Sharon Mills Final Report

— filed under:

Sharon Mills County Park
Natural Features Inventory 2004

Sharon Mills County Park is located along the Raisin River in southwestern Washtenaw County. The grounds surrounding the historic mill are mowed and landscaped, while the natural community lying beyond the maintained area to the east is floodplain forest. The Raisin River provides excellent habitat for birds, especially the pond created by the dam west of Sharon Hollow Road.

Plant Inventory

Sharon Mills Park was surveyed once per month between May and September 2004. During this time 201 total species were recorded, including155 native species. The florisitic quality index for native species was 42.7, and with adventives, 37.5.

The main natural community of the park is floodplain forest, with silver maple (Acer saccharinum) and red ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) dominating the canopy. The forest has a number of common floodplain herbaceous species, such as the cardinal-flower (Lobelia cardinalis), great blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica), and white grass (Leersia virginica). Native herbaceous dominants include false nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica), sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis), swamp buttercup (Ranunculus hispidus), and purple meadow rue (Thalictrum dasycarpum).

While there are a number of high quality plants and mature trees, the forest, especially directly east of the mowed area, is highly degraded with a number of wood chip piles and an abundance of non-native species, dominated by multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora).

A small portion of a prairie fen is located on the park property in the northeastern corner. The plants present in the fen have a high coefficient of conservatism. Since this habitat represents only a fractional portion of the park, these species were not included in the overall floristic quality assessment, but were included in the database at the end and marked with an asterisk (*).

Most aquatic plants included in the floristic quality assessment were located along the dam to the west of Sharon Hollow Road.

To view the plant inventory list, click on the following link SM_inv

Bird Inventory

An inventory of birds was also conducted once per month with the most extensive observations during May and June to record migratory and nesting bird activity. The river corridor, the woodlands, and even the non-native shrubs provide excellent habitat for birds to nest and forage. A total of 35 species were observed.

Species

Observed

Singing/

Pair

Nest

Fledglings

Calling

American Crow

x

American Goldfinch

x

x

x

American Robin

x

x

x

Baltimore Oriole

x

x

x

x

Belted Kingfisher

x

Black-capped Chickadee

x

x

x

Blue Jay

x

x

x

x

x

Brown-headed Cowbird

x

x

x

Canada goose

x

x

x

x

Cedar Waxwing

x

x

x

Chipping Sparrow

x

Common Grackle

x

x

Common Yellowthroat

x

x

x

x

Downy Woodpecker

x

x

Eastern Phoebe

x

x

x

Eastern Wood-Pewee

x

x

Fox Sparrow

x

Gray Catbird

x

x

x

Hairy Woodpecker

x

x

Mallard

x

x

x

Mourning Dove

x

x

x

Northern Cardinal

x

x

x

x

x

Northern Flicker

x

x

Palm Warbler

x

Red-bellied Woodpecker

x

x

Red-winged Blackbird

x

x

x

Rock Dove

x

x

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

x

x

x

x

Song Sparrow

x

x

Tree Swallow

x

Tufted Titmouse

x

x

x

Turkey Vulture

x

Veery

x

White-breasted Nuthatch

x

x

x

Yellow Warbler

x

x

x

Yellow-rumped Warbler

x

Frog and Toad Inventory

Green frogs and wood frogs were observed between April and September 2004. Green frogs were observed along the banks of the Raisin River, and wood frogs were observed in the floodplain forest.

Management Recommendations

The floodplain forest has quite a few mature trees, mostly silver maple and red ash, but the understory diversity has been degraded by the presence of invasive shrubs, primarily multiflora rose. There is evidence of quite a bit of disturbance in the southern peninsula of the property with large wood chip piles scattered throughout. The floodplain to the north of the mill race is less disturbed and has a healthier understory, but this area, too, is rather thick with woody and herbaceous invasives, such as garlic mustard (Alliaria officinalis) and dame's rocket (Hesperis matronalis).

Restoring the native flora of this park would require a significant investment of time and money to eradicate the invasive plants. Woody invasives would need to be cut and painted with glycerol for a number of years before native plants could outcompete them. Garlic mustard and dame's rocket would need to be pulled so as not to spread further.

Document Actions
Google Translate