When it comes to the latest trends in women's apparel, there's no better place to shop till you drop than Downtown Chucktown. And if you're searching for the finest threads in Laurel Bay, look no further than Copper Penny - the Lowcountry's go-to shop for anyone that has a passion for fashion.
We have been dressing women in Laurel Bay for over 34 years and offer upscale designer collections curated with a Southern eye. Here, women from around the United States discover sophisticated, effortless beauty for every season. Whether you're looking for a sassy new dress to impress that special someone or the perfect outfit for your next vacation, your options are endless at Copper Penny.
With easy-to-find locations close to Laurel Bay's hottest spots, our curated selection of the newest, most popular women's clothing lines reflects the effortless glamour of Laurel Bay. Whether you're a tidy professional or a fierce trend-setter, our goal is to help you find the perfect look for your own unique style. With designer brands like CK Bradley and Holst & Lee on hand year-round, finding your new look is easy and fun when you visit Copper Penny.
Our clothing lines give ladies a refreshing mix of one-of-a-kind authenticity with real wearability, allowing them to shine with confidence and style all year long. So, go ahead and spoil yourself - you deserve to look like a million bucks!
Diamonds are pretty and all, but honestly? Dresses are a girl's best friend. Dresses are fun, comfortable, and versatile. At Copper Penny, they're also fashionable and cute. We have a huge selection of women's dresses in Laurel Bay, NC, from stylistic sheath dresses to drop-waist styles that will make your girlfriends jealous.
These dresses are made to fit your waist and then gradually flare out towards the hem. A-line dresses are excellent for minimizing thighs, hips, and midsections while pulling the eyes to your bust. This style of dress is a great fit for almost any body type. There's a reason why so many brides settle on A-Line dresses for their big day! With plenty of varieties, this is a kind of dress that you can wear again and again.Shop Now
Like the A-Line style, empire dresses are made to fit through your bust. Rather than creating a distinctly angular shape like the A-Line, the Empire style flows from the bust down. This is another kind of dress that fits many body types. From curvy to apple body shapes, the Empire draws focus to your bust and minimizes everything else. For lovely ladies on the shorter side, this style defines your silhouette, especially if you choose a maxi length dress.Shop Now
A throwback to the roaring 20's style flapper dresses, Drop Waist dresses look best on lean, athletic bodies that don't have too many curves in the hip area. The key to pulling off a Drop Waist style dress is to ensure that it's not hugging you. This dress is best worn when it is able to hang freely on your body.Shop Now
Once you know the kind of waist that fits your body type, it's time to find your shape. A few of our most popular dress shapes include:
Unless you're feeling extra sassy, chances are you're wearing a top at this very moment. Tops are garments that cover the top half of your body. At Copper Penny, we have an endless selection of tops in a wide range of styles - from basic tees to blouses and everything in between. If you're looking for the highest quality women's tops in Laurel Bay, NC, you just hit the jackpot!
With that said, finding the right top for the right occasion is easier said than done. However, at Copper Penny, we make finding the right top fun. Whether you're looking for a top that makes a statement or you need a classic button-down for a subdued style, we've got your back. We only carry the most popular tops from the best brands and designers around the world.
Sometimes called broadcloth tops, poplins have classic characteristics and are often woven with an over/under weave. This kind of weave gives more substance to your top while also giving you room to breathe. Poplin shirts are typically soft and smooth, and are great for everyday business attire, some formal occasions, and for certain ceremonies. Sweet and feminine, our Bruna poplin eyelet bib top features ruffles at the sleeves and an eyelet lace yoke at the front. Pair your poplin with your favorite pair of shorts or jeans for a contemporary, relaxed look.Shop Now
Great for wearing solo or layered over a camisole or tank top, wrap tops are lightweight, versatile, and great for many different occasions. Wrap tops go well with jeans, maxi dresses, and high-waisted jeans or trousers. Our V-Neck Wrap SLV Top by Jayden is uber-popular at Copper Penny and the perfect choice for dressing down or dressing up. The choice is yours!Shop Now
For a dose of feminine fashion, be sure you add an off-the-shoulder top to your everyday wardrobe. A casual, sexy choice, off-the-shoulder tops have unique necklines that cut across your upper arms and chest, leaving your shoulders bare. The result is a flirty flash of skin, which elongates your neck and gives a relaxed, "daytime casual" look. Our Nola off-the-shoulder top pairs perfectly with shorts or even a flowy skirt and is hand-woven in Spain using Jacquard fabric.Shop Now
Who doesn't love a good tank top?! Tank tops are lightweight, versatile, and equally great for lounging in the yard or running errands on weekends. Tank tops lend an air of simplicity to your outfit and can be styled in endless ways. Take our Velvet Heart Victory Tank, for instance. This tank is a refreshing update on our classic sleeveless tank top, complete with fray details and a scoop neck. Throw in the fact that it's machine washable, and you have a wardrobe winner.Shop Now
When choosing a women's top for your outfit, you have to consider how comfortable, confident, and beautiful you will feel. The best way to feel your best in an outfit is to make sure it fits correctly. To get started, you'll want to take your measurements. For most women's tops, the best areas to focus on are your hips, waist, and chest.
