Natural and Cultural Resource Inventory
The Oyster River Bog
Jill E. Weber
Sally C. Rooney
Jennifer Atkinson, Editor
The Oyster River Bog Association
Natural and Cultural Resource Inventory
The Oyster River Bog
Jill E. Weber
9 Cedar Avenue
Bar Harbor, Maine 04609
Sally C. Rooney
RR 1, Box 4030
Sedgwick, Maine 04676
28 Martin Road
Friendship, ME 04547
The Oyster River Bog Association
I know of no other place that is much as it was when my ancestors took up land here. We Tolmans and others have used it for centuries, and it can go on being useful to man if we don’t abuse it and are willing to share this place with nature. I hope it will go on being a special place, not so much for me as for my children and my children’s children.
--- Earl Tolman
We thank the Sweetwater Trust, whose generous contribution made the project possible. The Center for the Study of Wetlands in Southern Maine provided funding for map preparation and for the final printing of this report. Paul Hoffman, of the GIS Support Center of the Sheepscot Valley Conservation Association, made excellent suggestions about how best to illustrate the Bog’s significant features, then created the maps.
We would like to thank Dorothy Spaulding for making a trip into The Bog to show us the site where she and Barbara Fuller originally found the rare moonwort plants. Jennifer Atkinson, as the Oyster River Bog Association’s volunteer project manager, secured the funding for this study and provided patient and helpful oversight. ORBA’s President, Malcolm Von Saltza, secured funding for GIS maps and printing of the report.
Discussions with ORBA members Jennifer Atkinson, Eric Tolman, Ida Clarke and Dave Getchell were invaluable in orienting us to the property and helping us to plan fieldwork. Ida Clarke’s help was indispensable; her knowledge of the Oyster River Bog is so extensive, that she was even able to lead us to a porcupine den in a hollow tree off-trail.
Andy Cutko, of the Maine Natural Areas Program, provided maps, data regarding element occurrences and a copy of a Master’s thesis on The Bog. Andy Cutko and Janet McMahon discussed the regional significance of Rockland Bog with us.
Finally, we are indebted to those who have studied The Bog over the years and contributed to our knowledge of this unique resource, especially Barbara Fuller and Neil Hotchkiss.
CONTENTS page ii
List of Figures 1
List of Tables 1
Inventory Methods 8
Natural Resources Inventory Results 11
Cultural Resources Inventory Results 34
Management Considerations 47
Management Recommendations 63
Literature Cited 68
LIST OF FIGURES page 1
Figure 1: Oyster River Bog Locator Map 2
Figure 2: Oyster River Bog – Elevations & Wetlands Map 4
Figure 3: Oyster River Bog – Properties Map 7
Figure 4: Oyster River Bog – Soils Map 16
Figure 5: Moonwort illustration by Barbara Fuller 20
Figure 6: Netted Chain Fern illustration by Barbara Fuller 20
Figure 7: Oyster River Bog – Significant Features Map 22
Figure 8: Oyster River Bog – Natural Communities Map 31
Figure 9: Oyster River Bog – Conservation Concerns Map 44
Figure 10: Oyster River Bog – Conserved Properties Map 46
Figure 11: Oyster River Bog – Municipal Zoning Map 58
LIST OF TABLES
Table 1: Soils of the Oyster River Bog 12
Table 2: Natural Communities of the Oyster River Bog 25
Figure 1 page 2
Locator map of the Oyster River Bog
The Oyster River Bog, (the Bog), is a 5880 acre parcel located in Knox County, Maine1(see Figure 1). It lies within four towns: Rockland (which encompasses close to 60% of the site), Rockport, Thomaston and Warren. It’s customary boundaries are formed by roads: Rt. 90, on the north; Mill St., Bog Road and the discontinued Dunbar Road on the east and southeast; and Beechwood Street and Keating Road on the southwest and west. Over 13,200 acres comprise the Oyster River watershed. (Figure 2)
Ownership within the Bog is complex. Within the Bog’s boundaries, there are 143 lots in the City of Rockland, 17 in Rockport, 53 in Thomaston and 84 in Warren (Figure 3). The City of Rockland owns about 700 acres; the remainder is privately owned. The Oyster River Bog Association (ORBA) owns 108 acres within the Bog and an additional small parcel (1.5 acres) outside the Bog and the watershed. Five owners of privately held lands have granted conservation easements totaling 215 acres in the Bog and 123 acres outside the Bog, but within the watershed. Another 40 acres owned by the City of Rockland, outside the watershed, are also protected. The total land protected is 1,188 acres (Figure 10).
The Bog is a mosaic of uplands and wetlands, woodlots in various stages of regeneration after being harvested, mature forests, special habitats and cultural sites, foot-trails and degraded logging roads, with several waterways flowing through it, including the Oyster River which joins the St. George River a few miles south of the parcel. It provides habitat for hundreds of plant species, in fact it harbors 20-25% of the vascular plant species known to grow in Maine (Campbell et al., 1995) and the region represents the northeastern-most records of some woody species. Also, because of its proximity to other, large (>1000 acres), undeveloped parcels, the Bog may be an important corridor for species movement. Natural resources of its diverse habitats have been utilized for centuries, undoubtedly first by Native Americans, then by European settlers and their descendants. The Oyster River Bog has long been important to the livelihood of many area residents and of great interest to natural historians.
Elevations and Wetlands page 4
The Oyster River Bog Association was incorporated in 1977 “to insure preservation of the present wild character of the Oyster River Bog and its environs”. Since incorporation, ORBA has facilitated ownership research, land surveys, educational efforts and resource stewardship efforts.
The purpose of this study is to inventory the ecological and cultural features of the Bog. ORBA members have already made significant contributions to the conservation of the Oyster River Bog. Until now, conservation efforts have been driven by a desire to simply protect the Bog from development rather than to preserve particular habitats or species. As a result, the directors have given priority to seeking protection of certain perimeter lots. Clearly, ORBA took advantage of most acquisition opportunities that arose. For example, ORBA worked with the City of Rockland in the 1980’s to secure conservation easements over all the property the municipality then held, much of it as a result of nonpayment of local taxes. These parcels represented ORBA’s interest in maximizing the amount of undeveloped land on the site. Few held any identified conservation value. Additionally, conservation easements were given to ORBA on four pieces of land in the Bog because their owners supported conservation in the general sense, but not because the properties furthered any specific conservation goals.
Today, given the accelerated rate of development around the Bog, ORBA recognizes the urgency for greater protective efforts. (In fact, eight owners have recently been approached about gifts to ORBA of fee ownership or conservation easements.) This association should continue to reevaluate and refine it’s conservation plan for the Bog to guide their acquisitions and address protection of the Bog’s natural and cultural resources, acceptable recreational uses and the Bog’s place in region-wide land conservation.
To better integrate ecological and cultural considerations into the planning process, ORBA sought information about what resources the Bog contains by undertaking a Natural And Cultural Resources Inventory (NCRI). The inventory’s scope included all natural features of the Bog as well as past and current human activities in and around the Bog. This report presents the findings of the NCRI completed for ORBA between June 2001 and June 2002.
The goals of the NCRI are to:
Collect existing natural and cultural resource data for the Bog
Complete a natural community-based field survey of the Bog
Synthesize existing and new data to give a complete picture of the Bog’s resources
Recommend conservation and management actions based on NCRI data
The NCRI includes:
natural resource data
cultural resource data
recommendations for natural and cultural resource management
recommendations for appropriate recreational uses of the Bog
recommendations for conservation of the Bog
a discussion of the Bog in a regional conservation context
Properties Map page 7
INVENTORY METHODS page 8
Inventories of both cultural and natural aspects of the Bog were conducted between July 2001 and June 2002. Written records, field research, and verbal accounts were used to assess the presence, status, and potential threats to the site’s special features and defining characteristics.
NATURAL RESOURCE INVENTORY
The NRI of the Bog included two main components: 1) landscape analysis and 2) field inventory.
The goals of landscape analysis were to:
Assemble existing natural resource information available for the Oyster River Bog from diverse sources for inclusion in a single document
Analyze existing information and describe the physical and biological attributes of the landscape
Incorporate sites with records of special features into a field survey plan
Identify sites to be prioritized for field survey
During landscape analysis, all available natural resource data pertaining to the Bog were collected and analyzed. We looked at soil, geologic, topographic and wetland maps to describe the Bog’s physical features, which helped us develop a picture of the landforms present on the parcel and helped us predict the biological elements that might occur there. The greater the diversity of soils, geologic, topographic or hydrologic features, the greater the biological diversity that can be supported. Physical features also suggest types of biological features to look for during field surveys. For example well-drained, rocky soils on moderate to steep slopes usually support oak and pine: a common forest type in Maine. If the topographic map showed a moderate to steep slope, and the soils map showed deep soils at the base of the slope, hardwoods would likely grow there. If, in addition, the geologic map showed limestone underlying the same region, rare plant species might be present. Fire can be an important abiotic factor in determining the biotic character of an area. Again, if soils and geology suggest the presence of an oak-pine forest, but a fire has occurred within the last fifty years, the forest type is likely to be aspen-birch. Many such inferences can be made by analyzing the physical attributes of a landscape.
Biological data were also sought, compiled and reviewed. These included records and comments from the Maine Natural Areas Program (MNAP), significant wildlife habitat maps from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIF&W), botanical records forwarded to us by ORBA and records quoted elsewhere (Shores, M.S. thesis, 1983).
The final component of landscape analysis was to obtain and study aerial photographs of the area. Many natural communities can be identified from air photos: most have a unique texture and color. Review of recent air photos can verify information from other portions of landscape analysis. For example, maps of physical features might suggest the presence of a hardwood-conifer forest, but air photos might show the area to have been recently harvested, excluding that site from field survey. The air photos obtained for this study were commissioned in 1999 by the town of Rockland for tax mapping. The black and white photos were taken in April, 1999 at a scale of 1:12,000, or one inch on the photo equals 1000’ on the ground and were taken to allow stereoscopic viewing of landscape features. We examined the photos to determine the community types present and noted their location so that sites representative of each type could be included in field surveys. The degree of disturbance and possible access routes were also noted.
Field surveys included site visits to all of the areas selected for further study during landscape analysis. Before starting field work, we met with ORBA members Jennifer Atkinson, Eric Tolman and Ida Clarke, who discussed ORBA’s efforts to map existing trails through the Bog. They also suggested that we conduct surveys in special areas of which we were unaware, but that were essential to the NRI (e.g. the vernal pools on the northeast side of the parcel). As a result of that meeting, we decided to focus our survey efforts on areas proximal to the most heavily used trails and along new trails. Any natural communities not along the trails were accessed with map and compass (e.g. wetland communities).
We identified each natural community encountered (Gawler, 2000) and kept lists of all native and non-native plant species and mosses, lichens and liverworts observed. Plant nomenclature follows Haines and Vining (1998). Degree of invasiveness of non-native plant species was determined by personal experience and by consulting the Invasive Plant Survey Atlas (Cameron, 2000). As we conducted our field survey, we used the Checklist
of Vascular Plants of Maine (Campbell, et al., 1995) to verify the known occurrence of species observed in Knox County; voucher specimens of new county records would be collected and inserted into the Josselyn Botanical Society Herbarium, at the University of Maine. We also listed birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals by sight, call or sign. We took soils data and increment cores to determine tree age at some forest sites.
Locations of sample points and occurrences of significant features were documented with a Garmin III+ global positioning system (GPS), Datum NAD 83.
CULTURAL RESOURCES INVENTORY
The cultural resources inventory comprised two phases: 1) a literature search to locate information regarding cultural features of the bog, and 2) field documentation of cultural features still apparent on the landscape.
Available recorded information was collected and reviewed in order to describe and document past and present human uses of the Bog, and to determine the locations of potentially significant cultural features, landmarks or areas within the Bog. A Special Place, a history of the Bog prepared by the Rockport Conservation Commission in the late 1970’s, served as a primary research document. Cultural features mentioned in its text were researched further. Other literature was also sought and the historical societies of Rockland, Thomaston and Warren were consulted, as were local libraries. The Maine Historic Preservation Commission was also queried regarding records of significant cultural features. Using the literature, a list of sites to be documented in the field was compiled.
Materials describing current land use patterns were forwarded to us by ORBA Board member Jennifer Atkinson. Additionally, some information regarding current activities in and adjacent to the Bog was collected during the field portions of the study (i.e. natural resources inventory and cultural resources site documentation).
Cultural features mentioned in the literature were scheduled for field documentation during April and May 2002. Features located during field surveys were mapped using GPS, as described above. All sites were photographed and 35mm slides will be submitted to ORBA.
NATURAL RESOURCE INVENTORY RESULTS page 11
The habitats encompassed by the Oyster River Bog are diverse in their physical and biological characteristics. Steep slopes, with shallow, excessively well-drained soils support woodlands; forests occur on deeper, richer soils and the central, peat-filled basin supports a mosaic of wetland communities. Vernal pools, specialized habitats necessary for the survival of several invertebrate and amphibian species, are found near the top of a low hill in the north end of the Bog. The peatland is unique enough for a portion of it to have been given status as a Critical Area by the Sate Planning Office (Critical Areas Program, 1985). The Bog’s soils, topography, geology and climate combine to create conditions suitable for several hundred plant species to thrive in associations of 18 different natural communities.
Soil diversity supports biological diversity. The presence of certain soil types suggests the presence of a specific natural community. In addition, some soils favor particular human uses, such as trail recreation, more than others.
Thirty-one soil units are mapped within the study area (Hedstrom, 1983; USDA-SCS, 1989). Table 1 lists the units, their map code, the degree of slope where they occur, permeability, erosion and compaction hazards, depth to bedrock and notes specific to the soil unit. Figure 4 indicates their distribution. All the soils in the Bog are relatively deep, though there are areas where bedrock is at or near the surface.
