Choate vegetation management project


Sensitive Plants associated with dry northern forest or dry-mesic northern forest



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Sensitive Plants associated with dry northern forest or dry-mesic northern forest
Cynoglossum boreale - Northern Wild Comfrey
Voss (1996) describes the habitat of Cynoglossum boreale in Michigan as, “Borders, openings, and clearings or under dense shade in coniferous or mixed woods (fir, cedar, spruce, pine, birch, aspen, occasionally beech and maple), especially in sandy or rocky soil.” Chadde (2001) associated this species with the dry-mesic northern forest community. Voss (1996) shows occurrences for this species throughout the Upper Peninsula (including all six counties of the Ottawa National Forest) and the northern end of the lower peninsula. The Wisconsin Vascular Plants database (2002) shows numerous locations in northern Wisconsin. Cynoglossum boreale has a Nature Conservancy National rank of N3N4, indicating that, nationwide, the species is considered between “vulnerable” and “apparently secure” (NatureServe, 2002). Cynoglossum boreale has a Michigan Heritage rank of S3 (Vulnerable) and a Wisconsin Heritage rank of SR (reported in the state), although it is not tracked by the Michigan or Wisconsin heritage programs. There are two known sites on the Ottawa National Forest, both in aspen-fir-spruce mixed woods, and one additional site less than one mile north of the Forest boundary, with no site description available.
Oryzopsis canadensis - Canada mountain rice grass

This perennial grass occurs in dry sandy woods with jack pine, red pine, quaking aspen or white spruce (Chadde, 1999; Voss, 1972). It is usually in openings within the woods; these sites may be seasonally moist (Chadde, 1999). It may also occur in cleared or burned sites, especially jack pine areas. It is more common to the north, and occurs locally south of Lake Superior (Voss, 1972). Nearby locations include Baraga and Marquette counties in Michigan and Vilas County is Wisconsin (Voss, 1972; Wisconsin Vascular Plants Database, 2002). There are no documented sites on the Ottawa National Forest.

Pterospora andromedea - Pinedrops
Pinedrops is primarily a western species, with disjunct locations in the Black Hills and Great Lakes area, and scattered sites in Quebec and New England. Locally, this saprophytic herb occurs in dry or rocky conifer and mixed conifer-deciduous woods, in moderate to deep shade, and also on rocky bluffs and dunes (Chadde 1999; Voss 1985). It is known from several Upper Peninsula counties including two sites on the Ontonagon Ranger District of the Ottawa National Forest. There is a third site a half-mile north of the Forest boundary. Voss (1996) notes that plants of this species may not appear every year.
Vaccinium cespitosum - Dwarf Bilberry
Dwarf bilberry is an uncommon dwarf shrub, listed as state-threatened in Michigan and state-endangered in Wisconsin. Chadde (1999) describes the habitat as, “In open, fairly dry, rocky or sandy conifer woods and rocky streambanks; in full sun to partial shade.” Voss (1996) describes the habitat somewhat differently as, “In our area [Michigan], grows very locally on fairly dry (or only seasonally wet) soils in openings in aspen and other hardwoods.” There are two known sites on the Ottawa National Forest, both from McCormick Wilderness. One is described as dry upland spruce forest, the other as atop a dry open bedrock knob, with 30% cover from red pine and white pine. There is a third site five miles east of McCormick Wilderness, with no site description available. Dwarf bilberry is the host plant for northern blue butterfly, another Regional Forester Sensitive and state threatened species.
Direct and indirect effects

Cynoglossum boreale, Oryzopsis canadensis, Pterospora andromedea, and Vaccinium cespitosum are species of dry sandy woods, including jack pine, red pine, quaking aspen, and white spruce. Ecological mapping of soils and plant associations show few examples of sandy pine habitat within the project area. However, there are some sandy loam and sandy alluvial bottomland soils, and aspen is common throughout the project area. The project area also contains several red pine plantations. Within areas proposed for project activity, suitable sites could presumably occur within stands of red pine, white pine, white spruce, quaking aspen, and aspen-birch-white spruce-balsam fir. Proposed vegetation management actions in these habitats include modified clearcut (50 stands), thinning (11 stands), selection (1 stand), overstory removal (1 stand), ground scarification (3 stands), and thinning followed by old-growth designation (1 stand). These actions could impact potential populations or habitat, should they occur, though physical damage, soil disturbance, and canopy opening. These effects would generally be as described for mesic northern forest above, and as appears in the “Soil and Landform” section of the Environmental Assessment. One major difference is proposed modified clearcut of 50 stands. Modified clearcuts would remove most of the forest canopy, which could change potential habitat from a suitable to unsuitable condition for Pterospora andromedea, which favors moderate to deep shade. Since Cynoglossum boreale, Oryzopsis canadensis and Vaccinium cespitosum are known to occur in openings, increased light to the forest floor due to tree removal is not a threat; indeed, tree removal may enhance the habitat potential for these species. However, modified clearcuts may revegetate too densely with young aspen for potential sensitive species to be able to compete or colonize.

Other proposed actions in potential dry northern forest or dry-mesic northern forest include road maintenance, road reconstruction, temporary road construction, and permanent road construction. Road reconstruction and maintenance could potentially affect potential populations or habitat along roadsides, but the extent of this habitat is low and the roadside habitat would remain in a suitable condition. Road construction in potential habitat could permanently remove potential suitable habitat. A majority of the six miles of new road construction and one mile of temporary road construction are though upland stands that could contain potential habitat for the above sensitive plant species. The likelihood of effects to sensitive plants is considered low due to the limited amount of impacted habitat. Overall, the proposed decrease mileage of roads within the project area could compensate for some loss of habitat to road construction by allowing other existing roads to revegetate.
Wildlife openings may also contain potential habitat for Cynoglossum boreale, Oryzopsis canadensis, and Vaccinium cespitosum, which are all species which can occur in both forested and non-forested habitats. Wildlife opening maintenance (hand-cutting of trees and brush in existing openings) would be unlikely to affect these herbaceous or low-growing shrub species.
Sensitive Plants associated with rich conifer swamp habitat
Amerorchis rotundifolia - Round-leaved Orchid

Chadde (1999) describes the habitat for this small orchid as “Moist conifer woods and swamps, typically growing on moss under a canopy of northern white cedar, or sometimes under tamarack or black spruce; usually on marl or over underlying limestone, and often where sphagnum mosses are not predominant; soils are cold, and plants usually occur in full to partial shade, rarely in sun.” Michigan is at the southern edge of the species’ range (Case, 1987). There are no known sites on the Ottawa National Forest. Populations are known from the eastern Upper Peninsula (including nearby Dickinson County), Isle Royale, and northern Wisconsin (Chadde, 1999; Wisconsin Vascular Plants Database, 2002).

