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Acub project Progress Report


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ACUB Project Progress Report


  1. Project Title: Prairie Habitat Quality Monitoring




  1. Project Lead: Gail Olson, WDFW, 360-902-2585, olsongso@dfw.wa.gov




  1. Project Site

This study is being conducted on all ACUB prairies: Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve (NAP), Glacial Heritage Preserve, Rocky Prairie NAP, Scatter Creek Wildlife Area, West Rocky Wildlife Area, Morgan Preserve, Wolfhaven, and Bald Hills NAP.


  1. Executive Summary

Prairie quality sampling was conducted on two prairies, Glacial Heritage Preserve and the North Unit of Scatter Creek Wildlife Area, according to protocols established during the 2007 field season. Approximately 3900, 25 x 25 m plots on Glacial Heritage and 1900 plots on Scatter Creek were sampled for cover, abundance, presence/absence of key prairie plant species, and other characteristics used to assess prairie quality. In a subset of these plots (one out of every 10), we estimated cover of all species found in a 1x 1m plot, with approximately 390 and 190 small plots surveyed at Glacial Heritage and Scatter Creek.


  1. Project Goals and Objectives

1. Develop a protocol for monitoring trend over time of prairie habitat quality, including specific characteristics important to each ACUB species.

2. Apply protocol to all ACUB properties.




  1. Methods

Prairie quality surveys were conducted according to protocols established during 2007, with two types of sampling employed. The entire prairie area was divided into 25 x 25 m grid cells that were each surveyed for cover, abundance, and presence/absence of key prairie plant species, as well as other important characteristics used to assess prairie habitat quality (see attached data sheet). Within every tenth grid cell, a 1 x 1m plot was established in the southwest corner, and cover was estimated for all plant species (as well as bare ground, moss/lichen, and thatch) within the plot. The same cover categories used for the larger plot sampling were used for the small plots.
There were a few changes made to the protocols used in 2007, based on discussions during an ACUB cooperators workshop in Februrary 2008. All of the changes were with respect to 25 x 25 m cell sampling. Abundance estimates of Lupinus spp. and Plantago spp. were restricted to L. albicaulis only, and P. lanceolata only, respectively. Abundance estimates of Lomatium were added for the two species L. utriculatum and L. triternatum (combined), with abundance categories based on discussions with prairie restoration ecologists. These categories are listed on the attached data form.


  1. Results and Discussion

One entire (Glacial Heritage) and one partial (Scatter Creek) prairie were sampled in Summer 2008. The survey season started late (the third week in May) due to a late spring and slow onset of plant growth. Six field botanists were hired to do the sampling, only three of whom had experience identifying prairie plants. This led to a lengthy training period. Sampling continued through the first week of August, after which we no longer felt confident that plants could be properly identified or measured consistent with earlier season estimates.
We made another protocol change during the field season regarding Lomatium. By the time field work began at Scatter Creek (in mid-July), it was too difficult to detect Lomatium reliably to continue with this sampling. In test plots re-sampled at Glacial Heritage Preserve, only one of five plots surveyed that contained Lomatium in May were recorded as containing Lomatium in July. Further, the difficulty of finding Lomatium in July was slowing survey rates considerably. Therefore, we discontinued recording abundance of Lomatium when we moved on to Scatter Creek.
Data are still being processed, but approximately 3900, 25 x 25 m grid cells were surveyed at Glacial Heritage Preserve and more than 1800 cells were surveyed at Scatter Creek (the entire North Unit). The number of 1m2 plots sampled is unknown as yet, but should be approximately 390 and 180, respectively.


  1. Future Plans

The most immediate plans for this study are to conduct additional analyses of the data and make comparisons to data collected from Mima Mounds and Rocky Prairie Natural Areas in 2007. Spatially explicit maps of the data from the 25 x 2 5m plots will be constructed, and summary statistics will be computed for all data collected. Among other things, these summary statistics will be used to conduct power analyses that will be used to design a resampling plan for continued monitoring of these prairie areas.

There are five prairies yet to be surveyed: the South Unit of Scatter Creek Wildlife Area, West Rocky Wildlife Area, Morgan Preserve, Wolfhaven, and Bald Hills NAP. Using the 2007 and 2008 field seasons as a guide, and based on a 6-person crew, we should complete sampling of all areas except Bald Hills during the 2009 field season. Currently, partial funding for the 2009 field season is available through the Legacy Program, but additional ACUB funds will be needed to complete 2009 sampling.


Data sheet for 25 x 25 m plot sampling, Glacial Heritage and Scatter Creek North, 2008.



Name:

Date:

Location:

Filename:




Plot Number

25 x 25 m plots






















Variable

Measure



















Festuca roemeri

Cover



















Carex inops

Cover



















Bare ground

Cover



















Bracken Fern

Cover



















Tall oatgrass

Cover



















Shrub cover (> 0.5 m)

Cover



















Scotch broom cover

Cover



















Scotch broom height

Height



















Castilleja hispida

Class



















Viola adunca

Class



















Balsamorhiza deltoidea

Class



















Plantago lanceolata

Class



















Lomatium

Class



















Lupinus albicaulis

Class



















Vicia

P/A



















Road/trail

P/A



















Douglas-fir

P/A



















Oregon White Oak

P/A



















Gopher mounds

Class



















Mole mounds

Class



















Unknown fossorial rodent

Class



















Sulfur cinquefoil

P/A



















Knapweed spp.

P/A



















Hieracium pilosella

P/A



















Stumps

Cover











































Cover Class

Range of Coverage






Broom height cover classes

Classes







0

0%







1

0m







1

<1%







2

0.1 - 1m







2

1-5%






3

1.1 - 2m







3

6-10%






4

2.1 - 3m







4

11-20%






5

> 3m







5

21-30%


















6

31-40%


















7

41-50%


















8

51-60%



















9

61-70%



















10

71-80%



















11

81-90%



















12

91-100%











































Abundance class

None (0)

Light (1)

Moderate (2)

Dense (3)










Castilleja hispida

None

<5 plants

6-15 plants

>15 plants










Balsamorhiza deltoidea

None

<5 plants

6-15 plants

>15 plants










Lupinus albicaulis

None

1.0 - 15

15 - 30

>30










Plantago lanceolata

None

Light (1)

Moderate (2)

Dense (3)










Lomatium utriculatum and L. triternatum

None

Light (1)

Moderate (2)

Dense (3)










Viola adunca

None

Light (1)

Moderate (2)

Dense (3)










Pocket gopher, mole

None

10 mounds/plot

11-20 Mounds/plot

> 20 Mounds/plot










Abundance classes

Plantago,Viola




Lomatium













Light (1)

No patch 4m2 in size or greater with an average of 10 plants/m2










Moderate (2)

1 patch




2-3 patches













Dense (3)

2 or more patches




4 or more patches






























































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