About a third of the soils are moderately to highly erodible (Figure 4). Highly erodable soils are not suitable for trail development and other uses. The threat of erosion is greatest where the following soil types occur:
Lyman-Rock Outcrop-Tunbridge Complex
Marlow- and Tunbridge-Lyman fine, sandy loams
Boothbay silt loam
Lyman-Rock Outcrop-Tunbridge Complex soils occur west of the Bog Road on the fairly steep slopes above the open (Rockland) bog area and southwest of Mill Street. There is a small area of highly erodable Marlow fine sandy loam
Table 1 page 12
|SOIL TYPE||MAP CODE||SLOPE||PERMEABILITY||EROSION HAZARD||COMPACTION HAZARD||DEPTH TO BEDROCK||NOTES|
|Biddeford Mucky Peat||Bg||0-1%||slow||slight||slight||>60"||High seasonal water table and slow permeability limit development on these sites|
|Boothbay Silt Loam||BoB||3-8%||mod. slow-slow||moderate||severe||>60"||High seasonal water table and slow permability limit development|
|Boothbay Silt Loam||BoC||8-15%||mod. slow-slow||moderate||slight||>60"||High seasonal water table, slope and slow permability limit development|
|Boothbay Silt Loam||BoD2||15-25%||mod. slow-slow||severe||moderate||>60"||Slope, permeability and seasonal high water table limit these sites for development|
|Borosaprists, Ponded||Bp||0-1%||mod. rapid||slight||slight||50-60"||Bog, wetland wildlife habitat|
|Brayton Very Fine Sandy Loam||BsB||0-8%||mod.-mod. rapid||slight||moderate||>60"||High seasonal water table; not good for septic|
|Brayton Very Stony Fine Sandy Loam||BtB||0-8%||mod.slow-slow||slight||no info||>60"||Seasonal high water table and stones on surface limit development of these sites|
|Charles Silt Loam||Ch||0-2%||moderate||slight||severe||>60"||High seasonal water table; not good for septic|
|Dumps-Pits Complex||Dp||variable||rapid||none||none||10-60+"||This unit represents abandoned gravel pits and stone quarries|
|Lyman-Rock Outcrop-Tunbrige Complex||LrE||15-45%||mod. rapid||moderate||no info||16"||Shallow soils and slope limit development of these sites|
|Lyman-Rock Outcrop-Tunbrige Complex||LrB||3-8%||mod. rapid||slight||no info||16-30"||Shallow soils limit development of these sites|
|Lyman-Rock Outcrop-Tunbrige Complex||LrC||8-15%||mod. rapid||moderate||no info||16-30"||Shallow soils and slope limit development of these sites|
|Madawaska Fine Sandy Loam||MaB||3-8%||mod. rapid-rapid||slight-moderate||moderate||>60"||High seasonal water table and rapid permability limit development|
|Marlow Fine Sandy Loam||MrD||15-25%||mod.-mod. slow||severe||moderate||>60"||Slope, slow permeability and seasonal high water table limit development on these sites|
|Marlow Very Stony Fine Sandy Loam||MsC||8-15%||mod.-mod. slow||moderate||mod.-severe||>60"||High seasonal water table, slope and slow permeability limit development on these sites|
|Marlow Very Stony Fine Sandy Loam||MsD||15-25%||mod.-mod. slow||moderate||mod.-severe||>60"||Slope, slow permeability and seasonal high water table limit development on these sites|
|Marlow-Berkshire Very Stony Fine Sandy Loam||MwC||8-15%||mod.-mod. rapid||slight||moderate||>60"||High seasonal water table and slow permability limit development on these sites|
|Masardis Gravelly Fine Sandy Loam||MxB||3-8%||rapid-v. rapid||slight||no info||>60"||Rapid permeability causes a hazard of groundwater contamination if these sites are used for septic tanks|
|Masardis Gravelly Fine Sandy Loam||MxC||8-15%||mod. rapid-rapid||slight||slight||60-120"||Rapid perm. causes hazard of groundwater contam. if used to as septic system sites|
|Medomak Silt Loam||My||0-1%||moderate||slight||no info||>60"||Frequent flooding and seasonal high water table restrict development and use as woodland|
|Naumburg Loamy Sand||Na||0-3%||mod. rapid-rapid||slight||no info||>60"||High seasonal water table and rapid permeability limit development on these sites|
|Peru Fine Sandy Loam||PaB||3-8%||mod.-mod.slow||slight||slight||>60"||High seasonal water table and slow permeability limit development on these sites|
|Peru Fine Sandy Loam||PaC||8-15%||mod.slow-slow||moderate||slight||>60"||Slope, slow permeability and seasonal high water table limit development on these sites|
|Peru Very Stony Fine Sandy Loam||PbB||3-8%||mod.-mod.slow||slight||no info||>60"||High seasonal water table and slow permeability limit development on these sites|
|Peru Very Stony Fine Sandy Loam||PbC||8-15%||mod.-mod. slow||moderate||no info||>60"||Slope, slow permeability and seasonal high water table limit development on these sites|
|Searsport Mucky Peat||Sp||0-1%||rapid-v. rapid||slight||doesn't apply||>60"||Seasonal high water table, unsuitable surface layer and rapid permeability limit development of these sites|
|Sheepscot Fine Sandy Loam||StB||0-8%||mod. rapid-radid||slight||no info||>60"||High seasonal water table and rapid permeability limit development on these sites|
|Swanville-Silt loam||Sw||0-3%||mod. slow-slow||slight||moderate||>60"||High seasonal water table and slow permeability limit development on these sites|
|Tunbridge-Lyman-Fine Sandy Loams||TrD||15-25%||mod. rapid||severe||mod.-severe||16-30"||Slope is the main limitation to development on these sites|
|Tunbridge-Lyman-Fine Sandy Loams||TrB||3-8%||mod. rapid||slight||moderate||16-31"||Shallow soils (depth to bedrock) is the main limitation to development on these sites|
|Tunbridge-Lyman-Fine Sandy Loams||TrC||8-15%||mod. rapid||moderate||moderate||16-30"||Slope and depth to bedrock are the main limitations to development on these soils|
end of pg 13
near the top of the ridge west of Bog Road, and a few lenses occur west of the Keene Brook (shown on USGS maps as East Branch of the Oyster River2). Tunbridge-Lyman fine, sandy loams are distributed adjacent to the Lyman-Rock Outcrop-Tunbridge soils which are west of the Bog Road for most of its length; northwest of Dunbar Ridge (probably down-slope of the current trail); along the Packard’s Mill Road; and for most of the length of Mill Street. Boothbay Silt Loam soils occur at the southern end of Dunbar Ridge. Table 1 lists other soils for which erosion may be a hazard.
The Bog’s wetland soil units are:
Biddeford mucky peat
Brayton very stony fine sandy loam
Charles silt loam
Medomak silt loam
Naumburg loamy sand
These soils occur in the flattest parts of the Bog, mainly along the floodplains of the Oyster River and its tributaries, and within and north of the extensive open (Rockland) bog area (Figure 4).
Poorly Drained Soils
Several of the soils on the property have dense subsoils which impede water movement and make residential development problematic. These are:
Brayton very fine sandy loam
Peru fine sandy loam
Peru very stony fine sandy loam
The following soils only restrict drainage seasonally, and cause the surface soil to dry very slowly in the spring:
Marlow fine sandy loams
Marlow very stony fine sandy loams
Marlow-Berkshire very stony fine sandy loams
These soils are widely dispersed across the Bog (Figure 4). Biddeford mucky peat, which occurs in the open bog area, is underlain by a layer of clay that effectively forms a seal through which water cannot drain, causing the ponding observed there.
Soils with poor drainage, excessively rapid drainage or extreme stoniness make portions of the Bog unsuitable for crops or pasture, but useful as woodland (Figure 4). These include:
Brayton very fine sandy loams
Charles silt loams
Lyman-Rock Outcrop-Tunbridge Complex
Marlow very stony fine sandy loam
Marlow-Berkshire very stony fine sandy loam
Masardis gravelly fine sandy loam
Naumburg loamy sand
Peru very stony fine sandy loams
Sheepscot fine sandy loam
Some of the soil types in the Bog are suitable for crops, hay and pasture, as well as for tree growth, if the land is not needed for agriculture (Figure 4). These are:
Boothbay silt loams
Marlow fine sandy loams
Swanville silt loam
Tunbridge-Lyman-Fine sandy loams
The bedrock underlying the Bog comprises two metamorphosed sedimentary formations. They are both pelites (mudstones), one fairly rich in sulfur and carbon and the other only somewhat carbonaceous (Osberg, et al., 1985). This rock formed about 430 million years ago, during the Ordovician period. Several small granitic plutons also occur on the parcel. They formed about 345 million years ago (during the Devonian period) as intrusions in the metasedimentary bedrock.
Formation of the Bog’s peatland began when the glacier that retreated about 10,000 years ago carved the shallow valley between the ridges formed by Meadow and Spruce Mountains on the west, and Dodge Mountain and Benner
end page 15===================================================
Soils map page 16
Hill on the east. The tremendous weight of the glacial ice mass had pushed the glaciated land down below sea level, and, after the glacier’s retreat, the valley was inundated by sea water. As the land rebounded, the sea retreated, leaving behind marine sediments. These marine clays lined the valley floor and prevented drainage through the underlying material; these are the clays mentioned above in the discussion of soils that now underlay the peat deposits in the open part of the Bog.
The topography of the area is largely flat, mostly under 200’ elevation, with the high point, just west of Benner Hill and the Bog Road at 521’elevation (Figure 2). The lack of pronounced topography makes drainage patterns hard to distinguish. Indeed, some areas are so flat that when beavers build a new dam, the direction of flow in the watercourse can be reversed.
Water from ~25 square miles drains into the Bog. It flows along two separate drainages: the Oyster River (and tributaries), in the site’s western section, and Branch Brook to the east. The Oyster River empties into the St. George River west of the parcel, in South Warren. Branch Brook is a tributary of Mill River, which joins the St. George downstream, in the estuarine area in Thomaston. In addition, there are separate subdrainages which comprise the Bog’s 13,242 acre watershed. Two small areas in the southern end of the site actually lay outside the Bog’s watershed, in the subdrainages of other systems.
Hills rim much of the watershed’s perimeter. To the west, it is bounded by the east- and south-facing slopes of Spruce and Pleasant Mountains, and the east slope of Meadow Mountain. Near these hills Mirror Lake drains to the Oyster River. Most of the water coming off the low ridges east of Mill Road and the Bog Road including Dodge Mountain, Benner Hill, and Dunbar Ridge, drains into Branch Brook. Again, depending on the year and the level of beaver activity, some of this water could enter the Oyster River via the East Branch (known locally as Keene Brook).
We consulted the National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) Maps of the Bog (USFWS, 1992). They use a classification system that is standardized over a large geographic area and they are used extensively by government agencies for regulation of wetlands. Because the classification is used over a large region,
the groupings are coarse, and tend to convey fairly general information. According to the NWI maps, about 50% of the Bog’s total acreage is classified as wetland. Most of this area is on the east side of the parcel, centered around the Branch Brook drainage and the open (Rockland) Bog area (Figure 2). There are numerous small wetlands associated with the Oyster River system and a few large ones, like the Packard’s Mill deadwater area. The NWI maps show the following wetland types:
There have undoubtedly been fires, of natural and anthropogenic origin, in the Bog since the retreat of the last glacier. The ecosystems that naturally occur in the region are not fire-dependent. However, an extensive and powerful wildfire, which started in the fall of 1947 and smoldered until 1948, burned about 1000 acres in the central portion of the Bog. (Rockport Conservation Commission, 1976). A number of today’s routes through the Bog were originally bulldozed to fight this fire. Its cause is not recorded. Local stories allege arson by a woodcutter who promised his yield to two different companies.
Maine is divided into 15 regions, the boundaries of which were determined by the geology, climate, topography and dominant vegetation types that occur in each (McMahon, 1990). The Oyster River Bog is in the Penobscot Bay Region, which extends from Pemaquid Point to Brooklin, including the islands of Penobscot and Muscongus Bays and the land within about 20 miles of the coast. The geology, soils and topography described above typify this region. Mean maximum temperature in July is 77F; mean minimum temperature in January is 11F. Summer fog is frequent and total annual precipitation is 49” (higher than any other region). At 140 frost-free days, the growing season is shorter than in the adjacent regions.
These factors combine to create a regional environment that supports vegetation more common to the north and east and suites of plant species more common to the south and west. Twenty woody southern species reach their north-coastal limit in this region, a concentration of transitional species higher than elsewhere in coastal Maine (McMahon et al., 1990). For example dwarf huckleberry (Gaylussacia dumosa v. bigeloviana) dominates the low vegetation of the Bog’s peatland, but is at the southwestern limit of its range there. Maleberry (Lyonia ligustrina) occurs along the upland fringe of the Bog’s wetland, where it is at the northeastern edge of its distribution.
Two rare plants are known from the open (Rockland) bog (MNAP, unpub): moonwort (Botrychium lunaria) and netted chain fern (Woodwardia areolata) (Figures 5 and 6). Moonwort is ranked as endangered, in Maine (MNAP, 1999). It was found (and last seen) in the Bog by Barbara Fuller and Dorothy Spaulding in 1983, on a rocky outcrop in the southeast portion of the Bog. Following discovery of the moonwort, the site was nominated for designation as a Critical Area by the Maine State Planning Office. In 1985, 75 acres, including the moonwort site and a portion of the adjacent peatland, were designated as Critical Area 547. The Critical Areas Program has since been discontinued, but the Rockland bog is still seen as significant by MNAP, the agency which now houses the information collected by the Critical Areas Program (see below, in Rare and Special Habitats section).
Several efforts to relocate the moonwort plants have been made over the years, but none has been successful (Andy Cutko, pers. com). Directions to the original site were unclear, and none of the botanists who searched for the species were confident that they had found the location where Fuller and Spaulding observed the rarity. As part of our inventory, we asked Dorothy Spaulding to guide us to it. She led us to the right location, but we found no moonwort plants in September of 2001. After consulting with a regional expert on this species (Arthur Gilman, pers. com.), we searched the site again in mid-June 2002. No plants were found, but Ida Clarke, ORBA Board member, accompanied us and is familiar with the site and the appearance of the moonwort. She will undoubtedly search the area every year. The second rare plant, netted chain fern, is ranked as state-historic, which means that although there are historic records for it, the species has not been observed in Maine since 1917. We did not locate this plant during our field work.