Calypso bulbosa - Fairy Slipper
This orchid occurs in moist, shaded, generally mature coniferous forests, such as spruce-cedar-balsam fir swamps and bog forests. It also occurs in cedar-fir thickets along the Great Lakes shorelines (Case, 1987), often in calcareous sites, and in boreal forests (Chadde, 1999). Fairy slipper is usually found not on soggy soil but elevated above the ground such as on micro-islands or stumps. Canopy cover is usually at least 60% and soil temperature below 15o C (Caljouw, 1981). Calypso bulbosa is a circumpolar species, occurring as far south in Michigan as the middle of the lower peninsula.
Malaxis monophyllos var. brachypoda - White Adder’s-mouth
Malaxis brachypoda is found in cold, wet soils in conifer swamps (cedar-balsam, tamarack, and fir-spruce), especially in wet depressions and where soils are marly (Case, 1987). It may also occur in wet hardwoods bordering conifer swamps, along streams, near springs (Case, 1987), or in moist jack pines (Newhouse, 1993). Sites are generally shaded (Case, 1987), with at least 50% canopy (PVA, 2000a). Microsites may occur in animal trails, wet depressions or low pockets at the bases of old cedar trees (Case 1987), on hummocks, tip-ups, or mossy logs (Newhouse, 1993), or at the bottom of hummocks (PVA, 2000a). Case (1987) states that populations are “always local or spotty” and that the species is non-aggressive and non-competitive. The PVA panel (2000a) noted that the species can disperse widely. Voss (1972) shows Upper Peninsula sites including Gogebic County, the Keweenaw peninsula, Isle Royale, Menominee County, and Alger County. The Wisconsin Vascular Plants database (2002) shows one site in nearby Iron County, Wisconsin. There are no known sites on the Ottawa National Forest.

Polemonium occidentale ssp. lacustre - Western Jacob’s Ladder

Polemonium occidentale is primarily a species of the western United States. There are approximately four known disjunct sites in the Great Lakes area, which have been segregated as subspecies lacustre. Three sites are in Minnesota (Minnesota DNR, 2000) and one site is in Wisconsin (Wisconsin Vascular Plants Database, 2002). This species is not known to occur in Michigan, although the Wisconsin site, from Florence County, is not far from the Michigan border and the Ottawa National Forest. This herb occurs in cedar, black spruce, or tamarack swamps with mineral-rich, alkaline surface waters (e.g. calcareous soils), generally with an open canopy (Newhouse, 1993). All four known Great Lakes area sites are in areas that have had some past logging.
Direct and indirect effects

Throughout the project area, the only activities proposed for potential rich conifer swamp habitat are road construction, reconstruction, and maintenance. Wetland design criteria would prevent any effects from timber harvest in adjacent upland habitats. Effects from road reconstruction and maintenance would not extend beyond existing road corridors and would be limited to possible indirect effects from the introduction and spread of noxious weeds. Road reconstruction and maintenance would therefore have no impact on potential sensitive plants or habitats associated with conifer swamp habitat. However, the construction of new temporary and permanent roads could remove some existing conifer swamp habitat. Table 7 lists four stands with a conifer swamp forest type that intersect new proposed permanent or temporary roads. The four stands are three mixed conifer swamps and one white cedar swamp, all intersected by proposed new permanent road 6975-E. The four segments total approximately one-third of a mile. Most of the four segments are within moderately well and somewhat poorly drained TTP (Tsuga-Thuja-Petasites) plant association. Road construction follows higher ground when available, and field visits and examination of aerial photos have shown that the proposed route follows higher ground within these stands, and remains mostly outside of lowland conifer swamp habitat. Given the limited impacts to lowland conifer habitat from the proposed actions and the lack of known sites of listed plants within the project area, the proposed action is expected to have no adverse effect on Amerorchis rotundifolia, Calypso bulbosa, Malaxis brachypoda, or Polemonium occidentale.

Table 7. Forested wetland stands that intersect proposed new or temporary roads.


Proposed Forest Road

District

Comp

Stand

GIS Acres

Forest type

Size density

Year of origin

Length of road in stand (miles)

6975-E

6

22

26

27.65

18

8

1959

0.01

6975-E

6

22

31

84.91

14

?

1900

0.04

6975-E

6

23

4

31.11

18


9

1900

0.13

6965-E

6

23

13

94.43

71

5

1973

0.18

6975-E

6

23

19

23.70

18

9

1920

0.16

6980-D2A

6

24

21

10.13

71

9

1900

0.07



Sensitive Plants associated with non-forested wetlands
Muhlenbergia uniflora - One-flowered Muhly

This perennial grass occurs in damp, sandy lakeshores, and meadows and swamp borders (Voss 1972). It occurs on a local basis but can become abundant under lowered water table conditions (Voss 1972). Sites are known from across the Upper Peninsula, including Ontonagon, Houghton, and Baraga counties (Voss 1972) and northern Wisconsin (WI Vascular Plants database 1999), although there are no known sites on the Ottawa National Forest.