Need help measuring? Swing by Copper Penny and ask one of our friendly sales associates to help you out! While you're there, don't forget to check out our huge selection of women's tops in Laurel Bay, NC.Contact Us
More to ExploreWhat are some of the best farmer's markets in South Carolina?The Best farmer's markets in South Carolina are:When the weekend rolls around, there are few things as exciting as visiting a local farmer's market for fresh produce, handmade goods, and all kinds of unique finds. It probably won't surprise you to learn that South Carolina is abundant in farmer's markets. In fact, we've compiled a list of some of the best farmer's markets in the state for you to visit. For more information, che...
What are some of the best farmer's markets in South Carolina?
The Best farmer's markets in South Carolina are:
When the weekend rolls around, there are few things as exciting as visiting a local farmer's market for fresh produce, handmade goods, and all kinds of unique finds. It probably won't surprise you to learn that South Carolina is abundant in farmer's markets. In fact, we've compiled a list of some of the best farmer's markets in the state for you to visit. For more information, check out our list of 12 Awesome Farmer's Markets In South Carolina. Happy shopping!
What are some fun things to do in South Carolina?
The most fun things to do in South Carolina are:
If you're someone who appreciates bargain shopping, you'll find that South Carolina is an excellent destination for thrift stores, flea markets, and more. In the article above, we highlighted some of the very best flea markets in South Carolina, and each one is worth checking out. If you're looking for something that will inspire a craftier side, then we suggest planning a trip to All About Fabrics, one of the best fabric stores in the state. Step inside this giant warehouse and you'll be surrounded by colorful prints. This global distributer is only open to the public for three days each month, so you'll want to be sure to take advantage of this. Inside, there are approximately three million yards of fabrics and trimmings, which are sold at deeply discounted prices. In addition to beautiful fabrics, shoppers will also discover other crafting supplies. Curious to learn more? Check out this feature article we put together!
What are some of the most unique places to stay in South Carolina?
The most unique places to stay in South Carolina are:
There are few things as fun as planning a quick South Carolina getaway, whether you're a resident of the Palmetto State or simply traveling through. Here at OnlyInYourState.com, we love finding some one-of-a-kind accommodations in South Carolina. One prime example is this charming Airbnb rental in Greer. Tucked away in the woods, this modern cabin is the perfect place to recharge, catch up on your reading, and simply enjoy the lovely surroundings. Despite being only 600 square feet, the cabin is outfitted with just about everything you need for a comfortable stay. Looking for something even more unique? Head to Columbia and prepare to be absolutely charmed by this luxury treehouse Airbnb in South Carolina. Perched on the side of a hill near a babbling creek and totally surrounded by trees, this little slice of paradise is a glamping enthusiast's dream come true. The interior is completely renovated and even features a private bathroom. For more travel inspiration, be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide To The Best Accommodations In South Carolina.
I try to spendSept. 10 with Carol to celebrate her birthday. This year, at her request, we drove to the Cliffs of the Neuse State Park. Driving I-40, I noticed individual trees dying. A clue to their demise was a recent N.C. Forest Service bulletin that said laurel wilt arrived at Rose Hill.When we got to the park, we had a surprise reunion with an old friend, Ed Wilkerson, the superintendent. We talked of his record-book black bears while he guided us through a longleaf restoration project.One exhibit showed tre...
