Due to the construction and activation of the man-made dam on lake Hartwell in the late 1950s, the proportion of land for this study was transformed into a wetland as a result of lack of efficient water drainage. With the wetland being in an early successional stage containing mostly bedstraw (Galium sp.) and hazel alder (Alnus serrulata), it was thought the area would be acceptable to transform into the forested wetland it had been previously. Through methods of hydraulic modification, planting of woody vegetation consisting of trees and shrubs, the stabilization of existing outlets, and the establishment of a 50 foot buffer around the perimeter, a quick but defining enhancement of the wetland is conceivable. Although challenged by space, the planting of 150-300 stems per acre is predicted to have a 75% survival rate in five years resulting in a maturing oak and hickory hardwood forest.
Students finish up with the CVS plots.
Frost can be seen on the vegetation, after a freeze in January.
In the photo below, Creative Inquiry students are doing their annual surveys of the CVS plots.
500 native bottomland hardwood species were planted with a combination of containerized, bare-root and livestake stock utilized. Some trees that were planted include River Birch (Betula nigra) Black Willow (Salix nigra), Box Elder (Acer negundo).
The CI students had to determine stem count and percent cover for each plot. CVS plots give the ability to observe change in growth, biomass density, species diversity, and successional change patterns throughout the time span of the restoration process.
Creative Inquiry students established Carolina Vegetative Survey (CVS) plots to monitor the development of the community overall. We designated eight different areas of the wetland to observe and quantify vascular plant species. By spreading the plots throughout the wetland, we are able to get an appropriate idea at the relative abundance and species richness of the diversity of species.