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Research 2004: EBEY’S LANDING


2004: EBEY'S Landing (TNC & NPS)

During the 2004 field season, Ben Legler from WTU and Peter Dunwiddie from The Nature Conservancy led a series of day trips to Ebey's Landing on Whidbey Island with the goal of reliably documenting the site's entire flora with voucher specimens. Land ownership at Ebey's Landing is divided between the National Park Service, The Nature Conservancy, and Washington State Parks. Trips were made on April 30, May 7, June 4, and Sept. 10 to capture the range of phenologies represented by the species on the site. A steep grassy west facing bluff is the most prominent feature at Ebey's Landing, on which the soil is composed of loose sand and gravel that dries out early in the growing season. Thus, many of the species at Ebey's Landing bloom in the spring. Another prominent feature is the shallow, brackish Perego's Lagoon at the base of the bluff, and the adjoining saltwater beaches. Here, many of the species are at their peak from late summer through fall. Above and behind the bluffs is dense lowland forest dominated by conifers.

A total of 305 collections were made, comprising 221 different species. 101 of the species are introduced (42%), indicating the high degree of disturbance and long history of human use experienced on the site. However, many uncommon or locally rare native species still persist at Ebey's Landing, including a significant number of species that are common in eastern Washington but rare or absent elsewhere in western Washington, of which Chrysopsis villosa var. villosa is one example. Several unusual non-natives are present on the bluff; probably the most surprising is a large robust prickly pear cactus (Opuntia engelmannii?) nearly 4 feet tall with several offspring nearby.

A species list compiled by The Nature Conservancy prior to 2004 listed a total of 115 species for Ebey's Landing. By the end of the 2004 field season, we had more than doubled the list to 241 species. 93% of those 241 species are now documented with a voucher specimen at the WTU herbarium; the remaining 7% were reported on the original TNC species list, but could not be relocated or were not abundant enough to collect.

In March of 2005, Ben Legler and David Giblin revisited the site in search of any early spring species that may have been missed in 2004. Only 6 new species were found - all inconsicuous nonnatives - attesting to the thoroughness of the 2004 surveys.

In addition to Ben Legler and Peter Dunwiddie, trip participants included Kevin Bernstein, Molly Bernstein, Mignonne Biven, Pat Chiarelli, David Giblin, Katie Glew, Jesse Johansen, Joe Johansen, Don Knoke, Lauri Knuth, Regina Rochefort, Sharon Rodman, Leigh Smith, Cindy Spurgeon, Jeff Walker, Barbara Williams, Peter Zika, and two TNC volunteers.

Results

# of Collections  305
# of Specimens  -
# of Taxa  221

 

Species List for Ebey's Landing.

Barbara Williams, Molly Bernstein, and David Giblin collecting in woods above bluff, Ebey's Landing.
Photo: Ben Legler
View of Perego's Lagoon at Ebey's Landing.
Photo: Ben Legler
Bluff above Perego's Lagoon at Ebey's Landing.
Photo: Ben Legler
Sand and Perego's Lagoon, Ebey's Landing.
Photo: Ben Legler
Collecting on bluff above Ebey's Landing.
Photo: Ben Legler
Molly Bernstein pressing plants, Ebey's Landing.
Photo: Ben Legler
Cindy Spurgeon pressing Claytonia sibirica, Ebey's Landing.
Photo: Ben Legler
Lomatium nudicaule dominating beach on outer edge of Perego's Lagoon.
Photo: Ben Legler
Armeria maritima on beach on outer edge of Perego's Lagoon.
Photo: Ben Legler
Abronia latifolia in sand near Perego's Lagoon, Ebey's Landing.
Photo: Ben Legler
View of bluff, Ebey's Landing.
Photo: Ben Legler
Bluff, Ebey's Landing.
Photo: Ben Legler
Loading up specimens at day's end, Ebey's Landing.
Photo: Ben Legler