I try to spendSept. 10 with Carol to celebrate her birthday. This year, at her request, we drove to the Cliffs of the Neuse State Park. Driving I-40, I noticed individual trees dying. A clue to their demise was a recent N.C. Forest Service bulletin that said laurel wilt arrived at Rose Hill.
When we got to the park, we had a surprise reunion with an old friend, Ed Wilkerson, the superintendent. We talked of his record-book black bears while he guided us through a longleaf restoration project.
One exhibit showed tree-damaging insects, including Xyleborus glabratus, the red bay ambrosia beetle. Coming from Asia in wooden packing materials shipped to Savannah in 2002, it is the vector of laurel wilt, which will "drastically reduce" red bay, swamp bay and sassafras. It's an optimistic phrase that pauses just short of "extinction." While these trees may not be of great economic significance, they are important to wildlife and people. People once made sassafras into tea and root beer. Manufacturers still use it for scents and pharmaceuticals. Squirrels and birds eat its buds and drupes, and children marvel at its three different shaped leaves.
I smoked venison over red bay wood, imparting a flavor similar to the taste pronghorn antelope meat acquires from the sage it eats. Carol kept a jar of dried red bay leaves for spicing venison spaghetti. Since transporting firewood or tree parts within the beetle's range spreads laurel wilt, we no longer transport any part of a tree.
One red bay I have a fond association with is a fox squirrel den tree. It is huge and old, standing out in a sea of longleaf pines and small Carolina bays. When squirrel season opens, I hope to find the tree still alive and photograph it before it goes.
Laurel wilt is 90 to 100 percent fatal to red bays more than an inch in diameter. The 1/16-inch long beetle inoculates the tree with Raffaelea lauricola fungus. Insecticides and fungicides don't stop the disease because the beetles are too prolific. Affected trees die quickly from the fungus and beetle tunnels.
Across hundreds of thousands of acres on coastal game lands, including Holly Shelter, Croatan Angola Bay and Green Swamp, the only large broadleaf trees in significant numbers are red bays. When scouting for deer and bear signs, I look for high spots beneath their evergreen leaves where the animals seek cover from sun and rain.
The red bay ambrosia beetle is the twelfth similar species arriving in wooden packing material in the U.S. since 1990. It seems that switching to other materials would be a small price to save the world's forests.
We all but lost the American elm to Dutch elm disease, another fungus/beetle disease. In the Appalachians, evergreens are being destroyed on a massive scale by imported woolly adelgids. Gypsy moths and emerald ash borers are destroying the nation's hardwood trees. The worst of these outcomes may have occurred when an imported fungus destroyed the American chestnut, which comprised 25 percent of Appalachian forests and was once called "the perfect tree." Off our coast, we have lionfish eating every small native fish. In the Mississippi River, silver carp are displacing native fish.
Invasive species may be the biggest economic and ecologic issue facing this nation and the world. Once these genies are out of the bottle, no one can put them back inside. Why, then, is nobody discussing this problem during presidential debates?
-- For more outdoors news or to order one of Mike's books, go to mikemarshoutdoors.com.
Residents in thousands of future southwest Ocala homes will find themselves with hundreds of dollars in annual utilities savings and a lower water footprint on the Floridan aquifer system by tens of thousands of gallons each year.In a unique initiative, water provider Bay Laurel Center Community Development District has established a re...
Residents in thousands of future southwest Ocala homes will find themselves with hundreds of dollars in annual utilities savings and a lower water footprint on the Floridan aquifer system by tens of thousands of gallons each year.
In a unique initiative, water provider Bay Laurel Center Community Development District has established a requirement that all new homes within its district must meet Florida Water Star (FWS) certification standards. This will apply to all future homes developed in On Top of the World (OTOW), Calesa Township and Stone Creek, which will be required to have water-saving appliances and irrigation practices.
At build out, the combined water savings are expected to be over 1.2 billion gallons a year.
Water management district to FDOT:We 'cannot support' proposed Florida Turnpike routes
SW Marion development:648 units along 80th Avenue south of Calesa Township
How much did that house sell for?:Deed transfers in Ocala/Marion County | April 4-10, 2022
Bay Laurel Center CDD and the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) have partnered on this and other initiatives to lessen the impact of Florida’s continued growth and development on its ecosystems and water resources.
