Wedged between two major tributaries of the Potomac River near Moorefield, the Poppy Bean Preserve is a 62-acre floodplain farm that will be managed as a nature preserve and resource for the community. The property was donated to the West Virginia Land Trust and is named in honor of the donor’s grandfather.
Floodplain forest species, including sycamores and cottonwoods, exist in narrow swaths along the preserve’s stream banks. Restoring and expanding them will contribute to improved water quality in the South Fork and the South Branch of the Potomac, which flank the property, as they flow to the Chesapeake Bay. As a recreational resource, the preserve has potential not only for the immediate community, but also for travelers who access the area from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area via Corridor H.
With one of the few known barn owl nesting sites in West Virginia, as well as lowland fields, stream frontage, and wetland habitats, the Hardy County property easily lends itself to nature watching. The ‘sloughs’ (pronounced “sloos”) are an especially interesting feature of the Poppy Bean Preserve. As ‘off-channel habitat,’ these slow-moving backwaters provide an environment for smaller fish and other aquatic species to escape high flows and avoid predation in the main river.
Management plans are underway, so stay tuned!