• Brush Lake Stewardship

    GOALS:

    • Manage the timber on the property for its long-term health and future wood products.
    • Manage the vegetation on the property to sustain or enhance water quality for watersheds influenced by the property.
    • To maintain a trail system on the property for management activities and for recreational and educational use by students.
    • To provide habitat for a variety of wildlife.
    • Provide some income from the property to defer costs of management practices, and help support natural resrouce education in the school district.
    • To maintain a variety of forest types to be used for natural resource education opportunities which are available to the school district through classroom field trips with natural resource professionals.

     

    Complete Brush Lake Plan 

     STEWARDSHIP ACRES:   90                                    TOTAL ACRES:  90

    This property is about 5 miles southeast of Park Rapids MN.  A township road (150th st.) runs along the north side of the property and Cottontail Drive runs along the east side of the property.  The property is rectangle shaped aligned north to south.  A short driveway and circular parking area exist towards the north end of the property.  A looped trail system exists on the property accessible from the parking area.  Two small shelters and a pit toilet are positioned along this trail system.  The property is entirely forested except for a small marsh / pond located towards the northeast side of the property.  Brush lake lies along the south edge of the property.  Topography is level to gently rolling and generally drains to the south.

    Discussion

    This region is located in central Minnesota, primarily South and West of Leech lake.  The headwaters of the Mississippi river, along with hundreds of lakes, dominate this area.

    Climate

    Total annual precipitation ranges from 23 inches in the Northwest to 27 inches in the East, with about 40% occurring during the growing season.  Only 15% of the annual precipitation falls during the winter months.  Growing season length varies from 111 to 131 days.

    Landforms

    This subsection consists primarily of large outwash plains, narrow outwash channels, and end moraines.  The moraines are relatively large.  Most of the glacial deposit was sandy, but there is loam to the North.

    Hydrology

    There are hundreds of lakes within the subsection that have a surface area greater than 160 acres.  The headwater of the Mississippi river (Itasca lake in Itasca State Park) is in this subsection.  Other large rivers include the pine and crow wing rivers.

    Presettlement Vegetation

    Jack pine, in a mix with Northern pin oak, was the most common species on excessively drained portions of broad outwash plains.  Large areas of the other landforms were dominated by aspen-birch and pine forests (mixture of red and white pine).  Red pine-white pine forests, occupied the rolling to irregularly sloped end moraines.  Mixed hardwood and pine forests, dominated by a diverse mix of Northern hardwoods and white pine, were found in the most fire-protected areas at the northern and eastern edges of the subsection.  Fire protection was offered by irregular topography, broad wetlands, and relatively large lakes.

    Natural Disturbance

    Fire occurred on a 10 to 40 year rotation within much of the subsection, accounting for the dominance of upland conifers and trembling aspen-birch forests.

    Present Vegetation and Land Use

    Forest management and tourism are the most important land uses.  Agriculture is common in the West, where center pivot irrigation of corn and potatoes is common.  Tourism is common where there are concentrations of lakes.  Summertime swells the population of these areas significantly.

    Rare Animals and Plants

    Rare animals include the piping plover, the bald eagle and the grey wolf.  Rare plants of the area include the Ram’s head lady’s slipper, olivaceous spike-rush, prairie bush clover, bog adder’s-mouth, slender naiad, one-sided pondweed, and a species of moss called tomenthypnum falcifolium.

    Conservation Concerns

    Conservation of old growth and rare species are important environmental considerations in the area.  Increasing the amount of oak, northern white cedar, and white pine within the region is also a forestry priority.  Preventing the fragmentation of contiguous blocks of forests into non-forest uses is important to conserve habitat for birds which require large areas of forest to nest.  Maintaining the availability of sufficient raw products for the area’s wood product economy is also important.