Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region
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Moist Soil Surveys

Least Sandpiper in Moist Soil. Credit: Clayton Ferrell, USFWS

Least Sandpiper in Moist Soil. Credit: Clayton Ferrell, USFWS

Moist-soil vegetation surveys are conducted annually during the late summer and early fall to assess the quality and quantity of moist-soil habitat in each managed impoundment. During these surveys the locations of invasive exotic plants, such as alligatorweed ( Alternanthera philoxeroides), are also documented and mapped. This moist-soil and invasive plant data are the basis for habitat management recommendations in these seasonally flooded wetlands.

Moist-soil surveys have been conducted off and on since 1983. The sampling methods have varied somewhat, especially in the earliest years. Since 1993 the survey method has followed the following vegetation sampling procedure. One meter square plots are randomly established throughout each impoundment. The number of plots depends on the size of the moist-soil habitat within the impoundment. The top six plant species and their percent cover are recorded, and the data for all samples within the impoundment are then averaged to get a percent cover for each species by impoundment. Each impoundment is then rated on a scale of 0 - 100% based on the percent cover of good waterfowl plant species. This is then used to rank each pool as excellent, good, fair, or poor.

Credit: USFWS


Last updated: December 7, 2009