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Protecting and Managing Habitat in the Highlands of Roan

NC BRIDGE crew helping cut blackberry on Round Bald and Grassy Ridge in the Highlands of Roan. Photo: SAHC
In 2015, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) permanently protected, through purchase, 198 acres in Mitchell and Avery County, North Carolina, a part of our Highlands of Roan program. These two tracts will provide habitat for many priority forest birds including Wood Thrush, Canada Warbler, and Saw-whet Owl. They will also provide more than 30 acres of high elevation, young forest habitat for Golden-winged Warbler, Alder Flycatcher, and others. Other major SAHC accomplishments of the past year include:
  • Young Forest Habitat in Hampton Creek Cove - Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area in Carter County, TN is a "hotspot" for Golden-winged warblers in the Southern Appalachians. We were able to work with our partners at the Wild Turkey Federation, North Carolina Audubon, and the Tennessee Natural Areas program to manage (through thinning) seven acres of young forest habitat at Hampton Creek Cove for Golden-winged Warblers and other early successional species. This habitat is adjacent to occupied Golden- winged Warbler breeding sites and we are hopeful the birds will utilize this area soon.
  • Grassy Balds Management - The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy and volunteers worked to restore and maintain more than 30 acres of Appalachian Grass and Shrub bald habitats on Roan Mountain by hand mowing Canada Blackberry and other invasives. These high elevation grass and shrub balds are important habitat for Alder Flycatcher and Golden-winged Warbler, as well as local rarities like Horned Lark.