West Woods Wetland

may 30, 1997

K. Harp

S. Luck

B. Morris

K. Woodruff


Title Page

Abstract 1

Introduction 2

Materials and Methods 3

Data and Results 4

Summary and Discussion 5

References 6


Harp,K., Luck,S., Morris,B., Woodruff,K. 30 May 1997. West Woods Wetland.

In an attempt to determine the suitability of the West Woods area to sustain a wetland, the following experiments were performed: the width, length, and directional changes of West Woods creek were measured. The numbers and species of all invertebrates viewed in a swampy area, a grassy area, and a ravine that were found within a time was calculated, and then specified, and the total number of organisms , total number of species, and percentage of plots that the species were found in were also calculated. Similar experiments were performed involving shrubs and herbaceous plants. The percent relative density was also found. Environmental factors including wind speed at head and ground height, soil temperature, air temperature, wet and dry, and light intensity at low medium and high exposure. Soil from the black morel area, the creek, the marsh, and alongside the ravine was collected. The components of the soil were separated and measured. The results of all experiments can be found on the Clermont College Home page.


Clermont College is expanding their campus with the construction of a new building. The expansion will not only provide a new building for indoor learning but also a wetland area to enhance students' learning in nature's classroom. There are a number of factors that must be taken into account to determine the most advantageous site for the wetland development. Azimuth compass reading along with a measuring tape are used to plot the existing creek that runs through the potential wetland site. A transit can be used to measure land elevation and to determine the height of the existing forest canopy. Soil tests are an excellent way to determine if the soil is an appropriate texture to sustain an aquatic habitat. Environmental factors such as relative humidity, wind velocities, soil temperature, and light intensity are very important factors in determining if the selected area will make an appropriate wetland region. Data collection of the existing habitat of insects, arthropods, trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants will help determine what changes occur over a period of time in and around a wetland region. The expansion of the college campus will inevitably destroy some of the wildlife and woodland that is presently residing on the existing campus. Will the new wetland habitat be enough to make up for the loss?


Literature Review

The preservation of the West Woods has long been an issue at Clermont College and has repeatedly been threatened by campus expansion. The expansion is now inevitable and there is talk of construction of a wetland to replace the destroyed woods. Numerous experiments and studies have been performed on West Woods by previous ecology, biology, and geology classes. The results and data from these studies are available from Dr. Fankhauser and Mrs. Carter, but was not readily available to be included in this paper. West Woods has offered an excellent opportunity to study various ecosystems due to the fact that there are many types there. Our ecology class was able to study the environmental factors of the forests, grasslands, and wetlands that exist on the college campus. The data collected in these areas, which are available within this article, is important because the creation of a new wetland will greatly change these environmental factors. Wetlands have been constructed by groups not related to Clermont College. The data and results of these constructed wetlands are available on the Internet at the addresses listed on the reference page.


Methods and Materials

The stream behind the side parking lot located in West Woods was mapped from the sight it hits the trail to the point where the UC road interferes. Flags were used as marks to designate straight segments in the stream. Distance was measured between each flag and the width of the stream and azimuth was calculated at each flag. [see Carter's Mapping Protocol 1997] Using the distance and azimuth readings a map was plotted. A transit was also done. [see Carter's Mapping Protocol 1997]

Only measuring tapes and flags were used while conducting the Flora and Fauna experiment during the shrub and herb plot sections. At that time the class separated into two groups and each measured 4x4m shrub plots in the swamp area and the woods. In each plot, trees, saplings, vines, etc. within that area were identified. Invertebrates were counted in the swamp area, grassy area, and creek area (forest). The ground was examined closely. Logs and surrounding "litter" were examined for specimens (turned over and replaced), and flying insects were identified as seen. Evidence of birds and other vertebrates were collected by identifying songs and droppings. Later, in the classroom, charts were completed, noting the number\kind of species in each area. Total number of plots were calculated for this experiment, and the percent of plots for each specimen was recorded. To obtain the percent of plots the number of plots was divided by the total number of plots. The number of species in a time spand of an hour was calculated differently according to the time spent at each area. Invertebrates were multiplied by 3\2 in the creek, 3 in swamp area, and by 2 in the grassy area to collect the total number of organisms (in an hour).

