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Chamberlain Lake Nature Preserve

 

The wetland at Chamberlain Lake Nature Preserve is situatued geologically within a glacial kettle lake that is in part protected by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources - Division of Nature Preserves as a State Dedicated Nature Preserve.  This lake/wetland is the most unique and the southernmost in the chain of lakes west of South Bend that continue north into southern Michigan.  Concentric zones of open lake and submergent marsh are surrounded by a floating sedge muck mat (muck flat community) that sits over a sandy bottom shallow lake; these communities are surrounded for much of their perimeter by swamp forest.  Characteristic plant species in the lake and on the floating mat include Brasenia schreberi, Calamagrostis canadensis, Cladium mariscoides, Juncus canadensis, Lycopus uniflorus, Nuphar advena, Nymphaea tuberosa, Rhynchospora capitellata, and Spiraea tomentosa; Acer rubrum is dominant in the swamp forest.  Twelve (12) coastal plain disjunct plant species (including Eleocharis melanocarpa, Fuirena pumila, Juncus militaris, Potamogeton bicupulatus, Rhynchospora macrostachya, Rhynchospora scirpoides, and Xyris difformis) and 18 Indiana Endangered, Threatened, and Rare plant species (including Drosera intermedia, Eleocharis robbinsii, Eriocaulon aquaticum, Juncus pelocarpus, Myriophyllum pinnatum, Schoenoplectiella purshiana, and Utricularia purpurea) have been documented within the wetland, and numerous other conservative wetland plant species are present.  Acris blanchardi, which is a Special Concern species in Indiana and which is rare in the northwest and northcentral part of the state, is common in Chamberlain Lake, and 10 other frog and toad species have been documented.  Sixty-three (63) bird species have been reported through casual suveys, including four Indiana Endangerd/Special Concern species (Calidris alpina, Calidris fuscicollis, Caprimulgus vociferus, and Grus canadensis). As a result of all of these factors, in their account of Eriocaulon septangulare in the 1994 Plants of the Chicago Region, Floyd Swink and Gerould Wilhelm referred to Chamberlain Lake as "unique to the planet."

Exemplary Ecosystem Services

Maintains ecological connectivity/cohesion

Recreation (birdwatching, ecotourism)

Flood storage/mitigation

Water quality improvement

Education

Conservation Status and Threats

  • Conservation status

    Other: state nature preserve and private
  • Adjacent land use

    Residential - medium density
  • Approximate natural buffer width

    > 100 ft
  • Other Information

Ecology

  • Approximate size (ha):

    30
  • General wetland characterization:

    Inland Fresh Seasonally Flooded Basin/Flat, Inland Fresh Meadow, Inland Deep Fresh Marsh, Inland Open Fresh Water, Inland Fresh Wooded Swamp
  • Adjacent water bod(iess)

  • Approximate stream order

  • Name of body of water

    Chamberlain Lake
  • Surficial geology

    muck over sand and gravel

  • Soils

    water; Adrian muck, undrained, 0-1% slopes; Gilford sandy loam, 0-2% slopes, gravelly subsoil

Flora and Fauna

  • Dominant flora

    Brasenia schreberi, Calamagrostis canadensis, Cladium mariscoides, Juncus canadensis, Lycopus uniflorus, Nuphar advena, Nymphaea tuberosa, Rhynchospora capitellata, and Spiraea tomentosa; Acer rubrum in surrounding swamp forest
  • Unique flora

    Drosera intermedia, Eleocharis melanocarpa, Eleocharis robbinsii, Eriocaulon aquaticum, Fuirena pumila, Juncus militaris, Juncus pelocarpus, Myriophyllum pinnatum, Potamogeton bicupulatus, Rhynchospora macrostachya, Rhynchospora scirpoides, Schoenoplectiella purshiana, Utricularia purpurea, Xyris difformis
  • Dominant fauna

    Spring Peeper, Blanchard's Cricket Frog, Eastern Gray Treefrog, Green Frog, Red-winged Blackbird
  • Rare fauna

    Sandhill Crane, Dunlin, White-rumped Sandpiper, Eastern Whip-Poor-Will

Gallery

  • Chamberlain_Lake_2_9-23-2017_Chamberlain_Lake_St._Joseph_County_Indiana
  • Chamberlain_Lake_3_8-5-2017_Chamberlain_Lake_Nature_Preserve_St._Joseph_County_Indiana
  • floating_muck_mat_3_8-18-2014_Chamberlain_Lake_Nature_Preserve_St._Joseph_County_Indiana
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