Impacts of Urban Runoff on Native Woody Vegetation at Clark Reservation State Park, Jamesville, NY
by Carol Franco1, Allan P. Drew1, and Gordon Heisler2
1Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management, One Forestry Drive, SUNY: College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA.
2USDA Forest Service, One Forestry Drive, SUNY: College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA.
Since 1989, Dry Lake, a unique basin located in the New York state park Clark Reservation, has experienced periodic flooding of silt-laden water from the adjacent Doubletree residential housing development. This study examines the effect of urban runoff on the native woody vegetation of the flooded zone. We selected two species of trees from both the inundated and non-flooded zones for growth studies: bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis) and sugar maple (Acer saccharum), cored sample trees at breast height (1.37 meters) on the north and south faces, and measured the ring widths of the cores to the nearest 0.001 millimeter. Our statistical comparison of tree ring-width indices measured before and after Doubletree construction commenced showed that bitternut hickory growth has not been affected by flooding (P = 0.701). In contrast, sugar maple trees sampled from the flooded zone exhibited increased ring-width indices in the 12 years after Doubletree development began (P = 0.06). We found that a third species on the site, eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), is intolerant of flooding, and all trees of this species in the flooded zone died.
Keywords: Clark Reservation State Park, urbanization, tree ring, WinDENDRO, sugar maple (Acer saccharum), bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis), eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)