Expecting party pictures? Well, I don't have any, but yesterday I was immersed in the fairly amazing party culture of South Bass Island, aka Put-in-Bay, which is the small party village on South Bass. Why did I go here, you may ask? Yesterday the Ohio Heritage Naturalists ventured to the island to meet up with Lisa Brohl and Debbie W. of the Lake Erie Islands Chapter of the Black Swamp Conservancy.
Our goal? Explore some of the more interesting shoreline areas of the island, which is basically a giant rock of dolomite. Where the dolomite meets the water, many interesting and rare plants grow- these systems are shoreline alvars, a very rare great lakes plant community.
Here we are exploring the Shoreline alvar.
Harebell, Campunula rotundifolia, abounds on these cliffs and slump blocks. This plant is extremely rare in Ohio, and is listed as a threatened species. This small and delicate flower is perhaps the poster child, at least plant wise, for this community. As Lisa explained to us, the real poster child of the community is the federally threatened Lake Erie Watersnake- Protecting its habitat also ensures the protection of the alvar community.
I always love taking pictures of people in front of interesting signs, and all the more interesting when the signs have a big "do not" painted across them.
The shoreline alvars have prairie affinities, including the native species\mountain mint (perhaps Virginia?- I didn't look at it well enough) and Big Bluestem.
We also went out to east point, and waded across to Buckeye Island.
After east point, we drove through down town put-in-bay. What a nightmare. I was driving, and dodging all the pedestrians, golf carts, go carts, mopeds, bicyclists, tourist jeeps, buses and vans was crazy. No pics, as I was driving.
Our last stop was on the west shore of the island, to look at more shoreline alvar habitat. From this vantage point, we could see bands of microcystis algae- an indicator of water quality problems.
Here, Len is examining a sapling blue ash, Fraxinus quadrangulata.
Isn't that a beautiful hunk of dolomite? The shoreline alvars of the Lake Erie Islands are extremely rare Ohio plant communities. We were lucky to explore these area, all thanks to Debbie and Lisa and the Lake Erie Islands Chapter of the Black Swamp Conservancy.