While analyzing soil, a mechanical analysis, subjective analysis, and soil chemical identification was done on soil samples from side of ravine, creek, morel area, and swampy area. For the mechanical analysis, soil and Calgon water softener were weighed, pulverized, stirred, repeatedly decanted, dried, and finally sieved using a seven section sieve set (from 2mm to less than 63um). [see Carter's Soil Analysis Protocol 1997] Subjective analysis was carried out by adding a small amount of water and noticing the ability of the soil to form a ribbon. Finally, soil chemical identification was done with a soil test kit provided to the class. [see directions within soil testing kit]

Tree Analysis was carried out in two groups in the ravine\woods. Along an undetermined path the closest, biggest tree was found, identified, and DBH (diameter at breast height) was measured using either a regular measuring tape for one group or a tree measuring tape for the other. Next the same was done to another tree after turning 180 degrees and finding the closest, biggest tree. The distance between trees was calculated, and the procedure repeated 20 times in each group, with ten steps in between each site. [see Carter's Tree Analysis Protocol 1997] In receiving the numbers for DBH when using the regular measuring tape, the numbers for each were divided by pi. Another chart was constructed containing number of trees, percent of trees (number of individual trees divided by total trees), sum DBH, average DBH, area, and area x percent trees x number of trees.

Environmental factors were collected from the following areas: edge of back parking lot, tall grass field, wet swamp, back of woods, morel woods, beech-maple forest, and creek of beech-maple forest. In each area light intensity, air temperature, soil temperature, and wind velocity were recorded. Light intensity was measured in areas of high, medium, and low light. Air temperature was recorded using a wet bulb and dry bulb thermometer. Before examining the last two areas (in beech-maple forest) the thermometer had to be changed because it had been broken. The same sock was used on different thermometer. The wind velocity was collected at head height and ground height. In every area the dew point temperature and relative humidity were obtained by using a psychrometer. [see Carter's Environmental Factors Protocol\Psychrometer portion 1997]



The data and results of the following: mapping of the creek, flora and fauna of the area, tree analysis, environmental factors, and soil analysis of the area all followed the procedures in the materials and methods section.

Ravine Map Mapping of the Creek: The results from the 57 measurements in length gave a total of 220.29 M. The measurements were taken in the middle of the creek, following all bends. Taking compass readings at each of these areas gave us the direction the creek was bending. The width of the creek ranged from 3.74 M. to 0.93 M,with an average of 1.66 M. Putting all the data into Lotus, a GRAPH was constructed showing the contours of the creek along with widths.

Flora and Fauna: The data collected from the invertebrate counting took place at the swampy area, the grassy area above the swamp, and along side of the creek. The results showed that spiders were the most frequent invertebrate with a total of 53 found in all 3 areas. The next two highest found in all areas were the other flies with 24.5 and a tie between butterflies and ants at 20.5. Check the insect, arthropods, and other invertebrates TABLE for the full list of invertebrates and where they were found.

Two groups collected the data set for the shrub and herb plots, which took place at the swampy area and the woods by the creek. The plant species that was found in both areas by both groups was the wild rose at 28 plants. The ever present poison ivy was the next with 23 plants, found in two areas by one group and in on area by the other. The shrub plots TABLE has the complete listing of all plants found and their numbers. The herb plots were done in the same area as the shrub plots but a smaller sized plot. Grass was the largest in all areas with 33 clumps. The next highest in the herb plots was the common chickweed with 32 plants, but was only found in the woods area. The herb plots TABLE, like the shrub plot table, also has a complete listing of all herbs and their numbers.