Petasites sagittatus - Arrow-leaved Sweet-coltsfoot
Chadde (1999) describes the habitat for this species in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as “Wet meadows and swales, marshes, sedge meadows, openings in conifer swamps; usually in full sun or light shade.” Associated species include cedar, tamarack, black spruce, Alnus rugosa, Salix spp., Calamagrostis canadensis, Iris versicolor, Carex lacustris, C. lanuginosa, and C. lasiocarpa (Chadde, 1999; Penskar et al., 1997). Voss (1996) shows Michigan occurrences limited to Menominee, Alger, and Schoolcraft counties. There are two known sites on the Ottawa National Forest, from Gogebic and Ontonagon counties, both from wetland edge habitats.
Polygonum careyi - Carey’s Smartweed
Polygonum careyi is an annual herb known from a single site in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, discovered by Don Henson in 1987. He found approximately five plants growing in a dry sandy part of a drying beaver pond on the Iron River Ranger District of the Ottawa National Forest. The next nearest known site is over fifty miles away, in Lincoln County, Wisconsin (Voss, 1985; Chadde, 1999; Wisconsin Vascular Plants Database, 2002). Chadde (1999) described the habitat for this species as “In full sun on sandy or mucky lakeshores, streambanks, and marshes; may also occur in disturbed wet places such as ditches and recently burned wetlands.”
Salix pellita - Satiny willow

Satiny willow ranges across northeastern North America, mostly in Canada, with its southwestern edge in the northern portions of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. In Michigan, habitat occurs along river banks, sandy lakeshores, and on Isle Royal, in moist depressions of bedrock Lake Superior shoreline (Chadde, 2001). In Minnesota, satiny willow appears to specifically favor rocky streambanks (W. R. Smith, 1988). Voss (1985) shows occurrences on Isle Royale and in Houghton, Marquette, Luce, and Alpena counties in Michigan. There are also two known sites form Iron County on the Ottawa National Forest, both from the Iron River Ranger District. No site descriptions are available for the Ottawa National Forest sites. The PVA (2000a) stated that there has been a reduction in extent of habitat and number for this species, presumably from lakeshore development and hydrological changes to rivers. Gleason and Cronquist (1991) and the PVA panel also note that some portions of the species’ range seem to lack pistillate or staminate plants. The resulting lack of seed production contributes to the viability concern for the species, although satiny willow, like other willows, readily produces vegetative sprouts.

Viola lanceolata - Lance-Leaved Violet
Viola lanceolata is known from numerous sites in Michigan and Wisconsin (Voss, 1985; Wisconsin Vascular Plants Database, 2002), but is uncommon on the Ottawa National Forest. Voss (1985) shows occurrences across the Upper Peninsula (Voss, 1985), including Gogebic, Baraga, and Marquette counties. The only known site on the Ottawa National Forest was discovered in 2001, when Steve Chadde found hundreds of plants growing in northern wet meadow habitat adjacent to a cluster of lakes on the Kenton Ranger District. Voss (1985) gives the habitat in Michigan as “Sandy to peaty shores of lakes and ponds; drying borders of marshes and bogs; damp sand of ditches, excavations, and fields.”
Direct and indirect effects
Within areas proposed for project action, suitable habitat for non-forested wetland species may occur within wetland openings, in riparian areas along streams, and openings within and along the edges of forest wetlands. Proposed actions in wetland openings include one stand proposed for opening maintenance, one stand proposed for opening maintenance and road construction, eight stands proposed for tag-alder regeneration, and one stand proposed for tag-alder regeneration and road construction. Proposed actions in riparian areas include road crossings, three fisheries habitat improvements, and the one watershed improvement activity. Riparian design criteria and buffers would prevent effects to wetland areas from proposed timber harvests. Road maintenance and reconstruction could affect plants in roadside ditches, but should not change the habitat from a suitable to unsuitable condition.

Hand-cutting of shrubs for opening maintenance and tag alder regeneration would be very unlikely to impact herbaceous wetland species, and could even favor habitat for this species by maintaining the sites in an open condition. Salix pellita bushes, should they occur, could be cut down during opening maintenance, although willows readily resprout from cuttings. The fish habitat improvement activities would present no threat to potential wetland species or habitat, although ATV access during implementation could cause minor short term effects. The watershed improvement project would include taking willow cuttings and planting them in a sandy bar along Sucker Creek. Given the ability to resprout, this activity would be unlikely to impact potential Salix pellita bushes.

New road construction in wetland openings and across streams would pose the greatest risk to sensitive plants that occur in non-forested wetlands. The two non-forested wetlands proposed for road construction are C219 stand 16, an eleven-acre wetland shrub swamp proposed for tag-alder regeneration and 0.04 miles of new road, and C23 stand 21, a two-acre non-forested wetland of uncertain type, proposed for opening maintenance and 0.05 miles of new road. The Environmental Assessment includes the following design criterion intended to reduce impacts to wetland habitats:
When stream and wetland crossings are unavoidable, mitigation measures would be used to ensure proper drainage, protect the road investment, and protect water and soil resources. These may include pipe bundles or other similar cross drainage structures when crossing small headwater streams, and corduroy (log stringers) or crossing under frozen conditions when crossing wetlands.
See the Access Management and Aquatics sections of Chapter 3 of the Environmental Assessment for further discussion of proposed stream crossings. Given the above design criterion, that less than 0.1 mile of road construction is proposed for non-forested wetlands, and the lack of known sites within the project area, the proposed action is expected to present a very low risk to sensitive plants associated with non-forested wetland habitats.

Sensitive Plants associated with a variety of habitats
The species below are known to occur in a diversity of habitat types. Habitat needs and effects are presented for each species individually.
Astragalus canadensis - Canadian Milk-vetch

Voss (1985) describes the Michigan habitat for Astragalus canadensis as “Dry prairies, moist shores, river banks, marshy ground, and other open or partly shaded ground.” Chadde (1999) gives the preferred habitat in the Upper Peninsula as alvars and dry prairies, also occurring in moist meadows, streambank thickets, and lakeshores. Sites are known from the eastern Upper Peninsula and Ontonagon County (Chadde, 1999). There is one known site on the Ottawa National Forest, collected from a hilltop above the Ontonagon River at the edge of white cedar and balsam fir habitat.

