Ohio Grassland Sites

In 2021 I attempted to visit many of the sites listed in the 1979 classic Ohio Prairie Survey Project by Allison Cusick and Roger Troutman to update their condition. This is an ongoing project and I will continue to update this map as long as I am in Ohio.
https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1H9nZjlmfNgVPIPGNZv57dkC8LM7iid6M&usp=sharing

I think they were relatively loose on their definition of "prairie" in the book and I continue the theme here including grassland sites that might not qualify as prairie sites including, savannas, barrens, and wetter sites such as fen meadows.

There were many sites in the book that I am uncertain of their exact location and was thus unable to visit. If anyone is aware of any sites that are not on this map feel free to add.

Ohio does not have a lot of grassland sites, but many of them are well managed and offer excellent examples of their types
Must visit Ohio grasslands:
1. Darby Plains prairie (Champaign, Union, Madison, Franklin, Pickaway counties)
Prior to European settlement the largest prairie region in Ohio. Near and dear to my heart as I grew up in Southern Union County.
Good natural history here:
http://images.library.wisc.edu/EcoNatRes/EFacs/NAPC/NAPC06/reference/econatres.napc06.cking.pdf
Plant list:
https://ohioplants.org/darby-plains-prairie-plants/
Recommended sites: Milford Center Prairie State Nature Preserve (SNP), Bigelow Cemetary SNP, Smith Cemetary SNP - eye popping color and diversity from July-September. The imagination is overwhelmed by what this region must have looked like prior to agriculture. Seem to have been very well managed in recent years as I have noticed prescribed burns and increasing diversity.
Pearl King Savanna SNP - permit required. No trails. Wonderful bur oak/post oak savanna. The only extant example of this type of site that is on public land. As a fan of post oaks this is one of my favorite sites in the state.
Columbus metroparks has attempted a large-scale restoration at Batelle Darby Creek and Prairie Oaks Metroparks, but the diversity does not come close to the sites mentioned above.

2. Sandusky plains prairie/savanna (Marion, Wyandot and Crawford counties)
The second biggest prairie area in the state. The eastern-most extension of the "Prairie Peninsula". Incredible diversity with many plants not found elsewhere in the state.
Some natural history:
https://www.jstor.org/stable/4034237
https://www.jstor.org/stable/4034303
Recommended sites:
Daughmer Savanah SNP - glorious bur oak savanna, to my knowledge the best preserved in the state. An oak lovers dream. Big enough that you feel separate from the surrounding agricultural landscape. Clairidon Railroad Prairie - Incredible floral diversity at this site, possibly the single most diverse prairie site in the state. Has a historical marker, but to my knowledge not officially preserved in any way. Needs some management, would love to see this become a state nature preserve

3. Castalia Prairie (Erie County)
Absolutely glorious wet prairie site. One of the larger extant sites in the state. Incredible prairie dock and Asclepias tuberosa populations that overwhelm the senses.
https://etd.ohiolink.edu/apexprod/rws_etd/send_file/send?accession=osu1272376477&disposition=inline
Site now a part of Resthaven State Wildllife Area.
Lake Erie Sand Barrens SNP is very close to this site and also worth a visit.

4. Miami River Watershed Prairies/Fens (Logan, Champaign, Miami, Greene and Montgomery counties)
Lots of interesting glacial history here.
https://kb.osu.edu/handle/1811/22204
https://images.library.wisc.edu/EcoNatRes/EFacs/NAPC/NAPC06/reference/econatres.napc06.shuston.pdf
Gallagher Fen SNP, Cedar Bog SNP, Pearls Fen (Greene County Parks) - Stunningly beautiful with many rare plants.
Good Prairie SNP, Stillwater Praire Preserve (Miami County Parks) - A little more subtle than the above sites, but still worth a visit, IMO.

5. Adams County openings/barrens
Probably the most famous grasslands in the state, studied by Lucy Braun. The Arc of Appalachia preserves and state nature preserves in the county are incredibly well managed and will take your breath away.
http://images.library.wisc.edu/EcoNatRes/EFacs/NAPC/NAPC06/reference/econatres.napc06.acusick.pdf
https://www.adamscountytravel.org/ADAMS_HIKE_FINAL.pdf
Lynx Prairie (Edge of Appalachia)- Another one with incredible floristic diversity
Chapparel Prairie SNP, Adams Lake SNP - I might be biased with these because they are probably the two best Post-Oak Openings on public land in the state.

6. NE Ohio fens/bogs
Again lots of glacial history here.
Lots of options here but my favorites for fen/sedge meadows are Herrick Fen (The Nature Conservancy) in Portage county and Jackson Bog SNP in Stark County.

7. Lucas County Prairies/Fen Meadows/Sand Barrens
Really unique area with the juxtaposition of very wet and very dry sites. Lots of northernmost/southernmost range extensions are present here. Worst mosquitoes in the state too, lol.
https://whitehouseoh.gov/Forms/Public-Service/Oak-Openings-Guide-3rd-Edition-2016.pdf
Irwin Prairie SNP - a massive sedge meadow, probably my favorite of that type in the state.
Kitty Todd SNP - A dryer site with overwhelming color and diversity.
Oak Openings Metropark - most of the park is oak savanna but has a totally different feel to other savannas in the state with very sandy soil.

What are your must-see Ohio grasslands? Are there any super cool sites I am missing? I am particularly interested in visiting some of the barrens contained in Wayne National Forest and Shawnee State Forest this year.

Publicado por calconey calconey, 28 de enero de 2022

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Publicado por ken-potter hace alrededor de 1 año (Marca)

Very Cool- Many of these sites are documented in the Ohio Natural Heritage Database- You should do a database search and ask for all of the grassland plant communities - I worked for the program and these an many, many more are documented in the databse. https://ohiodnr.gov/static/documents/wildlife/wildlife-management/Natural%20Heritage%20Data%20Request%20Form.pdf

Publicado por tomarbour hace alrededor de 1 año (Marca)

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