“The intent of all of this obviously is to reduce groundwater withdrawals to protect our natural resources,” the company’s utility director, Bryan Schmalz, said at a new home in OTOW’s Weybourne Landing last week. “We have to begin developing homes that are water conscientious now.”
Schmalz noted nearby Rainbow Springs in Dunnellon, which falls under the water management district's jurisdiction, and Silver Springs in northeast Ocala. Both are iconic Marion County features and some of the largest first-magnitude spring groups in the state.
“As we continue to withdraw water, everybody in the state of Florida continues to withdraw water, the impact to the springs can be extremely damaging,” he said. “What we have to do is make sure we're protecting our natural resources and also protecting our springs.”
Bay Laurel Center CDD encompasses approximately 20 square miles, including developer Colen Built’s OTOW and Calesa Township, and PulteGroup’s Del Webb Stone Creek.
At build out in 25 to 30 years, around 26,000 new homes between the three developments will have achieved FWS certification. Each will save around 48,000 gallons of water annually compared to a traditional home.
"The big thing with that 1.2 billion gallons reduction in water, a huge benefit of this is it's really offsetting the need to develop further alternative water supplies like drilling deeper into the aquifer or aquifer recharge projects,” Robin Grantham, FWS coordinator for the district, said, noting alternative supplies would raise utility bills.
The Southwest Florida Water Management District, which spans 16 counties including west Marion County, allows Bay Laurel Center CDD to withdraw up to 150 gallons of water per person per day for indoor and outdoor use.
While the water conservation initiatives are aimed to comply with permitting requirements and be better stewards of the environment, homeowners of FWS homes will also see annual savings of around $530.
The Florida Water Star program was established in 2006 by the St. John’s River Water Management District, which spans 18 counties in east Florida, including east Marion County.
OTOW has been voluntarily constructing some FWS homes since then, though it partnered with the Southwest Florida Water Management District in 2017 for FWS certifications and has been making most homes to comply with the water-saving initiative over the past five years.
Around 700 of more than 7,000 OTOW homes have achieved FWS Silver certification so far. As of June 1, Bay Laurel Center CDD requires all new homes to be certified before transferring water service to the resident. There are over 8,000 FWS-certified homes across the state currently, which will continue to rise not only with initiatives in other counties but with the 26,000 in the Bay Laurel district.
For a home to meet FWS Silver requirements, indoor and outdoor standards must both be met. (There are additional requirements for a Gold Tier.)
Inside, dishwashers and clothes washing machines must be Energy Star appliances. Bathroom faucets must use no more than 1.5 gallons per minute, and shower heads must use no more than 2 gallons per minute, both 0.5-gallon reductions from state code.
The maximum use for toilets is 1.28 gallons per flush, compared to state requirements of 1.6.
“Also what we look for are the water supply lines, that they need to be reinforced and that's because nationally the number one indoor flood insurance complaint is broken water supply lines,” Grantham said.
Outdoors, each sprinkler head must have a check valve, which prevents water from leaking when the system is turned off, and pressure regulation. Plants must be at least 2.5 feet from the house and landscape beds micro-irrigated, meaning water drips directly on each plant. Plants must also be suited to the environment and not invasive exotic species.
“That’s the biggest problem we see is most of our water is utilized for irrigation,” Schmalz said. “The indoor is actually minimal. A little over 82% of our water is utilized for irrigation.”
One of the FWS requirements aimed to combat that is that no more than 60% of the yard can use high-volume irrigation.
“That remaining 40% of the landscape area, what they've chosen to do here is have unirrigated bahia turf in the backyards,” Grantham said, or they can have a micro-irrigated plant bed extended to the backyard rather than a grass that needs heavy irrigation.
Bay Laurel Center CDD has also gone above and beyond FWS standards to require new residential landscape and irrigation systems designed so no more than 6,000 gallons a month are used for irrigation. Previously, around 12,500 gallons were used for irrigation each month.
The utilities provider additionally requires rotary head sprinklers, which are 30% more efficient than traditional sprinkler heads.
Many of the homes in the three neighborhoods also have optional water conservation measures, such as smart irrigation controllers that adjust to weather conditions and flow meters that monitor irrigation.
