at Willow Pond in the North Carolina Arboretum –
Equinox recently completed a master plan for Willow Pond, a hidden feature of the North Carolina Arboretum. The master plan proposed a constructed wetland, which converts an old silted detention pond to a healthier, functioning wetland ecosystem. This renovation would be a massive improvement for one creature in particular―the Mole salamander. This salamander is listed as a species of concern in North Carolina and has been found as one of the many residents of the pond. Improvements would occur on the detention pond which has filled with sediment and has steep banks, neither of which is optimal for the salamander’s habitat.
Home renovations for the Mole salamander and many other species include stabilization of the sediment source and expansion and contouring of the pond to create “shelves” for aquatic vegetation and animals. As a constructed wetland, this pond conversion will increase space for salamanders to spawn, dine, and live out their early aquatic lives before they graduate to terrestrial habitat. Willow Pond will also benefit many other species, who will use the pond as a water hole and food source. Other features of Willow Pond will include a floating wetland island, an outdoor classroom to educate a variety of age groups, a small boardwalk with seating, and trails to access the pond. Interpretive signage will pair with curriculum to teach about the aquatic home.
The Arboretum is currently in the process of fundraising and grant-seeking to finance the master plan’s vision. Equinox will continue to partner with the Arboretum into the next stage of design, until construction documents are completed. In just a few seasons, you may be able to enjoy a home renovation of the natural world, complete with a thriving aquatic and terrestrial community that has improved space to spread wings, fins, toes, and tails.