BioBlitz Clark Island
Pymatuning State Park requested a “BioBlitz” of Clark Island on the northern end of Pymatuning Reservoir to update a database created in 2003 by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. During the first “blitz,” 58 species were identified.
Two teams of Allegheny College students were supported by Professor Kelly Pearce during the spring and summer of 2022. Both teams traveled to the island 3 times for approximately 2 hours each visit to conduct primarily a plant survey, but other species such as fungi and some animals were noted as well. The spring team identified 90 species, and the summer team identified 170 species.
Clark Island is located in the northern tip of Pymatuning lake. It is the largest island in the lake with an area of 161 acres. The island was once a hilltop before the construction of Pymatuning Reservoir in 1934 but now it is an excellent example of an undisturbed forest and wetland ecosystem. The purpose of doing a BioBlitz on Clark Island was to explore the biodiversity and how the island has changed since a survey done in 2003. During the first survey, it was noted that the forest on the island had been recently disturbed by cutting, clearing, agriculture, and tornado damage. The soil appeared to be sandy and lacking nutrients.
The first team was asked to also map the locations of some historical sites that may be of archeological significance, and they found what appeared to be the old foundation of a house and barn. They also found a dairy farm spring house and an old dumping site.
The second team was able to identify more species, 170 species tota, identifying 10 invasive species that were concerning: Chinese mystery snail, reed canary grass, Japanese barberry, purple loosestrife, American water lotus,Morrow’s honeysuckle, creeping jenny, reed canary grass, multiflora rose, and orange day-lily.