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ASI Report: Acme Township Bayside Park Biological Survey

Oct 12, 2011

Au Sable students, faculty, and staff teamed up this past summer on an Integrative Session Day to perform a biological inventory and report on 5.75 acres of park land for Acme Township Supervisor, Wayne Kladder.  The land, known as Bayside Park, lies along the Grand Traverse Bay lakeshore to the east of Traverse City.  The township recently purchased a new property adjacent to the site, and  Kladder and other Township decision-makers will be deciding how these two properties will be used as part of Acme Township's redevelopment efforts.  Au Sable Associate Director, David Mahan, approached Kladder about performing an inventory of plants, birds, animals, natural features, large trees, invasive species, and important, non-natural features to integrate critical ecological data into the Township's decision-making process.  

The inventory and report gave the Summer Session I students the opportunity to apply their new knowledge from their various courses in Animal EcologyField BotanyAquatic BiologyLand ResourcesConservation Biology, and Molecular Tools to real-world context and public decision-making processes.  Land Resources professor, Jason Van Horn, provided GIS expertise to map critical areas for natural features protection and restoration, and research student Alex de Sosa's wetland inventory highlighted the quality of the interdunal wetlands along the lakeshore. 

The Bayside Park Report illuminates how the park's lakeshore property makes it an important site for local landscapes and biodiversity.  The site features beach, associated wetlands, and low, forested dunes, which comprise almost half of the park's area.  The report notes that the natural shoreline is relatively rare around Grand Traverse Bay, and the presence of Acme creek makes it an important site for local natural features.  The group concludes that with some restoration work that pays particular attention to invasive species, the park could play a role in protecting local habitats.