Thursday, December 24, 2020

Project Report: Oakapiney Beach Resort: Plant Assessment

Tom McLinden requested that I do a plant assessment of the Oakapiney Beach Resort property. I interpreted that as visiting the site to observe and identify the plant species and to summarize observable factors influencing their existence.


So, I visited Oakapiney Beach Resort and collected over six hundred plant identification photographs and notes on June 27th through 29th, 2020.  I spent about fourteen hours foraying (super fun) around the approximately four acre site. The weather was amazing every day, sunny with a high of 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The plant assessment resulted in observing a total of 120 plant species. Of those, I identified 106 plant species to the species level, including 14 species of trees, 35 shrubs and vines, 45 wildflowers, 3 grasses, 3 rushes, 4 sedges, and 2 ferns. Of those, 84 species are native, whereas 22 species are introduced. I observed five species of grass (Poaceae family), two species of Sedge (Carex spp.) and one species of Horsetail or Scouring Rush (Equisetum spp.), all of which I was unable to identify to the species level.

There were six additional plants that I was unable to identify, including the above photo's specimen.  With that flower, some one should recognize this species!.  If you do, please comment below!

Coefficient of Conservatism is a scale from 0 to 10 that indicates an estimated probability that a plant is likely to occur in a landscape relatively unaltered from a pre-settlement condition. Species designated with a Coefficient of Conservation of 10 usually only occur in high quality natural habitat remnants. These plants are likely the quickest to disappear as the landscape experiences anthropomorphic influence.

So, it is always super special to see any species with a high Coefficient of Conservation. Of the native species, eight have a Coefficient of Conservatism of 8 or above. On the Oakapiney Beach Resort site, the species observed which have a Coefficient of Conservation of 10 are the perennial wildflower, Anticlea elegans (White Camas), and the shrubs, Hypericum kalmianum (Kalm’s St. John’s-wort), and Salix cordata (Sand-dune Willow, Furry Willow). The species which has a Coefficient of Conservation of 9 is the shrub, Salix myricoides (Blueleaf Willow). The species which have a Coefficient of Conservation of 8 are the perennial wildflower, Aralia racemosa (Spikenard), and the shrubs, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Bearberry, Kinnikinick), Chimaphila umbellata (Pipsissewa, Prince’s-pine), and Rhododendron groenlandicum (Labrador-tea).

I entered the plant assessment results into the Universal Floristic Quality Assessment calculator at The Total Floristic Quality Index (FQI) for the site was 35. The Native FQI was 39.4 and the Adjusted FQI was 38.3. Generally, it is my understanding that an FQI above 35 is considered to be of exceptional quality.  If interested, here are the results generated by the Universal Floristic Quality Assessment calculator.

These particular delicious fruits disappeared into my family's mouths.  In addition to strawberries, there are serviceberries, blueberries, huckleberries, blackberries and raspberries, autumn-olive berries, river-bank grapes, high-bush cranberries, and choke cherries, all available at different times over the growing season at Oakapiney Beach Resort.

An ant enjoying the flower head of Cornus rugosa (Round-leaved Dogwood).

The flowers of Kalmia angustifolia (Sheep-laurel, Lambkill).

This plant assessment was my first. Performing this plant assessment was a huge learning experience. I increased my skills both with plant identification and the process, such that, if I were to tackle a similar effort, I could do so with increased efficiency.

Thank you to Tom McLinden for providing the opportunity to perform this work. My family enjoyed an excellent stay in Cabin #4 for the duration of the site visit.

Lake Erie at sunset is nice.

Here is the full plant assessment report, which includes the list of the identified species and additional observations. 

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