Great Cypress Swamp

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Cluster of bald cypress trees in Trap Pond State Park

The Great Cypress Swamp (also known as Great Pocomoke Swamp, Cypress Swamp, or Big Cypress Swamp), is a forested freshwater swamp located on the Delmarva Peninsula in south Delaware and southeastern Maryland. As of 2000, it is the largest contiguous forest on the Delmarva Peninsula.[1]

Located at 38°29′N 75°18′W / 38.483°N 75.300°W / 38.483; -75.300Coordinates: 38°29′N 75°18′W / 38.483°N 75.300°W / 38.483; -75.300, it is the northernmost of the southern swamps and one of many along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It covers about 50 square miles (130 km2), mostly in southern Sussex County, Delaware. It is the source of the Pocomoke River, which flows south, and Pepper Creek, which flows northeast.

History[edit]

This swamp once yielded much cypress timber. Due to over harvesting and a disastrous peat fire in 1930 much of its vegetation was destroyed. One of the fires burned for eight months, leading it to be called the "Burnt Swamp" by local residents.[2]

In 1980, Joe Biden, at the request of environmentalists, proposed that the swamp be made into a National Park; this plan was met with resistance from local residents concerned of being overwhelmed with large numbers of visitors. When representative Tom Carper revisited the idea of creating a national park in Delaware in 2004, the Cypress Swamp was not being considered due to these concerns.[3]

The non-profit organization Delaware Wild Lands manages the swamp and has undertaken efforts to replant bald cypress trees there.[4]

Ecological value[edit]

Birds[edit]

The swamp is home to 73 breeding species of birds. The most abundant species in the swamp are the Worm-eating warbler and Brown-headed Cowbird. The swamp also contains two regionally rare species, Swainson's Warbler and Black-throated Green Warbler.[1] eBird has records of at least 94 species observed in the swamp, including some found during migration which do not breed there.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Christopher M. Heckscher (2000). "Forest-Dependent Birds of the Great Cypress (North pocomoke) Swamp: Species Composition and Implications for Conservation". Northeastern Naturalist 7 (2): 113–130. JSTOR 3858646. 
  2. ^ "Searching for the Last Vestiges of Quiet". Washington Post. May 19, 2006. 
  3. ^ "In search of a national park". USA Today. March 16, 2004. 
  4. ^ Sharon Morgan (March 18, 2003). "Chip West Del. farm among the nation’s best". American Farm Publications. 
  5. ^ "Bird Observations". eBird. eBird, Ithaca, New York. 2009. Retrieved June 6, 2009. 

External links[edit]