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Newport News Now

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Newport News Now is a daily e-newsletter that launched in March 2016. Articles that ran in our newsletter between March 2016 and March 2018 are available on these pages. Newsletters produced beginning in April 2018 can be viewed on our new daily newsletter page.

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Aug 15

Rare Plant Species Observed at Grafton Ponds Natural Area Preserve

Posted on August 15, 2017 at 10:13 AM by Communications Department

Recently two rare plants were rediscovered on Waterworks property near the Grafton Ponds Natural Area Preserve in York County.  Employees from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation found approximately 300 Slender Marsh Pink (Sabatia campanulata) plants. This gorgeous plant is usually found in low, wet areas and it was first documented on the property in 1986.  Additionally, several dozen Hairy St. John’s wort (Hypericum setosum) plants were observed that had not been seen on the property in over 20 years.

The 375-acre Grafton Ponds Natural Area Preserve is managed in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.  The Preserve protects the unique ecosystem of the Grafton Ponds wetland complex and several rare, threatened, and endangered species that live there.

The Newport News Waterworks Department manages and maintains 12,000 acres of watershed property throughout the water service area.  A watershed (or drainage basin) is the area of land that collects water and drains into a stream or other body of water.  The grass, trees and plants growing in the watersheds are important because they help filter pollution out of the water as it runs off the land and into the reservoirs.  Waterworks manages these resources to keep them healthy.  The watersheds are frequently inspected to keep them free of contaminants and ensure that the springs and streams are kept clear. Many different plants and animals live in the watersheds.  They thrive on the ideal conditions found there.  Animals and waterfowl found on the watersheds include ducks, heron, geese, hawks, owls, rabbits, turtles, beavers, deer, opossums, eagles, and more. Parts of the watershed are home to some state endangered plants and threatened animals. 

8-15 plants blog