The upland vegetation is red maple (Acer rubrum) and sugar maple (A.saccharum) forest on the upper slope, and mixed oak forest on the lower slope. The wetland forest is dominated by red maple, but hemlock and white pine are also abundant. The swamp thicket near the inlet is dominated by meadowsweet (Spiraea alba), silky dogwood (Cornus amomum), cranberry viburnum (Viburnum trilobum), and smooth alder (Alnus serrulata). The shrub thicket at the inlet is part of a very large drainage divide swamp.
Along the inlet creek, rare freshwater sponges of the genus Spongilla have been found. Sponges are extremely sensitive to pollutants and disturbance, but thrive in clear, clean, calcareous streams like this one. Some sponges, like this one, are found only in a single or a few localities. Once out of upstate New York, you have to head for Siberia to locate some of these sponges again. Other aquatic organisms make the sponges home. The spongilla flies, related to lacewings, are entirely dependent on the sponges as a food source.
Appalachian oak-hickory forest
A hardwood forest with more than 60% canopy cover of trees that occurs on well-drained sites, usually on flat hilltops, upper slopes, or south and west facing slopes. Dominant trees include one or more of red oak, white oak, and black oak. Mixed with oaks, are one or more of pignut, shagbark, and sweet pignut hickory. Common associates are white ash, red maple, and hop hornbeam. Small trees include flowering dogwood, witch hazel, shadbush, and choke cherry. Shrubs and groundlayer flora are diverse. Shrubs include maple-leaved viburnum, blueberries, red raspberry, gray dogwood, and beaked hazelnut.
A planted stand of commercial trees species, usually for timber purposes. Usually a monoculture, but they may be mixed stands with two or more species. Species typically planted include white pine, red pine, Scotch pine, Norway spruce, Douglas fir, European larch, and Japanese larch.
Deep emergent marsh
Deep marshes have a water depth ranging from 15 cm to 2 m. The substrate is almost always wet and there is usually standing water in autumn. Characteristic vegetation includes emergent aquatics such as yellow pond lily, white waterlily, cattails, bulrushes, burreed, and arrow arum. Disturbed marshes may have purple loosestrife, reedgrass, or reed canary grass. Marsh communities occur on mineral soils or fine-grained organic soils that are permanently saturated. They are often found near the Finger Lakes or in wetlands near a drainage divide. Because water levels may fluctuate, exposing substrate and aerating the soil, there is little or no accumulation of peat.
A swamp on mineral soils overlain with peat that occurs in depressions which may receive ground water discharge. The swamp may be flooded in spring and dry by late summer. The forest commonly occurs on very acid (pH<4.5) woody peat at margins of small rain fed basins. The canopy is usually fairly closed and there is a sparse shrub and ground layer. Characteristic trees are hemlock, yellow birch, and red maple, black ash, and, formerly, American elm. Locally, white pine may be one of the dominant trees. Tall shrubs of acid wetlands such as highbush blueberry, black chokeberry and Viburnum cassinoides are present. The herb layer may be sparse and species-poor. Characteristic herbs are Canada mayflower, cinnamon fern, and goldthread.
Hemlock-northern hardwood forest
A forest that typically occurs on lower slopes of ravines, on cool, mid-elevation slopes, and at the edges of drainage divide swamps. Hemlock is a co-dominant species with one to three others: beech, sugar maple, red maple, black cherry, white pine, yellow birch, black birch, red oak, and basswood. Shrubs have low abundance, but striped maple may be present. Herbs characteristic of northern and montane areas are common.
Main channel stream
The aquatic community of a large, quiet, base level sections of streams with clearly distinguished meanders and no distinct riffles. The middle of the main channel stream is too deep for aquatic macrophytes, but the shallow shores and backwaters typically have rooted macrophytes. There, mosses in the genus Fontinalis are characteristic as is an exotic weed, Eurasian milfoil. Persistent emergent vegetation is lacking.
Red maple-hardwood swamp
A swamp that occurs in poorly drained upland depressions usually on acidic muck over clay. The bedrock is usually shale. Red maple or silver maple may dominate alone or with yellow birch. Black ash, white pine and hemlock may also be present. The shrub layer is quite dense and includes spicebush, winterberry, black chokeberry, highbush blueberry, red-osier dogwood, arrowwood, and nannyberry. The herb layer is often dominated by cinnamon fern. Herbs include skunk cabbage, jewelweed, and sedges.
Rich hemlock-hardwood peat swamp
A swamp that occurs in depressions or concave slopes which typically receive groundwater discharge through calcareous gravels of glacial deposits. Peat deposits are present. These swamps usually have a fairly open canopy (50 to 70% cover) with scattered shrubs. The herb layer may be dense and diverse, especially herbs with northern distributions. Characteristic canopy trees are hemlock (> 20% cover), red maple, yellow birch, black ash, white pine, smooth shadbush, balsam fir, and white cedar. Locally, the type includes “fir-tree” swamps. Characteristic shrubs and vines are swamp buckthorn, highbush blueberry, red-osier dogwood, swamp gooseberry, nannyberry, white clematis, and dwarf raspberry. This ecological community type is associated with rich fens.
Shallow emergent marsh
A shallow marsh is better drained than a deep emergent marsh; water depths may range from 15 cm to 1 m during flood stages, but the water level usually drops by mid- to late-summer and the substrate is exposed. Characteristic plants include bluejoint grass, reed canary grass, cutgrass, manna grass, spikerushes, bulrushes, sweetflag, wild iris, and water smartweed. Marsh communities occur on mineral soils or fine-grained organic soils that are permanently saturated. They are often found near the Finger Lakes or in wetlands near a drainage divide. Because water levels may fluctuate, exposing substrate and aerating the soil, there is little or no accumulation of peat.
A shrub dominated wetland that occurs along a lake or river, in a wet depression, or as a transition between wetland and upland communities. The substrate is usually mineral soil or muck. Alder, willows, or red-osier and silky dogwoods are common dominant species. Other characteristic shrub species include gray dogwoods, meadowsweet, highbush blueberry, winterberry, spicebush, viburnums, and buttonbush. A few red maple trees may be present. The herb layer is lush and diverse, and typically includes species found in sedge-grass meadows.
Successional northern hardwoods
A forest with more than 60% canopy cover of trees that occurs on sites that have been cleared or otherwise disturbed. Dominant trees are usually two or more of the following: red maple, white pine, white ash, gray birch, quaking aspen, big-tooth aspen, and, less frequently, sugar maple and white ash. Tree seedlings and saplings may be of more shade tolerant species. Shrubs and ground cover species may be those of old-fields. In abandoned pasturelands apples and hawthorns may be present in the understory.
Successional old field
A meadow on sites cleared, plowed, and then abandoned. The ragweed type occurs on fields 1 to 3 years after last cultivation; ragweed, daisy, Queen Anne’s lace, crab grass, golden foxtail, and chickweed are common. The goldenrod subtype occurs 3 – 15 years after last cultivation. Dominant species are perennial composites: goldenrods and asters. Other herbs include timothy, orchard grass, smooth brome, bluegrasses, quackgrass, sweet vernal grass, evening primrose, old-field cinquefoil, wild strawberry, and hawkweeds. Shrubs and trees represent less than 50% cover but include gray dogwood, arrowwood, raspberries, blackberries, sumac, red maple and white pine.