Netted Chain Fern Illustration
We also queried MDIF&W about records of rare or endangered insects or freshwater mussels in the area. The St. George River is known to harbor some of these species, and we suggested the possibility of their presence in the Oyster River. State biologists have conducted no surveys for these species in the Bog.
Shores (M.S. thesis) provides lists of mammals and birds recorded at the Bog before 1983. The bird list is comprehensive, resulting from the cooperative efforts of ORBA and the Mid-coast Audubon Society in 1979.
Oyster River Bog and the communities nearby have long been popular places for botanists to study. Shores includes botanical records for the Bog through 1978, provided by Neil Hotchkiss. That list, compiled over many years, includes about 400 species of ferns and flowering plants.
Rare and Special Habitats
MNAP also maintains a database of significant natural communities. The open (Rockland) bog was visited by Andy Cutko, an MNAP ecologist, in 1999, who classified it as an unpatterened fen ecosystem (Maine Natural Heritage Program, 1991)(Figure 7). This peatland is one through which groundwater moves, providing more nutrients than are available in other peatland types. Plant diversity is relatively high in fens, and grass, sedge and rush species may dominate, in contrast with nutrient-poor bogs, where heathy shrubs are most frequent. The ecosystem is common statewide and has no global rank.
At one time, Maine also maintained a list of Maine Critical Areas sites singled out for their unique conservation value, yet managed by private landowners through a voluntary agreement with the State. Although many of the Critical Areas listed during the 1980’s are still intact and protected, the original program overseeing them no longer exists. Nonetheless, in 1983 Critical Area status was conferred upon 75 acres in the southern end of the Bog, in the Rockland bog portion, where the moonwort plants were found.
MDIF&W has mapped five areas of essential or significant wildlife habitat in the Bog (Figure 7). A deer wintering area is shown extending from Branch Brook, north past Willey Corner. The yard is about 350 acres in extent and is ranked as moderately high value. Another yard, about 425-450 acres, is located on the Keene Brook and is also ranked as a moderately high value deer wintering area (Figure 7).
Figure 7 page 22
Significant Features map
wading waterfowl habitats are also mapped (Figure 7). About 250 acres
in the open, boggy part of the property is mapped as high value.
There are also about 75 acres on and along the Oyster River, south of
Tolman Pond and 25 acres on Branch Brook, north of Dunbar Ridge that
are mapped as high value wading waterfowl habitat.
The areas identified by MDIF&W as significant, total over 1000 acres, or about 20% of Rockland Bog’s area.
Animal and Plant Species
The list of animals observed during our survey includes amphibians and reptiles, birds, mammals and a couple of invertebrates (Appendix A). The 1979 bird list and the previously published list of mammals are more comprehensive than ours. We are unaware of amphibian or reptile records for the Bog prior to ours.
We catalogued about 300 species of native and non-native ferns and flowering plants during our several-day survey of the Bog (Appendices B and C). Of these, a subset had not been recorded previously (Appendix D). We observed 34 non-native plants, four of which we consider extremely aggressive: Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii), Morrow’s honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii), oriental bittersweet (Celasrtus orbiculata) and purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria). The barberry and honeysuckle were found in several locations; the bittersweet only one and a few individuals of the loosestrife occur near Mill Road.
Although we did not relocate the rare plant species known from the Rockland bog, we found a few individuals of butternut (Juglans cinerea), a tree species that is in decline throughout its range, in the Oyster River Bog. When the Federal Endangered Species Program had a protocol for listing potentially rare species (Category 2, or candidate species), butternut was on the list. Since that portion of the program was eliminated, we are unaware of any Federal listing of butternut; it is not state-listed. We collected a voucher specimen because it was previously unknown from Knox County (Campbell, et al., 1995). Additionally we initiated a list of mosses, liverworts and lichens for the Bog (Appendix E). We hope others will add to this preliminary list.
Habitats and Natural Communities
When the early botanical work was done at the Bog, the conservation focus was on individual species. At that time, tracts were sometimes purchased by conservation groups to protect a few clumps of one plant. Now, the approach is to protect habitat, rather than individual species; if habitat is protected, so are the individual species living there.
We documented 18 natural communities as well as another potentially significant habitat within the boundaries of the study area, as listed in Table 2, shown on Figure 8, and described below. The species lists in Appendices A, B, C and E denote the communities in which each was observed.
Forest and Woodland Communities:
1) Spruce-Fir-Broom Moss Forest
Spruce-Fir-Broom Moss Forests are common in Maine. They are a closed canopy forest, usually dominated by red spruce, with the shrub and herb layers poorly developed. Broom mosses and other bryophytes often cover about 50% of the forest floor. Although this type is usually found on uplands, it occurs along the Oyster River and the Keene Brook, just above the floodplain and on the northwest-facing slope of Dunbar Ridge.
2) White Pine-Mixed Conifer Forest
These are forests dominated by white pine, but other conifers are also present, including red spruce and northern white cedar. Conifers dominate the shrub layer, though blueberries may be present. The herb layer is sparse and the bryoid layer is dominated by broom mosses. Examples of white pine-mixed conifer forests are between the Oyster River and the Keene Brook, in the southwest portion of the parcel.
3) Spruce-Northern Hardwoods Forest
Red and white spruce mix with red maple and yellow birch to form the canopy of this forest. The sapling and shrub layers are well developed and striped maple and hobblebush are common there. Typical northern herbaceous species are present, including starflower and wood sorrel. The bryoid layer is somewhat diverse, often including several species of broom moss, flat-tufted feather moss and large haircap moss. A spruce-northern hardwoods forest occurs just east of Rt. 90.
Table 2. Natural Communities of the Oyster River Bog
Red Maple Alluvial Swamp
Red Maple Woodland Fen
Mixed Tall Sedge Fen
White Pine- Mixed Conifer
Sweetgale-Mixed Shrub Fen
Low Elevation Acidic Summit
Red Oak-Northern Hardwoods Mixed
Mixed Graminoid-Shrub Marsh
Water-lily- Macrophyte Aquatic Bed
Red Oak-Northern Hardwoods Mixed Forest
Red oak typically dominates this forest, with several northern hardwood species also attaining canopy height. These are usually: beech, birch, red maple and striped maple. Striped maple often dominates the somewhat sparse shrub layer. The herb layer, which may include wild-oats, starflower and bracken fern, is diverse. Bryoid species may be almost absent. At the Oyster River Bog, this type could be considered a variant of, or an inclusion within, the oak-pine forest. There are a few areas where hardwoods like beech and birch are more frequent in the oak-dominated canopy and would be classified as red oak-northern hardwood forests. One location to observe it is on the south-facing slope below the vernal pools, in the northern part of the Bog, where beech, red maple, striped maple and white birch are codominant with red oak.
5) Oak-Pine Forest
Oak-pine forests may have closed or more open canopies; they may comprise the two nominate species, or have a larger hardwood component (beech, birch, red maple). Beaked hazelnut, huckleberry and lowbush blueberry form the spotty shrub and dwarf shrub layers. These forests tend to be somewhat dry and support big-leaved aster, bracken fern and Canada mayflower in the herb layer. Broom mosses dominate the sparse bryoid layer. This forest type covers the ridge east of the open(Rockland) bog and the south-facing slopes below Mill Street.
6) Oak-Pine Woodland
Oak-pine woodlands differ from oak-pine forests in that tree cover is much more sparse and the trees are often shorter and shrubbier. Red oak and white pine are the dominant species where this community occurs in the Bog. Shadbush and huckleberry are frequent in the shrub layer. Drought-tolerant herbaceous species including fescue grasses, sedges, bracken fern, Canada mayflower and wintergreen appear in this community. Broom mosses and reindeer lichens comprise the sparse bryoid layer. An example of an oak-pine woodland is present just southwest of the wetland portion of the bog. The principal north/south access road goes through it after splitting north from the route that enters from Bog Road.
Like the oak-pine woodland, this community can be structurally similar to either a forest or woodland. Aspen-birch forests and woodlands occupy most of the area burned at the Bog in 1947-48. Sites with deeper soils are more forest-like in appearance and the trees are shorter and more sparse on sites where the fire was hottest and burned all of the organic components of the soil. Aspen and white birch are the dominant tree species, but red maple is often an important component. Balsam fir, red maple, gray birch and wild-raisin occur in the shrub layer. Although the herb layer may be dense, it is usually not diverse, with fescue grasses and bracken fern accounting for most of the cover. Large hair-cap moss and reindeer lichens appear in the bryoid layer. There is a large area of aspen-birch woodland starting northeast of the open (Rockland bog) part of the Bog and extending west to the Oyster River.
8) Low Elevation Summit Bald
Balds are characterized by the presence of patches of exposed bedrock and their occurrence on the summits of hills and low mountains. Because of the thin or absent soils, plant species diversity tends to be low, with three-toothed cinquefoil, common hairgrass and poverty oatgrass the dominant vascular plants; extensive areas of lichen are also common. Some low elevation summit bald communities may have formed naturally because of the skeletal soils, but many are maintained by fire, either natural or human-caused. Dunbar Ridge, near the southeastern boundary of the Bog, supports an occurrence of this community type. Shrub cover is higher here than on many balds, but the characteristic species are present, as are areas of exposed bedrock.
9) Larch-Spruce Wooded Bog
This community occurs as a component of the large (Rockland bog) peatland in the Bog. Black spruce usually dominates, but larch and red maple may be quite numerous. These woody species are tree-like and/or shrubby. Mountain holly and highbush blueberry are often present in the shrub layer. There is a well-developed dwarf shrub layer commonly comprising Labrador tea, rhodora, sheep laurel and huckleberry. Sphagnum mosses account for most of the bryoid cover. An excellent example of this natural community occurs north of the access route off Bog Road and another, less extensive one along the western edge of the open (Rockland) bog.
10) Red Maple Wooded and Woodland Fens
Red maple fens may have a closed canopy where the maples are treelike (wooded fen) or they may be parklike, with widely spaced shrubby trees (woodland fen). Balsam fir, larch, black spruce and gray birch are common here and may even co-dominate in the canopy. Winterberry, wild-raisin and rhodora often form a dense, thickety shrub layer. The herb layer usually covers most of the ground and comprises sensitive, cinnamon, royal and interrupted ferns, skunk cabbage, goldthread and poison-ivy. Sphagnum mosses can form a continuous layer over the ground. Small areas of the red maple wooded fen community occur just west of the intersection of the primary east/west and north/south access routes and near the height of land adjacent to the vernal pools in the northern portion of the parcel.
11) Mixed Tall Sedge Fen
Meadowsweet and alder are often shrubby associates in this graminoid-dominated community; large cranberry, leatherleaf and sweet gale occupy the dwarf shrub layer. Beaked, slender and inflated sedges account for most of the herbaceous cover, but bluejoint may also be significant. Sphagnum mosses often cover most of the soil surface. A large area of the mixed tall sedge fen community occurs at the north end of the Bog’s large open wetland.
12) Sweetgale-Mixed Shrub Fen
Black spruce and larch may be present as saplings and shrubs. Meadowsweet, leatherleaf, sweetgale, rhodora and sheep laurel occupy the shrub and dwarf shrub strata. White beak rush, and few-seeded and tussock sedges are common graminoids; forbs present include royal fern and bog aster. Species diversity tends to be low in wetter areas, with sweetgale forming almost continuous cover. There is a large area of this type in the southern lobes of the open wetland.
13) Cattail Marsh
Cattail marshes usually result from disturbance, either natural (beaver or muskrat activity) or human (tree removal from wetlands or dredging). Cattails are virtually the only plant species on some sites. In others, the shrubs meadowsweet, leatherleaf, sweetgale and winterberry may be present. Sphagnum mosses often grow at the base of the cattails. This community type occurs around the main pond in the open (Rockland) bog and north along the brook that feeds the pond.
14) Mixed Graminoid-Shrub Marsh
This is a variable community in which suites of species can occur as discrete patches, or in a homogeneous expanse. Dominant shrubs include meadowsweet, speckled alder, sweetgale and leatherleaf. Graminoid, or grass-like plants include rattlesnake mannagrass, wool-grass, sallow sedge, three-way and few-seeded sedges, and expanded and black bulrushes. Royal fern and marsh St. Johnswort are typical herbaceous species in this community. Sphagnum mosses provide continuous cover. There is a good example of a mixed graminoid shrub marsh in a beaver-impacted area in the northwest end of the open wetland, west of an upland “island” that extends into the wetland.
15) Huckleberry-Crowberry Bog
Huckleberry-crowberry bogs are peatland types characterized by a continuous layer of low-growing shrubs (<.5m). In Maine, dwarf huckleberry grows only in some coastal peatlands and tends to be the dominant shrub species where it occurs, as it does in the Oyster River Bog. Sheep laurel, leatherleaf, small cranberry and swamp laurel also occur in the dwarf shrub layer. Deer-hair sedge and pitcher plants are usually present. Sphagnum mosses grow in a continuous mat under the dwarf shrubs and may even form raised hummocks where little else grows. Species diversity in the bog is high because several variants of this type occur here, ranging from areas dominated by bryoids, to those where low heath shrubs are abundant, to stands where tall heath shrubs, small larch and black spruce are numerous. Several species of orchids, including the unusual dragon’s mouth orchid grow in the bog by the thousands. The unusually large number of dragon’s mouth orchids was one reason for the bog’s designation as a Critical Area in 1985 (Critical Areas Program, 1985).
16) Water-Lily-Macrophyte Aquatic Bed
Fragrant water-lilies and cow-lilies dominate here as floating vegetation, or, in dry periods, they may be stranded on exposed mud. Spotted bladderwort is often abundant in the water. We observed this type at the large (Rockland) bog pond that drains to Branch Brook, and it probably occurs in the ponded areas at the northern end of the wetland.
17) Alder-Shrub Thicket
Alder shrub thicket communities can occur in basins (adjacent to lakes and ponds), or along rivers and streams. Speckled alder dominates and often forms a nearly impenetrable tangle of horizontal and upright stems. Red maple and gray birch may also be present in the shrub layer, with bluejoint grass, meadowsweet, and flat-topped white aster in the herb layer. The most extensive example of this type in the Oyster River Bog occurs just upstream from Packard’s Mill, in the flat area that was probably flooded by the mill’s headpond before the dam was breached. There are other smaller occurrences of this community, especially along the Keene Brook about a half-mile upstream of Beechwood Street.
