SNAP - August 10, 2021


*Edited archive of this roundtable will be available one week after the live event.
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Groundwater is an important component of the ecological functioning of many natural communities and the plants and animals they support that occur in natural areas across our world. However, its importance is often overlooked relative to more visible natural resources such as streams, lakes, soils, and vegetation. Groundwater is part of the water cycle and many of the habitats and their associated species it supports are rare, in decline, or threatened. During this virtual State Natural Area Program Roundtable, speakers will cover a couple of karst systems to begin a conversation on the role of groundwater in natural area stewardship. This will be followed by examples from state programs of related stewardship projects as well as a discussion by the meeting participants.


12: 00pm - 12:05pm EST 
Welcome and Introductions
12:05pm - 1:00pm EST
1:00pm - 1:40pm EST

Stewardship Shorts - State natural areas professionals are invited to submit short presentations to share with their colleagues. Stewardship Shorts are 5-minute, pre-recorded videos related to the topic that describe a project, methodology, best practice, or challenge.

Click here to view a sample Stewardship Short.

The opportunity to submit must be approved in advance. Indicate your interest when you register for the Roundtable.

1:40pm - 1:55pm EST
Open Discussion - Participants are invited to unmute and share ideas, techniques, methodologies, issues & challenges, and invite insights from your peers.
1:55pm - 2:00pm EST

Stewardship Shorts

Stewardship Shorts are 5-minute, pre-recorded videos related to the topic that describe a project, methodology, best practice, or challenge. There will be five minutes allotted for Q&A and Discussion following each video.

Haggard Tract Restoration May Prairie State Natural Area - Jason Miller, Natural Areas Program Manager, Tennessee DEC, Division of Natural Areas (5 minute video/5 minute discussion)

Conservation of Groundwater Stream Biodiversity in Northwest Arkansas - Theo Witsell, Ecologist/Chief of Research/Curator (ANHC Herbarium), Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and Dustin Lynch, Ph.D. Aquatic Ecologist, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (10 minute video/5 minute discussion)

Ecological Restoration of a Shenandoah Valley Sinkhole Pond - Ryan Klopf, Ph.D., Regional Supervisor & Mountain Region Steward, Natural Areas Science Coordinator, Virginia Natural Heritage Program (5 minute video/5 minute discussion)

photo provided by Frank Nelson


Frank Nelson
Wetland Ecologist
Terrestrial Habitat Science Unit
Missouri Department of Conservation

Years ago Frank Nelson received a B.A. in Biology from William Jewell College and a M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from University of Missouri-Columbia, where he studied wetlands systems and the breeding ecology of Least Bitterns. Over the last 17 years Frank has worked for the Missouri Department of Conservation as a Wetland Ecologist where his focus has been applying research and technology to enhance wetland management, monitoring, and restoration.

The New Karst Fen Ecological Site

In the past year MDC and the USFS has teamed up to develop a karst fen ecological site description (ESD) to better articulate the ecological dynamics of the unique groundwater wetlands that reside in the Ozark Highlands. Information has been pulled from the literature and combined with field data regarding the plant community and soils. This ESD will lead to better guidance on management and restoration and be an opportunity for more focused conservation efforts towards fens in the coming years.

photo provided by Jonathan P. Evans


Jonathan P. Evans, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology (Botany, Ecology, Conservation Biology)
Sewanee University 
Sewanee Herbarium

Dr. Jon Evans is a Professor of Biology at the University of the South in Sewanee, TN. His research in plant ecology focuses on plant population dynamics and the processes that determine the composition and structure of plant communities over time and across landscapes.  He is specifically interested in the role of clonal growth as a mechanism for population persistence in plant communities.  He also studies land-use history and exotic species introductions as drivers of long-term change in forest communities.  Much of his research is conducted within ecosystems of the southern United States, concentrated on the southern Cumberland Plateau and on the coastal barrier islands.

He also leads University efforts to promote landscape–level conservation across the Cumberland Plateau region.  As founding Director of Sewanee‘s Landscape Analysis Laboratory, he led a federally funded, multi-disciplinary project that used GIS and remote sensing to examine the environmental consequences of native hardwood conversion to pine plantations on the Cumberland Plateau.   This research led to fundamental changes in land-use decision-making within the region and helped to catalyze major conservation initiatives.   

He has been a faculty member at Sewanee since 1994 and teaches courses in ecology, botany and conservation biology.  He also directs the Sewanee Herbarium, which maintains an extensive vascular plant collection for the University‘s 13,000 acre campus and surrounding region. 

Why are the Trees Disappearing from Sinking Pond on the Arnold Air Force Base?

Sinking Pond, an 86 acre, seasonally flooded karst depression located on the Arnold Air Force Base has been recognized as a National Natural Landmark for its unique biodiversity. This forested wetland is dominated by a disjunct population of overcup oak (Quercus lyrata) that is longer regenerating throughout most of the pond. This talk explores the reasons why these trees are disappearing and what it means for the future of this special natural area.

Calling all state natural areas professionals and land managers to collaborate with your peers.   

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