DAVIS, Va. (WV News) – West Virginia’s Natural Resources Division has added Bald Knob and the Canaan Valley Wetlands to a new program that protects areas with rare plant and animal species in need of conservation.
The two sites are the first to be added to the West Virginia Natural Areas Program, which provides an additional level of protection to areas with significant conservation needs under the administration of the WVDNR.
“These two areas have the highest concentration of federally listed species and species in greatest need of conservation and this designation is going to give us the awareness and resources we need to make sure they are properly. managed, ”said Scott Warner, deputy chief wildlife officer. diversity for the WVDNR.
Both areas consist of over 2,200 acres of rare conifer swamps and red spruce forests with over 40 rare plants, 12 rare invertebrates and a variety of animals unique to the region. More than 200 acres in Bald Knob will now be protected under the program, as well as 2,000 acres in the wetlands of the Canaan Valley. Both areas are located within the boundaries of Canaan Valley Resort State Park.
“We have found that there are several areas in state parks like this that are critical to the preservation of many plant and animal species that are only found in West Virginia,” Warner said.
The new designation comes with additional resources and assistance to improve area management, mitigate potential environmental impacts, promote areas for public awareness and education, and encourage scientific studies, said officials. responsible.
“What this designation does not do is impact hunting or recreational opportunities,” Warner said. “In fact, it will greatly improve the experience for people visiting the area.”
Warner said the WVDNR is planning similar designations in state parks and in wildlife management areas around the state where species at risk are present.
“We want to work closely with superintendents and managers of wildlife management areas so that they have the resources they need to make sound management decisions,” Warner said.