Since 2003 the Eno River Association has worked with the NC Plant Conservation Program and NC Botanical Garden on the Diabase Sill Project Partnership. This Partnership is named for the distinct geological formation of hard igneous rock found within the Lower Eno River basin in Durham. The basic soils weathered from the underlying Diabase rock have heavily influenced the area’s topography and ecology, supporting a highly diverse and rare community of plants.
The Partnership acquires, restores, and manages properties to serve two goals: protection and restoration of habitat for the native rare plant communities in the upland areas and protection of riparian buffers for water quality. The rare plant community protected as part of this project includes species such as the federally endangered smooth purple coneflower (Echinacea laevigata), as well as state rare species such as Earle’s blazing star (Liatris squarrulosa), Glade wild quinine (Parthenium auriculatum), hoary puccoon (Lithospermum canescens), and blue wild indigo (Baptisia australis).
Two rare plant preserves totaling over 350 acres have been protected as part of the Partnership: the Eno River Diabase Sill Rare Plant Preserve and the Hebron Road Rare Plant Preserve. Both of these preserves are owned by the NC Plant Conservation Program and can be accessed by special permit or guided tour.