Floristic inventory and quality assessment of Bessey Creek Nature Preserve, Cheboygan County, Michigan, 2011.
Dorey, Jenna | Van Dyke, Nicholas | Vogt, Megan
Wetlands are habitats that provide critical ecosystem services. As transitional habitatsbetween terrestrial and aquatic environments, wetlands contain plant communities that aretypically species rich. One way to measure the composition of plant communities is to inventorythe species and conduct a Floristic Quality Assessment (FQA) of the species. Created byMichigan’s Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), the FQA is a tool to evaluate areas thatmay be of floristic importance and calculate the diversity and species richness of a site. Weconducted an FQA of the Bessey Creek Nature Preserve in Cheboygan County, MI, which isowned by the Little Traverse Conservancy (Harbor Springs, MI). The site is located at the mouthof Bessey Creek where it enters Douglas Lake. The preserve contains several plant communitieslocated throughout four habitat zones: the roadside, the swamp, the littoral marsh, and theaquatic shoreline. Our sampling indentified a total of one hundred sixteen species in fifty-fourfamilies, with a mean coefficient of conservation of 4.44 for only native species, and 3.62including introduced species. The preserve has wetlands index of -2.52, signifying that thepreserve contains mostly facultative wetland species. Twenty species are considered exotic andare not native to the area. Based on the MDNR’s FQA equations, we calculated the FloristicQuality Index (FQI) of Bessey Creek to be 41.87 when considering only native species and 37.83when including introduced species. Bessey Creek has a lower FQI than other preserves, ranking below Orchis Fen Preserve (FQI: 49.60) and Kalman Preserve (FQI: 61.70). However, BesseyCreek’s FQI value is above the current threshhold of 35 determined by the MDNR, and is thusconsidered floristically important to the state of Michigan.Show more [+] Less [-]