The Website of PBIO(BIOL) 3660L Plant Biology Intensive Lab
THE PLANT BIOLOGY DEPARTMENT
THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA
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SBG ANNEX BEAVER POND SITE
The State Botanical Garden Annex is an informal name for a 19-acre parcel of land that was donated to the SBG, possibly by Frank Stancil and G.D. Walker in 1989. It is in Oconee County just across the Middle Oconee River from the Garden. The land borders the river and the west bank of McNutt Creek as it joins the river. The land contains most of a large beaver pond and is undeveloped except by the beavers. The pond is known only to the local residents, is difficult to access and apparently not yet studied.
The Annex Beaver Pond it is of interest in its own right and as a positive control for the restoration of the SBG Orange Trail Beaver Pond. During Spring 08 we determined the boundaries of the parcel, cut a preliminary trail to the pond, and surveyed it with canoes.
Two collecting visits were made during Summer 08 but these were limited by water much higher at the margin than we had found in the spring. The drought continues unabated, so the beavers are probably responsible. It appears they increased the level of the pond by at least 6 inches so that it now intrudes about 50 feet into the shaded marginal zone dominated by Alnus serrulata (Tag Alder, Smooth Alder, Hazel Alder). An experiment seems to have been started between semesters, judging from these very informal observations of only a tiny fraction of the pond. It will be interesting to learn, for example, if we can infer its starting condition from the plants that were established under them and which still remain. How long to see changes in the margin community, for instance to see Alnus retreat into the privet? Had we wanted to do this deliberately, how many agencies would have to approve and how long would it take to change the level of the pond?