The project area contains no alvar or dry prairie habitat, the preferred habitats for Astragalus canadensis. However, given the broad habitat in which this species is known to occur in Michigan, suitable habitat for Astragalus canadensis could occur in many open to partly shaded sites within the project area, including forest edges, streambanks, and openings. Proposed actions in these habitats include opening maintenance, tag-alder regeneration in openings, fisheries habitat improvements, the watershed improvement activity, road reconstruction and maintenance, road construction, and timber harvest along forest edges. Opening maintenance and tag-alder regeneration pose little threat to potential habitat or populations. The fisheries and watershed improvement projects are in sandy areas with little vegetation, and would be unlikely habitat. This species is not expected to occur along roadsides so would not be affected by road reconstruction or maintenance. Loss of potential habitat to road construction is considered unlikely due to the lack of known sites within the project area, the low suitability of the habitat (no alvar or dry prairie habitat), and the limited amount of proposed roads. Ground disturbance along forest edge habitat during timber harvests could cause some soil disturbance, but should otherwise leave potential habitat in a suitable condition for this species.
Astragalus neglectus - Cooper’s Milk-vetch
This perennial vetch occurs in marshy to dry open sites, such as clearings, shores, thickets, and riverbanks (Voss 1985). Sites may be rocky and often are calcareous (Voss 1985). Sites are known from the central and eastern Upper Peninsula (Voss 1985). There are no known sites on the Ottawa National Forest, although there is one site (ONF# 80) 0.7 miles north of the Forest boundary, also growing near Astragalus canadensis.

The habitat preferences for Astragalus neglectus are similar to those for Astragalus canadensis. Activities and potential effects are as described above for Astragalus canadensis.

Bidens discoidea - Swamp Beggar-ticks
Bidens discoidea occurs in swamps and muddy shores, usually shaded (Voss 1996). In swamps, microsites may be hummocks or mossy logs (Voss 1996). There are no known sites on the Ottawa National Forest. There is just a single known location in the Upper Peninsula, collected from Houghton County (Voss, 1996). There are a few sites in northern Wisconsin, including one site in nearby Forest County (Wisconsin Vascular Plants Database, 2002).
Within the areas proposed for project activity, the only potential habitat for Bidens discoidea might occur within conifer or hardwood swamps proposed for road construction (Table 7). Given the limited amount of potential habitat, and the adoption of design criteria concerning wetland habitats, the direct and indirect effects of Alternative 2 are expected to have no impact on Bidens discoidea.
Botrychium hesperium - Western Moonwort
This small fern typically occurs in sand dunes and moist jack pine forest in interdunal swales; grassy roadsides and old roads or trails; sandy fields; abandoned orchards; and other open areas (Chadde, 1999; Penskar, 1993). These areas are often subject to low-level disturbance. Botrychium hesperium is also known to occur in mature to old-growth hardwoods in the western Upper Peninsula (Penskar, 1993). There are documented sites for B. hesperium in the western Upper Peninsula, including at least three unverified occurrences on the Ottawa National Forest. Botrychium hesperium is also known as B. michiganense, a working name.

Within the areas proposed for project activity, suitable habitat for Botrychium hesperium could occur within northern hardwood forest and along roadsides. The wildlife openings are expected to be unlikely habitat due to the high vegetation competition. Proposed activities and potential effects within northern hardwood stands are as described for the mesic northern hardwood species above. Botrychium hesperium is known from open habitats, and so effects in mesic northern hardwood habitat would be similar to those described for other opening-tolerant species such as Cardamine maxima and Erythronium albidum. Road maintenance and road reconstruction, followed by increased use of the roads, could adversely impact plants should they occur there, but the roadsides should remain in a condition suitable for the species. Temporary and permanent road construction could presumably create suitable habitat in areas where none is present now.

Botrychium lunaria - Moonwort
This small fern is found in grassy meadows and open fields, sandy and gravelly lakeshores and stream banks, and occasionally in forests (Cody and Britton, 1989; Wagner and Wagner, 1993; PVA, 2000a). Little is known of this species’ habitat preferences in Michigan because it is not tracked by the State and ferns have not been treated in State floras. The fern panel of the Forest Service PVA panel reported that most sites in the Lake States have less than 5% canopy cover (PVA, 2000a). This species is one of the most geographically widespread Botrychium species, found as far north as Alaska, east to Newfoundland, south to New Mexico, and New Zealand (Wagner and Wagner, 1993). Habitats may include slight, well-healed, past disturbances (PVA, 2000a). Sites are known from the Hiawatha National Forest to the east (Chippewa County) but there are no documented sites on the Ottawa National Forest. In Wisconsin, to the west, Botrychium lunaria is known from Ashland, Bayfield, Sawyer, and Door counties (Chadde & Kudray, 2001a; Wisconsin Vascular Plants Database, 2002).
Suitable habitats for Botrychium lunaria within the project area could include all the open and forested sites described above for Botrychium hesperium. Botrychium lunaria, however, more favors open sites and is seldom known to occur under a forested canopy. Activities and potential effects are as described above for Botrychium hesperium.
Botrychium pallidum - Pale Moonwort

Botrychium pallidum has a sporadic distribution including parts of Canada, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota and Michigan (Wagner and Wagner, 1993). The Botrychium pallidum Conservation Assessment (Chadde and Kudray, 2001c) lists only three known sites of this species in Michigan, all from the Hiawatha National Forest. The Assessment lists no sites in Wisconsin, and 25 sites in Minnesota. No habitat information is available for the three Michigan sites. Of the 25 Minnesota sites, 12 are from open to partially shaded disturbed sites (including six tailings ponds, a roadside, a campsite, a wildlife opening, a logging landing, a vacant lot, and an edge of a gravel pit), 7 are from hardwood forest beside a lakeshore, stream, or wetland, 3 are from hardwood forest not by a wetland, 2 are from pine habitat not by a lakeshore, and one is from a pine forest by a lakeshore. Habitats often include well-healed, past disturbances (PVA, 2000a). There are no known sites on the Ottawa National Forest.

