Tidal Shrubland

Approximately 4.4 continuous acres

Summary Assessment
Tidal shrubland habitat at the Lynn Farm was exempt from recent logging such that vegetation is relatively undisturbed, except at the edges where transitioning to upland habitats. Vegetation inventory is presently limited to what can be observed near the edges. Southern Wax Myrtle (Morella cerifera) appears co-dominant with intermingled Red Maple (Acer rubrum) and native ferns, sedges, cattails, and rushes. Other shrubs that may be present based upon nearby areas and plant community lists maintained by Virginia's Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) include: Arrow-wood (Viburnum dentatum var. dentatum), Black Willow (Salix nigra), Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), Carolina Willow (Salix caroliniana), Silky Dogwood (Cornus amomum), Smooth Alder (Alnus serrulata), and Swamp Rose (Rosa palustris).

Native growth in the largest tidal shrubland area appears densely interwoven, making it more resistant to weed invasion than adjacent upland areas disturbed by logging. The narrow strip of tidal shrubland is most susceptible to weed invasion as its entire northern edge was disturbed and likely impacted by increased light levels and potential runoff.

Tidal Shrubland
Tidal shrubland, June 2016. Native shrubs, and herbaceous plants are densely interwoven in the largest tidal shrubland area, making it more invasion resistant than upland ares disturbed by logging. Shrubland edges disturbed by logging, however, should be monitored for weed invasion, particularly by aggressive species like exotic Phragmites (Phragmites australis).

Tidal shrublands like those at the Lynn Farm face increased salinity levels due to chronic sea level rise (Strauss). These changes could shift vegetative composition, possibly to oligohaline shrubland.

Note: Further site assessment is required to determine whether a small area on the eastern side of the Lynn Farm falls into the tidal shrubland category.

Restoration & Management Implications
•Tidal shrubland areas warrant further inventory and assessment, including for species of conservation concern. Inventory has the potential to reveal considerable species as tidal shrublands like those at the Lynn Farm can contain diverse vegetation characteristic of ecotones between emergent tidal wetlands and riverine forests and uplands. Tidal shrublands are also not well supported by quantitative data and so may be of interest to researchers. Further vegetation inventory should inform a more detailed management program, including planned adaptations to sea level rise.

•Chronic sea level rise may affect habitat conditions in the tidal shrublands over time (Strauss), potentially converting them to oligohaline conditions. Additional input from experts as it pertains to planning for and adapting to these changes is needed before addressing specific management implications here.

•Edges of tidal shrublands, disturbed by logging in adjacent upland areas, are sensitive to weed invasion and should be monitored for emergence of problem weeds.

•Tidal shrubland areas provide breeding or support habitat for bird species of conservation concern, and management and restoration actions in this area should therefore be timed to avoid the marsh bird nesting period. The nesting period for marsh species in Virginia's coastal plain is generally regarded to be April 15 – Sept. 1. Avoiding activity during turtle nesting season may also be relevant (the nesting period varies by species but it generally spans late April to mid July in Virginia).

•While the largest tidal shrubland area can be viewed at a distance from adjacent knolls, it is otherwise fairly inaccessible and difficult to appreciate. A boardwalk could be routed through this area to make it more accessible for viewing and management purposes.