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Bluegrass Lane Wetland

This drainage-divide marsh dominated by wetland herbs and shrubs is one of the few large wetlands remaining close to campus. It is a place where water-level fluctuations in response to changes in the local water table can readily be seen. As it is a drainage divide, sometimes water is moving in one direction, sometimes in the opposite direction. The coarse vegetation shows an influence of nutrient-rich runoff from the golf course and the horse pastures.

Ecological Communities

Emergent marshes

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. Characteristic vegetation in deeper marshes includes emergent aquatics such as yellow pond lily, cattails, bulrushes, and arrow arum. Disturbed marshes may have purple loosestrife, reedgrass, or reed canary grass. Characteristic plants in shallower marshes include bluejoint grass, cutgrass, bulrushes, and water smartweed.

Shrub swamp

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.

Wetland headwater stream

The aquatic community of a small, swampy brook with a low gradient, slow flow rate, and cool to cold water that flows through a fen, swamp or marsh near the stream origin. Springs may be present. The substrate is clay, gravel or sand, with silt, muck, peat, or marl deposits along the shore. Characteristic plants include watercress, Chara. Persistent emergent vegetation is lacking.

Bluegrass Lane Meadow

The meadow is dominated by grasses, goldenrods, asters, white bedstraw (Galium mollugo), and hawkweeds (Hieracium spp.). Some rather wet areas are dominated by reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea) and cattails. Parts of the meadow are growing up (succeeding) to common shrubs and small trees.

Ecological Communities

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.

Successional shrubland

A shrubland with at least 50% cover of shrubs that occurs on agricultural fields 10 – 25 years after abandonment, following other disturbance, and especially on sites with restricted drainage. Characteristic shrubs include gray dogwood, raspberries, hawthorn, serviceberries, chokecherry, sumac, nannyberry, arrowwood and buckthorn. Herbs are those of old-fields. Seedlings of white pine, red maple and white ash are usually present.