On October 25, the Eno River Association purchased 96 acres of undeveloped land, known as the Goss property, that will eventually become part of Eno River State Park. The Eno River Association has a long history with Eno River State Park, since the Association was part of the alliance that worked to establish the park in 1973. The Association has since been instrumental in the land protection efforts for the 4,500-acre park, especially in supporting the park’s master plan, which still has roughly 2,000 acres remaining to conserve.
“These 96 acres have been a priority acquisition for Eno River State Park for many years,” says Don Moffitt, President of the Association. “We couldn’t be more excited to have completed this acquisition that will eventually become part of Eno River State Park.”
The property is located on the northern portion of Eno River State Park in Orange County near St. Mary’s Road and is adjacent to the park on the south and east. The property provides a vital buffer between the park and the adjacent residential developments, protects 4,500 feet of Eno River tributaries, and high-ranking wildlife habitat and corridors.
Protection of this land will help maintain adequate supplies of safe drinking water critical to public health and economic sustainability as Triangle populations increase. The property contains 4,500 linear feet of tributaries of the Eno River and is roughly 3,000 feet from main branch of Eno River. The Eno River is classified by the NC Division of Water Quality as a Water Supply IV – Nutrient Sensitive Waters. The Eno River flows into Falls Lake, which provides drinking water for much of Wake County.
In addition to its stream frontage, the property contains significant slopes leading down from the corners of the property to the main tributary running through the center of the property and into the Eno River. If development had been allowed to occur here, these slopes could have experienced extensive erosion, introducing sedimentation and pollutants into the Eno River.
The December 2019 study, A Landscape Plan for Wildlife Habitat Connectivity in the Eno River and New Hope Creek Watersheds, North Carolina, identified the area as a high-ranking wildlife corridor. The land is covered in a mix of upland and bottomland forest, providing significant wildlife habitat and corridor, allowing movement between privately owned lands surrounding the property and Eno River State Park to the east and south. Protection of this property will also help safeguard important habitat by buffering two Natural Areas identified by the NC Natural Heritage Program: the Eno River/Cates Ford Slopes and Uplands and the Eno River Aquatic Habitat. A significant number of rare aquatic species are contained within the Eno River Aquatic Habitat including the Atlantic pigtoe, Roanoke bass, Eastern Lampmussel, Yellow Lampmussel, creeper, Notched Rainbow, Triangle Floater, and Neuse River Waterdog. This section of the Eno River has also recently been classified as “Critical Habitat” by the US Fish and Wildlife Service for the Federally listed Neuse River Waterdog and Carolina Madtom.
“Our parks and natural areas are now seeing an unprecedented number of visitors.” adds Moffitt. “We are dedicated to ensuring the parks in the Eno River watershed provide a safe and welcoming space for all visitors to recreate or seek solace.”
The Association announced the plans for acquisition of the Goss property during this summer’s 42nd Annual Festival for the Eno. Several donors came together to present a matching challenge to raise funds for the Association’s efforts on this project. Funding for the Goss project came from private donations.
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