The communities also practice what they preach in terms of unirrigated grasses, drip irrigation for plant beds and plant species suited for Florida.
“All of our common areas are (unirrigated) bahia grass. We don’t use zoysia grass or St. Augustine, anything irrigated in our common areas,” said Phillip Hisey, director of landscape operations for Parkway Maintenance & Management at On Top of the World.
Grantham says 10 municipalities in Polk County have written Florida Water Star into building code, meaning the cities will not grant a certification of occupancy without the FWS certification.
“This is truly unique that Bay Laurel is taking this incentive regarding the transfer of water services,” she said. “There's not another water utility provider in Florida that has taken that much of an initiative to really try to reduce the water use in new construction.”
The district and Bay Laurel had partnered for a Cooperative Funding Initiative project in 2018 that covered builder costs for FWS certification on 75 homes to educate builders on the program and its benefits.
The district is also a partner by way of training third-party inspectors to document that standards are met, providing marketing materials for the communities and educating homeowners on the certification.
Now, the improved appliance and irrigation system costs will be the responsibility of the builders, but there are longer term benefits.
“One of the reasons why Florida Water Star new construction is so important is because once a home is already constructed, the legacy homes, it's much more expensive to retrofit an existing home to these efficiency standards versus just constructing with those standards,” Grantham said.
For the legacy homes that do not require certification, Bay Laurel has other incentive programs and services to conserve water, many of which the District partners on.
They include incentives to change out toilets, replace shower heads and upgrade irrigation controllers. Bay Laurel also does free water irrigation audits and has a turf grass reduction program where homeowners receive money to reduce the amount of grass on their property in favor of lower maintenance shrubs.
Grantham and Schmalz say it’s also important for homeowners to keep the FWS measures in place when it's time to replace sprinkler heads, for example, or other features, and that the FWS certification program is a win for all parties.
“The benefits of the Florida Water Star-certified home cross many lines,” Grantham said. “It’s beneficial for Bay Laurel utilities because they're able to meet or hopefully this can assist them in meeting their permitting quantities that they need. It's beneficial to the builder as well because it is a selling feature, and then it's also beneficial to that home buyer as far as their utility savings, and definitely it's beneficial to our water supply resources.”
Contact reporter Danielle Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
READ MORELaurel Bay residents battle with leukemia, infertility and rare diseases. Is contamination the cause?Read more in this nine-part, special investigation by The Island Packet & The Beaufort Gazette.Expand AllFor years, some parents living on Laurel Bay quietly wondered why their children were diagnosed with cancer.In January, Amanda Whatley, the wife of a Marine and a former Laurel Bay resident, posted a YouTube video questioning if her daughter’s leukemia diagnosis stemmed from their s...
Laurel Bay residents battle with leukemia, infertility and rare diseases. Is contamination the cause?
Read more in this nine-part, special investigation by The Island Packet & The Beaufort Gazette.
For years, some parents living on Laurel Bay quietly wondered why their children were diagnosed with cancer.
In January, Amanda Whatley, the wife of a Marine and a former Laurel Bay resident, posted a YouTube video questioning if her daughter’s leukemia diagnosis stemmed from their stay on base from 2007 to 2010.
A brief excerpt of the more than 15 minute long YouTube video in which Amanda Whatley, a former resident of Beaufort's Laurel Bay, discusses findings of several children who were diagnosed with cancer illnesses - all of whom lived at the military By McClatchy
In an update posted with the video, Whatley said the number of known cases of Laurel Bay children diagnosed with cancer had grown to 13 and that she had heard from 20 adults who had been stationed in Beaufort and later diagnosed with cancer.
Suddenly, it seemed there might be an answer to the cancer question: the underground heating oil tanks buried beneath the yards of their Laurel Bay homes.
But a Marine Corps pediatric cancer study released in October found it “unlikely” — meaning there was “insufficient evidence” — that an environmental or occupational exposure was associated with the types of cancer identified among children of residents and former residents. In addition, the Corps’ study of soil and groundwater found no likely exposure pathway for contamination to reach residents of Laurel Bay.
Authors of the study confirmed 15 children’s cancer cases — one case shy of what they said was the National Cancer Institute’s minimum of 16 cases to calculate a valid ratio.
