House-Cabin-Barn Complex

Approximately 6-7 contiguous acres

Summary Assessment
The house-cabin-barn complex represents the most actively used area at the Lynn Farm. It also offers access to open water and sweeping views of the tidal marsh and Accokeek Creek. Portions of this zone, including the brick house, lie within the Resource Protection Area (RPA). Some areas also fall within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood zone.

Vegetation and habitat conditions here require further assessment. Generally speaking, the area features lawn, savanna-like conditions created by mature trees, and open grassy or herbaceous weedy sections. A scattering of remant trees left from logging occur near the tidal marsh edge. Now more exposed to wind, some of these trees may prove sensitive to wind throw.

A matrix of particularly pernicious weeds occurs near the white cabin. Species include Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea biebersteinii), a Thistle species (likely Cirsium vulgare), and what is believed to be Chinese Lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata). These species may have been introduced via any fill brought in as part of site work around the cabin, which was constructed in 1996. Regrading could have also contributed to weed presence through soil disturbance and/or soil compaction. Several stems of invasive exotic Phragmites (Phragmites australis), which is present in greater quantity in the adjacent tidal marsh, were also observed just west of the cabin. On the property's eastern edge, a large stand of invasive exotic bamboo (estimated at approximately 4,300 s.f. based on aerial photography) abuts and extends into a neighboring property. The owners of the Lynn Farm would like to begin bamboo removal

A portion of the brick house, constructed in 1964, has been deemed structurally unsound. Plans to restore the structure and associated septic system are underway. Repairs have occurred/are ongoing to the barn buildings set further back from Accokeek Creek. On the south side of the brick house, the large turf area contained by bulwarks, floods in especially high tides.

Cabin environs, looking southeast, June 2016. A thin band of narrowly branched trees left from the recent logging serve as the interface between upland areas and the sensitive tidal marsh. The matrix of Chinese Lespedeza-Mugwort-Spotted Knapweed is also visible in the right foreground of the above image.
Cabin Environs, June 2016. Large, mature trees allow for savanna habitat in some areas of the house-cabin-barn zone while sunny open areas are suited to meadow habitat. The large trees and views over the tidal marsh and Accokeek Creek provide the classic prospect-refuge phenomenon—vistas paired with a sense of enclosure or protection.

Restoration & Management Implications

•Building and management initiatives will need to align with RPA regulations and take FEMA flood lines into account. The brick house that was recently deemed partially unsound will require adaptive retrofitting should it be reconfigured as a dwelling or facility for researcher use.

•Maintaining a semi-wooded buffer along the tidal marsh edge helps protect water quality and tidal marsh habitat.

•Controlling pernicious weeds like those presently found around the cabin is critical to ensuring that these problem species do not spread into nearby natural areas disturbed by logging. Some of the problem weeds around the cabin are currently being mown regularly to create lawn-like conditions, which helps keep the weeds in a suppressed state and unable to produce or go to seed.

•Trees left from logging that are near circulation routes may need to be assessed for safety.

•Manure from the horse paddock and barns should not be spread elsewhere on the Lynn Farm so as to avoid introducing weed seeds in the manure and to avoid increasing soil nutrient levels, which typically prove more conducive to weedy growth. If composted, the manure may interest local gardeners or farmers.

•When the bamboo patch is targeted for removal (estimated for 2017), the National Zoo may be interested in harvesting the bamboo as forage for their resident panda bears. The bamboo may need to be assessed for nutrient quality. Any harvesting would need to occur prior to herbicide applications.

•Chronic sea level rise may affect portions of this area over time (Strauss), presumably along FEMA flood lines. Additional input from experts as it pertains to planning for and adapting to these changes is needed before addressing specific management implications here