Saunders, Megan , Cooper, Ranessa .
A baseline assessment of a novel sand dune reclamation effort in southwest Michigan's Grand Mere State Park.
The Great Lakes sand dunes, the largest system of freshwater sand dunes in the world, are a natural resource with both ecological and economic value. In 2000, the Michigan DNR (MDNR) proposed a novel reclamation plan to restore one of these dunes after mining practices had ceased. This dune area, the former Manley-Peters Sand Mine (MPSM), is located in Grand Mere State Park in Berrien County, Michigan. Dune reclamation efforts often use an Ammophila breviligulata (beach grass) monoculture to restore disturbed areas. However, the approach at MPSM involved the planting of over 100 native dune species that had been grown from local seed stock. These native taxa were planted among seven microhabitats over a five-year period, and general monitoring of the site began in 2004, while the reclamation was still in progress. In preparation for the current investigation, the site was evaluated again in 2008 to estimate survivorship of the original plantings. In 2011, a hybrid quadrat-transect method was adapted to quantitatively sample five of the seven microhabitats, and the quadrat analyses were performed in spring, early summer, and late summer. Frequencies and Braun-Blanquet cover-abundance values were determined for each species present in the steep slope, gentle slope, prairie, wetpanne, and wetland shelf microhabitats, as well as for the site overall. For instance, Monarda punctata (spotted beebalm) and A. breviligulata, both planted originally, were observed at a 13% frequency and 61% frequency, respectively, for the entire site. A native volunteer to the site, Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed), was observed to have a 23% frequency on the steep slopes, a 25% frequency on the gentle slopes, and a 33% frequency on the prairie. Other native volunteers were present too, such as Helianthus divaricatus (woodland sunflower) and Sassafras albidum (sassafras), as were some invasive taxa, including Bromus tectorum (cheat grass). Our data set indicates a >60% survivorship for the planted dune species post-reclamation. Moreover, the 2011 quantitative assessment will become a baseline for future comparisons of species richness to assist MDNR in monitoring this reclamation effort long-term.
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1 - Hillsdale College, Biology Department, 33 E. College St, Hillsdale, MI, 49242, USA
2 - HILLSDALE COLLEGE, 33 E COLLEGE ST, HILLSDALE, MI, 49242, USA
Grand Mere State Park
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Location: Union C/Hyatt
Date: Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
Time: 3:00 PM