Is your stream impacting Hellbenders?
Some areas in Western North Carolina provide a haven for imperiled Eastern Hellbenders with large populations scattered about the region; however, this giant salamander is declining across its range and North Carolina is no exception. For years now, Wild South has worked with partners in the region to help keep Hellbenders from making their way on to the endangered species list through outreach, education, and active conservation by building and deploying nest boxes. Now, we are asking you for help to make sure these lovable giants have the habitat they need to thrive in our waterways.
The only way to ensure the survival of Hellbenders is to make sure that there is high quality habitat available across their range. This is a challenge in some areas and we have been working hard this year to identify some of the areas that need the most help. Below you’ll find an interactive map that shows the watersheds that we have identified as needing the most support from private land owners with waterways on their property. Use this map to check and see if your property falls within one of these watersheds by typing your address in the search bar. Also, explore these watersheds and if you know anyone in those areas reach out to them and see if they or anyone they know has a stream that could benefit from restoration.
1) A waterway should have trees and shrubs along its banks. If there is no or very sparse vegetation along the bank, then those banks could erode away during high water events. Even if there haven’t been any bank failures yet, they could be just one high water event away.2) If you can see exposed soil or vertical banks, then that is an indicator that stream restoration is needed. When banks reach the point where they are vertical, that means bank failures are eminent and sedmient is being washed away downstream and clogging up the nesting rocks that hellbenders depend on.