Nearly 800 acres of floodplain forest in Bertie and Hertford Counties is now protected. The Coastal Land Trust announced on Tuesday the purchase includes nearly all of Keel Creek, near the town of Colerain. According to a news release, the area contains the heart of Cow Island Swamp which the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program identified as “ecologically significant” due to its mature and expansive bald cypress and tupelo gum forest. The newly protected tract is situated along three miles of the Chowan River, which provides nursery habitat for a variety of fish species as well as several rare mollusk, fish and crayfish species. The Coastal Land Trust has conserved more than 4,000 acres within the river basin.