Purpose and methology

The ecologists monitoring the prairie remnant articulated their methodology as follows. Note: Forbs are herbaceous flowering plants other than grasses.

The purpose of establishing monitoring plots is to assess some of the initial plant damage, study the longer-term effects and inform future restoration plans (if needed). This will be done by quantifying live (healthy) and damaged or dead cover of all species in permanent sampling plots, and specifically marking key species to follow over time.  Plots will be sampled in late May, late July and September of 2023, and June of 2024.

We will establish three transects the length of the prairie area, marked at the ends with permanent stakes. Each transect will have 10 circular marked plots of 10 m2. Within each plot, cover of all forbs (combined cover of all species) and all graminoids (grasses, sedges and grass-like plants), and species listed will be estimated. Special attention will be given to collecting data on sericea lespedeza and any other noxious weed species. Also, within the plots, important plants, species indicative of high-quality prairie listed will be studied and marked. A scale of herbicide impact will be used to assess damage of each species. We are counting individual plants of non-rhizomatous perennial species within the plots to quantify survivorship across years within the plots. It is recognized that plants do die from old age, but this would be expected to be less than 10 percent of these relatively long-lived, non-rhizomatous, or short-rhizomatous species.