Because little is known of the habitat preferences of Botrychium pallidum in Michigan and Wisconsin, predicting the likelihood of occurrences is difficult. Available information suggests that, within the Choate project area, suitable habitat for Botrychium pallidum could occur in mesic northern forest, along roadsides, in wildlife openings, in pine habitat, or in other unusual previously disturbed sites. Potential effects from the proposed action in mesic northern hardwood habitat are the same as described for B. mormo. Because B. pallidum had been observed in a wildlife opening in Minnesota, we presume that it may occur within wildlife openings on the Ottawa National Forest, although B. pallidum and other Botrychium species usually seem to favor sites with low vegetation competition, and therefore would be unlikely to occur within most wildlife openings. Hand-cutting of woody vegetation in openings would have no affect on herbaceous species such as Botrychium pallidum. Potential effects to B. pallidum from road projects would be the same as described for B. hesperium above. The red pine sites that might contain this species are the same habitat as may contain B. rugulosum. Potential impacts by the alternatives in this habitat are the same as described for B. rugulosum.
Botrychium rugulosum - Ternate Grapefern

Chadde (2001) describes the habitat of Botrychium rugulosum as, “A variety of moist to fairly dry, shaded to open habitats, including sandy lake and stream margins, old fields and abandoned apple orchards, grassy logging roads, and young second-growth forests.” Little is known of this species’ habitat preferences in Michigan because it is not tracked by the State and ferns have not been treated in State floras. The Botrychium rugulosum Conservation Assessment (Chadde and Kudray, 2001d) lists 46 sites with specific habitat descriptions from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and one site in Michigan. Eighteen collections were from pine habitat, mostly from moist or mossy spots, twelve were from open disturbed sites, two were from open undisturbed sites, eight were from mixed woods (mostly from low spots or disturbed areas such as trail sides), three were from sandy lake or pond shores, two were from the edges of sedge meadows, and one was from a lake shore meadow. The Ottawa National Forest has a record of one site.

Within the project area, suitable habitat for Botrychium rugulosum may occur within pine stands or along forest roads. Sandy stream banks and upland wildlife openings may also provide suitable habitat. The proposed actions include thinning six white pine stands and four red pine stands, and ground scarification for conifer regeneration in one white pine stand. Thinning and ground scarification could presumably affect above-ground portions of Botrychium rugulosum during implementation, but should leave the habitat in a suitable condition. Chadde & Kudray (2001d) cite succession to closed-canopy forest as a threat to this species. Hand-cutting of woody vegetation in openings would have no affect on herbaceous species such as Botrychium rugulosum. The sandy stream banks of the fisheries and watershed projects may be suitable for this species, but the proposed activities would be unlikely to adversely affect potential plants, and would not change any habitat from a suitable to unsuitable condition. Potential effects to B. rugulosum from road projects would be the same as described for B. hesperium above.
Cypripedium arietinum - Ram’s-head Ladyslipper

Ram’s-head Ladyslipper is a rare orchid throughout its range in northeastern North America (Brzeskiewicz, 2000). Chadde (2001) gives the habitat in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as, “Conifer/Sphagnum moss swamps, wet forest openings (often with northern white cedar); also in drier, sandy, conifer and mixed conifer-deciduous forests, and on low dunes under jack pine near shores of Great Lakes.” There is one known site on the Ottawa National Forest, collected from aspen, balsam fir, and maple woods on a ridge above the Ontonagon River. Two nearby Ram’s-head ladyslipper sites are within 2.5 miles north of the Forest Boundary, also collected from slopes or ridges above the Ontonagon River. The Conservation Assessment for Cypripedium arietinum (Brzeskiewicz, 2000) notes that this species has long been considered rare, and there is a general lack of understanding of its conservation needs. Identified threats include habitat loss by development, logging, forest fragmentation, collecting, and competition from exotics. The Conservation Assessment recommends protecting known occurrences, providing suitable habitat on public land, and educating the public on plant conservation.

The project area contains several areas that could contain suitable habitat for Cypripedium arietinum, including conifer swamps, wet forest openings with northern white-cedar, and perhaps some suitable dry sandy conifer and mixed-conifer forests. Effects to potential sites in lowland conifer habitat would be as described above. Effects to potential sites in conifer swamps would be the same as described for the rich conifer swamp species above. Effects to potential sites in dry sandy conifer and mixed conifer-deciduous forest would be as described for the sensitive plants associated with dry northern forest and dry-mesic northern forest. Proposed timber harvests could impact populations, should they occur, through mechanical damage and temporary habitat changes (Brzeskiewicz, 2000). Road construction within dry conifer and mixed-conifer forests could have adverse effects on habitats or populations, but the likelihood of effects is low due to the limited amount of impacted area and the lack of Cypripedium arietinum encountered during field surveys.

Geocaulon lividum - Northern Comandra

This herb typically occurs on “sandy (or rock) ridges or dunes at the borders of conifer thickets and woods”, but it can also occur in bogs or fens (Voss, 1985). Most sites are near the Great Lakes shores (Voss, 1985). Northern comandra does conduct photosynthesis, but the plant is also parasitic on other plants via modified roots. It is not specific to one host species but can parasitize a variety of plants (Voss, 1985). Geocaulon lividum is a host for the canker-producing comandra blister rust, which infects jack pine in a life cycle similar to white pine blister rust (Voss, 1985). Sites are known from the eastern Upper Peninsula, Houghton and Keweenaw Counties, and Isle Royale (Voss, 1985). In Wisconsin, northern comandra is only known from Door County (Wisconsin Vascular Plants Database, 2002). There are no known sites on the Ottawa National Forest. Associates in bogs and fens include Chamaedaphne calyculata and cedar (Voss, 1985).

