• Start-up
  • Planning
  • Action
  • Evaluation
This project seeks to maintain high-quality wetland communities and restore a diverse mix of prairie, savanna, and forest resembling Michigan's historical landscape matrix. The preserve also provides critical habitat for imperiled species and opportunities for public visitation and engagement.

Project Area

Closeup of wildflowers at Saul Lake Bog
Saul Lake Bog Nature Preserve is a 123 acre area protecting a rare bog ecosystem and other wetlands. Because of it's location, access, and trails, it also provides the opportunity for people to experience nature, and this is encouraged through volunteer stewardship and connections with area naturalists and educators who use the property. Management is focused on all six of the distinct natural community types found in the preserve, including bog, southern hardwood swamp, mesic southern forest, dry-mesic southern forest, dry-mesic prairie, and old field.

Management Goals

  • Maintaining high quality wetland communities, restoring a diverse mix of prairie, savanna, and forest resembling Michigan’s historical landscape matrix and providing critical habitat for imperiled species.
  • Maintaining a multi-purpose preserve providing meaningful opportunities for volunteer stewardship, environmental education, and nature enjoyment while protecting the bog and other sensitive natural features.

Challenges and Opportunities

Climate change will present challenges and opportunities for accomplishing the management objectives of this project, including:

Challenges

Maintaining species composition and diversity could become more challenging with changing conditions.
Increased runnoff could change acidity and nutrients in the bog, giving invasives more opportunity to establish.
Droughty conditions could negatively impact sphagnum in the bog, drive changes in species composition, and facilitate the expansion of invasives like knapweed.
Changing temperature and hydrology could shift the timing of acceptable prescribed burn windows.

Opportunities

Increased spring precipitation may be able to keep water levels high for longer, supporting wetland ecosystems and mitigating the effects of drier summers.
Hotter, drier conditions will generally benefit the prairie community.
Proactive planting provides the opportunity to increase the FQI (floristic quality index) of some of the ecosystem types on the property.

Adaptation Actions

Project participants used the Adaptation Workbook to develop several adaptation actions for this project, including:

Area/Topic
Approach
Tactics
Bog
Acquire adjacent lands to ensure appropriate buffers, reduce potential impacts from runoff, and increase diversity and redundancy
Hardwood Swamp
Maintain/expand forested buffers around kettle ponds
Maintain canopy long-term by promoting/planting well-adapted tree species (e.g. blackgum, sycamore, hackberry, silver maple, river birch, swamp white oak).
Manage deer to improve tree regeneration (possible)
Prairie
Continue to use prescribed fire consistent with best practices.
Collect seeds from a greater variety of sites while still honoring local genotype requirement; increase diversity of seed mixes overall.
Enhance wet sales by shallow excavation
Forest
Use a combination of fire and thinning to reduce red maple, beech (and possibly thin oak) in dry-mesic forest
Plant/encourage well-adapted tree species (e.g. bur oak, chinkapin oak, pignut hickory, shagbark hickory).

Monitoring

Project participants identified several monitoring items that could help inform future management, including:
water level
water quality (nutrients, pH)
plant diversity and composition, including rare plants
tree canopy % cover
red maple canopy % in dry-mesic forest

Learn More

To learn more about this project, contact
Kristen
.

Keywords

Management plan
Wetlands
Wildlife habitat