Thursday, February 12, 2009

SITE 5: Woolsey Wet Prairie Sanctuary: City of Fayetteville-owned 30 acres of wetland mitigation with adjacent 70 acres of prairie and savanna.

Existing Status and Management Needs: This site is located immediately to the north of the City of Fayetteville’s West Side Wastewater Treatment Plant and was established as a requirement by the Corps of Engineers for compensatory wetland mitigation due to wetland losses caused by the city’s sewer improvement project. Restoration activities have included the construction of earthen berms to modify the hydrology, prescribed burns, mowing to prevent fescue from forming seedheads, and herbicide applications. Over a three-year period, the plant community has increased from 47 to 340 species. Seven of those plant species are Washington County records and are listed as Arkansas Species of Concern by the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission. Adaptive management techniques have focused on creating conditions favorable to plant species that have been dormant within the seedbed for decades. Bird life is abundant and diverse, including songbirds, shorebirds, wading birds, waterfowl, and birds of prey. Woolsey Wet Prairie is listed as one of the nation’s birding hotspots on “” a website jointly sponsored by Cornell University and Audubon.

The City of Fayetteville owns an additional 70 acres of prairie/savanna complex that is adjacent to the site. The adjacent acreage is very amenable to be expanded into a wetland mitigation bank and natural area. Approximately 20 acres of this tract is a rare hardwood savanna with large trees that were recently damaged by the January 2009 ice storm. Plans are underway to preserve as many of the damaged trees as possible. A draft prospectus has been prepared that will go before the City Council to make the final decision of a commitment of the additional 70 acres for the mitigation bank. More detailed information is available on the Woolsey Wet Prairie Sanctuary website at:

SITE 8: Broyles/Yates Prairie on Woolsey Farm Rd. next to school in Farmington, 40 acres owned by Mr. & Mrs. Carl Yates.

Existing Status and Management Needs: This 40-acre site is a remnant prairie with intact mounds (prairie pimples) and wet depressions between mounds. The southern-most 10 acres are predominately wet meadow (palustrine emergent wetland class PEM) that is progressing to Palustrine System Scrub-Shrub Wetland Class (PSS) due to lack of mowing. A small (approx. 3 acres) area in the extreme southwest corner has become Palustrine System Forested Wetland Class (PFO) as the green ash are taking over and shading out the understory. With continued lack of vegetation management, upland areas will evolve from grasslands to shrub/scrub habitat as eastern red cedar, elm, and honey locust will take over.

The W/P/SS has suggested vegetation management to the landowner to include bush-hogging to remove woody vegetation (most of the green ash and some of the cedar) that is taking over wet prairie depressions and uplands and a prescribed burn early in 2009 growing season. This would preserve prairie habitat and enhance plant species diversity. The City of Fayetteville owns property to the north, which includes forested and prairie areas (including Woolsey Wet Prairie) and headwaters of Goose Creek. Cattle pasture is located to the west, an elementary school to the east, and residential to the south. Several very large old growth bur oak and American elm trees were observed on the site. The Broyles/Yates property has good habitat diversity; onsite and nearby offsite aquatic resources; good connectivity to surrounding habitats primarily to the north; and an ecological integrity that supports wildlife. This site would fit very well into a local hub/link network and could be easily managed with minimal periodic prescribed burning and mowing. The site visit made by the W/P/SS can be viewed at:

Pics available from aubrey???


SITE 1: Stonebridge Meadows Golf Course (also known as Goff Farm): on approximately 10 acres on south side of Hwy.16E.

Existing Status and Management Needs: This is a small site that is somewhat isolated due to surrounding land use as a golf course. Various native prairie forbs and grasses are dominant, and a layer of tall fescue appears to be working its way into the community as a dominant. The site is sloped and a drainageway extends through the middle, creating areas that support wetland plant species. An interesting feature is the abundance of compass plants (Silphium laciniatum). This unique plant world has the ability for its leaves to orient themselves in a North and South direction. The compass plant supposedly served as a compass for prairie settlers traveling through who lost or forgot to bring a compass.

The manager of the property stated that they simply leave this area alone so that they can have a small “natural area”. The W/P/SS should contact the landowner to provide guidance about management of invasive species such as fescue, and inquire about getting seeds from mature compass plants next fall for use in restoration activities at other sites.

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