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Black Brook Preserve

 
Welcome to the Black Brook Preserve in Windham, Maine.

In 2001, the Windham Land Trust bought a 105-acre parcel of land located in the middle of Windham, Maine. The Black Brook Preserve is an undeveloped and natural parcel of land that has changed little since the incorporation of the town in 1735. Within the preserve there are miles of trails and “bog bridges’’ that cross over the wetlands, allowing the public access to hiking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and many other physical activities (www.windhamlandtrust).
                                                                                                         
 
  • The Black Brook Preserve consists of both a freshwater emergent wetland and   a freshwater forested/shrub wetland (NWI).
  • Based on the Maine Natural Communities Website the Black Brook Preserve wetlands are designated as a Spruce-Fir Wet Flat
  • Originally owned by a local developer who planned to build a 41 lot residential subdivision on the parcel of land (Maine.gov)
  • Local residents fought the development and the Windham Land Trust bought the land for $347,000 (Maine.gov)
  • Black Brook flows through the wetlands and is a tributary to the Presumpscot River
  •  
 
Wetland Characteristics 
 
Hydrology
According to the United States Department of Agriculture the Black Brook
Preserve has no annual ponding or flooding (Web Soil Survey). However, during a personal site visit to the wetlands, I encountered several beaver (Castor Canadensis) dams and lodges that resulted in ponded/flooded areas along the Black Brook. The Black Brook is one of two class B streams located in the wetlands (MDEP).
 
 
Soils
There are approximately 39 acres of hydric soils in the Black Brook Preserve, and the scantic series is the only hydric soil found in the wetlands. These are very deep, poorly drained soils that were formed in glaciomarine or glaciolacustrine deposits in coastal lowlands. Surface soil horizons are mainly dark grayish brown, and sub-surface horizon exhibit redoximorphic features that indicate masses of iron accumulation (Web Soil Survey).
 
 
 
 
Vegetation
A prominent feature of the Black Brook Preserve is the extensive
forested area in the wetlands with several species of trees that include Abies balsamea, Tsuga canadensis, and Pinus strobes. The forest floor contains an abundance of bryoids, as well as ferns (Osmunda cinnamomea). 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

       
 
 
 
 
Table 1. Expected and observed plants in Black Brook Preserve wetland. Sources: http://plants.usda.gov/java/nameSearch, http://plants.usda.gov/wetland.html, http://www.maine.gov/doc/nrimc/mnap/features/communities/evergreenseepage.htm accessed 3/30/2012.

Wetland Type

Common Name

Scientific Name

Growth Form

Wetland Indicator Class

Abundance

Spruce, Fir Wet Flat

Balsam fir

Abies balsamea

Canopy

Facultative Wetland

Dominant


Northern white cedar

Thuja occidentalis

Canopy

Facultative Wetland

Dominant


Red spruce

Picea rubens

Canopy

Facultative Upland

Rare


White birch

Betula papyrifa marshall

Canopy

?

Common


Red oak

Quercus rubra

Canopy

?

Rare


Hemlock

Tsuga canadensis

Canopy

?

Dominant


Fly honeysuckle

Lonicera canadensis

Shrub

Facultative Upland

Rare


Bunchberry

Cornus canadensis

Herb

Facultative

Rare


Creeping snowberry

Symphoricarpos mollis

Herb

Facultative Wetland

Rare


Dewdrop

Duranta repens

Herb

?

Rare


Goldthread

Coptis salisb.

Herb

?

Rare


Northern wood-sorrel

Oxalis acetosella

Herb

?

Rare


Oak fern

Gymnocarpium Newman

Herb

?

Dominant


Three-seeded sedge

Carex trisperma

Herb

Obligate Wetland

Dominant


Twinflower

Linnaea borealis

Herb

Facultative

Rare


Mountain fern moss

Hylocomium splendens

Bryoid

Facultative Wetland

Common


Sphagnum mosses

Sphagnum platyphyllum

Bryoid

Facultative

Wetland

Common


Three-lobed bazzania

Bazzania trilobata

Bryoid

?

Rare


Sensitive fern

Onoclea sensibilis

Herb

Facultative Wetland

Common


Japanese barberry

Berberis thunbergii

Shrub

?

Common


White pine

Pinus strobes

Canopy

?

Dominant


Multiflora rose

Rosa multiflora

Shrub

Facultative Upland

Common


Black cherry

Prunus serotina

Canopy

Facultative Upland

Rare


Lady fern

Athyrium femina

Herb

?

Dominant


British soldier moss

Cladonia cristatella

Bryoid

?

Common


Common winterberry

Ilex verticellata

Shrub

Obligate Wetland

Common

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
        
       
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
        
 
       
 
 
 
 
         Wildlife and Interesting Facts                                                                 
       There are many organisms that make use of the habitat
        in the Black Brook Preserve. Evidence of a Pileated     
        Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) is clear throughout the 
        wetlands. Many of the dead and dying trees have     
        large holes from where this creature forages for
        carpenter ants, and woodboring beetles. The major  
        alterations to the habitat can be attributed to the   
        beavers (Castor canadensis) living in the Black Brook   
        Preserve. Through the felling of trees, and the damming of
         the Black Brook, the beavers have drastically altered the
        landscape, creating two ponds in the wetlands.
         
 
 
 
                                                                    
                   
 
                Public Access
                  The public is encouraged to visit the Black Brook Preserve. It is a family friendly
                  environment, and dogs are allowed if restrained by a leash. Parking and access are
                  available on Windham Center Road near the Black Brook, as well as on Route 202     
                  across from School Road.
    

 



References:

Gawler, S. and Cutko, A. 2010. Natural Landscapes of Maine: A Guide to Natural Communities andEcosystems. Maine Natural Areas Program, Maine Department of Conservation, Augusta, Maine:ONLINE Natural Areas Key: http://www.maine.gov/doc/nrimc/mnap/features/communitykey.htm

 Web Soil Survey. (2012). United States Department of Agriculture: Natural Resources Conservation Service - Web Soil Survey. URL: http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/ (accessed March 29, 2012).

USDA, NRCS. 2012. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 1 April 2012). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

Windham Land Trust (2012) www.windhamlandtrust.com

Maine Department of Environmental Protection (2012) http://www.maine.gov/dep/

Maine.gov (2012)

 



   Wetland information and photos by Shane Poppas, Department of Environmental Science, Graduation 2012

    Last amendments made on 5/5/2012 by Shane Poppas

   

 
 
 
     
 
 
        
             
 
 
          
       
 
 
       
 
 
 
                                                                                           
         
 
 
 
 
 
 

  

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
         
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