Plant and Animal Communities by Gina Frederick

Plant Community

Plants found along the entire marina shore line include wetland, facultative wetland, and facultative upland plants which are often found in coastal plain ecosystems. Trees and shrubs found along the lake bank include Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana), Ash (Fraxinus), Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra), Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum), Buttonwood (Ceonothus americanus), Alder (Alnus), Black Willow (Salix nigra), and Gray Dogwood (Cornus racemosa).

Herbaceous plants along the bank include Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), Lanceleaf Goldenrod (Euthamia graminifolia), Dogbane (Apocynm cannabinum), Softrush (Juncus effusus), New England Aster (Aster novae-angliae), Purple-stemmed Aster (Aster puniceus), Spotted Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium maculatum), Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia), American Bur Reed (Sparganium americanum), Sweet Woodreed (Cinna arundinacea), Poverty Rush (Juncus tenuis), Marsh Purslane (Ludwigia palustris,) and Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota).

Unfortunately, robust populations of invasive species also populate areas of the marina. Invasives present in significant quantities include Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora), Loosestrife (Lythrum alicaria), Crown Vetch (Coronilla varia), Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellata), and Mulberry (Morus rubra).

Animal Community

A diverse array of invertebrate and vertebrate animal life occupy niches of terrestrial, wetland, and aquatic habitats within the watershed. While large populations of common mammals in the area include gray squirrels, groundhogs, opossums, and raccoon, sizable populations of red squirrels and flying squirrels are also present. Weasel, mink, and ermine are much less common but are still present. Both the introduced red fox and native gray fox occur within the watershed (Princeton Hydro & Boucher & James, 2005)

Many bird species inhabit the watershed, including nineteen rare breeders. In the Quakertown Swamp alone, 91 species of birds have been documented. Among the rare birds found in the watershed, sora rail and virginia rail, found within the wetland areas, are particularly noteworthy.

“The mix of agricultural lands, abandoned agricultural field, mature forest, and wetlands is important in maintaining the diversity of the bird fauna. For instance, many rare bird species in the region are dependent of the shifting mosaic of old field and meadow in areas formerly used for agriculture. If these fields are not maintained at periodic intervals, they eventually shift toward forested habitats and the communities of birds (and other animals) that depend on the meadow habitats are lost from the system.” 

— Princeton Hydro & Boucher & James, 2005

Birds which may be lost without adequate meadow habitat include grasshopper sparrow, bobolink, northern harrier, and woodcock.

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