In 1998, a section of Rock Quarry Road was designated by City Council as a scenic roadway. This designation protects this area from development and other disturbances. Routine maintenance of the utilities along the northern section of the scenic roadway resulted in the removal of many invasive woody shrubs and trees. Invasive species outcompete native vegetation and create monocultural stands that provide little ecological value to an area. The City and its partners saw an opportunity after the vegetation removal had been completed. In consultation with the Rock Quarry Road Scenic Roadway Stakeholder Advisory Group, the City worked to develop a plan for the creation of a glade in the cleared space.
Glades are naturally found in open areas within a woodland and are generally found on the southwest facing slope of hill. There are five different types of glades found in Missouri that are categorized by their bedrock – limestone, igneous, chert, dolomite, or sandstone. A glade is characterized by shallow, rocky soils that contain bare bedrock covered by lichens, and by fire-adapted grasses and forbs. The shallow soil and openness of a glade causes desert-like conditions that many unique plant and animal species have adapted to including eastern collared lizards, tarantulas and scorpions, prickly pear cactus, little bluestem, the smoke tree and Missouri primrose. Urbanization and modern agricultural practices have endangered glade habitat by introducing invasive, non-native plants that outcompete native plants and by suppressing natural wildfire. Woody shrubs and trees easily colonize a glade in the absence of wildfire, thus shading out sun-adapted plants that support the unique fauna of a glade.
In support of the native glade species that are indigenous to Boone County the City’s Public Works, Water and Light, and Sustainability Office have partnered to create a glade habitat along Rock Quarry Road. In early February 2017, we seeded the cleared area with native wildflowers. In addition to wildflowers, we also seeded the area in March 2017 with native warm season grasses. Currently, we are in the process of managing the invasive bush honeysuckle, Siberian elm, black locust, crown vetch, and Japanese honeysuckle present on the area. Though the invasive species are thick, so far we have seen several common milkweed sprouts and are excited to see what else comes up in June!
Check this webpage or join the CoMo Conservation Facebook group for updates on this project.