Green Island

Chris Michener on Green Island

In the 1950s a fire ravaged Green Island and this is evident today from the age of the trees which are young to medium. The tree composition is mixed with the main deciduous species being White Birch. White Spruce, Eastern White Cedar and Balsam Fir are common riparian and interior species plus apparent survivors of the fire, a number of older Red and White Pines still inhabit the island.  
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The shoreline, while being mostly treed, is interspersed with rock walls and sloping stone outcrops.
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Green Island, north side (looking south)
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Green Island, south side (looking north)
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Beaver lodge amongst white cedars on east shoreline with birch, maple and other beaver preferred trees gone.
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White spruce dominant south shore
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The rock outcrops on the southwest part of the island has species such as Staghorn Sumac, Low Blueberry and Wild Columbine.
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Rounding the southwest corner one comes upon the smallest of the island's two lagoons.
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A Bonnechere River Watershed Project mounted Woodduck box in small lagoon
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Entrance to large lagoon - a few 100m east of the small lagoon
Towards the east side of the island, an impressive inlet opens into a lagoon, which I call here 'the large lagoon.' A fisherman, with whom I talked, had fished the lake for several decades and noted that there were very few minnows available. He maintains that the introduced Pickerel had severely diminished the number of minnows in the lake. If true, this shallow lagoon created important habitat for small fish, which were observed. However, the life of a minnow in this lagoon was still tough as at least three Belted Kingfishers and a Great Blue Heron were dining.

The lagoon whose bottom is sandy and stony offers protection from the prevailing west wind. Average depth in the middle was about 1 metre. Submerged water plants of the shallows consisted of Canada Waterweed, Green fruited Bur-reed and Pondweed  with an algae . present in slightly deeper water. Sweet Gale was the dominant shrub of the shoreline at the eastern end of the lagoon and a number of sedges and grasses were present. Here, Green frogs were singing their banjo-like calls. Birds in the riparian zone of the lagoon were Mallard, Song Sparrow, Northern Waterthrush, Common Grackle and Swainson's Thrush. Three Swainson's Thrushes singing, presumed to be males on territory on this island, was exceptional. This neotropical, long-distance migrant is not common in Renfrew County, a little more widespread through the Algonquin Highlands and is common in the boreal regions of Ontario, where it prefers thick coniferous growth. The number of Yellow-rumped Warblers (5 singing males) was impressive. In Central Ontario population densities range from 0.25 to 1.0 pairs per hectare (Cadman et al. 1987), so this island of under 6 hectares reaches the upper limit of this warbler's population density.
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Three of the lake's approx. 12 islands viewed from the entrance to the large lagoon
The vegetation is diverse and varied on the 13 acres the island comprises. Northern Ladies' Tresses (Spiranthes lacera) were found growing on the southwestern peninsula, west of the wetland (see Map 3). The wetland is a small coniferous swamp. A wet muck soil with some standing water exists and hosts Broad-leaved Arrowhead, Bulb bearing Water-hemlock, Wild Calla, Swamp Milkweed, Curly leaf Dock, Marsh Bellflower, Swamp St. John's-wort and other wetland plants.

Conclusion 

In general, Green Island has qualities that represent intriguing natural features. The 'big lagoon' is a wonderful place 'out of time'. It is unspoiled habitat for many plant and animal species. The wetland that links the two lagoons is full of little surprises such as Swamp Loosestrife (Swamp Candles) and Bulb-bearing Water-hemlock, a very poisonous plant. A number of plants are listed as rare by Moore (Moore, 1972, Rev. 1978) including Marsh Bedstraw (Galium palustre), Upland White Aster (Solidago ptarmicoides), False Nettle (Boehmeria cyclindrica) and Northern Willow-herb (Epilobium ciliatum).

The uplands on the island are varied in forest density as thick coniferous growth gives way to numerous rock outcrops. Round-leaved Dogwood was the dominant interior shrub, in places forming a thick wall. Birds were vocal and active (see Green Island Birds in Appendix B) nectaring bees and butterflies were abundant as well as other insects including damsels and dragonflies. This island will become a valuable natural resource as the pressures inherent in cottage development increase.
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Rocky Mountain Woodsia (Woodsia scopulina), Identified by Dan Brunton, June 8, 2002 It is very unusual to find this type of fern in Renfrew Cty. This specimen has likely resided at Lake Clear for over 6,000 years and is probably our rarest plant. How rare? (click on this link)

Plant code explanation

introduced = not native to North America
OPLID = Ontario Plant List Identification Number (McMurray, S.C. and A. Lehela. June 1999)
status: c = common; u = uncommon; r = rare

These designations correspond to Moore (Moore, 1972, Rev. 1978) and are specific to northwestern Renfrew County, within 40 miles of the Petawawa Research Forest. I have used common, uncommon and rare for her abundance classes which are:
(3) the plant grows in many locations and/or is very common in its habitat;
(2) intermediate between 3 and 1
(1) the plant is rare because only one or two specimens have been seen or because it is out of its normal range and only found in one or two locations.

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Broad-leaved Arrowhead
OPLID - 41
Scentific name - Sagittaria latifolia 
Introduced - no
Status - uncommon
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Staghorn sumac
OPLID - 108
Scientific name - Rhus Typhina
Introduced - no
Status - common
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Bulb-bearing Water-hemlock (very poisonous)
OPLID - 143
Scentific name - Cicuta bulbifera
Introduced - no
Status - uncommon
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Spreading Dogbane
OPLID - 182
Scentific name - Apocynum androsaemilfolium
Introduced - no
Status - uncommon
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Wild Calla
OPLID - 193
Scentific name - Calla palustris
Introduced - no
Status - uncommon
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Bristly Sarsaparilla
OPLID - 198
Scentific name - Aralia hispida
Introduced - no
Status - uncommon
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