Use of the Forest

Public use of Saginaw Forest is encouraged. Rules for the public's use include (but are not limited to):

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Weather not helping

It's been a scorcher today, getting up to 100F in town today (likely a little less than that out in the forest). However, we've also not had any rain for a while, and the grass and some of the trees are not growing well...

When's the rain going to come?

And when the rain comes, could it please be a long, slow shower, and not a flash flood?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cleared brush & saw raccoons

This morning, we cleared some of the brush that had grown up west of the dock so that we could put one of the small research vessels into Third Sister Lake. I can also now see the end of the dock from the cabin.

Much of the work was facilitated by the use of the chainsaw, well-sharpened loppers, a hard-tined rake, and two masters' students who will be using the lake to calibrate their equipment for their main summer research sites within the Muskegon River watershed.

Also, when conducting my evening rounds, I heard some grunting and scrabbling in the trees near the frog pond. As I looked up, I saw two masked faces staring back at me, and soon saw a third raccoon clambering up yet another tree. I guess the pickings along the road - the pickings of civilization - are a little bit dried up at present. Maybe they know that the garbage won't be put out until Tuesday night and so are foraging for more "evolutionarily traditional" food down by the frog pond. Hopefully the deer flies aren't getting to them as bad; the buggers were flying all around my head as I did my rounds.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A reminder about dog-leashing

I had written about this before, but apparently, some people don't recognize that the sign means that they are supposed to have their dogs on-leash. (Sorry, but if your dog is a member of the species Canis lupus familiaris, it has to be on leash.)

There is one location where - based upon mutual agreement - dogs may be off-leash: the opening on the north side of Third Sister Lake. Other than that, people must follow the rule of "all dogs must be on leashes".

It's that simple.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Brief description of Third Sister Lake

Although there have been many studies in Third Sister Lake, although I provided an initial description of Third Sister Lake, and although there have been descriptions of the history of the forest, little on this site has included much discussion of the history of the lake and of the inputs to the lake.

The following is taken from Hammer & Stoermer (1997), and any use of the following description in any publication must provide proper citation of their paper:
Third Sister Lake (42°17' N., 83°48' W.) is located approximately three miles west of Ann Arbor in the Saginaw Forest of Scio Township, Michigan (Figure 1). This small kettle lake likely formed during the retreat of the Wisconsin glacier, which created a terminal moraine in southern Michigan (Reed, 1902). Mature conifer plantations and hardwood stands of Saginaw Forest shelter Third Sister Lake. Although the lake stratifies in the summer, spring mixing does not occur every year (Lehman & Naumoski, 1986). The present maximum depth is 17.0 m, and the surface area about 3.8 ha. A small intermittent stream enters the lake on the south shore and a single outflow on the southwest shore drains through a small marsh (Figure 1) to the Huron River.

Although Saginaw Forest surrounds Third Sister Lake on a 32 ha tract, significant construction has occurred in the watershed since the 1960s. Agricultural activities originally occupied the entire area east of Saginaw Forest. Currently, this adjacent property is subdivided into several small plots (Wojcik, 1993, personal communication) where industrial and commercial construction has occurred from 1963 to the present (Figure 1). Contamination of Third Sister Lake and local groundwater with 1,4-dioxane was revealed in the 1980s following leakage from an unlined, oxidation lagoon on Gelman Sciences, Inc. property bordering the lake (Brode&Minning, 1988). The most recent project in the adjacent lot, initiated in 1987, included retention pond construction with an outflow that transports stormwater from this nearby property into the inflow stream bed in Saginaw Forest. Ultimately this stormwater reaches Third Sister Lake 300 m downstream. Although erosion barriers were erected in the stream bed on university property, these barriers have since been undercut and subverted by stream flow, creating a gully with steep banks of unconsolidated soil. (Hammer & Stoermer, 1997, pp. 438-439)

  • Hammer, Brian K.; Stoermer, Eugene F.; (1997). "Diatom-based interpretation of sediment banding in an urbanized lake." Journal of Paleolimnology 17 (4): 437-449.

Plant lists for Saginaw Forest and Stinchfield Woods

Ever been wandering around Saginaw Forest (or Stinchfield Woods) and wonder, "What's that plant over there?"

The School of Natural Resources & Environment, as part of a multi-part project about the properties it manages, has compiled a plant list (along with photos) for Saginaw Forest and Stinchfield Woods, covering all the tree and shrub species (along with a few non-woody plants).

Strangely, it doesn't have an entry for the Murray birch.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

A 1961 description of the plantings

Doing a search for "Saginaw Forest" on the University of Michigan Library's DeepBlue server came up with several university documents about the property, including this one from 1961 that discusses the history and the plantings in the property:

A Guide to Saginaw Forest (1961)

A pdf is available for public download at that site. The document also contains a map of the three near-Ann Arbor properties managed by SNRE (Saginaw Forest, Newcomb Tract, and Stinchfield Woods) as well as an original plantings map of Saginaw Forest.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Happy Summer Solstice!

Today is the 1st Day of Summer, and it feels like it's been summer for a while already.

Vines of all types have grown like crazy this year, including Virginia creeper, poison ivy, and grape vine. If we keep having such mild winters and warm springs, we'll likely have even more explosive vine growth, and the forest will turn more into a vine land.