Stevens Creek Nature Preserve helps to protect Stevens Creek, which flows through the nature preserve and into Goose Creek. Goose Creek provides habitat for only one of six known populations of a rare, federally endangered freshwater mussel known as the Carolina heelsplitter. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission considers Stevens Creek to be critical habitat for this mussel, as well as several other important rare mussels. More information on the Carolina heelsplitter can be found here http://www.fws.gov/raleigh/species/es_carolina_heelsplitter.html
. Stevens Creek Nature Preserve is a 230 acre Natural Heritage Site located in southeastern Mecklenburg County within the Town of Mint Hill, just north of the Matthews/Mint Hill boundary and inside the I-485 outer belt. The preserve is currently closed to public, pending capital development funds.
On November 4, 2008 Mecklenburg County voters approved $250 million in Park Bond projects. One of these projects called for the master planning of Stevens Creek Nature Preserve, which is intended to be the sight of Mecklenburg County's fourth Nature Center. The Nature Center and associated amenities (trails, picnic areas, parking lot, bathrooms, etc.) will serve SE Mecklenburg County and the towns of Matthews and Mint Hill. Stevens Creek Nature Center will serve as gateway for educational programming and information on the preserve's natural communities, flora and fauna.
There are currently no accessible trails located within Stevens Creek Nature Preserve.
Flora and Fauna
Stevens Creek Natural Heritage Site is located along Stevens Creek, which forms the property's northern and eastern boundaries and drains into Goose Creek. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) considered Stevens Creek to be critical habitat for the federally endangered Carolina heelsplitter. Stevens Creek provides habitat for one of only six known populations of this rare mussel.
The rich forest located along the slopes and floodplain of Stevens Creek is made up of 40 to 60 year old hardwood trees, primarily Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forest and Piedmont Alluvial Forest, the dominant canopy species include: northern red oak, white oak, sweet-gum, tulip poplar, short-leaf pine, and sycamore. In addition to the forest canopy are large patches of early successional shrubland, which include American holly and spicebush. Several area-sensitive bird species have been found in Stevens Creek including wood thrush, red-eyed vireo, Acadian flycatcher, scarlet tanager, and ovenbird.
Forest groundcover includes: may-apple, jewelweed, Christmas fern, downy rattlesnake plantain fern, and a few individuals of Catesby's trillium.