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Invasive plants - terrestrial
Earlier this year, we received a 3-year RAC Title II grant from the USDA Forest Service. The goal of this project, entitled ""Invasive plants inventory and control in Sylvania and Perimeter Area", is to assist the Ottawa National Forest (ONF) in their invasive plant monitoring and control work in Sylvania and Perimeter Area.
With the help of 3 part-time interns and 9 volunteers (who donated about 300 hours of field work), we focussed on the following invasives in Sylvania:
- Japanese barberry which is moving into Sylvania from the west
- garlic mustard which is brought in by visitors (it is found only on campsites)
- European swamp thistle, Canada thistle, and Bull thistle which are concentrated around the shores of Clark, Loon, Deer Island, and Big Bateau Lakes but are also found in many other spots both within and outside of the Sylvania Wilderness area
- spotted knapweed which is found on Clark Lake north beach and along most of the roads within Sylvania
The ONF, at the beginning of the season, provided us with a list of known invasives sites in Sylvania and Perimeter Area that had been reported by Forest Service employees and volunteers. We spent the field season visiting many of those known sites as well as identifying new sites, and removing all invasive plants found at those sites. The following summarizes the work done:
approximately 780 acres which includes the following:
- Lakes (shoreslines and islands): Big Bateau, Clark, Corey, Crooked, Cubb, Deer Island, Devil's Head, Fisher, Florence, Glimmerglass, Hay, Helen, Katherine, Loon, Louise, southern end of Snap Jack, Whitefish
- Trails and portages: to and between the above mentioned lakes
- Road: "FR 6380" on the west side as far as the Sylvania boundary, on the east side about 0.1 mi into the forest
- Road: "535" mostly along the south side from Helen Lake going westward
- Road: "Old 535 - road between Crooked and Clark Lake" on both sides
- Parking lots: Clark and Crooked Lake
- Beach areas: at the north and south end of Clark Lake
Invasive plant sites:
The ONF had provided us with a list of 133 invasive plant sites representing 24 different species. Our survey resulted in the identification of an additional 158 invasive plant sites representing 11 species (the 6 species mentioned above plus a few others that we started to get interested in). Specifically:
Japanese barberry...ONF#:29...FoS#:38....Current total: 67
All 3 thistle species..ONF#:42...FoS#:90....Current total: 132
Spotted knapweed..ONF#:..5...FoS#:..3....Current total: 18*
Garlic mustard........ONF#:..2...FoS#:..1....Current total: 1 **
*this plant is found along most of the roads and parking lots within the Sylvania Perimeter area. Identifying new locations in that area was not very useful.
**this was good news: we found that plant only in one of the previously identified locations and found no new sites.
Invasive plants - aquatic
Eurasian water-milfoil: An infestation of this aquatic plant in Crooked Lake (north bay) was first discovered in 2002. Since then, the ONF has surveyed the bay every year. Friends of Sylvania volunteers again participated in the survey. See pictures and read more...
Modification of the Crooked Lake Boat Landing
In September 2011, the Ottawa National Forest released a 5-page proposal, consisting of 3 options aimed at reducing the threat of introducing and spreading aquatic invasive species into Crooked Lake. The Friends of Sylvania and several other concerned individuals and environmental groups strongly supported the option that involved modifying the Crooked Lake boat launch to make it a "carry-down" facility. On April 5, 2012, the Ottawa National Forest announced that a gate had been installed at the Crooked Lake boat landing. See pictures and read more...
Trail and portage clearing
Most of the trail and portage clearing of fallen trees in Sylvania is being done by volunteers. The tools they use are, however, very simple since no mechanized equipment is permitted in the Wilderness. Several times a year, volunteers attack huge tree trunks using nothing but a two-man saw, a bow saw, and an ax. For a log and pictures of recent trail and portage clearing activities click here.
Talks and informational hikes: In 2011, the Friends of Sylvania again invited Dr. Lee Frelich, Director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Hardwood Ecology, to give a talk at the ONF Visitor Center and to lead a hike through the forest the following morning. Both events were co-sponsored with the ONF. The title of this year's talk was 'Climate change, invasive species, and Sylvania'. Read more...
Native plants garden: For many years, only one type of flower grew in the L-shaped flower box next to the day-use building: Dendalion. In 2010, with support from the ONF, we began to establish a native plants garden. More plants were added in 2011. See pictures and read more...
National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance: We became a founding member of this new organization. The mission of the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance is to develop a growing network of volunteer-based organizations to provide stewardship for America's enduring resource of wilderness.