Tree Analysis: The results from the data collected from the tree analysis of the ravine area showed 12 different types of trees. The predominate trees of the area include: black cherry, green ash, and red maple. A TABLE, has been constructed with all the different types of trees with their D.B.H.(diameter at breast height), and the distance from other trees. A pie GRAPH was also made to show the distribution of numbers of trees. From calculating the percent of trees, cherry is the most dominant over other species of trees at 41.60%.

Environmental Factors: The data was collected from the following areas: parking lot backfield, grassy hill, the marsh, the back of the woods, morel area, the beech/maple area, and the creek area. The environmental factors pertain to the light intensity, temperature, percent relative humidity, and wind velocity. The area with the highest light intensity in the high range was in the parking lot backfield. The highest in the medium range was at the grassy hill, and for the low range the marsh had the highest milliphot.

The temperature was measured with a wet and dry bulb thermometer, and the soil with a soil thermometer. The wet and dry bulbs stayed changing the same until the beech/maple area , where the wet bulb temperature went down and the dry bulb went up. The soil temperature changed dramatically from the marsh at 19 C to 11 C in the back of the woods.

The percent relative humidity stayed relatively the same until the beech/maple area when it dropped from 63-57% to 27%.

The wind velocity was checked at both head height and ground height at centimeter per second. The head height reading dropped to 0 at the morel area, and it dropped and remained at 0 at the back of the woods area at ground height.

The data TABLE and the GRAPHS of the light intensity, temperature, percent relative humidity, and wind velocity, show all other data and appropriate information.

Soil Analysis: The soil analysis of the areas of: side of ravine, creek soil, morel soil, and the swampy area. Three out of the four areas were 40% or more clay soil. The swampy area was the only area with 27-40% clay loam soil. The TABLE shows the results for the rest of the areas and also includes mechanical and soil chemical results.



The stream\creek area in West Woods will be a sufficient area to create a wetland. The five experiments that were performed all contributed to the understanding of the environmental conditions of the West Woods region. The following experiments were done: Mapping of West Woods creek, Tree analysis, Flora and Fauna, Soil analysis, and Environmental factors.

The first experiment performed involved the mapping of the creek that runs through the studied region. This experiment provided information that accurately represents length, width, and direction of the creek. Creating this map allows us to determine the ideal areas for construction on creating the wetland.

Random Pairs Tree analysis and Flora and Fauna experiments provided us with information about the existing plants and insects in West Wood. This research on the existing wetland may also give an insight as to what new wildlife may develop.

The Environmental factors in West Woods are appropriate to sustain a wetland for a number of reasons: it would provide an excellent area of study for future Clermont students, as well as an opportunity to expand the Biology department. The soil is excellent for the purpose of a wetland, being 40% or more clay. Also, the forest consists mainly of mature cherry and ash trees , with a few exceptions. These trees are abundant in this area and would not be detrimental to remove them. Thus, constructing a wetland would likely not entirely kill off any species of trees.

Soil analysis was the final experiment performed. This allowed us to determine the components of the soil in various areas of West Woods. Through objective analysis, we determined that the soil in West Woods is 40% or more clay which is necessary to sustain a wetland.

There are, however, some negative effects of creating a wetland. Some of them are- the possible stench from the wetland, the task of maintaining it. The standing water could cause a apartment complex. There is also the possibility of an increase in the annoying insect population. These factors were weighed carefully when considering a constructed wetland. The conclusion reached is that the construction of a wetland would be more beneficial than detrimental, and the construction should be performed.



Carter, Janet S. Environmental Factors. 1997.

Carter, Janet S. Flora and Fauna. 1997.

Carter, Janet S. Mapping: Use of Compass and Transit. 1997.

Carter, Janet S. Random Pairs Tree Analysis. 1997.

Carter, Janet S. Soil Analysis. 1997.


Cajun Wetland Guide Service


Constructed Wetlands. http://www.eng.auburn.edu/~paytoid/wetland.html

SWAMP Constructed Wetland. http://www.computan.on.ca/~prodigal/ftgeo3.htm