“In my experience, we’ve never been able to get enough cases to actually study,” said Dr. Chris Rennix, head of the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Epidata Center, which conducted Laurel Bay’s study.
However, a former director of a state cancer registry interviewed by The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette raised questions about the Corps’ findings. And an official with the National Cancer Institute partially disputed the Corps’ explanation for requiring 16 cases.
“(The National Cancer Institute) requires a minimum of 16 cases to calculate a valid ratio, but actually the minimum of 16 cases requirement is to protect the confidentiality of patients so fewer than 16 cases are suppressed in our data release. ... There is not a simple rule of thumb to guarantee stability of rates or rate ratios, which depends on specific problems,” the National Cancer Institute official, who asked not to be identified, told the newspapers in an email.
Richard Clapp, an epidemiologist that has conducted more than 40 cancer studies and is the former director of the Massachusetts Cancer Registry, said he has never heard of a 16-case requirement. He pointed to studies done on as few as five confirmed cases to calculate a rate.
“This type of analysis could have been used in the (Laurel Bay) study,” he said in an email to the newspapers. “With small numbers of cases, the standard error may be large and the 95 percent confidence interval may be wide, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do the calculation.”
The Corps’ study looked at five different types of cancer: Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), Neuroblastoma, soft issue sarcoma and Wilms tumor.
South Carolina’s own Cancer Registry, run by the Department of Health and Environmental Control, calls for at least five cases or deaths of a disease in a geographic area for statistical stability.
In a written response to the Packet and Gazette, the Corps said it could not rely on DHEC’s method because it found “no more than two cases of any type of cancer” diagnosed in the Beaufort study area, though it did not list how many cases of each type it had confirmed, citing patient privacy.
Given the Corps’ explanation, 10 cases should have been confirmed — two cases for each of the five diseases studied — but the study cited 15 confirmed cases.
At the newspapers’ request, Clapp reviewed the Corps’ explanation of its cancer study.
“My reaction is that if this response was submitted as a homework assignment in a course I was teaching, I’d give it a C-,” the Boston University professor emeritus said in an email.
Clapp served on a federal board that reviewed contamination at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina — one of the most notorious examples of military contamination.
A more comprehensive look, Clapp said, would be a cohort study that looks at “everything diagnosable.” Following repeated pleas from Lejeune residents, this type of study was done on Lejeune by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
A similar study could provide Laurel Bay residents with more reassurance, though Clapp acknowledged it’s more expensive and time-intensive.
Asked why the Laurel Bay study focused solely on pediatric cancer when scores of other residents reported illnesses, Rennix replied: “That wasn’t our question. So we can do the exact same thing with other illnesses, but that wasn’t the question we got. You could look at a zillion things and never make sense of anything, so you have to focus.”
How the study was done
The transience of the Laurel Bay community makes tracking medical conditions difficult. Residents are often stationed in Beaufort for a short time — a few months to a few years — and then move elsewhere.
The study originally identified 313 children with cancer who lived within a 30-mile radius around Laurel Bay and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island from 2002 to 2016. Researchers found these children through a medical database, which included the children of active duty Marines across the country. However, it did not include Marine Corps members who have since left the service, a point some parents say downplays the findings.
Officials said that exclusion does not invalidate the results. Rather, they contend, the study’s purpose was to find the rate of childhood cancer, not to count the total number of children living on Laurel Bay who had developed cancer.
“As far as calculating a risk, we have to exclude people we can’t account for,” Rennix said.
He implied that part of the parental questioning surrounding cancer at Laurel Bay is tied to the military’s tight-knit atmosphere.
“There’s no secrets; they talk; one thing leads to another,” Rennix said. “A lot of times in adults, they’re talking and ‘Gosh I’ve got this cancer,’ and ‘I’ve got this cancer,’ and they start thinking about their recent exposures and that question comes up. Sometimes they’re satisfied; sometimes they’re not.”
Here's a sampling of emails from former Laurel Bay residents to Marine Corps officials about cancer concerns:
Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center responds to critiques in their pediatric cancer study:
This story was originally published December 8, 2017, 11:59 AM.