The project area is not relatively near Lake Superior, and contains no sandy or rocky ridges such as those providing habitat for this species. Within areas proposed for project action, the only potential habitat for Geocaulon lividum may occur within the mixed conifer swamp habitat proposed for road construction. Effects to potential sites in lowland conifer habitat would be as described for the other lowland conifer species.
Juglans cinerea - Butternut
Voss (1985) described the habitat for Juglans cinerea in Michigan as, “Stream banks and swamp forests, as well as upland beech-maple, oak-hickory, and mixed hardwood stands.” The Ottawa National Forest is at the north edge of the species’ natural range (Voss, 1985; Whittemore & Stone, 1997). There are two known locations on the Ottawa National Forest, but both are from old homesteads, indicating that the trees were probably planted. Voss (1985) shows occurrences in Menominee and Delta counties in the Upper Peninsula. Whether these are natural occurrences is unknown. There are some natural sites in northern Wisconsin, including Oneida and Forest counties, approximately 30 miles to the south of the Forest boundary. The viability of butternut in the Unites States is threatened by Butternut canker (Sirococcus clavigignenti-juglandacearum), a non-native fungus that causes stem cankers (NatureServe, 2002). Butternut is shade intolerant and can only reproduce in openings without shade. Thus, seedlings will not develop under the parent tree. Good seed crops are only produced every 2-3 years, and seed production does not begin until about age 20. As young trees grow, they need to stay in the upper canopy to fully develop (Ostry et al., 1994).

Although the Ottawa National Forest is apparently north of the natural range of this species, it is possible that this species could occur in suitable habitat within the project area. Within areas proposed for project activity, suitable habitat could include stream banks and any mixed hardwood stand. Streambanks within forested stands would be protected from effects of timber harvest by riparian design criteria and buffers. Streambanks within wildlife openings would be subject to some hand-cutting with chainsaws to rejuvenate shrubs, create snags, and maintain open habitat. To prevent potential butternut trees from being cut down, the following design criterion is proposed:

During wildlife opening maintenance, personnel will watch for and retain any butternut trees. This measure particularly applies to opening maintenance along streambanks and formerly human-occupied sites such as the old Choate townsite.
Direct and indirect effects for potential Juglans cinerea populations and habitat in mixed hardwood forest would be the same as described for mesic northern hardwood habitat above. Within the areas proposed for project activity, the most likely habitat is found within one hardwood-basswood stand, three hardwood-hemlock stands, and seven mixed hardwood stands. Two of the mixed hardwood stands are proposed for thinning, the rest are proposed for selection harvest. Timber harvests could result in butternut trees being cut down and habitat effects from soil disturbance, although no butternut trees were observed during sensitive plant surveys. Because butternut is shade-intolerant, thinning, and selection harvest could improve habitat conditions by allowing more sunlight into the stand. Thinning and selection harvest could favor trees already in the understory, or if large enough openings were created, allow some new butternut seedlings to develop. Given the proposed activities and the above design criterion, all of the proposed activities are considered low risk for butternut impacts.
Mimulus guttatus - Western Monkey Flower

In Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada, Gleason and Cronquist (1991) describe the status of Mimulus guttatus as, “Native mainly in the western cordillera, occasionally escaped from cultivation in our range.” Voss (1996) writes, “Discovered in Michigan in 1987 ... along a springy ditch and in adjacent seepy mixed woods with Saxifraga pensylvanica along a Forest Service road ...” A second site was discovered in 1995 one mile away along the same Forest Service Road.

Using the two known sites for Mimulus guttatus in Michigan as an indicator, suitable habitat for this species could occur within any moist roadside ditch or any moist forested or non-forested spot. Within areas proposed for project action, these would include existing roads proposed for maintenance or reconstruction, wetland openings proposed for maintenance, wetland areas adjacent to aspen stands proposed for tag alder regeneration, Ontonagon River sites proposed for fisheries and watershed improvements, wetland forests proposed for road construction, riparian habitat within areas proposed for timber harvest, one mixed lowland hardwood stand proposed for conifer regeneration, and riparian habitat within openings proposed for maintenance. Riparian design criteria and buffers would protect potential habitat along streams within stands proposed for timber harvest. That Mimulus guttatus is only known in Michigan from roadside ditches and adjacent woods suggests that it is somewhat tolerant of disturbed sites. All of the proposed actions could affect plants and populations, but would not be expected to change habitat from a suitable to unsuitable condition.
Orobanche uniflora - One-flowered broomrape

This small, chlorophyll-free plant is a root parasite, dependent in Michigan on Aster and Solidago for its hosts (Voss 1996). It is known to occur in dry, sandy, open areas and in rich woods as well as in conifer thickets along dunes (Voss 1996). Voss (1996) notes that a product must be secreted from the host plant roots to induce germination. This requirement may limit distribution and viability of this taxon. There are three known sites on the Forest, in Ontonagon and Gogebic Counties; two associated with larger river floodplains (Baltimore, Middle Branch Ontonagon), and one on private land within the Forest, with no habitat data known. The largest known Ottawa population occurs in rich wet woods under black ash and elm, with goldenrod, Fragaria virginiana, Triosteum aurantiacum, and Taraxacum officinale.

Dry, sandy, open areas within the project area that could provide potential habitat for Orobanche uniflora may occur as openings within dry northern forest or dry-mesic northern forest, in wildlife openings, and perhaps along roads. Effects to openings within dry northern forest or dry-mesic northern forest would be as described for Oryzopsis asperifolia and Vaccinium cespitosum above. Wildlife openings may also contain potential habitat, although opening maintenance would be unlikely to adversely affect this species. Effects to potential populations or habitat in rich woods would be as described for mesic northern forest species described above. Because Orobanche uniflora is tolerant of open canopy conditions, the effects may be similar to those described for Cardamine maxima and Erythronium albidum. Orobanche uniflora could also occur in wetter upland habitats, such as forests of black ash, American elm, and red maple, as is the case with the known sites on the Ottawa National Forest. Proposed actions in these habitats would include two black ash-elm-red maple stands proposed for road construction (FR 6965-E and FR 6980-D2A) and one mixed lowland hardwood stand proposed for scarification for conifer regeneration. Road construction in these stands could result in a permanent loss of a small amount of suitable habitat. The effects of scarification for conifer regeneration on herbaceous understory species in the mixed lowland hardwood stand are uncertain, although adverse affects to Orobanche uniflora populations or habitats, should they occur there, could be possible.
Pyrola asarifolia - Pink Wintergreen

This larger wintergreen occurs in “cedar swamps and other moist forests, peatlands, ‘marl bogs’, and springy places; interdunal hollows and borders of shore thickets” (Voss 1996). The WI Vascular Plants database (1999) notes that it can also occur in lowland and upland northern forest. Sites are known from across the Upper Peninsula, including Iron and Houghton Counties (Voss 1996), and from numerous sites in northern Wisconsin counties including Vilas and Forest Counties (WI Vascular Plants database 1999). However, no sites are known on the Ottawa National Forest.

