By Bill Kleiman
On the left is the Hill Site owned and managed by the Middle Rock Conservation Partners. On the right is how the left used to look before a brush mower did a lot of work, followed up by seeding prairie seeds, and basal bark application to re-sprouts, and one fire.
Above photo is from a few years back showing a closed canopy oak woodland. In amongst the oak and hickory was a lot of invasive brush and weedy trees.
1939 aerial photo above of the same site. Likely a grazed oak savanna at that time.
Above are random points assigned to the site where we took quadrat data of the vegetation and photos.
Random points 39: We took one photo from each points looking north. Here the excessive weedy brush is evident. This was a place you walked bent over with safety glasses on.
Same point 10 months later, after a lot of brush mowing and a spring fire.
Same point 3 years later and in November. I used a bit of of a pano photo which I found allowed the trees to be in the photo. Because these random points are found later with a phone GPS there is 10 to 15 feet of error in finding the exact same point. So the pano “captures” the big oaks. I could have a fence post marking the exact point, or a hidden rebar rod, but those are hard to find and maintain.
We also collect a photo and a count of species and their percent cover. Here under a canopy of brush we have the ground mostly exposed with bare soil and a few weedy plants.
Ten months later there a few grasses seen, a honeysuckle re-sprout.
Three years later in November and oak leaves dominate the frame. We will resample the vegetation in a few more years. For now we just have these photos.
The work continues in other parts of this site, and other partner sites, with the red brush mower and the MRCP service truck.
For more details on this monitoring go to the Middle Rock Conservation Partners site https://www.middlerockconservationpartners.org/vegetation-baseline-survey.html