Historic Chapel Pond

CypressPond

Historic Chapel Pond

Scheduled for destruction to accommodate DOT’s mid-town ramp, the seven acre Chapel Pond has a special place in Hampstead’s history.  Used for many decades for baptisms by local churches, it was also the site of a water tower that served the Coastline Railroad locomotives that stopped on the adjacent tracks.

TakeReadings-Pond

This photo shows surveyors calculating the quantity of soil needed to fill the pond.

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The following excerpt is from an email received from Andy Wood, Coastal Plain Conservation Group:

CPCG-LogoIn advance, I can tell you the pond is a significant aquatic habitat supporting several kinds of fishes, turtles, and amphibians. Birds also use the pond, mostly for foraging in the case of ducks, herons, and egrets. I am not sure about its history but can tell you that some of the pond cypress fringing its shoreline appear to be at least 250 years of age, and maybe considerable greater. Stumps of preceding trees indicate the site has been host to a pond for several centuries, but Chapel Pond today is much changed from its original form, in terms of plant community and wildlife it supports.


That said, the pond remains an important environment today, providing valuable ecosystem services including stormwater storage and filtration, along with serving as forage and breeding habitat to numerous species of wildlife. Taking the long view, when Hampstead has infilled with development, this pond and the immediate land around it, if properly conserved, will be an urban oasis providing natural benefit to the community as open space and a living connection to the unique natural heritage of this region.


Beyond negative impacts to this one pond site, the central spur as drafted, will result in severe habitat fragmentation that will threaten numerous kinds of wildlife by simply disrupting migration routes. In the case of black bear and white-tailed deer, this roadway intrusion will also imperil vehicle occupants with accidental car/wildlife impacts. NCDOT has conducted studies that already show the cost of cars striking wildlife, just along Pender County highways. In 2011, or thereabouts, the cost that year included more than 1,300 car/wildlife accidents with a financial cost of $1.8 million dollars each year.