Pyrola asarifolia is known to occur in a range of moist sites, although the primary habitat appears to be mixed conifer swamp. Effects to potential populations in mixed conifer swamp habitat would be the same as described for the other mixed conifer swamp species given earlier. Potential habitat for Pyrola asarifolia may also occur in other moist forests, springy places, and shore thickets. Proposed actions and effects for lowland hardwood swamp habitat would be the same as described for Orobanche uniflora above. Propose actions to mesic northern hardwood habitat would also be as described above. None of the proposed actions are expected to present more than a low risk to Pyrola asarifolia.
Pyrola minor - Lesser Wintergreen
Lesser wintergreen is a small, perennial, evergreen herb. Voss (1996) describes the habitat in Michigan as, “Very local under conifers (cedar, jack pine) and at edges of alder or spruce-fir thickets, usually very near Lake Superior.” Although not state-listed in Michigan, Voss (1996) described it as “genuinely rare in the state”. In Wisconsin it is known from boreal forests in Bayfield and Douglas Counties near Lake Superior, and in Minnesota it is known from boreal forest and conifer swamps. In Michigan, sites are known from the eastern Upper Peninsula and Houghton and Keweenaw Counties (Voss 1996). There are no known sites on the Ottawa National Forest.

The distance from Lake Superior and the lack of boreal forest habitats suggests that this species is unlikely to occur within the project area. Ecological mapping also shows no boreal-like plant associations (such as TMC and TTM) within the project area (see Table 5 and Coffman et al., 1984), although there are three stands typed as upland white cedar. No activities are proposed in these three stands. Other suitable habitat could presumably occur within lowland conifer swamps, edges of alder thickets, or unusual spots in various upland forest types. Proposed actions and potential effects to potential sites in lowland conifer habitat would be as described above. Proposed actions in alder thickets, such as tag alder regeneration and upland opening maintenance, would be unlikely to affect populations or habitat. Alder thickets adjacent to creeks would be protected from effects from timber harvest by riparian design criteria and buffers. Unusual upland spots with cedar, jack pine, balsam fir, or white spruce could occur in many different areas, and perhaps within a stand proposed for road construction or any of the different timber harvest prescriptions. Timber harvest in such areas could affect soil characteristics and light regimes, which could affect potential populations and habitat suitability. Given the distance from Lake Superior, the lack of boreal habitat, and the lack of known sites following field surveys, the proposed actions are considered to present a very low risk to this species.

Lichens
Cetraria aurescens - A lichen species
The PVA lichen panel (2000b) described the typical habitat for Cetraria aurescens in the Lake States as dead branches of older trees in lowland black spruce wetlands, conifer wetlands, and moist to mesic hemlock hardwoods. Forests apparently need to be old growth to be suitable for this species. There are three recently reported sites on the Ottawa National Forest, including a spruce and cedar swamp, an unspecified swamp type, and moist to mesic hemlock hardwoods in the Sylvania Wilderness, perhaps at the edge of small openings.

Throughout the project area, suitable habitat could occur within lowland conifer swamps proposed for road construction and perhaps hemlock forest proposed for timber harvest. Although the specific placement of roads has not been finalized, the proposed routes intersect two older-aged lowland conifer stands: C22 stand 31 (Forest type 14, year-of-origin 1900) and C23 stand 19 (Forest type 18, year-of-origin 1920). The roads in these stands would generally follow higher ground outside of lowland conifer habitat. Other suitable habitat could be found in hemlock-hardwoods within the project area. Ecological mapping of the project area places approximately 82% of the project area within native plant associations which would include a significant hemlock canopy component (such as ATD, TMC, TAM, TTP; see Table 5). Vegetation management, however, has not favored late-successional hemlock-hardwood forest in many areas. Of the approximately 400 stands that make up the project area, there are only two stands typed as hemlock, and three stands typed as hardwoods-hemlock. Nothing is proposed for the hemlock stands, but all three hemlock-hardwoods stands are proposed for selection cut. Two of the hemlock hardwood stands are probably too young (year-of-origin 1943) to provide potential habitat, but Compartment 35 Stand 15 has a year-of-origin of 1850, and therefore may be more likely to contain suitable habitat. Selection harvest could remove trees on which this lichen is growing. Suitable habitat could also occur in stands with other hardwood forest types, although the relative lack of hemlock and generally younger ages makes suitable habitat unlikely to occur. No lichen surveys have been conducted within the project area.


Lobaria quercizans - A lichen species
In the Lake States, the typical habitat for Lobaria quercizans is tree trunks in older, high humidity upland forests of sugar maple and yellow birch (PVA, 2000b). This lichen may also occur in hemlock hardwoods, on isolated yellow birch on forested wetlands, on black ash in black ash bogs, and on flat surfaces of boulders (PVA, 2000b; Sliwa and
Wetmore, 2001). All sites have high humidity. The lichen may be more common in areas with more light, such as adjacent to wet openings or roads. Although preferring older forests, it may occur in young stands, 30-50 years old, but it is less abundant there. Past logging of old yellow birch trees may have decreased the abundance of this species in the Lake States (Wetmore, 1988). The University of Minnesota herbarium includes collections from Ontonagon, Houghton, Baraga, and Marquette counties, although all sites are north of the Forest boundary.

