Sarracenia Bay (upper left) and
The 142.9-acre (57.84 ha) Craig’s Pond and Sarracenia Bay Set-Aside contains the paired Craig’s Pond and Sarracenia Bay which are semi-permanent, open-water, aquatic/herbaceous Carolina bays. A partial 200 m buffer area comprised of natural and recently planted plantation pines, mixed pine/hardwoods, and sandhill scrub oak/pine communities surrounds these bays. Craig’s Pond is one of the largest true bays on the SRS, totaling 193 acres (78.2 ha), 64% of which is off-site. The on-site portion in the Set-Aside totals 68.1 acres ( 27.6 ha). Sarracenia Bay lies aproximately 200 m to the west of Craig’s Pond and is 9.9 acres (4.0 ha) in size; unlike Craig’s Pond, the majority (70%) of this bay is on-site (6.9 acres; 2.8 ha).
This Set-Aside consists of a pair of relatively intact, true Carolina bays which have central pools of aquatic vegetation and distinct zones of herbaceous vegetation out to the bay margins. Within these wetland vegetation communities are a number of sensitive plant populations. The hydroperiods of these bays are relatively extended and drawdown with complete drying occurs infrequently and only in periods of extended drought. This Area was selected as a Set-Aside primarily because it is part of the largest open- water Carolina bay on the SRS and for the opportunities it presents to study the ecological processes of the aquatic and terrestrial environs associated with relatively unimpacted bays. In addition, these bays, due to their similarities in configuration and position in the SRS landscape, can be considered sister to Mona Bay and Woodward Bay (Area No. 25) located directly north. Like Area No. 25, this Area also is representative of bay communities in which the adjacent buffer areas recently have been disturbed by clearcutting, intensive site preparation, and reforestation. This Set-Aside was established to preserve the integrity of this pair of bays and to offer protection to the sensitive plant populations associated with them.