- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) - The Nature Conservancy is protecting from development more than 1,000 acres in Onslow County, creating a buffer between Croatan National Forest and Camp Lejeune.

Area media outlets report the acquisition announced Monday was partially funded by the U.S. Marine Corps.

The purchase will provide habitat for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and create a corridor for wildlife to roam between the base and the forest.

The conservation group has now protected more than 65,000 acres in the area known as the Onslow Bight. The area includes upland forests as well as islands, marsh and waterfront between the lower Northeast Cape Fear River and the Pamlico River and reaches about 30 miles inland.

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