18) Streamshore Ecosystem
The shores of the Oyster River range from sandy, to cobbly, to mucky or ledgey. However, the actual acreage of each type is so small that none can be individually mapped. We’ve included the streamshore ecosystem in the community list as a place to put these small, but important occurrences. The streamshore ecosystem description (Maine Natural Heritage Program, 1991) includes 11 different communities. In the Bog it mainly covers the diversity of shore and substrate types; the communities through which the river flows are separate.
Anthropogenic communities are those created by human activity. Non-native plant species often dominate the herb layer and there may be a mix of species found at the same site that would not be found growing together. For example, in an area where a wood harvesting operation has recently occurred, there might be a few remnant forest species, but plants usually found in meadows or along roadsides might also be present. In the Oyster River Bog, these assemblages are found along the roads, in areas where wood harvesting has taken place within the last two decades and where the power line right-of-way crosses the property.
8 page 31
Natural Communities map
The peatland communities that occur in the Bog are named differently, but described more fully in Anderson and Davis (1998), who sampled 108 Maine peatlands to derive their descriptions of each type. When they sampled in the Bog, they identified six peatland types:
shrub heath/wooded shrub heath
gymnosperm wooded fen-forested bog
angiosperm wooded fen-mixed wooded fen/shrub thicket
shrub thicket/shrub-graminoid fen
Potentially Significant Habitats
1) Vernal Pools
ORBA members directed us to some areas they described as vernal pools. They are located adjacent to the Oyster River Bog section of the Georges Highland Path (Figure 2), near the height of land in the northern part of the Bog (Figure 7 and 8). The pool complex comprises four distinct pools near the top of the hill and two or three lower value pools at the base.
The pools were surveyed in the fall of 2001 and although they were dry, they showed signs of having held water much longer into the season than the adjacent communities. A spring survey was conducted in 2002 to assess the biological value of the pools, as described in the MDIF&W draft vernal pool definitions (de Maynadier, pers. com.; Kenney, 1995). The basins have no inlet or outlet and support no fish populations. There is abundant shrub cover by meadowsweet, rhodora, and winterberry, which provides shade and anchor points for amphibian egg masses (Calhoun, 1999). We documented wood frog, spotted salamander and putative blue-spotted salamander eggs, with several hundred egg masses in one of the pools and tens of masses in the others. Relatively few invertebrates were observed and no fairy shrimp (an important vernal pool indicator species) were seen.
According to Maine’s draft criteria, the area meets two of the three criteria used to designate vernal pools as significant, and with high biological value. The final MDIF&W criteria will be incorporated into Maine’s Natural Resources Protection Act (NRPA), which will confer regulatory protection on vernal pools and a 250-foot buffer around them. From an ecological rather than regulatory perspective, vernal pools are considered by MNAP as inclusions in the forested natural communities in which they occur rather than as a separate community type.
end page 33
CULTURAL RESOURCES INVENTORY RESULTS ( pg 34 )
The Oyster River Bog and surrounding lands comprise numerous resources which have attracted people to the area for untold years: water, rich soils, timber, and game species. Native Americans were the first summer residents in this part of coastal Maine, where they came to collect food for winter use. Europeans followed, and their permanent settlements changed the landscape as they harvested timber, built roads, and eventually dammed the Oyster River to support a series of grain and saw mills.
Evidence of the Bog’s rich cultural history persists today. The remains of several mills are visible, as are miles of the stone walls built as property boundary markers. In fact, one surveyor’s line placed in 1766 can still be traced from Rockland Harbor, through the Bog and on to Liberty Maine. People still live on the periphery of the Bog, but recreation is now the primary use of the Bog’s resources, where people can hunt, fish, hike, and enjoy the treasures of this large undeveloped tract.
Coastal and inland areas of Maine have ample evidence of habitation by paleoindians. The largest shell midden north of Georgia occurs just a couple of watersheds southeast of the Bog (McMahon, 1999) and there are middens in the Blue Hill area, just across Penobscot Bay from Rockland. With evidence of paleoindian activity both east and west of the Bog, use of the Bog and its resources by paleoindians is likely, but there have been no published studies and there are no documented archeological sites on the parcel (Rockport Conservation Commission, 1976; Spiess, pers. com.).
The Maine Historic Preservation Commission has a model it uses to predict site locations of pre-European habitation which was applied to the Bog and a map of potentially sensitive sites was generated (Appendix F). All of the open wetland (Rockland bog) portion of the Bog was classified by the model as sensitive, as were the shores of the Keene Brook and a wider zone along the Oyster River from Packard’s Mill to where Beechwood Street crosses the Oyster River. Further, the Commission recommended that archeological surveys take place in advance of any ground-disturbing activities in these areas (e.g. trail-building, and creation of parking lots and roads).
The Penobscot tribe is known to have spent the summer months on the shores of Penobscot Bay. These Native Americans also made forays inland near the Bay to collect freshwater clams and mussels (and pearls) and harvest brown ash for basketry (Shores, 1983). This seasonal occupation was reported by European settlers on their arrival and the practice continued following settlement. Summer habitation of the Bog persisted into the 20th century, with the encampment located between Mill Street and Packard’s Mill at Blake’s Meadow (Rockport Conservation Commission, 1976)(Figure 7). Stories passed through generations, record interchange between local residents and tribal members during these visits. Some local residents believe that stone markers found in the Bog may constitute physical evidence of these former encampments.
HISTORIC LAND AND WATER USE
Written records of European settlement of this area date back to 1629, when the Council of Plymouth made a land grant. There was confusion about how many people had been granted a portion of the land. The problem was multiplied when the original grantees produced heirs, and more people tried to claim what they viewed as their property.
Land in and around the Bog was finally surveyed for the first time in 1766 after the resolution of a dispute over land ownership in the area. This 1766 line ran from Rockland Harbor, across the Bog, and on to the town of Liberty, in nearby Waldo County.
Among the first to settle in or around the Bog was Isaiah Tolman, who arrived sometime in 1765 and homesteaded 500 acres (Eaton, 1865). The Tolman family (Isaiah and all 21 of his children) were dependent on the Bog’s resources for survival. They harvested wood for building and heat and hunted game species for meat. According to family accounts, Isaiah’s house was built at the foot of Dodge’s Mountain (near the outlet of what is now called Chickawaukie Pond), and served the family until it became the Rockland city poor farm in the 1850’s5 (M.E. Tolman, pers. com). Nine generations later, Isaiah’s heirs remain deeply connected to the site and involved in its conservation.
The Tolman family was responsible for much of the early settlement of the area, but other families were also important to the Bog and its history. For example the Blakes settled on the ridge north of the Bog where the land is good for crops and grazing. The Keenes built their house near the end of the Bog Road in 1788 (near the intersection of today’s Mill Street), and at least four houses were built along the eastern foot of Dunbar Ridge. Children from these families attended a one-room schoolhouse near the Keene farm. The Sherer farm (in the north-central portion of the Bog) was well known in the area because it was owned and worked by two blind brothers who went into the woods each day to cut wood, then followed their horse home at the end of the day.
Many early settlers also traveled through the Bog from inland areas to the sea. A historical mystery is the precise location of the principal route called the Great Eastern Road, which was the main connector between the inland town of Union (then called Sterlingtown), and the coast. Like so many New England roads, the Great Eastern Road likely started as a game trail or a path used by Native Americans. Native Americans certainly used it even if they were not the originators, and white settlers learned to do the same. At some point it fell into disuse, replaced by some other route as settlement or trading patterns changed. Portions of it have probably been incorporated into current trails or logging roads. Other parts have likely been obscured by logging and disuse, and still others have been lost all together. The last people to have traveled it have died in recent years, and it is improbable that we will ever know its original route. In the Bog, it is said to have gone east from Rt. 90 a little north of Beechwood Street, crossed the river near the old powder mill, skirted the southern part of the open (Rockland) bog area and continued eastward to the sea.
More than 25 years prior to the first land survey, the Bog was the site of early commerce. General Samuel Waldo built the Bog’s first grist mill, launching a 200 year period of mill use on the Bog’s waterways. Erected in 1740, Waldo’s mill stood near where Mill Street presently crosses the Oyster River. Two decades later, in 1767 Alexander Lermond bought the mill from Waldo, rebuilt the dam and subsequently built a house and lived on the mill site. After Lermond’s death, his heirs moved the mill downstream and added a sawmill, both of which operated for more than 20 years (Eaton, 1877).
For two centuries grist, saw, and powder mills were supported by the Bog’s numerous small waterways, the principal one of which is the Oyster River (Figure 8). Although a small, relatively slow-flowing river for its length throughout the Bog, the Oyster River ran the Tolman Mill and several others which were built on it and on Branch Brook. In 1790, Sam Tolman built a grain and shingle mill where Mill Street crosses the Oyster River. Leander Packard started Packard’s Mill about two miles downstream from Mill Street shortly after the War of 1812. Packard’s Mill operated for over one hundred years (until 1941), supplying big timbers for sailing vessels, and later, barrels and blueberry crates.
In February of 1863, Hodgman and McCallum, owners of the Warren Powder Manufacturing Company, purchased land along the Oyster River and planned to build a gunpowder mill. Gunpowder mills were dependent on a supply of charcoal, and the best source of charcoal was said to be alder, a shrub species plentiful in the Bog. Although the mill was erected and powder production apparently began, it was discontinued just 10 months after the land was purchased. Written records claim that insufficient water flow rates led to its closure. However, the story passed through generations of local people asserts that the mill exploded during the powder-making process. It is said that a spark ignited gunpowder dust on the overhead beams. In December 1863, the mill was moved to a site on the St. George River (Eaton, 1877; Whitten, 1990).
Swift’s Mill stood where Beechwood Street crosses the Oyster River. It produced grist and lumber from the mid-19th century until it burned in 1930. There was also a Leach and Lamson Mill. It operated upstream from the Bog and today’s Tolman Pond, behind what is now the Oyster River Tennis Club (M.E. Tolman, pers. com.). Finally, the Oxton Mill, which sawed lumber for ship-building, stood at the outlet of the Bog, on Branch Brook, just upstream from the Bog Road. The Oxton family eventually came to own about 2000 acres in the Bog.
Timber Harvesting and Other Commerce
Stories and remains also show that the Bog was home to other commercial ventures. Residents claim that evidence of brick works and old roads can be found in the Thomaston section of the Bog and other areas of the site. Local elders still remember a vibrant logging industry in the early to middle 20th century. Remnants of logging camps and operations are scattered throughout the Bog and long time residents recall meeting loggers who came to work the Bog’s forests.
Exploitation of the Bog’s natural resources has continued without interruption to the present. Timber harvesting remains economically important, though a transition was made during the 20th century from harvesting wood to fuel local mills, to harvesting by smaller woodlot owners for milling, pulp or firewood (Shores, 1983). Several hundred acres of timber were destroyed in the fire of 1947-8, reducing the cordage available for harvest.
There is also evidence that not everyone who enjoyed the Bog in the early 20th century shared the same view regarding appropriate use of its resources. The first formal conservation proposal, one that would have drastically changed land use patterns in the Bog, was made during the 20th century. Landowners petitioned the state government to declare the Oyster River Bog a state game refuge.6 The state legislature voted the measure into law. Less than 20 years after the creation of the refuge, the law was rescinded (due primarily to pressure from sportsmen) and the refuge was abolished (Shores, 1983).
Field Survey Results
In April 2002 we conducted a survey of the Bog’s cultural and historic sites. Photographs and GPS points were taken at each site for later management use. Access to these sites is through private land (most occur on private land) and they should not be visited without permission of the owners.
During our fieldwork, we found remnants of stone walls in various parts of the parcel, but the walls are most numerous and in the best repair in the eastern portion, just west of the Bog Road.
We believe that we relocated the oldest wall which traverses the Bog: the survey line set in 1766 from Rockland to Liberty. It can be seen near the Rockland-Rockport town line at the intersection of Mill Street, Bog Road and Guerney Street. In addition to the wall, a granite monument is also present, which may have marked a property corner. The monument is hand hewn and likely dates from the 18th century (Fred Rooney, pers. com).
We found a cellar hole south of the Oxton Mill, where the Bog Road ends and the road through the town forest road heads west. It may have historical value, but its origin is unknown at present. Just north of the cellar hole is a stone wall lined with very large white pine trees that show evidence of having grown in an open pasture or field. They may indicate a property line or may be an accumulation of fieldstones. We could see evidence of old houses on the impassable extension of Bog Road that runs along the base of Dunbar Ridge, but time constraints prevented further survey.
Remnants of the Keene farm have reportedly been recently rediscovered by a private property owner. Evidence of the schoolhouse, which is reported in the historical literature to have been on the Keene’s land is thought to be on Mill Street, west of its intersection with the Bog Road.
The original Blake farm is located just downslope of this intersection, on the north side of Mill Street. The owners are renovating the barn and it appears that the homestead will be preserved into the future.
Finally, there are at least eight sites with remnants of logging and hunting, cabins, farms or other activities, most of which are in the Rockland portion of the property.
Remnants of several mills are still present (Figure 8).The Sam Tolman Mill occupied a site adjacent to what is presently the lower end of Tolman Pond. Tolman Pond is located just north of Mill Street and east of Rt. 90 and was reformed when the today’s Tolmans dammed the Oyster River in 1966. All
that remains today of the Sam Tolman Mill is some stone work near Mill Street. Packard’s was the last mill on the Oyster River to cease production. It ran until the mid-20th century, and former mill workers with memories of the mill’s last days are still alive (David Hamalainen, Raymond Hart, Waldo Ring; pers. com.). Remnants of the dam the head pond and the mill are still evident.
Evidence of the Warren Powder Manufacturing Company’s powder mill was observed on the most steep, narrow and ledgey portion of the Oyster River we visited during either the natural or cultural resources portion of this inventory. The river ledges show minimal signs of the mill, but there is some more obvious and intact stone work on the west shore of the river.
There are extensive remains of Swift’s mill near where Beechwood Street crosses the Oyster River. The mill structures are located south of Beechwood Street behind the home of some people named Oxton (though the Oxton mill wasn’t located here, according to historical records). Remnants of the dam and more than one building occur south of the street, and just a bit upstream and on the north side of the road the most recent dam that created a head pond is apparent.
