Sara Thomas, Executive Director of the Livingston Land Conservancy, and LLC members explore the fen.

HRWC Volunteers and partners from the Livingston Land Conservancy had a chance to explore a beautiful fen as part of HRWC’s Bioreserve Project, which aims to assess and protect the remaining natural areas in the watershed.

Last week, we surveyed the Kernie King Memorial Fen, a conservancy preserve in Genoa Township.  LLC’s Executive Director Sara Thomas and President Roy Schwartz, along with 2 LLC members, joined myself and HRWC volunteer Don Jacobson to trek the larch and sphagnum moss matt, to catalog shrubby cinquefoil, marsh bellflower, bog birch, bog rosemary, and yes, plenty of poison sumac (as proven by the rash on my arm!)

HRWC’s Bioreserve Project partners with the Livingston Land Conservancy to assess ecological integrity and restoration opportunities on conservancy properties and properties of interest that could be candidates for permanent protection.

Fens are diverse, unique wetland ecosystems that help keep the Huron River clean by absorbing stormwater and runoff.  This robust and vibrant  fen is providing habitat for wildlife as diverse as red-tailed hawks, yellowthroat warblers, and the giant, person-high ant-hill we found!

But fens are also highly sensitive and vulnerable to land use changes around them, such as fertilizer use and encroachment of invasive weeds. Data gathered from the assessment will help LLC make decisions about how best to control encroaching purple loosestrife we observed.