Wetland Services was hired in the fall to do some initial clearing of some of the most challenging areas. There have also been several successful volunteer work days with invasive removal and planting of native trees and shrubs. This work is being funded by a $2,500 Duke Energy awarded to CLC last fall.

“Our volunteers have been a tremendous help and they are doing great work restoring this sensitive area,” said Andy. “This will be an ongoing project that will yield long term benefits essential to the health of this valuable river buffer.”

The native plants being used include: paw paw (Asimina triloba), spicebush (Lindera benzoin), elderberry shrubs (Sambucus canadensis), swamp chestnut oak (Quercus michauxii) as well as other native plants, based on availability in local nurseries.

The photos show the before and after results of the ongoing effort to clear the invasive plants.