Remains of the Oxton mill are also quite obvious and are located just north of where the Bog Road crosses Branch Brook. Extensive stone work comprising the dam and buildings are present, and still affect water flow.
CURRENT LAND USE
The Bog is bounded by roads on all sides, as described above. Most of the land bordering Mill Street, Bog Road, Keating Road and Beechwood Street is in residential use, primarily by single family dwellings.
Rockland zoning permits building on Bog Road to an area within 1000 feet of the road. Residential use also occurs along Rt. 90, but commercial properties are more numerous along this boundary than elsewhere on the Bog’s perimeter.
Commercial properties in and around the Bog comprise mainly small businesses and forestry operations. Businesses are located along the Bog’s periphery, close to main roads. Home-based and commercial businesses on the Bog’s boundaries include:
Andy Payor (custom stereo components)
Avena Botanicals (farm and mail order herbs)
Center for Furniture Craftsmanship (furniture workshop)
Fundamental Moves (gymnastics school)
Leisuretime RV Rentals
Swift Storage (self-storage units)
Prince’s Furniture (retail shop)
Mazzeo’s Woodstoves (retail shop)
17-90 Lighting (retail lighting)
Johanson Boatworks (boat storage and repair)
Troy Ott (fiberglassing)
Jason Turnbull (landscaping)
Rockport Machine/Warren Used Auto parts (auto repair and parts
R.D. Outfitters/Steamship Navigation (defunct shooting range)
On the Road Trailers (recreational trailer sales)
Ray’s Mobile Homes (residential trailer sales)
Agricultural and forestry activities within the Bog occur farther from roads, disturb larger parcels of land and therefore, have greater impact on its natural communities. Active farms are located on Mill Street and Beechwood Street. A commercial herb farm with public gardens, is located south of Mill Street (see Avena Botanicals, above). The farm is organic and plants are cultivated on the farm and collected from there and elsewhere for harvest, processing and sale. Hay is harvested from several acres on Beechwood Street, but it appears that no large areas are now under cultivation.
Wood has been an important resource to people for as long as there has been settlement in and around the Bog. The impacts of recent operations vary considerably. A timber operation that occurred on a 60 acre parcel of private land during the 1990’s in the Bog’s northern section violated numerous state and local laws. Standards for road-building and harvesting operations were far below those set in guidelines for Best Management Practices. In stark contrast, within the last decade or so, a network of roads has been built in the southern end of the Bog to facilitate extensive commercial harvesting. Road-building and timber harvests in this area were done skillfully and within environmental guidelines. For example, to avoid erosion, roads were built without traversing the steepest slopes and appropriate culverts were installed at water crossings, to minimize siltation.
Unfortunately, no matter how well constructed today’s logging roads may be, they increase access to the Bog’s interior by all-terrain vehicles (ATV’s) and four wheel drive trucks and jeeps. Although built to withstand these uses, newer logging roads serve as wilderness thoroughfares for recreational riders to access other abandoned roads and trails. Riding on old roads and trails, which were neither built for or are maintained for such use, has resulted in negative impacts on the areas they traverse.
In terms of the amount of wood currently harvested from the Bog, the most heavily cut areas are northwest of where the Keene Brook crosses Beechwood Street and on the southwest corner of Dunbar Ridge. A site at the northwest end of the Bog, just off Rt. 90 and north of Packard’s Mill was harvested recently. The large area burned by the fire of 1947-8 is still dominated by small, relatively short-lived species like aspen and birch, and has little merchantable timber at present. However, the oaks and spruces in these stands are getting larger and will eventually overtop the aspen and birch, resulting in mature forests. In addition, there is large expanse of intact oak-pine forest on the east side of the property that could potentially be harvested at the owners’ discretion (Figure 8).
Recreational uses of the Bog are varied and include hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, birding, photography, canoeing, mountain-biking, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, as well as some unauthorized use by ATV’s and four-wheel-drive vehicles.
Though hunting still occurs in the Bog, it is mostly recreational in contrast to the historic practice of hunting for subsistence. There are common access points into the Bog, so unless parcels of land are posted (as some currently are), hunters use the land. Some hunters have cabins and deer stands which they use primarily during hunting season and infrequently off-season. Those in Rockland have been grandfathered into the existing zoning laws; they can be maintained but not expanded. Access to the cabins is either on foot or ATV, via trails and old roads.
We encountered no anglers during our surveys, but it is likely that some sites are fished, at least in the spring. Areas used by anglers probably include pools on the Oyster River, Keene Brook, and the portion of Branch Brook between the main (Rockland) bog pond and Bog Road.
Hiking, mountain-biking and cross-country skiing have also been documented in the Bog, but there currently are only rough estimates of user numbers. For the last two years, ORBA has been involved with construction of a section of the Georges Highland Path through the Bog, a low impact trail set to run from the tidal shores of the Georges River, in Thomaston, to Frye Mountain, in Montville. The Oyster River Bog Section of the path was officially opened in the fall of 2002 (Figures 2 & 9).
We found fire rings during our surveys, and assume that there is some camping on the parcel. There are fire rings and well-worn trails on the point of land going into the Bog along Branch Brook from Bog Road, and on Dunbar Ridge. Fortunately, we found none of the trash that usually accompanies accessible campsites.
ATV use of the old roads in the Bog is fairly heavy. We saw ATV tracks from one end of the parcel to the other, including on the wood harvesting roads north of Beechwood Street, and the old road system that goes from Mill Street to the Bog Road, via the road through the Rockland town forest. There is a relatively new trail, which goes along the west edge of the open part of the Bog, but east of the north-south portion of the old road. Some stretches are becoming highly eroded, to the extent that the roadbed is now two feet below its original level. The eroded areas then fill with water in the spring or after a rain, and riders attempt to avoid the water by steering their vehicles around it, greatly increasing the width of the trail. When this happens, additional vegetation is torn up and larger areas become eroded,
Figure 9 page 44
Conservation Concerns map
In addition, the Oyster River Bog Association’s Trail’s Committee conducted a reconnaissance inventory of the Bog’s primary trail system from 2001-2002. These trails form the major north-south corridor through the site and provide east-west access through the southern end as well.
The Trail Committee developed an inventory form to help volunteers assess the condition of the primary trails currently in use. These routes, which together total about 10.2 miles, were divided into 10 segments for the inventory. Each section was surveyed by a volunteer and mapped using GPS over the course of a year. They found that there are many segments that are somewhat to highly degraded, mostly due to use by motorized, wheeled vehicles. For example, volunteers saw severely eroded areas and sites where trails have become wider and wider so that riders can avoid traversing wet areas. Specifically, about 4 miles of trail need to be either rerouted or substantially rebuilt to meet generally accepted standards for good trails. In addition, six stream crossings are in need of improvement, to minimize further on-site degradation and downstream impacts of siltation (Figure 9). Landowners can post their land to prohibit a particular use, such as ATV-riding; however, they saw no evidence of such signs during their inventory.
There are several ways in which land within the 5,880 acre Oyster River Bog is conserved (Figure 10). The principal organization dedicated to the Bog’s preservation is the Oyster River Bog Association. Active since 1977, ORBA has conservation easements on about 700 acres of land owned by the City of Rockland and another 215 acres owned by private individuals. In addition, ORBA owns 4 parcels, which together total 108 acres. ORBA also holds easements on land outside the Bog’s boundaries, but within the watershed, one of which encompasses Tolman Pond. These protect an additional 123 acres. Another 41.5 acres outside the watershed are protected.
Other lands owned by non-profit organizations include 565 acres held by the Center for the Study of Wetlands in Southern Maine and a parcel owned by the Knox County Scouters. ORBA has a conservation easement on the latter parcel. Numerous lots, some of considerable size, are also held by ORBA
members. Several owners have also placed their lands under the Tree Growth or Open Space programs.
Figure 10 page 46
Conserved Properties map
AREAS OF MANAGEMENT CONCERN
Areas that might benefit from conservation management fall into two types: 1) those that should be managed to conserve a significant feature, and 2) those that should be managed to control or eliminate a threat to one or more of the Bog’s natural or cultural features.
Conserving Significant Features
Examples of features needing special protection were discussed above, in the section on natural resources, and include the moonwort site and the vernal pools. They will be addressed further below in the section titled MANAGEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS.
Documented and potential cultural sites should also be considered areas of management concern. Figure 8 and 9 show documented cultural sites and a map of potential sites of archaeological interest provided by the Maine Historic Preservation Commission is given in Appendix F.
Areas where our survey has documented a threat to the integrity of the Bog’s natural features can further be divided into those where specific threats have been perceived and those where the threat is more general or management action less clear.
Sites with Documented Threats
1) Pleasant Mountain Subdivision
An application for a subdivision on Pleasant Mountain, the Limoge Subdivision, has been has been made and has received preliminary approval. The plan calls for Tolman Pond to act as a catchment basin for run-off from the subdivision. Phosphorus levels are already quite high in Tolman Pond and it is considered susceptible pollution, silt build-up and eutrophication, all of which would be accelerated by increased run-off from the Limoge subdivision (Rockport Comprehensive Plan, 1997). All of the water from the watershed drains through Tolman Pond, and any decrease in its water quality would affect all downstream portions of the watershed.
2) Defunct Shooting Range
The single largest and most obvious degradation of resources in the Bog is the 68 acre shooting range at R.D. Outfitters, owned by Steamship Navigation (Figure 9). The site is located in Warren just off Rt. 90, about half a mile north of the Keating Road.
A shooting range has been in existence there since 1974 (Thorburn, 1997). Ownership changed and a major expansion was proposed in 1997 and approved in 1998. The facility was to include a retail shop, clubhouse, training building and 600-, 250-, 200-, 100-, and 50-meter shooting ranges. The plan approved specified that 18-20 foot tall berms would be constructed with bales of formed fiber from the Gates Formed Fibre Products, in Auburn, on each range to contain bullets and deaden noise (Bailey, 1998).
In the following year, 1999, Warren residents complained that construction of the ranges was not proceeding as permitted. Claims were made that firebreaks in the flammable fiber berms had not been installed and that run-off from paper pulp sludge used to cap the berms had not been properly controlled. Additionally, abutting landowners were concerned that set-back requirements were not being met. One landowner, who hired a licensed surveyor, was able to show that construction material from R.D. Outfitters was, in fact, on his property (Dreher, pers. com.; Schumacher, 1999).
Almost another year passed before the Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) ruled that Steamship Navigation was out of compliance and ordered that encroaching materials be removed and erodable areas be covered with mulch within four months (Dunkle, 2000).
Over two years have passed since the BEP order and no work has been completed. Additionally, Steamship Navigation has not paid taxes to the Town of Warren since 1998, has lost some of its holdings to foreclosure and auction, and future action by the company at the site is in doubt.
The shooting range project continues to pose environmental threats to the Bog. The main threat is wildfire. The polyester material comprising the berms is flammable and burns at extremely high temperatures, with thick smoke and fumes, making fire-fighting difficult. Also, when the fibers used in the berms burn, water is ineffective in controlling the flames, rather fire-
retardant foam is required for their control. In 1997 there was a fire at the Gates plant in Lewiston where the material used at the shooting range was manufactured. The assistance of fire companies from 16 municipalities and supplies of foam from the Maine Forest Service and the Brunswick Naval Air Station were required to extinguish the fire (Washuk, 1997).
When construction ceased at R.D. Outfitters, 298,990 cubic yards of fiber material had been used for the shooting range berms (135,000 cubic yards more than the original, permitted estimate) and required firebreaks were never installed over a majority of the berm area. More than 200,000 cubic yards of fiber bales, or about two thirds of what was used at R.D. Outfitters, remain uncovered.
A fire at the shooting range site would be extremely difficult to control and would likely devastate the Bog’s natural resources. The Town of Warren relies on volunteer firefighters and their limited equipment for fire control. Also, the towns adjacent to the shooting range are small compared to those that responded to the Gates fire in Auburn. So even if 16 neighboring communities responded in Warren as they did during the Auburn fire, their resources would be inadequate. Especially in question is the amount of fire-retardant foam that would be available to fight a fire at the Warren site. Rt. 90 represents the only obvious firebreak adjacent to the shooting range property; forests with relatively closed canopies occur north and east of the site, facilitating the spread of fire.
Another possible threat posed by the shooting range project is run-off from the berms. The DEP has done testing on the fiber material and it appears to be very inert, without harmful leachate (Michael Parker, Project Manager at DEP, pers. com.). Analyses of the sludge applied to the small proportion of berm area that was covered also indicated that any leachate was non-toxic.
Perhaps the biggest threat from the covered berms, however, was the erodability of the cover material and the possibility that sludge and any clay covering it may have washed into the Oyster River. Because there has been no improvement in the conditions which resulted in the BEP order to move and seal the berms issued in 2000, erosion has been uncontrolled, and any potentially erodable materials present in 2000 have probably done so in the interim. The river shore downslope of the shooting range site was not surveyed during our inventory, but downriver portions that we studied showed minimal siltation or other observable adverse effects from eroded materials.
3) Invasive Plant Species
Invasive non-native plant species also represent a threat to the integrity of the Bog’s assemblage of natural communities. As mentioned above, the four species of critical concern are: Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii), Morrow’s honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii), oriental bittersweet (Celasrtus orbiculata) and purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) (Appendix G;
University of Maine, 2001 A-D). The barberry and honeysuckle were found in several locations; the bittersweet and loosestrife in only one (Figure 9). If uncontrolled these species will certainly spread and eventually displace native plant species. Wildlife species are dependent on the plant species with which they have evolved for food and shelter; the disappearance of native plants can result in a decline in animal populations, and an increase in some non-native animal species (particularly non-native birds and insects).
1) Degraded Trails and Bridges
Logging roads and trails within the Bog represent areas of management concern where threats and management are less clear than in the examples cited above. Threats from hiker use are unknown at present, yet visitors will probably be somewhat concentrated on the Georges Highland Trail and hikers will certainly have an impact. ATV use of the roads and their effects have been documented (see above), but the severity of impact varies with the location in the Bog. For example, the greatest threats are on sites where intermittent and permanent streams cross trails used by ATV’s (Figure 9). Because these old roads and trails are degraded, and, in most cases, never designed for vehicular traffic, there are no bridges or culverts. Significant erosion occurs in these areas. Siltation can also result when eroded soil is washed into any water body (e.g. the Oyster River, Branch Brook, or their tributaries). ATV and four-wheel drive use of trails adjacent to or which go through a waterway will have a greater negative effect than those removed from water or those on a durable surface, such as the top of Dunbar Ridge.
