Plant Surveys

White Water Associates provides an extensive range of plant survey services. Our staff is trained and experienced in plant identification, plant systematics, plant ecology, and sampling techniques. Our botany skills include aquatic, wetland, and terrestrial plants. We conduct surveys in a variety of habitats including streams, lakes, ponds, wetlands, boreal forests, northern deciduous forests, upland and lowland forests, prairies, and many others.

Long term sustainability of lakes is best ensured by a healthy native plant community. White Water Associates’ lake studies often include aquatic plant surveys. Such surveys are typically conducted by point-intercept methods and/or meander transects. In point-intercept surveys, a map is created with grids marking discrete, equidistant sampling points. The team navigates to each point using GPS and collects plants with a specialized rake. At each point, plant species, relative abundance, depth, and substrate are determined. This allows derivation of several ecological metrics such as Simpson’s Index, Floristic Quality Index, and depth to rooted vegetation.

Ecologically informed meander surveys are typically used for rare plants or new occurrences of aquatic invasive species (AIS). In these searches, field biologists use their knowledge of species and habitats to search most likely areas.

Methods applied to terrestrial plant surveys are chosen and designed to address specific goals of the survey or to answer explicit research questions. Various techniques such as transects, plots, quadrats, and meander surveys can be employed. For rare plant surveys, an ecologically informed meander search is often an appropriate approach. This method takes advantage of the field biologist’s knowledge of habitat to search in the most likely areas for rare plants. New colonies of invasive species may also be best detected by this method.