Bald Head Island Conservancy

Environmental Monitoring

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Environmental Monitoring

The Bald Head Island Conservancy is dedicated to preserving the unique ecosystems found on Bald Head Island. To achieve this goal, we conduct regular environmental monitoring and collect data on various aspects of the island’s natural environment. Our fieldwork and data collection efforts are conducted in partnership with the Village of Bald Head Island, as we work to ensure the long-term health and sustainability of the island’s diverse ecosystems.

Our environmental monitoring projects encompass a wide range of areas, including water quality, bird populations, plant communities, and more. For example, we conduct regular water quality testing at various locations around the island, analyzing parameters such as dissolved oxygen, pH, and nutrient levels to ensure that the island’s waterways remain healthy and free of pollutants. We also monitor the health of the island’s shorebirds, using a variety of methods to collect data on population size, breeding success, and other important indicators of their well-being.

In addition to our environmental monitoring efforts, we also collect data on a variety of other aspects of the island’s natural environment. For example, we maintain an inventory of plant species found on the island, using this information to monitor changes in plant communities over time. We also conduct surveys of various animal species, including sea turtles and snakes, in order to better understand their population dynamics and inform conservation efforts.

Through our environmental monitoring projects, we are able to collect important data that can be used to inform management decisions and ensure the long-term health and sustainability of Bald Head Island’s unique ecosystems. We are committed to continuing these efforts in partnership with the Village of Bald Head Island and other stakeholders, and to sharing our findings with the broader community.

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Maritime Forest

The most distinguishing characteristic of Bald Head Island among North Carolina barrier islands is our vibrant maritime forest.
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Creek & Salt Marsh

The Creek and Salt Marsh provide numerous ecosystem services such as water filtration, flood, and stormwater buffering capacity, fish nursery habitat, and a plethora of recreational activities.

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Freshwater Aquifer

The objective of the Freshwater Aquifer Study is to examine how Bald Head Island’s aquifer responds to changes in island water usage and environmental conditions (e.g., drought, storm events, outside contaminant inputs) by analyzing the volume and water quality of the island’s finite subterranean water supply.

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Staff and interns undertake an extensive Beach Vitex survey covering the whole dune ecosystem on the island from the beachfront to the primary dune ridge, including private property. We also periodically conduct aerial surveys using UAVs (drones). Treatment, carried out in the fall-winter, involves applying the herbicide Imazapyr to individual plants.

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Bald Head Island possesses diverse, healthy habitats that are home to an abundance of wildlife species.  The ecological balance of species is delicate, with tight interdependent relationships between predator and prey populations.

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