IMPACTS OF CURRENT USES ( page 51)
Non-point Source Pollution
Residential development on the Bog’s periphery is currently low density and impacts are minor compared to what they would be if development were more dense, there were more public roads, or there were more land in the parcel open for development. However, when vegetation is removed and soil is left open to wind and precipitation, nutrients are moved from that area, a process called non-point source pollution (Welsch, 1991). If carried by wind, soil and nutrients may be deposited near or far from their origin. If transported by water, the enriched runoff will move downhill, and into any waterway located downslope. This happens any time a road or driveway is built and continues unless the soil is covered (paved or, less effective, graveled). Even sand and salt applied to paved roads moves into the landscape. Addition of soil and nutrients to water bodies can cause: siltation, algal blooms, lower oxygen levels and changes in flora and fauna in and around the water.
The impact of non-point source pollution from residential development in the Bog and on its periphery is minimal due to the presence of wide, vegetated areas between homes and the wetland, which act as buffers and as traps for extra nutrients being carried in runoff. However, as noted above, impacts from subdivision development in the watershed create cause for concern.
Noise, Light and Pets
Houses also bring with them the trappings of family life, including: noise, artificial light and domesticated pets. Noise and light can change the behavior and home range of wildlife, as most animals tend to avoid both. The addition of pets to a rural landscape can affect wildlife. Free-running dogs often chase or hunt mammals from squirrels to deer and studies have shown that predation by domesticated cats can significantly decrease songbird populations.
Decreased Natural Habitat
Development can also restrict animal travel or force wildlife into whatever undeveloped land is available. Undeveloped lots and relatively large lot sizes allow movement of wildlife into and out of the Bog. Also, there is ample undeveloped land adjacent to the Bog, especially on the west and east, so that wildlife habitat does not appear to be limited.
Non-point Source Pollution
The impacts of commercial development include most of those mentioned above. Large paved areas associated with commercial development prevent rainwater from soaking into the soil below, and the volume of water that would have soaked into the soil before paving, runs off into the surrounding landscape. None of the small businesses around the Bog have significant pavement. Wide vegetated areas provide a buffer between disturbed ground with open soil, and the wetland. The largest expanses of bare soil are probably those that comprise the roads built for timber harvests. Vegetated buffers line the shoreland zone and culverts protect water crossings, but these roads likely represent the major source of non-point pollution in the Bog. However, even the effects of this source appear to be minimal, as we saw no evidence of siltation or excessive nutrient input. Concerns about the impacts of the defunct shooting range, however, remain significant.
Hunting, fishing, hiking and cross-country skiing have little observable impact on the Bog’s resources. We saw ample deer sign on the parcel and flushed several ruffed grouse, so hunting does not appear to be intense enough to have greatly diminished natural populations of game species. Also, we saw no obvious browse lines or sites with excessive browsing that would indicate the deer population is too high for the area to support.
ATV and four-wheel drive truck use, whether associated with hunting or on its own, has the greatest impact on the natural and potential cultural resources of the Oyster River Bog. Erosion on established roads and tracks is exaggerated by ATV’s and other wheeled, motorized vehicles. Some riders go off established trails if the terrain and vegetation allow it. Once a new trail is started, other riders tend to “follow it to see where it goes” and make the experimental “one-time” trail into something that others can follow. Such riding practices not only degrade natural resources, but they are ground-disturbing, and, if they take place where cultural artifacts occur, the cultural resources will be impacted. Also, ATV’s are loud, and may frighten wildlife and cause changes in behavior or habitat use. These influences are likely to be more apparent if ATV riders have continued open access to the Bog.
The impact of conservation lands is preservation of the Oyster River Bog’s natural resources. Most of the Bog’s natural communities are enhanced by the presence of conservation lands. Because anthropogenic disturbance is reduced or absent on these lands, communities persist, mature and change in response to natural disturbance and abiotic factors, such as climate. Natural communities present as a result of disturbance may disappear on conservation lands. For example, the aspen-birch forest and woodlands that occur in the burned area will slowly disappear in the absence of fire. In that case, reduced disturbance, as is found on conservation land may result in the loss of one natural community, while many other communities are improved by it.
REGULATION OF CURRENT USES
Rockland, Rockport, Thomaston and Warren each has its own zoning ordinances some of which help protect the Bog’s natural and cultural resources (Figure 11).
Land along Bog Road is zoned as Rural Residential, which allows for single and multifamily dwellings within 1000 feet of the road. Residential use is also regulated, in part, by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s shoreland zoning laws.
Residential use is permitted within Rockport’s Rural Residential Zone, which includes most of the Rockport section of the Bog. The purpose of this zone is to protect natural resources while allowing for changes in use (Town of Rockport, 2002). The ordinance establishing the Rural Residential Zone sets limits on lot size, building heights, locations of dwellings relative to property lines. Mobile homes are permitted in this zone. The area along Rt. 90 is in the Mixed Residential/Business Zone, which permits some residential development. Single family, two-family and multiple family dwellings are allowed in this zone.
Rockport has also established two Watershed Overlay Districts. One, which includes the Mirror and Grassy Lake watershed, is partially within the Oyster River Watershed. The purposes of these districts are: 1) to preserve water quality (drinking water), and 2) to control nutrient inputs to the ground or groundwater (Town of Rockport, 2002). Any projects proposed in this zone which require any set of Best Management Practices must be permitted by the town. In addition, any project requiring that an area greater than or equal to 500 square feet be disturbed must include an Erosion and Sediment Control plan prepared by licensed professional in its permit application.
The portion of the Bog that is within Thomaston is zoned Rural Residential and Farming. Thomaston established this district to preserve the rural character of the town and to prevent unchecked development (City of Thomaston, 2002). The ordinance allows single family homes and mobile homes.
Warren has zoned the majority its land beyond the village center, including that within the Bog’s boundaries, as Rural/Limited Residential. Residential uses in this zone include: single and two-family dwellings, apartments and group and convalescent homes. The town has set guidelines for lot and building size and setback distances from abutting properties. In practice, however, there is little exclusion of commercial development.
A corridor on either shore of the Oyster River is zoned as Residential/Recreational on a map included in the Comprehensive Plan (Town of Warren, 1991), but the Warren Land Use Ordinance (2001) does not mention this zone or uses permitted in it. The Comprehensive Plan describes the mapped area as a conservation area, “where development …will be governed by the Town’s Shoreland Ordinance.”
Rockland, Rockport, Thomaston and Warren each has its own commercial zoning ordinances as well, some of which border the Bog (Figure 11).
Commercial development is permitted along Rt. 90. The portion of Rt. 90 within Rockland comprises less than half a mile.
The Rt. 90 corridor, from Mill Street to the Rockland town line is zoned as Mixed Business/Residential. The purpose of this zone is to encourage commercial growth and residential uses and to preserve Rockport’s rural character by prohibiting strip development.
Commercial agriculture and forestry are permitted in this zone. All such enterprises must employ Best Management Practices, as defined by local ordinance.
Numerous commercial uses are allowed here. Some of these are home businesses, auto sales, banks, hotels, medical clinics, boat sales and storage, retail and wholesale sales and light manufacturing.
Limited commercial activities are allowed in Thomaston’s Rural Residential and Farming District. Home businesses, mineral exploration, commercial agriculture and horticulture and on-site sales of agricultural and horticultural products are all permitted in this district.
There are no commercial or industrial zones in Warren which are within the Bog’s boundaries. In practice, however, commercial development is quite unrestricted.
Because there are so many landowners within in the Bog, there is no one set of regulations that apply to the entire parcel. Landowners can post their land and prevent any access, or post against a particular use, like hunting or ATV use. Also, there are statewide regulations which prohibit ATV use in wetlands, except on approved trails. Town-owned parcels are open to all.
Most of Rockland’s land in the Bog is within its Woodland and Wildlife Zone, as described below (Figure 11). One goal in the establishment of this zone was to provide the public with recreational opportunities, while preserving the natural character of the area.
The Rural Residential Zone allows open space/recreation. Low-impact recreational activities are allowed in Shoreland Overlay District described above.
In its Comprehensive Plan, Thomaston recognizes the recreational value of the Greater Oyster River Bog (Town of Thomaston, 1990). The Plan says that the Bog land north of Thomaston offers various types of hunting, and that fishing occurs on the Oyster River.
Warren’s Land Use Ordinance (2001) does not address recreational uses, however, the Comprehensive Plan (1991) does discuss recreation. The Plan identifies the Oyster River as a primary recreational resource. It also cites the Maine Coast Inventory’s mention of the Oyster River as a possible canoe trip. The Plan also mentions the network of hiking trails on Pleasant and Meadow Mountains, which although outside the Bog, will likely be connected to the Oyster River Bog via the Georges Highland Path.
Municipal zoning also provides limited protection to the Bog through special restrictions on use and development by property owners (Figure 11).
Most of the Rockland portion of the Bog is within a Woodland and Wildlife Zone. The purpose of establishing this zone is to “preserve this unique area in its wild and natural state, at the same time allowing private owners and the public enjoyment of the area” (Proposed Rockland Comprehensive Plan). Prohibited uses in this zone include construction of roads and buildings and operation of motorized vehicles (except snowmobiles and vehicles used for silviculture or emergencies). Rockland has also granted conservation easements on its land within the Bog to ORBA.
A Shoreland Overlay District has also been developed for rivers and streams in Rockport. Within the Bog, this zone only affects the Oyster River from Mill St. southwest to the Rockport/Rockland town line. The Shoreland Overlay District is a resource protection district that conserves areas in which development would adversely affect water quality, productive habitat, biological ecosystems, scenic or natural values (currently developed areas are excluded form this ordinance). The District includes areas within 250’ of the upland edge of wetlands, great ponds and rivers ranked as moderate to high value by MDIF&W, floodplains of rivers as defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, areas greater than or equal to 2 acres with a slope of at least 20% and erodable areas along rivers. Establishment of a Stream Protection District concerns land within 75 feet of a stream’s high water mark and helps to conserve important areas not covered in the Shoreland Zone.
A Resource Protection District has been defined to protect wetlands in Thomaston. Specifically, the ordinance seeks to, “… prevent and control potential pollution sources; protect spawning grounds; fish, aquatic life, bird and other wildlife habitat; and conserve shore cover, visual as well as actual points of access to inland and coastal waters and natural beauty” (Town of Thomaston, 1995). As it pertains to the Bog within Thomaston, the District includes the Keene Brook and Branch Brook. It protects lands within 250’ of the upland edge of wetland vegetation along these waters; their floodplains, as defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency; areas greater than or equal to 2 acres with a slope of at least 20% and erodable areas along their banks.
The Comprehensive Plan states that 1,900 acres in Warren are enrolled in the Tree Growth Tax program. Shorelands of the Oyster River are also subject to development restrictions under Warren’s Shoreland Ordinance.
Municipal Zoning map
Conservation within The Bog Lands
1) A Peatland Protection Strategy
The nearest peatlands that rival the Oyster River Bog’s peatland – Rockland bog - in size are Appleton Bog, to the north, and Big Heath, on Mt. Desert Island. Rockland bog, Appleton Bog and Big Heath are dissimilar, both in their peatland character and the character of the surrounding landscape. The Rockland bog supports examples of wooded and open fens, two marsh communities, and several variations of the dwarf shrub bog community. Appleton Bog is significant because it contains a large population of Atlantic white cedar, a species at the northern limit of its range and Big Heath supports a population of baked appleberry, a species at the southern limit of its range. Taken together, these three peatlands represent a broader spectrum of diversity in the region than do any of them individually. However, the landscape surrounding the Rockland bog is more varied than what is present at Appleton or Big Heath, due, in part, to the topography associated with the Bog and its surrounding lands.
2) A Wildlife Protection Strategy
Despite the extensive land use history and current all-terrain-vehicle use in the Bog, it is relatively unspoiled and offers recreational opportunities unlike those available on a developed parcel like Camden Hills State Park. The Bog also provides habitat for hundreds of plant species. In fact, it harbors 20-25% of the vascular plant species known to grow in Maine (Campbell et al., 1995) and the region represents the northeastern-most records of some woody species. Also, because of its proximity to other, large (>1000acres), undeveloped parcels, the Bog may be important as a corridor for species movement. This is almost as true for plants as for animals: if habitats change due to climate change, fire, or development, for example, plant propagules need appropriate habitat to occupy, or they will be extirpated. Some wildlife species need to travel over wide ranges or to move to seasonal habitats. Population health may also be dependent on the ability to breed with neighboring populations, rather than breeding within a home population. The Bog’s many wildlife species can utilize diverse natural communities without leaving the site. They can also travel through the large undisturbed area that comprises the Bog to utilize other sites or to interact with other populations. Conservation of the entire Bog area, not just the wetland portion, would insure protection of the diversity present on the site and provide access to other adjacent sites by wildlife species. There is a danger that heavy development along Route 90 will close a connecting corridor to undeveloped areas to the north and west.
3) Conserving Special Features
While the overall goal is to conserve the whole Oyster River Bog, several intermediate goals can be set to protect its special features, including the vernal pools, the moonwort site and the butternut trees. Our assessment of the vernal pool area is that it has high wildlife value, is fairly pristine, is unique in the mid-coast and worthy of conservation attention. Because moonwort can persist underground for many years and future searches for it would be worthwhile, conservation of the site is important. The range-wide status of butternut is not well known, but a significant decline in population sizes and tree health has been reported. Only a few trees were observed in the Bog, but they are uneven-aged, with reproductive individuals and young saplings present. These trees may have even range-wide significance for the species, because they are apparently healthy and may have some resistance to whatever is causing the species’ decline.
4) Conserving Representative Habitats
Another way of employing the “piecemeal” approach to preservation of the Bog is to make sure that some examples of each natural community that occurs on the property is protected, thus maximizing preservation of the diversity currently represented. This approach is not ideal and tends to exclude transitional zones between communities that may be important to wildlife. However, if protection of the whole Bog is not immediately possible, this is a good stopgap approach to conservation within the site.
