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Re: Relief From Rhododendron

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2006/11/2 8:50
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Quote:

TimMurphy wrote:
Dear RLeeP,

The real reason they remove the trees from the streams in the Wisconsin Driftless area is because they are invasive species. Box elder and willows are not supposed to be there. The land never was historically wooded, it was covered in prairie grasses and that is what they want growing on their streams.


This what some people believe but I don't think its safe to consider it established fact. Does your friend have references to scientific journal articles that support the idea that trees did not exist in these areas?

I'm a skeptic that there were no trees in those valleys originally. I know a lot of people say that, but I've dug around in the literature some and haven't found verification for that point of view. It's quite possible I just didn't find it, so I really would like to read the literature, if it exists. And I don't just mean opinions from DNR people who favor grass-lined banks, I mean a real deep analysis of the historical vegetation from someone in that field, in peer-reviewed scientific journals. I've been out there, so I'm familiar with the area you're talking about. It's a very interesting question. I think that there probably were trees there originally.

Aldo Leopold talked about the inter-play between trees and grasslands in that region and the role that fire played in the whole thing. From his descriptions it sounded like a patchwork, a mosaic, of grasslands and trees, shaped by fire.

And those coulee streams are down in valleys where the wind and fire intensity would not have been nearly as great as up on top of the plateau.

Even further west, in the Dakotas and Montana, where it is much drier, and the land very open, and the fires very intense, there were cottonwoods lining the streams and rivers in many places. Gallery forests is the term commonly used. It's likely fires blew through and created gaps in the gallery forests from time to time, then they grew back.

Probably the same situation existed in that part of Wisconsin. I think it's likely that neither the All Tree or All Grass theories are correct. It was probably a patchwork, a mosaic, just like old Aldo said. Aldo knew stuff.

Posted on: 2007/4/8 12:54


Re: Relief From Rhododendron

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2006/9/18 8:28
From Attitudinally, one mile south of Lake LeBoeuf
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Well, it would be interesting to find out for sure. I sort of suspect, as troutbert notes that there may have been a patchwork of vegetation the charateristics of which were dependent upon prevailing land types and elevation differences.

So far as Leopold and his writings on Wisconsin, it's been a long while since I read him, but as I recall, his work dealt mostly with the sand country of central Wisconsin, an area which geographically has more in common with the the middle to northern half of the lower peninsula of Michigan than with the so-called Ocooch Mountains region of SW Wisconsin where the majority of the spring creeks are. Just instictively, it would seem to me that the region, with all its variations in elevation with actually be more likely to have mixed trees and prairies than the much flatter central porion of the state.

Posted on: 2007/4/9 20:17


Re: Relief From Rhododendron
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2006/9/9 19:16
From Dallastown, PA
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RLP,

Are these grassland streams maintained? In other words, are they mowed, grazed or cleared regularly? I ask because it is likely that if hardwoods and other woody (deciduous) vegatation were there previously, they would return sporadically on their own through birds and floods.

If they are being cleared while juvenile then thats another story.

Maurice

Posted on: 2007/4/9 20:25
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Re: Relief From Rhododendron

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2006/9/13 10:18
From LV
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Tim that's bull crap, right across the Mississippi River in MN you can see it while on your approach to the Twin Cities, all of the creeks have trees along them. Lewis and Clark mentioned the good cover along many river bottoms on their trip to the Pacific Ocean in 1803 to 1805. Why wouldn't trees grow along those streams? Box Elders are native unless they have some unusual species there. I've seen the soils along those streams in the driftless area and if it isn't held there by vegetation it is soon washed away. Grasslands along streams, I have serious doubts.

Posted on: 2007/4/9 23:55


Re: Relief From Rhododendron

Joined:
2006/9/18 8:28
From Attitudinally, one mile south of Lake LeBoeuf
Posts: 864
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>RLP,

Are these grassland streams maintained? In other words, are they mowed, grazed or cleared regularly? >

Hi Maurice..

They're a number of types. The three I encounter most frequently (with an off the cuff estimate of prevalence among the 100 or so streams I've fished) in the Driftless Region are working pastures-40%, abandoned, high-grass meadows - 30% and mixed woodlot and high grass meadow - 30%. With a few exceptions, the only manicuring done on any of these streams is bovine in origin.

At any rate, here is an interesting link from WI-DNR on the ecological landscapes of the state:

http://dnr.wi.gov/landscapes/

The vast majority of the spring creeks are located in the Western Coulee and Ridges province on the clickable map, with a much smaller number in the Southwest Savannas province. There are a series of maps to be found on the page for each province, including one that shows what is believed to be the original (pre-settlement) vegetation. I'm reluctant to say that this disproves what Tim had earlier asserted. I don't live there and I know how I'd feel if somebody from 600 miles away told me they knew better than I did about say, southern Erie County.

Still though, something doesn't quite add up.

Posted on: 2007/4/10 9:24


Re: Relief From Rhododendron

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2006/11/2 8:50
Posts: 6272
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Quote:

RLeeP wrote:
>RLP,

Are these grassland streams maintained? In other words, are they mowed, grazed or cleared regularly? >

Hi Maurice..

They're a number of types. The three I encounter most frequently (with an off the cuff estimate of prevalence among the 100 or so streams I've fished) in the Driftless Region are working pastures-40%, abandoned, high-grass meadows - 30% and mixed woodlot and high grass meadow - 30%. With a few exceptions, the only manicuring done on any of these streams is bovine in origin.

At any rate, here is an interesting link from WI-DNR on the ecological landscapes of the state:

http://dnr.wi.gov/landscapes/

The vast majority of the spring creeks are located in the Western Coulee and Ridges province on the clickable map, with a much smaller number in the Southwest Savannas province. There are a series of maps to be found on the page for each province, including one that shows what is believed to be the original (pre-settlement) vegetation. I'm reluctant to say that this disproves what Tim had earlier asserted. I don't live there and I know how I'd feel if somebody from 600 miles away told me they knew better than I did about say, southern Erie County.

Still though, something doesn't quite add up.


From the website: "Historical vegetation consisted of southern hardwood forests, oak savanna, scattered prairies, and floodplain forests and marshes along the major rivers."

Floodplain forests. There you go. The people who prefer managing for grass still may have some good arguments in their favor, but the "environmental restoration" argument isn't one of them.

Posted on: 2007/4/10 11:48


Re: Relief From Rhododendron

Joined:
2006/9/9 20:09
From Harrisburg
Posts: 2194
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Dear Maurice,

Here are some threads from another board showing some of the Driftless streams. As you can see there really aren't many trees along the banks. The streams aren't mowed, they are left to the native plants.

http://outdoorsbest.zeroforum.com/zerothread?id=570068

http://outdoorsbest.zeroforum.com/zerothread?id=569192

Regards,
Tim Murphy

Posted on: 2007/4/10 12:12


Re: Relief From Rhododendron

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2006/11/2 8:50
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In Wisconsin and Minnesota streambank de-brushing has been a popular practice to remove woody vegetation and promote grassy vegetation. They used to say this had wondrous benefits.

Ray White, who used to work for the Wisconsin fisheries people, is now saying the results are mixed. He discusses this in an excellent review of the history of stream restoration practices, which I highly recommend to anyone who is interested in stream restoration. It’s a long document, and I think it’s much easier to read it you print it out rather than trying to read in on the screen:

http://www.cfb.ie/salmonid_workshop/index.htm

Posted on: 2007/4/13 9:16



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