The Lower Canadaway Creek

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Erik Danielsen
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The Lower Canadaway Creek

Post by Erik Danielsen » Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:41 am

Continuing from the exploration of the middle and upper Canadaway Creek (located mainly in Arkwright, NY), I've begun measuring trees along the lower portion of the Canadaway Creek drainage. I regard the boundary between the middle and lower canadaway as the confluence at which the main stream (running through arkwright gorge) intersects with the east branch tributary that drains from Cassadaga lake beneath the high canopy of Lilydale's Leolyn Woods. Downstream from this intersection the creek's course runs through less rugged terrain, tumbling over a waterfall in Laona before winding through Fredonia and the rural outskirts of Dunkirk before draining into Lake Erie (the outlet floodplain is covered in another topic).
broadercanadawaymap.jpg
Anthropogenic disturbance defines most of this corridor. Many homes back right up to the creek, often separated by just an eroding bank and a screen of japanese knotweed and young trees. There are however many sections in which one or both banks have wider swaths of floodplain forest or even upland or slope forest in various states of regrowth. I've come to feel the frequent disturbance masks the drainage's natural big-tree potential. Perhaps the most striking thing about these forests is the abundance of butternut- following about half the creek's length within the town of Fredonia, I found I couldn't go more than a few hundred feet between decent specimens of butternut, and in many spots they're numerically and structurally codominant with sycamore, black locust, and cottonwood.
Well-formed butternut downstream of where I was measuring.
Well-formed butternut downstream of where I was measuring.
One low terrace, across the stream parallel to Forest Street, has the most abundant and striking population of Butternut I have seen anywhere. No height records, but the density of specimens around 100' in height, well formed and just minimally affected by canker, is impressive. One lone specimen near the upstream end of the terrace has an imposing girth and a spreading intermediate form. I suspect this tree started growing when the terrace was a millyard or pasture sometime in the 19th century. The mills and cows have gone, and a younger canopy of tulip, black locust, black cherry, black maple, black walnut, and above all butternut have filled in the rest of the terrace. The land behind the terrace slopes up to the houses above, and mature forest of red oak, sugar maple, white ash, and others is dominant on the slope. A lone gnarled Cucumber Magnolia on the rim watches the younger trees grow. Upstream of the terrace the creek is lined by a shale cliff about 20' tall, and above the cliff there is a narrow rim of slope forest below the houses that is punctuated by older, larger black walnuts, tuliptrees, red oaks, and basswoods with spreading buttress roots and wide crowns.
The Big Butternut
The Big Butternut
Visiting on January 4 I concentrated my measurements on the terrace with the big Butternut.

Tuliptree
117.5' / 10.4'cbh
110' / 6.76'cbh
105.5' / 5.44'cbh
Black Walnut
107' / 6.36'cbh
106.5' / 5.38'cbh
105' / 7.48'cbh
98' / 4.79'cbh
91' / 4.85'cbh
Black Locust
105' / 5.44'cbh
97.5' / 5.67'cbh
97.5' / 5.48'cbh
87' / 4.39'cbh
86' / 5.38'cbh
Butternut
102.5' / 6.13'cbh
101.5' / 5.08'cbh
101' / 9.54'cbh twin leader, but appears to be a single in origin
100.5' / 12.45'cbh intermediate form
100' / 6.3'cbh
99' / 7.31'cbh
95.5' / 5.15'cbh
93' / 4.89'cbh
91.5' / 6.23'cbh
89.5' / 6.17'cbh
84' / 5.77'cbh
Sycamore
97.5' / 8.2'cbh
White Ash
96' / 3.12'cbh
Black Cherry
87' / 4.39'cbh
86' / 5.38'cbh
Black Maple
84.5' / 3.31'cbh
68.5' / 3.67'cbh
60.5' / 3.25'cbh
American Elm
80' / 2.89'cbh
The tallest Butternut is rooted right at the interface of the slope and the flat terrace, like many tall trees often are.
The tallest Butternut is rooted right at the interface of the slope and the flat terrace, like many tall trees often are.
Black Locust was numerically dominant in this stand, followed by butternut, and both were evenly distributed throughout. Black Cherry was similarly distributed but less abundant. Tuliptree and Black Walnut each clustered at opposite ends of the stand. Less abundant norway maple and the single sycamore were mainly near the edges of the stand, and white ash had just a few representatives in the interior. Black maple and american elm were both pretty abundant as smaller midstory trees, with some carpinus, etc.
The tallest tulip looms over another well-formed butternut near the edge of the terrace.
The tallest tulip looms over another well-formed butternut near the edge of the terrace.
it's likely that some of the maples present are black/sugar intergrades given the overall abundance of sugar in the adjacent slope forest, but black maple traits are strong on the floodplain trees.
it's likely that some of the maples present are black/sugar intergrades given the overall abundance of sugar in the adjacent slope forest, but black maple traits are strong on the floodplain trees.

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: The Lower Canadaway Creek

Post by Erik Danielsen » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:19 pm

More general photos from wanderings up and downstream from the Butternut Terrace.
Attachments
Downstream are some wider floodplains dominated by cottonwood and sycamore 2-3'dbh and 100-110' tall. This is one of several Willows (likely fragilis, alba or hybrid, definitely not nigra) that struck me with their very upright, twisted single-trunked forms.
Downstream are some wider floodplains dominated by cottonwood and sycamore 2-3'dbh and 100-110' tall. This is one of several Willows (likely fragilis, alba or hybrid, definitely not nigra) that struck me with their very upright, twisted single-trunked forms.
Euonymus fortunei (wintercreeper) is an occasional invasive species, favoring Black Locust, on these terraces.
Euonymus fortunei (wintercreeper) is an occasional invasive species, favoring Black Locust, on these terraces.
Gnarly veteran cucumber magnolia I mentioned looming on the slope above Butternut Terrace. Most of these slopes are private property.
Gnarly veteran cucumber magnolia I mentioned looming on the slope above Butternut Terrace. Most of these slopes are private property.
Impressive Northern Red Oak rooted in the strip above the rim of the shale cliffs upstream of the Butternut Terrace.
Impressive Northern Red Oak rooted in the strip above the rim of the shale cliffs upstream of the Butternut Terrace.

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bbeduhn
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Re: The Lower Canadaway Creek

Post by bbeduhn » Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:59 am

Erik,
You've discovered a butternut bonanza! I've yet to see two butternuts over 100' at any site. That cuke is quite impressive. What are the stats?
Brian

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: The Lower Canadaway Creek

Post by Erik Danielsen » Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:51 am

Brian, I didn't want to trespass to measure the cuke but eyeballing it it's probably a 10-11' circumference and 75-85' tall. It looks more or less contemporary to the two big old ones in Forest Hill Cemetery, which is less than a mile away.

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