Conserving to Manage Use
As development and population growth increase in the mid-coast region, there will likely be an accompanying increase in use pressure on nearby wildlands of all types. The Bog is an example of one such tract. This parcel holds the potential for myriad forms of recreation, yet recreational use is currently minimally restricted. Habitat degradation due to the effects of ATV and four-wheel drive vehicle use of the Bog’s trails and old roads has already been documented. Although Rockland prohibits the use of motorized vehicles in its section of the Bog, there are no signs advising users of the prohibition, nor is the regulation enforced (proposed Rockland Comprehensive Plan).
Use of the Bog’s section of the Georges Highland Path will undoubtedly increase recreational use in the Bog. With the opening of the path, came a parking lot and signs directing hikers to access points. While this serves to concentrate use in specific areas, it will also serve to attract users previously unaware of how to enter and move through the Bog.
A coalition approach to management of the Bog’s road and trail system would afford the greatest resource protection and would potentially provide a consistent set of guidelines over all four municipal jurisdictions. The coalition should involve planners from ORBA, Rockland, Rockport, Thomaston and Warren as well as interested citizens. Input from those who have developed management plans for similar parcels (e.g. land trusts) might prove helpful.
Conserving the Bog as Part of the Mid-coast Matrix
The Oyster River Bog is located in the rapidly developing mid-coast region of Maine. There is development pressure from people moving to the area to work there, and people who want to live there and commute elsewhere. The region harbors many relatively small areas under conservation through ownership or easement. These include:
about 2000 acres protected along the Ducktrap River in Lincolnville
the Nature Conservancy’s Fernald’s Neck Preserve in Camden and Knight’s Pond Preserve in Northport
700 acres owned by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands near the Warren/Cushing line
about 1000 acres owned by the Sheepscot Valley Land Trust in the Sheepscot River watershed (Janet McMahon, pers. com.)
land within the Thomaston Town Forest
land held by Consumers Water Company around its reservoirs in Rockport
Only Camden Hills State Park and Appleton Bog are similar to the Oyster River Bog in size. Camden Hills State Park is currently the largest tract of protected land in the western Penobscot Bay area (Andy Cutko, pers. com.).
However, because until recently development has been slower to come to the mid-coast than to other parts of Maine, there are still some parcels that could become part of a region-wide matrix of conservation lands. Such a matrix could create a corridor for plant and animal movement across the entire region. An analysis of maps done to identify roadless areas at least 5000 acres in extent showed that there are five such sites within 15-20 miles of the Oyster River Bog (MNAP, unpub.). One of these is immediately adjacent to the Bog and comprises Meadow, Pleasant and Spruce Mountains. The east- and north-facing slopes of these mountains drain to the Oyster River, and land use there affects the Bog. Planning for some level of conservation of the Meadow, Pleasant and Spruce Mountain parcel would afford the Bog more protection and would contribute to a region-wide system of connected conservation lands (Figure 2).
All of the recommendations below have as their primary objective to preserve the diversity of native plant and animal species in the Bog and to preserve all of the Bog’s natural habitats. To accomplish this goal, further inventory work is necessary, for animal groups in particular. The more that is known about the Bog’s resources (i.e. which species are present), the more effective conservation planning can be. The first several of the recommendations address this issue. Recommendations are listed in order of priority (i.e. the first listed is considered most important to accomplish).
1) Research and Inventory
Request that MDIF&W assess the vernal pools, and confirm their high biological value for their possible addition to the Significant Wildlife Habitat map
Enlist the help of volunteers from the MDIF&W Maine Damselfly and Dragonfly Survey to determine which odonates are present, and identify rarities
Invite the Maine Entomological Society to the Bog to collect, in exchange for a preliminary species list
Ask MDIF&W if and how ORBA can perform a survey for freshwater mollusks in the Oyster River
Conduct a breeding bird survey that includes all of the Bog’s habitats
Compile a list of fish species that occur on the property
Invite the Maine mycological Society to conduct a foray in the Bog and supply a species list
2) Site Management
Construct stream crossings and install erosion and run-off control devices on heavily used trails
Control the highly invasive plant species Japanese barberry, Morrow’s honeysuckle, oriental bittersweet and purple loosestrife
Maintain vegetated buffers between uplands and wetlands
Continue to site trails in areas where soils are not highly erodable
Continue to lay out trails so that they go with the topographic contours and not across them
Maintain buffers between disturbed areas and intact communities
Establish a system for volunteer water monitoring within the Oyster River Watershed
3) Local Planning
Monitor and participate in land use planning within the Oyster River watershed
All of the recommendations below have as their primary objective to preserve the cultural resources of the Oyster River Bog.
1) Research and Inventory
Contact the Maine Historic Preservation Commission regarding the possibility of having archaeological surveys done in the Bog (the Commission provides a 50% match for such work)
2) Site Management
Determine which known sites are most vulnerable to visitation and site trails away from them
Continue to site trails in areas where soils are not highly erodable
OVERALL SITE CONSERVATION
1) Research and Inventory
Conduct surveys to accurately assess how many people use the Bog and in what ways
Continue work on ORBA’s database of landowners. Have owners of all parcels identified? Which owners have conservation and/or right-of-way agreements with ORBA? Is there another entity that will purchase conservation easements on any parcels?
Develop long range plan for trail system. Will current trails be maintained? Will the only sanctioned trail be the Georges Highland Path?
2) User Education
Conduct outreach activities to educate local people about the Bog and its importance
Meet with local snowmobile and sportsman’s clubs to educate them about the Bog’s resources
3) Site Management
Continue good relations with all users of the Bog
Convene a meeting with ORBA, planners from Rockland, Rockport, Thomaston and Warren to discuss uniformity of ordinances regarding operation of motorized vehicles in the Bog and how to enforce current regulations
Restore and/or reroute degraded trails
Install signs to help channel users on to sanctioned trails and include “Leave No Trace” guidelines for users
Design trail maps so that sensitive biological and cultural sites are not included
Avoid construction of additional parking areas and other features that might encourage more use than the resources can tolerate
The Oyster River Bog is an important and unique parcel in Maine’s mid-coast region. Rockland, Rockport, Thomaston and Warren all have jurisdiction over portions of the Bog. Growth is occurring in all four towns, and development pressure will likely increase, as people and businesses move to the mid-coast. With over 1000 acres already under conservation ownership or easement, the Bog represents a potential gem in the crown of wildlands in the region. Located in a lowland surrounded by low mountains, the 5,880 acre Bog drains an area of over 13,000 acres.
As the center of the watershed, the Bog performs all the functions of a
wetland: water catchment, storage and filtration; it provides plant and animal habitat and recreational and educational opportunities. Like most wetlands, the Bog complex contains more biological diversity than an upland parcel of comparable size. The Bog is home to almost 25% of all plant species known to grow in Maine, and there are records of two rare plant species. Hundreds of animal species, from moose and bear to tiny invertebrates make their homes within the 18 natural communities documented on the property.
Although essentially wild in character, the Bog also provides many recreational opportunities. A section of the Georges Highland Path (which, when completed, will extend from Thomaston to Montville) traverses the Bog. The Path gives hikers access to the Oyster River and passes through many of the site’s forest types. A network of old roads provides opportunities for a variety of recreational activities, including: mountain-biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, birding and photography. The parcel also supports hunting and fishing.
In addition to its natural resources, the Bog is rich in cultural resources, with a long history of settlement. Native Americans were seasonal residents prior to European settlement. The arrival of settlers brought changes to the land. Parcels were cleared for farming and the Oyster River and other waterways supported, a series of saw, grist and gunpowder mills for over two centuries.
Local and state regulations help to protect this valuable piece of land. Local ordinances regulate development and other activities and state laws help to protect the wetlands and rivers. In spite of these conservation efforts, the Bog contains some areas of management concern. The largest, and most worrisome of these, is the defunct shooting range on Rt. 90 where almost 300,000 cubic yards of highly flammable material sit uncovered and without firebreaks. The watershed is also threatened by proposed development on its west side and the accompanying run-off which has the potential of reducing water quality within the Bog.
This report has sought to catalog the natural and cultural resources of the Bog and place the Bog and its resources into a broader, region-wide context. In addition, we have recommended steps that should be taken to broaden our knowledge of the Bog, and to conserve its natural and cultural resources. The Oyster River Bog was formed during the last glaciation, and has remained largely unchanged for the last 10,000 years. Careful planning and action will insure that it persists as the valuable and unique area that it is today.
Anderson, Dennis S. and R.B. Davis. 1998. The flora and plant communities
of Maine peatlands. Technical Bulletin 170, Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station, Orono, ME 98pp.
Bailey, Ken. 1998. Shooting range project under way. The Courier Gazette,
19 March. Rockland, Maine.
Calhoun, Aram. 1999. A Maine Citizen’s Guide to Locating and
Documenting Vernal Pools. Maine Audubon Society, pub. 98 pp.
Cameron, D.S. 2000. Invasive Plant Survey Atlas. Maine
Natural Areas Program, Department of Conservation, Augusta, Maine
Campbell, C.S., H.P. Adams, P. Adams, A.C. Dibble, L.M.
Eastman, S.C. Gawler, L.L. Gregory, B.A. Grunden, A.D. Haines, K. Jonson, S.C. Rooney, T.F. Vining, J.E. Weber, and W.A. Wright. 1995. Checklist of Vascular Plants of Maine, third revision. Bulletin 844, Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station. Orono, Maine
Critical Areas Program. 1985. Register of Critical Areas. Maine Natural
Areas Program, Department of Conservation, Augusta, Maine
Dunkle, Daniel. 2000. State orders range to remove berms. Courier Gazette,
25 January. Rockland, Maine.
Eaton, Cyrus. 1865. History of Thomaston, Rockland, and South Thomaston,
Maine. 2 vol.
____ . 1877. Annals of Warren, 2nd ed.
Gawler, Susan C. 2000. Natural Communities of Maine: Keys
and Descriptions (unpublished draft). Maine Natural Areas Program, Augusta, ME
Haines, Arthur and T.F. Vining. 1998. Flora of Maine. V.F. Thomas Co., Bar Harbor, ME 847pp.
Hedsrom, Gary T., 1983. Soil Survey of Knox and Lincoln
Counties, Maine. Soil Conservation Service, Maine Agricultural Experiment Station and Maine Soil and Water Conservation Commission. 174pp. + maps
Kenney, Leo P. 1995. Wicked Big Puddles: A guide to the study and
certification of vernal pools. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, New England Regional Office
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. 1991. Essential and
Significant Wildlife Habitat Maps: Rockland, Rockport, Thomaston and Warren. MDIF&W, Augusta, ME
Maine Natural Areas Program. 1999. 1999 Official List of Endangered and
Threatened Plants in Maine. Maine natural Areas Program, Dept. of Conservation, Augusta, ME
Maine Natural Heritage Program. 1991. Natural Landscapes of Maine: a
Classification of Ecosystems and Natural Communities. Dept. of Economic and Community Development, State House Station 130, Augusta, ME 04333. 77pp.
McMahon, Janet S., George L Jacobson, Jr. And Fay Hyland. 1990. An Atlas of the Native Woody Plants of Maine: A Revision of the Hyland Maps. Maine Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 830, Orono, ME 04469. 260 pp.
McMahon, Janet S. 1990. Biophysical Regions of Maine. State Planning
Office, Augusta, ME
_____. 1999. Natural Resource Inventory and Management Plan
for the Salt Bay Conservation Area. Damariscotta River Association,
Osberg, Philip H., A.M. Hussey and G.M. Boone. Bedrock Geologic Map of
Maine. 1985. Maine Geological Survey, Department of Conservation, Augusta, ME
Rockland Bicentennial Commission. Shore Village Story.
Rockland, City of. Proposed Rockland Comprehensive Plan.
Rockport Conservation Commission. 1976. A special place: the story of the
Oyster River Bog. Prepared by the Oyster River Bog Study Group. Rockport, ME
Rockport, Town of. 1997. Town of Rockport Comprehensive Plan. Rockport, ME.
Rockport, Town of. 2002. Town of Rockport Land Use Ordinance. Rockport, ME
Schumacher, Sutter. 1999. Shooting range comes under fire. Courier Gazette, 10 April. Rockland, Maine.
Shores, John N. 1983. The Oyster River Bog: A case study in wildland
management on private property in Knox County, Maine. M.S. Thesis, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Thomaston, City of. 1995. Thomaston Ordinances, Chapter 7, Land Use and
Thorburn, Nancy. 1997. Shooting range plans major expansion. Courier
Gazette, 15 March. Rockland, Maine
University of Maine Cooperative Extension. 2001A. Maine Invasive Plants:
Japanese Barberry, Bulletin 2504. Orono, ME
____. 2001B. Maine Invasive Plants: Asiatic Bittersweet, Bulletin 2506.
____. 2001C. Maine Invasive Plants: Shrubby Honeysuckles, Bulletin 2507.
____. 2001D. Maine Invasive Plants: Purple Loosestrife, Bulletin 2508.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1989. Soil Survey Data for Growth Management in Knox-Lincoln Counties, Maine. USDA, Orono, ME 28pp.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1992. National Wetlands Inventory Maps:
Thomaston and West Rockport quadrangles. U.S.F.W.S Region V,
Newton Center, MA
Warren, Town of. 1991. Comprehensive Plan. 161 pp.
Warren, Town of. 2001. Land Use Ordinance. 37 pp.
Washuk, Valerie. 1997. Huge fire hits gates. Lewiston Sun-Journal, 10
February. Lewiston, Maine.
Welsch, David J. 1992. Riparian forest buffers. USDA Forest Service,
Northeastern Area, Radnor, PA. NA-PR-07-91. 20 pp.
Whitten, Maurice M. 1990. The Gunpowder Mills of Maine. Maurice
Whitten, pub., 11 Lincoln St., Gorham, ME 04038, 324pp.
