Conservation and Management
Perched swamp white oak swamps are threatened by development and its associated run-off (e.g., residential), recreational overuse (e.g., hiking trails, ATVs), and habitat alteration in the adjacent landscape (e.g., excessive logging, pollution, nutrient loading). Alteration to the natural hydrology is also a threat to this community (e.g., flooding or draining). Although invasive species are currently not a threat to perched swamp white oak swamps, reedgrass (Phragmites australis ssp. australis) and purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) may become a problem in the future. In 2001, the federal Supreme Court ruled that the US Congress did not give authority to the US Army Corps of Engineers (US ACE) under section 404 of the Clean Water Act to regulate the filling of isolated wetlands. This decision led US EPA and US ACE officials to issue guidance in January 2003 that made it more difficult for regulators to protect isolated wetlands, such as perched swamp white oak swamps (Comer et al. 2005).
Conservation Strategies and Management Practices
Where practical, establish and maintain a natural wetland buffer to reduce storm-water, pollution, and nutrient run-off, while simultaneously capturing sediments before they reach the wetland. Buffer width should take into account the erodibility of the surrounding soils, slope steepness, and current land use. Wetlands protected under Article 24 are known as New York State "regulated" wetlands. The regulated area includes the wetlands themselves, as well as a protective buffer or "adjacent area" extending 100 feet landward of the wetland boundary (NYS DEC 1995). If possible, minimize the number and size of impervious surfaces in the surrounding landscape. Avoid habitat alteration within the wetland and surrounding landscape. For example, roads and trails should be routed around wetlands, and ideally should not pass through the buffer area. If the wetland must be crossed, then bridges and boardwalks are preferred over filling. Restore swamps that have been affected by unnatural disturbance (e.g., remove obsolete impoundments and ditches in order to restore the natural hydrology). Prevent the spread of invasive exotic species into the wetland through appropriate direct management, and by minimizing potential dispersal corridors, such as roads.
Development and Mitigation Considerations
When considering road construction and other development activities, minimize actions that will change what water carries and how water travels to this community, both on the surface and underground. Water traveling over-the-ground as run-off usually carries an abundance of silt, clay, and other particulates during (and often after) a construction project. While still suspended in the water, these particulates make it difficult for aquatic animals to find food; after settling to the bottom of the wetland, these particulates bury small plants and animals and alter the natural functions of the community in many other ways. Thus, road construction and development activities near this community type should strive to minimize particulate-laden run-off into this community. Water traveling on the ground or seeping through the ground also carries dissolved minerals and chemicals. Road salt, for example, is becoming an increasing problem both to natural communities and as a contaminant in household wells. Fertilizers, detergents, and other chemicals that increase the nutrient levels in wetlands cause algae blooms and eventually an oxygen-depleted environment where few animals can live. Herbicides and pesticides often travel far from where they are applied and have lasting effects on the quality of the natural community. So, road construction and other development activities should strive to consider: 1. how water moves through the ground, 2. the types of dissolved substances these development activities may release, and 3. how to minimize the potential for these dissolved substances to reach this natural community.
Survey for occurrences statewide to advance documentation and classification of perched swamp white oak swamps.
Research is needed to fill information gaps about perched swamp white oak swamps, especially to advance our understanding of their classification, ecological processes, hydrology, floristic variation, and characteristic fauna. A statewide survey of perched swamp white oak swamps is desirable. Occurrences in New York should be critically compared to red maple-swamp white oak swamps, the clayplain forests in Vermont (Thompson and Sorenson 2000), and other more common forested mineral soil wetlands (e.g., red maple-hardwood swamp, silver maple-ash swamp, and floodplain forest).
- Ardea herodias (Great Blue Heron)
- Carex glaucodea (Glaucous Sedge)