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6/20 & 21 - Port Susan Bay Estuary Plant Identification Blitz

posted Jun 19, 2015, 12:36 PM by Roxie Rochat
Join us as we seek a comprehensive plant species list for the 4,000 acre Port Susan Bay preserve owned by The Nature Conservancy. The Stillaguamish River meets Puget Sound just south of Stanwood, where it spreads out across a broad estuary, creating many kinds of wetland habitats. We’ll break into small groups and disperse into different parts of the estuary. We’ll also have a chance to see a recent 150 acre estuary restoration project. Depending on how much ground we cover on Saturday, we may continue on Sunday (feel free to join us for one or both days). 
We have built a plant list over the years but have never attempted a complete inventory, particularly of the diverse high marsh habitat. This project is part of a Western Washington University research project and our plant lists from different parts of the estuary, coupled with GPS data, will help us understand how key factors like salinity, elevation, and soil particle size affect where different species grow. Lichenologists are also welcome, as we would like to add to our list of 45 lichen species. 
Some interesting species we may encounter include 4-5 bulrushes (including broad meadows of the weaver’s staple American bulrush [Schoenoplectis americanus] and the rarely identified [in western Washington] river bulrush [Bolboschoenus fluviatilis], dodder (Cuscuta sp.) as a parasite on Douglas’ aster (Symphyotrichum subspicatum), sea milk-wort (Glaux maritima), western grasswort (Lilaeopsis occidentalis), awlwort (Subularia aquatica), springbank clover (Trifolium wormskjoldii), a number of species of rushes and spikerushes, and with any luck, paint brush owl-clover (Castilleja ambigua). We’ll also run into a couple of nightmarish beasts of the estuary: common reed (the scourge of east coast saltmarshes Phragmites australis) and common cordgrass (Spartina anglica). In all, we hope to document more than 120 plant species.
When: meet at 9am on Saturday June 20th (and possibly June 21st )
Meeting location: Port Susan Bay Preserve (directions attached) park and meet near green house.
What to Bring:
·        Bring knee boots if you want to wander into the wetter marsh habitats, or shoes that you don’t mind getting muddy. Plastic bag or bin to put muddy shoes/clothes in when return to vehicle for the day.
·        Weather appropriate clothes - Sun hat, sunscreen, rain coat, dress in layers
·        Snacks, lunch and water for the day
·        If you have a canoe you could bring to help with accessing the more remote spots, please let us know.

Joelene Boyd
Puget Sound 
Stewardship Coordinator
(360) 419 3125 (Phone)
(419) 419 0817 (Fax)
The Nature Conservancy
Skagit River Office
410 N 4th St
Mount Vernon WA 98273