I was recently hiking in the Sausal Creek canyon. It’s filled with ivy so prevalent that it reaches like long lianas up to two hundred feet, hanging from the top to the bottom of the canyon. But there are gorgeous bay laurels and oaks as well, and swordhead ferns. Hoping to help a Bay laurel that had only a bit of ivy starting up it–about twenty feet in extension–I started pulling off long curtains of ivy. The bark became exposed; acorns were caught in it, and about a quarter inch of a rich soil covered the bark since t...
I was recently hiking in the Sausal Creek canyon. It’s filled with ivy so prevalent that it reaches like long lianas up to two hundred feet, hanging from the top to the bottom of the canyon. But there are gorgeous bay laurels and oaks as well, and swordhead ferns. Hoping to help a Bay laurel that had only a bit of ivy starting up it–about twenty feet in extension–I started pulling off long curtains of ivy. The bark became exposed; acorns were caught in it, and about a quarter inch of a rich soil covered the bark since the trunk arced at an angle. I saw a black beetle, about half an inch long, skitter away. I realized that I had disturbed a little ecosystem in its own rights, and I’d just taken a comforting habitat from that beetle, and maybe other creatures as well. I’d really like to help protect these trees. My question is this: is it more beneficial for animals, trees, and plants in the long run to not pull the ivy off, or to pull it out? Thank you! –Dangling in Oakland
Hi Dangling in Oakland,
Your question brings up an interesting quandary — does removing a non-native species hurt wildlife? If your beetle was in the ivy, did you do it a disservice by destroying its home?
Ivy refers to ornamental vines that our earlier Victorian residents thought beautiful. There are a few species common to the Bay Area: English ivy, Canary Island ivy (a cousin to English ivy with larger, glossier leaves) and Cape ivy. All three are fast-growing vines, and quite hardy in our area. They replace native vegetation, including trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants, sometimes very rapidly. Ivy eliminates the ability of other plants to reproduce by outcompeting their seedlings for light. It smothers existing shrubs and trees by climbing and enshrouding them. These severe consequences in riparian corridors and woodland areas have earned ivies a “high” statewide negative ecological impact rating in the California Invasive Plant Council Inventory.
When invasive plants take over, not only is native plant biodiversity reduced, but many insect and animal populations suffer. The ground cover ivies produce reduces habitat quality for ground-feeding birds such as the dark-eyed junco, and spotted and California towhee. Ground-dwelling bees have more difficulty finding suitable substrates for their homes. Ivy does provide excellent cover for small rodents, especially rats in urban areas such as Sausal Creek, which can have further detrimental effects on nesting birds.
Some insects evolved with specific trees or shrubs such as madrones or oaks; their larvae feed on the leaves or flowers. The beetle you found in the ivy may have been a native beetle that relies on native species in some way. Or it may have been more of a generalist, not necessarily needing to live in a rich native-based ecology but participating in the small ecosystem the ivy and the bay tree were creating with pockets of soil and debris. These micro-ecosystems occur without the ivy in place, and your beetle is very likely to have been able to make a new home easily after disturbance – on wood or leaf debris on the ground, or moss on bark.
In general, if an invasive species has such a strong negative impact on biodiversity, it is beneficial to remove it. Currently the Cal-IPC is promoting responsible practices to reduce spreading such as trimming to prevent fruiting and to reduce seed dispersal by birds, and disposing of viable vegetation so re-rooting does not occur.
The Friends of Sausal Creek has an ivy removal team that meets the second Sunday morning of the month. They strip ivy from trees and remove understory English/ and Canary Island ivy. They also work on removing Cape Ivy in Joaquin Miller Park, so it doesn’t spread further into our watersheds.
Cat Chang is often found with her University of San Francisco architecture students learning how architects and urban designers can better support nature as we develop our cities. She loves to get out into our natural spaces to understand better what amazing relationships are happening between native species.
Ask the Naturalist is a reader-funded bimonthly column with the California Center for Natural History that answers your questions about the natural world of the San Francisco Bay Area. Have a question for the naturalist? Fill out our question form or email us at atn at baynature.org!
About the Author
Cat Chang is often found with her University of San Francisco architecture students learning how architects and urban designers can better support nature as we develop our cities. She loves to get out into our natural spaces to understand better what amazing relationships are happening between native species.
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