Seneca Meadows (a FLNPS walk)


Sunday, August 12, 2012 - 2:00pm to Monday, August 13, 2012 - 1:45pm




Seneca Meadows, Seneca Falls


Ben Zimmerman


A guided walk along the trails of the Seneca Meadows remediation site led by Ben Zimmerman of Applied Ecological Services, see: .
**Meet at Cornell Cooperative Extension (615 Willow Ave) at 2 pm to carpool to the site.**
OR meet at 3:00 pm at the Seneca Meadows Education Center, 1977 State Route 414, Seneca Falls, NY 13148


On a lovely day in August, a group of FLNPS members carpooled up toSeneca Fallsfor a guided tour of Seneca Meadows Wetland Preserve, the restoration project that we heard about in a wonderful talk by Andy Buss in the fall of 2011. Andy has returned to the mid-west, so Ben Zimmerman, the current project superintendent, met us instead.


Remember that Seneca Meadows is a constructed, or reconstructed, wetland next to the very large Seneca Meadows landfill. The restoration work was a replacement for wetlands taken as part of a landfill expansion. The site is on farmland, which had ironically been drained to make fields. There are woods, ponds, hills, and wet prairie in the preserve, some retained from prior use, much replanted. Applied Ecological Services, Inc, the contractor for the construction of the wetlands (and employer of both Andy and Ben), used locally collected seeds as much as possible in the replantings.


We first looked at the growing area for another AES project at their office near the preserve.  Despite the hot, dry summer, most of the native trees and shrubs were fine. The unquestioned, but non-botanical, highlight was the amazing concentration of frogs and polliwogs in the toddler wading pools growing aquatic plants!


The trails are extensive and in excellent shape. We were able to see only a small fraction of the site on our 2 hour visit, and Ben recommends bringing a trail bike to see the whole preserve. There were birds everywhere, wonderful vistas of flowers and grass, and lots of interesting species. Prairie is not a very common habitat in NYS, but it does exist in patches, especially in oak openings. Some of the species are really more mid-western, but most are Finger Lakes natives.


Visit the Seneca Meadows website for a neat video (with both Ben and Andy!) summarizing the entire project and showing some of what you will see if you go. By the way, Ben strongly recommends a fall visit for the foliage and waving grass. Click below for a full list of the plant species we saw (list to the right is partial).


Many thanks to both Ben Zimmerman and Andy Buss for helping to increase our member’s awareness of this interesting area.


Links:  Seneca Meadows Preserve

FLNPS list of plants seen