Over the decades, WMU has maintained the property as a safe and accessible preserve, but has not had the resources to manage for a healthy ecosystem. The property suffers from the invasion of non-native plant species as well as erosion. In spite of ecological problems, Kleinstuck Preserve still supports a diverse set of flora and fauna. Thanks to recent community concern and involvement, WMU, in cooperation with neighborhood volunteer groups, has been able to work on improving the ecological health of the property.
The property includes the following habitat types:
Upland Forest - A healthy upland forest type should be made up of three diverse levels.The canopy should contain predominately oaks and hickories in the higher ground and transition to maples and willows lower. Additional trees such as black cherry, basswood, and hackberry will supplement the diversity. The second story will have clusters of native shrubs and small trees such as witch hazel, hazelnut, and maple leaf viburnum. The forest floor will have native sedges, grasses, and rushes with numerous wildflowers. Marsh - The marsh includes three types of vegetation; emergent, submergent and floating. A healthy marsh habitat should be dominated by cattail, spatterdock, and other wetland vegetation with occasional islands of shrubs such as buttonbush and dogwood. Swamp Forest - This lowland forest should have a canopy cover of 75-100%. The main canopy trees should be maples and willows with a mixture of other species. The second story should be patches of shrubs such as dogwood, elderberry and willow. The floor of the forest should contain some sedges and grasses with occasional wildflowers such as marsh marigold, cardinal flower, and skunk cabbage. Shrub Carr - This is the habitat between the swamp forest and the marsh. This area should include native vegetation such as dogwood, willow and elderberry and can offer good food and cover for wildlife.
The Stewards of Kleinstuck (SoK) is a volunteer group formed in the fall of 2007 by Liga Dindonis, a neighbor to Kleinstuck Preserve. Their goal is to involve the community in improving the ecological health of Kleinstuck. SoK has organized educational walks through the preserve as well as volunteer workdays. WMU offers support in their special events and activities.
For schedules and details visit: www.stewardsofkleinstuck.org
Check them out on Facebook too: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stewards-of-Kleinstuck/114712131658
The first Kleinstuck Preserve Management Plan was written by Nate Fuller, SoK member and Conservation and Stewardship Director of the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy. Nate has extensive experience in ecological restoration and has volunteered his support in this project. The management plan divides the preserve into management units based on the land type. Each unit includes a description of the vegetation, objectives to improve the ecological health of the area, and a priority ranking for determining the healthiest sites. The plan was adopted in 2008 after being reviewed by former WMU Landscape Services Director and faculty of WMU Biology and Environmental Studies Departments.
To view the 2008 management plan click here.
To view the management zone map click here.
Because the goals of the original management plan were achieved earlier than anticipated, the Stewards of Kleinstuck Management Committee along with the WMU Natural Areas Program drafted a new management plan to guide future restoration efforts in the Preserve. The document was adopted by WMU and SoK in October of 2011.
To view the most recent management plan click here.