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Old 04-05-2010, 04:57 PM   #1
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Default The natural beauty of the region lying between Lakes Erie and Huron

The natural beauty of the region lying between Lakes Erie and Huron has been recorded by all the early travelers, with words of admiration.

http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/ecopage/stc...rbiodiv04b.pdf
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Prior to European settlement, the shoreline of the Lake Huron to Lake Erie corridor looked very different than it does today. Extensive Great Lakes marshes skirted the shoreline, especially along Lakes St. Clair and Erie. Upland from these marshes there was generally hardwood swamp on poorly drained clay soils and beech-maple forest on better-drained sites. Tallgrass prairie and oak savanna grew in the lakeplain’s sandy areas.

Great Lakes Coastal Marsh

Great Lakes coastal marsh is a wetland ecosystem distinct to the Great Lakes. It is the most productive natural system in Earth’s temperate zones, providing habitat for mammals, waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects, crustaceans and many plant species.
“All the rivers and creeks enter from both sides, through low, swampy land covered with folle avoine, or wild oats. This aquatic grain, though thus named, is nevertheless essentially different from either oats or rice; no vegetable that I ever seen, has a more beautiful appearance than is exhibited by the immense marshes, covered with folle avoine; it is now in blossom, exhaling a peculiarly pleasing fragrance.”
–William Darby, 1819, Describing the Ontario and Michigan Shorelines on the Detroit River

The aquatic plant, “folle avoine,” of which American geographer William Darby wrote is wild rice (Zizania aquatica) and once was common in the region’s coastal marshes. Wild rice is very sensitive to changes in water flow. As a result of major shoreline alterations, it no longer thrives. In fact, today it is listed as a threatened plant species in Michigan.

Great Lakes marshes are dynamic systems. Since their topography is almost flat, they are highly influenced by fluctuating Great Lakes water levels. This is especially true in the St. Clair River Delta where a change of only a few inches greatly affects the size and position of wetlands. In high-water years, strong on-shore winds produce sufficient wave action to uproot plants and cause erosion. In low-water years, marsh habitat becomes more abundant. Changing water levels often cause dramatic shifts in vegetation in a short period of time, shaping the abundance and diversity of habitat available to wildlife. Mudflats appear in the shallows of coastal marshes when the water is low. Mudflats provide habitat for shorebirds that stop to rest and feed during migration. They use their long, pointed bills to probe exposed soil for insects and other invertebrates.
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Old 04-19-2010, 04:20 PM   #2
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This pdf you located reads not all that dissimilar to a Top 10 vacation destination advertisement.

Simply beautiful.
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