The North East of the USA, New England if you will, is a nice place to visit in the summer. If you like paddling around looking for native fish and plant life you can have fun and learn a lot. New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island all have a variety of waterways, ponds, and lakes. These various bodies of water may be close to sea level or way up in the Adirondack, White, or other mountains. The fauna and flora vary according to the altitude, the temperature of the water, the surrounding flora and other environmental factors. There is a lot of variation to be seen.
This summer, I visited a pond in Massachusetts which is “located atop the Hoosac Mountain Range in northwestern Massachusetts. The Hoosac Range is an extension of the Green Mountains of Vermont, and is the first mountain barrier encountered west of the Connecticut River Valley.” The pond was sited at about 2,100 feet above sea level and as such is in a fairly cool climatic zone, even in the summer. Beavers are active and there are several swamps close by.
A morning’s work for a young beaver:
I was not really expecting to find anything every exciting in the way of aquatic flora since the water was likely to be so cool. But I was wrong.
Conifers and maples surround the pond. The edges are fine gravel derived from granite and dark tannin laced boggy streams flow into the lake at various points, although the water is very clear. Past the littoral shoreline area, there were few aquatic plants in evidence. It was in the littoral zone that there was a profusion of plant life. Here are some examples.
Drosera (Sundew) were very prolific around the shoreline (and they had plenty of insects to choose from). Drosera grew close to the high water line. The water line varied considerably this year (2004) due to early rainfall and the tail end of several of the Florida hurricanes which came up the coast.
Growing amongst the Drosera was a variety of Eleocharis quite small in size and growing both emerged and submerged. I can remember bringing back some samples of a tiny Eleocharis species some time back, planting it in an aquarium, and seeing it grow from a few centimeters in height to over 10cm in 2 weeks. Sizes seen in the wilderness can be misleading to an aquarist.
Eleocharis amongst the Drosera:
I didn’t expect to associate the name ‘Eriocaulon’ with this lake. But sure enough, the littoral zone was thick with Eriocaulon aquaticum (sevenangle pipewort):
Here is a link to information on the Eriocaulon: http://plants.usda.gov/cgi_bin/topic...D=erse4_1v.jpg
Scattered in the muddy substrate around the Eriocaulon aquaticum grew a tiny plant, Elatine minima. Elatine was another name I did not expect to associate with local plants (having been struggling with some Elatine triandra in an aquarium recently).
Elatine minima (the small green plant):
Lobelia dortmanna is a beautiful plant that was growing submerged in the coarse gravel.
The dortmanna’s roots are fleshy, worm-like forms:
Here is a link to some information on Lobelia dortmanna: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/pl...ns/lobdor.html
The pleasant surroundings and interesting plants made for a great trip. The hurricane that threatened to wash out this weekend of exploration and camping didn’t materialize. It managed to soak New York City but did not make it up the coast.
If there are any errors in this, please PM me and I will correct them. Otherwise, I hope this inspires some memories of the summer.