Within areas proposed for project activity, the most likely potential habitat for Lobaria quercizans could occur within six forested wetland stands proposed for road construction (see Table 7) and a mixed lowland hardwood stand (C219 stand 56) proposed for conifer regeneration. Suitable habitat may also occur in other mesic northern hardwood stands proposed for project activity, including one hardwood-basswood stand proposed for selection cut, three hardwood-hemlock stands proposed for selection cut, and seven mixed hardwood stands proposed for selection cut or thinning. Whether any of the mesic northern hardwood stands possess the high humidity favored by this species is uncertain. Proposed roads would generally follow higher ground outside of wetland habitat. Ground scarification for conifer regeneration should have no effect on Lobaria quercizans populations or habitat, as this species grows on trees. Selection cuts and thinning within hardwood stands could result in the loss of lichens growing on harvested trees, but should otherwise retain the stands in a suitable condition for the species.


Menegazzia terebrata - Port-hole lichen
Chadde (2001) describes the habitat for Menegazzia terebrata as “In the Upper Peninsula, port-hole lichen is found nearly exclusively on the bark of northern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) in swamps having a large component of this tree. The lichen is usually observed on trunks 15 cm or more in diameter.” There are five known sites on the Ottawa National Forest, all apparently from conifer cedar swamps. Menegazzia terebrata is a Regional Forester Sensitive Species on the Hiawatha, Ottawa, and Superior National Forests. Menegazzia terebrata has been recommended for state-listing in Minnesota and Wisconsin (Thomson and Will-Wolf, 2000; Wetmore, 2000a; Wetmore, 2000b).
Within the areas proposed for project activity, the only suitable habitat for Menegazzia terebrata might occur within three lowland conifer stands proposed for road construction (C22 stand 26, C22 stand 31, and C23 stand 19; see Table 6). Proposed roads would generally follow higher ground outside of wetland habitat. See the above discussion of effects to lowland conifer plant species for further discussion.
Peltigera venosa - Fan lichen

Brodo et al. (2001) describe the North American habitat for this lichen as, “On bare mineral soil in moist, shaded nooks and crannies such as along the banks of creeks or roads, generally in regions with high rainfall.” There are very few collections of this lichen in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, as most of these states are apparently south of the species’ range (Hale, 1979). The PVA Lichen Panel mentioned a Minnesota record from a tip-up mound and a Wisconsin record from the splash zone of a waterfall. The species is apparently known in Michigan only from Isle Royale (Fryday et al., 2002). The PVA Panel described this lichen as a transient, fugitive species. It can survive on tip-up mounds or other exposed soil until the surface becomes overgrown.

Peltigera venosa is a very rare lichen in the Lake States and the Ottawa National Forest may be entirely outside of the species’ range. Any timber harvest, in general, is not favorable for this species because it precludes the natural formation of potential tip-up mounds, limiting future habitat opportunities. The proposed road construction, maintenance, and reconstruction may create some exposed soil that presumably could serve as habitat for this species. Within areas proposed for project activity, the most likely potential habitat for Peltigera venosa could occur within the wetter forested stands, such as the black ash-elm-red maple stands and mixed conifer swamps discussed above for Lobaria quercizans. Proposed actions in these stands would be the same as discussed for that species. Adverse effects would be less likely, however, since Peltigera venosa does not occur on trees and favors disturbed soil, and so would be less likely to be adversely affected from timber harvest in potential habitat.
Sticta fuliginosa - Peppered moon lichen

This foliose lichen typically occurs on the trunk of trees, primarily yellow birch, in old-growth humid forested swamps (PVA, 2000b). It has also been reported from a shrub sticking up in a temporary pond in a very old pine and hardwood forest in Minnesota (PVA, 2000b; Minnesota DNR, 1999). All collections are from very humid sites. When this lichen is found, it generally occurs as individual small thalli, with just a single occurrence per tree. Sticta fuliginosa is a state-listed as Special Concern in Minnesota, and is a Regional Forester Sensitive Species on the Superior National Forest. There are two known sites in Michigan, apparently both from Isle Royale (PVA, 2000b), and there are no known sites in Wisconsin. Sticta fuliginosa is included on a list of proposed rare species of lichens for Michigan (Wetmore and Fryday, 2000).

Sticta fuliginosa is apparently restricted to humid old-growth forest. Within areas proposed for project activity, suitable habitat would be limited to a 121-year-old mixed lowland hardwood stand proposed for conifer regeneration (C219 stand 56), four of the older stands proposed for road construction (see Table 7), and perhaps older upland forest adjacent to ponds or permanent streams. Ground scarification for conifer regeneration is unlikely to affect lichens such as this which grow on trees. Proposed roads would generally follow higher ground outside of wetland habitat. Riparian design criteria and buffers would protect any high-humidity older upland forest sites along streams or lakes.
Usnea longissima - Methuselah’s beard lichen
This thread-like, pendant lichen hangs from the branches of conifers (Hale, 1979; PVA, 2000b). It may occur in upland or lowland forest, usually in older stands, often in or near bogs or close to lakes to provide humidity (PVA, 2000b; Brodo et al., 2001). This lichen may occur as scraps in young trees, but these are typically fragments from a “mother colony” high in the canopy of a nearby tall tree (PVA, 200b). It often has a patchy distribution, which has been attributed to its short dispersal distance that is not effective in fragmented forest (Threatened Macrolichen Project 1996). The viability of Usnea longissima is threatened by logging, fire, air pollution, and, in some portions of its range, by collecting (PVA, 2000b). The species is apparently known in Michigan only from a report from Isle Royale (Fryday et al., 2002).

Suitable habitat and potential effects for Usnea longissima may occur within the same humid upland or lowland forests as Lobaria quercizans. Compared to Lobaria quercizans, Usnea longissima more favors old-growth, and in the Great Lakes area is known to occur on conifers instead of hardwoods. No lichen surveys have been conducted within the project area. The known distribution of the species and the present habitats suggest that Usnea longissima is unlikely to occur within the project area. The risk of impacting potential Usnea longissima populations or occupied habitat from the proposed action is considered low.




Indirect effects from the spread of non-native invasive plants




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