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The Great Dismal Swamp


The Great Dismal Swamp is a Nature Reserve on the border of Virginia and North Carolina. It is a refuge for hundreds of different plant and animal species, but it’s being threatened by wildfires. This infographic explains the importance of the swamp and the efforts by environmental groups to maintain it. 

Because of the long history of draining the swamp in an attempt to convert it to agricultural land, the swamp’s hydrology no longer works as effectively as it should. Acting as “nature’s plumber,” the Nature Conservancy is seeking to manage the water flow, mimic seasonal flooding and re-wet the swamp. We’re not going to stop wildfires in the swamp, but we can reduce their intensity to make the refuge healthier for wildlife and safer for communities.


The Great Dismal Swamp, spanning from southeastern Virginia into northeastern North Carolina, is 10 miles wide and 20 miles long, with Lake Drummond sitting at its center. The Great Dismal Swamp is home to more than 200 species of birds. Two-thirds of all the species that occur in Virginia are found in the swamp, including butterflies and skippers, frogs, snakes, and turtles and more than 330 plant species.​

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