APPENDICES (PAGE 72)
A: Animals of the Oyster River Bog
B: Native Plants of the Oyster River Bog
C: Non-native Plants of the Oyster River Bog
D: Vascular Plants of the Oyster River Bog
E: Mosses, Liverworts, and Lichens of the Oyster River Bog
F: Archeologically Sensitive Areas in the Oyster River Bog
1 It is often called the Rockland Bog, a name which in fact applies to a large peatland portion in the eastern half of the Oyster River Bog. In this report, when a lower case “b” is used in the word “bog”, that term refers to the Rockland Bog.
2 Flowing from the Keene family’s Farm, the Keene Brooke was mislabeled on USGS maps starting in the 1940’s. That mistake has carried through to subsequent maps but is not repeated here.
3 There is historic and current use of the wetland and its waterways by beavers. This means that over time areas are flooded and support open water communities, then dams go out and graminoid-or shrub-dominated communities can occur in the previously flooded area. These changes can happen relatively quickly: a new dam can create a pond in a month or two. The fen and marsh communities are more heavily beaver-impacted than the Bog communities.
4 Most of the information in this section comes from A Special Place: The Story of the Oyster River Bog (Rockport Conservation Commission, 1976), which won’t be cited repeatedly. Other sources will be cited in the text.
5 Oral accounts based on written materials differ from the written record consulted by the authors which places Isaiah’s homestead and mill on the west side of Dodge’s Mountain, closer to the Bog and Branch Brook (Rockland Bicentennial Commission)
6 Under this now obsolete statute, private property owners could petition the state government to outlaw hunting on their lands by declaring the area a state game refuge.
|Appendix A. ANIMALS OF THE OYSTER RIVER BOG|
|Latin Name||Common Name||Spruce-Fir -Broom Moss Forest||White Pine-Mixed-Conifer Forest||Spruce-Northern Hardwoods Forest||Red Oak-Northern Hardwoods Mixed Forest||Oak-Pine Forest||Oak-Pine Woodland||Aspen-Birch Woodland/Forest||Red Maple Alluvial Swamp||Red Maple Woodland Fen||Mixed Tall Sedge Fen||Sweetgale Mixed Shrub Fen||Cattail Marsh||Mixed Graminoid Shrub Marsh||Spruce-Larch Wooded Bog||Huckleberry-Crowberry Bog||Streamshore Ecosystem||Water-lily-Macrophyte Aquatic Bed||Low Elevation Summit Bald||Roadside|
|Amphibians and reptiles|
|Ambystoma maculatum||Spotted salamander||X|
|Bufo americanus||American toad||X||X||X||X|
|Hyla crucifer||Spring peeper|
|Rana sylvatica||Wood frog||X||X||X||X|
|Thamnophis sirtailis sirtalis||Eastern garter snake||X||X||X|
|Agelaius phonecius||Red-winged blackbird||X|
|Aix sponsa||Wood duck||X|
|Ardea herodias||Great blue heron||X|
|Aythya collaris||Ring-necked duck||X|
|Bonasa umbellus||Ruffed grouse||X||X||X|
|Botaurus lentiginosus||American bittern||X|
|Buteo jamaciensis||Red-tailed hawk||X|
|Buteo platypterus||Broad-winged hawk||X||X||X||X|
|Catharus guttatus||Hermit thrush||X||X||X|
|Certhia amercana||Brown creeper||X|
|Colaptes auratus||N. flicker|
|Dendroica virens||Black-throated green warbler||X||X|
|Dumatella caroliniensis||Gray catbird||X|
|Dryocopus pileatus||Pileated woodpecker||X||X|
|Falco sparverius||American kestrel||X|
|Geothylpus trichas||Com. yellow-throat||X||X||X|
|Haliaeetus leucocephalus||Bald eagle||X|
|Larus argentatus||Herring gull||X||X|
|Meleagris gallopavo||Wild turkey||X|
|Melospiza melodia||Song sparrow||X||X||X|
|Phalacrocorax auritus||Double-crested cormorant||X|
|Picoides pubescens||Downy woodpecker||X||X||X||X|
|Picoides villosus||Hairy woodpecker||X||X|
|Piranga olivacea||Scarlet tanager||X|
|Poecile atricapilla||Bl.-capped chickadee||X||X||X|
|Sayornis saya||Eastern phoebe||X|
|Sitta canadensis||Red-breas. nuthatch||X||X||X||X|
|Sitta caroliniensis||Wt.-breas. nuthatch||X|
|Sphryapicus varius||Yel.-bellied sapsucker||X|
|Tachycineta bicolor||Tree swallow||X|
|Vireo olivaceus||Red-eyed vireo||X||X||X|
|Vireo solitarius||Blue-headed vireo||X||X||X|
|Zonotrichia albicollis||Wh.-throat. sparrow||X||X|
|Lepus americanus||Snowshoe hare||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Lutra canadensis||River otter||X|
|Odocoileus virginianus||White-tailed deer||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Sciurus caroliniensis||Gray squirrel||X||X||X||X|
|Tamias striatus||E. chipmunk||X||X|
|Tamiasciurus hudsonicus||Red squirrel||X||X||X||X||X|
|Ursus americanus||Black bear||X|
|Vulpes fulva ?||Red fox||X||X|
|Cenocorixa sp.||Water boatman||X|
|Speyeria cybele||Greater fritillary butterfly||X||X|
|Vanessa atalanta||Red admiral butterfly||X||X|
|Appendix B. NATIVE PLANTS OF THE OYSTER RIVER BOG|
|* denotes dominants; T = tree; S = shrub; H = herb; M = moss; Lv = liverwort; Li = lichen|
|Latin Name||Common Name||Form||Spruce-Fir- Broom Moss Forest||White Pine Mixed-Conifer Forest||Spruce-Northern Hardwoods Forest||Red Oak-Northern Hardwoods Mixed Forest||Oak-Pine Forest||Oak-Pine Woodland||Aspen-Birch Woodland/Forest||Red Maple Woodland Fen||Mixed Tall Sedge Fen||Sweetgale Mixed Shrub Fen||Cattail Marsh||Mixed Graminoid Shrub Marsh||Spruce-Larch Wooded Bog||Huckleberry-Crowberry Bog||Alder-Shrub Thicket||Streamshore Ecosystem||Water-lily-Macrophyte Aquatic Bed||Low Elevation Summit Bald||Roadside|
|Abies balsamea||Balsam fir||T; S||X *||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Acer pensylvanicum||Striped maple||T; S||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Acer rubrum||Red maple||T; S||X||X||X||X||X||X||X *||X*||X||X||X||X|
|Acer saccharum||Sugar maple||T||X|
|Actaea rubra||Red baneberry||H||X||X|
|Alnus incana ssp. rugosa||Speckled alder||S||X||X*||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Alnus viridis ssp. crispus||Green alder||S||X|
|Amelanchier laevis||Smooth shadbush||T||X||X|
|Amelanchier sp.||A shadbush||T; S||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Amphicarpaea bracteata||Hog peanut||H||X||X||X|
|Anaphalis margaritacea||Pearly everlasting||H||X||X||X||X|
|Andromeda polifolia||Bog rosemary||S||X||X||X||X|
|Anemone americana||Round-lobed hepatica||H||X|
|Anemone quinquefolia||Wood anemone||H||X|
|Antennaria howellii ssp. neodioica||A pussy-toes||H||X||X|
|Aquilegia canadensis||Wild columbine||H||X|
|Aralia nudicaulis||Wild sarsaparilla||H||X *||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Aralia hispida||Prickly aralia||H||X||X||X|
|Arethusa bulbosa||Dragon’s mouth orchid||H||X|
|Aster macrophyllus||Large-leaf aster||H||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Athyrium filix-femina||Lady fern||H||X||X||X|
|Bartonia virginica||Yellow screwstem||H||X|
|Betula alleghaniensis||Yellow birch||T||X||X||X||X|
|Betula x caerulea||Blue birch||T||X||X||X||X|
|Betula papyrifera||Paper birch||T||X||X||X||X||X||X *|
|Betula populifolia||Gray birch||T;S||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Bidens frondosa||A beggar’s tick||H||X||X||X|
|Brachyelytrum septentrionale||A grass||H||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Bromus ciliatus||A brome grass||H||X||X||X|
|Calamagrostis canadensis||Blue-joint grass||H||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Calla palustris||Wild calla||H||X|
|Calopogon tuberosus||Grass-pink orchid||H||X|
|Carex arctata||N. clustered sedge||H||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Carex atlantica ssp. capillacea||Eastern sedge||H||X|
|Carex brunnescens||Brownish sedge||H||X||X||X||X|
|Carex canescens||Silvery sedge||H||X||X|
|Carex communis||Fibrous rooted sedge||H||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Carex debilis||White-edged sedge||H||X||X||X|
|Carex folliculata||Long sedge||H||X||X|
|Carex gracillima||Graceful sedge||H||X||X||X||X|
|Carex gynandra||Nodding sedge||H||X||X||X||X||X|
|Carex lacustris||Lake-shore sedge||H||X|
|Carex lasiocarpa||Slender sedge||H||X||X||X||X|
|Carex leptalea||Bristle-stalked sedge||H||X|
|Carex lucorum||A sedge||H||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Carex lurida||Sallow sedge||H||X||X|
|Carex novae-angliae||New England sedge||H||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Carex pedunculata||Long-stalked sedge||H||X||X|
|Carex (Ovales group)||A sedge||H||X||X||X||X|
|Carex stipata||Awl-fruited sedge||H||X||X||X|
|Carex stricta||Stool sedge||H||X||X||X|
|Carex trisperma||Three-seded sedge||H||X||X||X|
|Carex utriculata||Beaked sedge||H||X||X||X|
|Cinna latifolia||Common wood reed||H||X||X|
|Circaea alpina||Small enchanter’s nightshade||H||X||X|
|Cirsium vulgare||Bull thistle||H||X|
|Clematis virginiana||Virgin’s bower||V||X|
|Clintonia borealis||Blue-bead lily||H||X||X||X||X||X|
|Coptis trifolia||Goldthread||H||X *||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Corallorhiza maculata||Spotted coralroot||H||X|
|Cornus alternifolia||Alternate-leaved dogwood||S||X||X||X|
|Cornus rugosa||Round-leaved dogwood||H||X|
|Corylus cornuta||Beaked hazelnut||S||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Dactylis glomerata||Orchard grass||H||X||X||X||X||X|
|Danthonia compressa||Wild oatgrass||H||X||X||X||X||X|
|Danthonia spicata||Poverty oatgrass||H||X||X||X||X|
|Dennstaedtia punctilobula||Hay-scented fern||H||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Deschampsia flexuosa||Wavy hairgrass||H||X|
|Diervilla lonicera||Bush honeysuckle||S||X||X||X||X|
|Doellingeria umbellata||Tall white aster||H||X||X||X||X|
|Drosera intermedia||Spatulate-leaved sundew||H||X|
|Drosera rotundifolia||Round-leaved sundew||H||X||X||X||X||X|
|Dropteris carthusiana||Spinulose wood fern||H||X||X||X|
|Dryopteris cristata||Crested shield fern||H||X||X|
|Dryopteris intermedia||Evergreen fern||H||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Dryopteris marginalis||Marginal shield fern||H||X||X|
|Dulichium arundinaceum||Three-way sedge||H||X|
|Eleocharis obtusa||A spike-rush||H||X|
|Elymus virginicus||Virginia wild rye||H||X|
|Epilobium leptophyllum||Narrow-leaved willow- herb||H||X||X|
|Epilobium palustre||Marsh willow-herb||H||X|
|Equisetum arvense||Field horsetail||H||X|
|Equisetum sylvaticum||Woodland horsetail||H||X||X||X|
|Eriophorum angustifolium||Narrow cotton-grass||H||X|
|Eriophorum vaginatum ssp. spissum||Tussock cotton-grass||H||X||X||X|
|Eriophorum virginicum||Tawny cotton-grass||H||X||X||X|
|Eupatorium maculatum||Joe-pye weed||H||X||X|
|Euthamia graminifolia||Grass-leaved goldenrod||H||X||X||X||X|
|Fagus grandifolia||American beech||T; S||X||X||X||X||X|
|Fallopia cilinodis||Fringed bindweed||V||X|
|Festuca rubra||Red fescue grass||H||X||X||X||X|
|Fragaria virginiana||Wild strawberry||H||X||X||X||X|
|Fraxinus americana||White ash||T||X||X||X|
|Fraxinus pensylvanica||Green ash||X|
|Galium asprellum||A bedstraw||H||X|
|Galium cf triflorum||A bedstraw||H||X||X|
|Gaultheria hispidula||Creeping snowberry||H||X||X|
|Gaylussacia baccata||Black huckleberry||S||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Gaylussacia dumosa||Dwarf huckleberry||S||X||X||X|
|Geum aleppicum||Yellow avens||H||X|
|Glyceria borealis||Northern manna grass||H||X||X|
|Glyceria canadensis||Rattlesnake manna grass||H||X||X|
|Glyceria melicaria||NE manna grass||H||X||X|
|Glyceria striata||Fowl manna grass||H||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Goodyera repens||Dwarf rattlesnake-plantain||H||X|
|Grass sp.||A grass||H||X||X||X|
|Hamamelis virginiana||Witch-hazel||T; S||X||X|
|Huperzia lucidula||Shining club-moss||H||X||X||X|
|Hydrocotyle americanum||Water pennywort||H||X|
|Ilex verticillata||Winterberry||S||X||X||X *||X||X||X *|
|Juncus canadensis||Canada rush||H|
|Juncus effusus||A rush||H||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Juncus pelocarpus||brown-fruited rush||H||X|
|Juniperus communis||Common juniper||S||X||X||X||X|
|Kalmia angustifolia||Sheep laurel||S||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Kalmia polifolia||Bog laurel||S||X||X||X|
|Lactuca sp.||A wild lettuce||H||X||X||X|
|Larix laricina||Eastern larch||T; S||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Leerzia oryzoides||Rice cut-grass||H||X||X||X|
|Lilium philadelphicum||Wood lily||H||X|
|Lobelia inflata||Indian tobacco||H||X||X||X||X|
|Lonicera canadensis||Canada honeysuckle||S||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Luzula acuminata||Hairy wood rush||H||X||X||X||X||X|
|Luzula multiflora||Common wood rush||H||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Lycopodium annotinum||Bristly club-moss||H||X||X||X||X|
|Lycopodium clavatum||Running club-moss||H||X||X||X|