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Crabill Fen State Nature Preserve

Preserving 31.6 acres in Clark County


Although relatively small in size, this high quality fen has an amazing diversity of species present. This site lies on the margins of a deep and extensive glacial outwash deposit, the Kennard Outwash. Once adjacent to the Buck Creek Valley, this glacial relic has managed to thrive despite the manipulation of the ecosystem surrounding it. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began the Buck Creek dam project in 1966 in an effort to control flooding.

A few notable plant species that call the fen meadow home are limestone savory (Clinopodium arkansanum), fen Indian plantain (Arnoglossum plantagineum) and white wand lily (Zigadenus elegans). Some unusual species found surrounding the marl seeps are few-flowered spike rush (Eleocharis quinqueflora) and fen sedge (Carex sterilis). Blue-leaved willow (Salix myricoides) is also found at this site. In addition to these wetland species, several prairie species are also present including big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), little bluestem (Schizachurium scoparium), prairie cordgrass (Spartina pectinata) and Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans). The presence of these latter species is reminiscent of the prairie that once extended its reach into this part of Ohio.

This small fen meadow is surrounded by prairie hillside to the south, secondary growth oak woodlands to the north and west and the lake inlet to the east. The primary threat to the integrity of this site is invasive species invasion. Ecological management efforts are being made to prevent this through removal and treatment of these species.

This preserve receives its name in honor of the federal style homestead that remains nearby as a legacy to a pioneer family of the same name, who settled in the region overlooking the Buck Creek Valley in the early part of the 19th century.


Local Directions

Clark County - Moorefield Township. Within Buck Creek State Park. Due to the sensitivity of the fen community, access is by permit from the Division.

Special Features

  • High quality spring- fed alkaline wetland
  • Spectacular display of prairie dock

Facilities

  • No visitor facilities are present.

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