Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
A floristic survey was conducted in Elk City State Park in Montgomery County, Kansas in order to accomplish three goals; (1) to document the vascular plant species present in Elk City State Park, (2) to assess the floristic quality of the area and (3) to suggest appropriate management strategies for the restoration or reconstruction of the natural areas within the study site.
The floristic survey was conducted over the course of two growing seasons starting in spring of 2011 and continuing through fall of 2012. A total of 259 species were identified representing 191 genera in 68 plant families. Floristic Quality Assessment calculations were made based on the species collected. The mean Coefficient of Conservatism for the study site was 3.02. The adjusted mean Coefficient of Conservatism was 2.46. These calculations indicate that the area within Elk City State Park has experienced a significant amount of disturbance since the arrival of European settlers.
Four species ranked S1 on the Kansas Natural Heritage Inventory were sampled within the study area; Cissus trifoliata (sorrel vine), Pluchea camphorata (camphorweed), Krigia biflora (false dandelion) and Sesbania herbacea (bigpod sesbania). These species are either rare or are in danger of extirpation in the state of Kansas.
Management recommendations for the study site include suggestions for the control of noxious weeds. Recommendations have been made for tallgrass prairie restoration in areas of the study site that retain many native species. Options for tallgrass prairie reconstruction are also outlined for implementation in areas of Elk City State Park that do not currently have a significant number of native plant species.
While restoration and reconstruction efforts cannot return the native landscape to pre-European conditions, efforts to increase the floral diversity within the study area will enhance the area for wildlife and will provide park patrons with the opportunity to experience and study a greater number of native species.
Bristow,, Amelia J., "Floristic survey of Elk City State Park in Montgomery County, Kansas." (2014). Electronic Thesis Collection. Paper 130.