A. 9. Land Uses and Nonpoint Pollutant Loadings
INITIAL FORESTRY STATEMENT
GLENN SHOALS LAKE WATERSHED
This watershed is highly agricultural, although it has been impacted by residential
development in places. The farmland is mostly of former prairie or prairie-forest
transition. Closer to the lake is sloping ground which once was all forest, although much
of it was converted to pasture and is now either in slow succession towards forest
vegetation or is being used for residential purposes. There are some areas still fairly
representative of the original forest type, but these are mostly on the east side of the south
end of the lake.
The original forest was almost totally of the oak-hickory type, species consisting
of white, black, red, and chinkapin oak, hickories, elm, basswood, walnut, cherry, ash,
and miscellaneous others. Post oak was found on high ridges. Soils involved are 8
Hickory, 214 Hosmer, and 64 Stoy. Existing forest cover is variable as to current pattern,
composition, quality, and stage of development.
There is considerable argument and speculation as to the condition the original
stands were in when settlement began. It is generally conceded that the advent of
European settlement had considerable effect on forest areas: stands were cleared of forest
for agricultural production, or were grazed, or were subjected to more or to less burning
than before. Timber harvest has had its effect, in some cases only slightly negligible and
in some cases highly impacted. Lately, hard maple has come in many stands, gradually
preempting former species and with an apparent monocultural (one species only) end
result. Whether such changes occurred cyclically or episodically in the past is not
known, but it is apparent that forest compositions are currently in a state of great flux.
When this correspondent arrived here some thirty plus years ago, many stands were
fenced and intensively grazed, even though “loitering” was the chief livestock value if the
forest was heavily stocked (adjoining grass areas accessible to livestock being requisite in
such cases); now, these areas have largely been abandoned to grazing and are in varying
stages of succession back to forest, the end result being a factor of time, species seed
source, and whim of nature. Few stands are being actively managed with long range
goals in view. Hardwood timber is still harvested, sometimes of high quality and value,
but usually with little regard or provision for the remaining stand or development of
harvest replacement. Suboptimal areas also lack management input. From a watershed
standpoint, a considerable amount of reforestation can be beneficially applied here.
The watershed value of most forested land is considerable. The branches, leaf
litter, root systems, etc., all contribute to breaking the force of rain, protecting the soil
from erosion and inducing the absorption of water into the soil rather than allowing
runoff. In the recent and nearby Lake Yaeger watershed study, it was recognized that
41% of sheet and rill erosion emptying into the lake came from former forest sites
(Hickory/Hosmer/Stoy soil association) now being farmed, and that simple reforestation
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