Lukens Meadow Ecological Restoration Project

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This project will ecologically restore a wet meadow by re-establishing native vegetation and hydrology. Lukens Meadow has a range of impacts from trampled vegetation to multiple trail ruts up to fifteen inches in depth. These trail ruts act as drainage ditches, changing the natural hydrology of the wetland. Water, rather than spreading through out the meadow and eventually seeping into the lake, flows down the trail rut effectively de-watering parts of the wet meadow, potentially resulting in changes in plant communities Currently a trail, crosses the creek, goes through a low, wet willow area and then continues through the wet meadow. Another trail skirts the meadows and follows the forest edge. (see map) Visitors will be directed to use the trail along the forest edge and the rutted, muddy trail through the wetland will be planted with native vegetation and restored to natural conditions.

Ecological restoration activities include:
1) Conducting a plant survey and generate a species list of the meadow community.
2) Salvage plants currently growing in the trail rut.
3) Removing the rutted and parallel trails that traverse the meadow by filling in the ruts where necessary with locally obtained soils from depositional features in the meadow, along the stream and fallen down tree wells
4) Seeding the impacted areas with locally gathered native seed.
5) Planting salvaged plants removed from the trail ruts in the ecological restoration area
6) Willows will naturally grow into the area currently cleared by trail maintenance and provide habitat for wildlife including special status species like yellow warblers.
7) Decompacting, mulching, and seeding 3,000 square feet of bare ground along the lake shore at the north shore of the lake.

The ecological restoration aspect of the project will occur in September 2008.

The following NPS staff have been consulted:

Archeology and Anthropology: Laura Kirn and Sonny Montague. Onsite consultation with the Wilderness Project Archeologist is planned to identify specific restoration treament measures. The project would improve conditions and better protect cultural resources.
History Architecture and Landscapes: A site visit will be planned with Dave Humphrey to address any Historic, Architectural or Landscape issues.
Wilderness: The Minimum Requirement Analysis has been sent to the Wilderness staff, Mark Fincher, for review.
Trails: During a site visit, Dave Kari concurred that the plan of using the trail along the forest edge was appropriate.