2.3.1 Vegetation

Figure 8 shows pre-settlement vegetation in the watershed.  The lower subwatershed was primarily oak savannah (oak openings and barrens) with patches of wet and dry prairie and a big woods community in the Chain of Lakes area.  The upper watershed was located in the big woods region, an area of maple-basswood and oak forest punctuated by wet prairie in the low lying areas. 

Most of the subwatershed has been converted to developed or agricultural use, and only a few patches of undisturbed vegetation remain.  The largest of these have been conserved in the DNR’s Wolsfeld Woods and Wood-Rill Scientific and Natural Areas in the Long Lake Creek subwatershed.  Other, smaller patches have been conserved in the Carver and Baker Regional Park Reserves managed by the Three Rivers Park District.  The Minnesota County Biological Survey (MCBS) has identified those locations in the watershed with intact native plant communities, and those with biodiversity significance (see Figure 9). 

Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Species.  The DNR Natural Heritage and Nongame Research Program maintains a database of observations of rare plant and animal species compiled from historical records from museum collections and published information supplemented with data from years of field work.  Table 8 shows the rare plant species listed in that database as being observed recently or at some time in the past within the watershed. 

Table 8.  Rare plant species observed in the MCWD.

Scientific Name

Name

Last Observed

Federal Status

State Status

Gaura Biennis

Biennial Gaura

1971

 

Not listed but rare

Valeriana Edulis var. Ciliata

Valerian

1891

 

Threatened

Panax Quinquefolius

American Ginseng

1995

 

Special concern

Huperzia Porophila

Rock Clubmoss

1902

 

Threatened

Note:  Current as of 2005.  Not based on a comprehensive survey of the state or watershed.  Absence of observation does not mean other species are not present.

Source:  Natural Heritage and Nongame Research Program of the Division of Ecological Services, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The MCBS identifies native plant communities, which are a group of native plants that interact with each other and the surrounding environment in ways not greatly altered by humans or by introduced plant or animal species. Table 9 indicates the native plant community types that have been identified in the watershed.

Table 9.   Native plant community types observed in the MCWD.

Community Type

Community Type

Black ash swamp seepage subtype

Rich fen (transition) floating-mat subtype

Tamarack swamp minerotrophic subtype

Maple-basswood forest (big woods)

Moist cliff (southeast)

 

Note:  Current as of 2005.  Not based on a comprehensive survey of the state or watershed.  Absence of observation does not mean other species or community types are not present.

Source:  Natural Heritage and Nongame Research Program of the Division of Ecological Services, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).