EXPLORE

The ChakChiuma Swamp Natural Area (CSNA) is a 300 acre wetland in downtown Grenada. It is home to cypress-tupelo swamp, bottomland hardwood forest, open meadow and the Yalobusha River, including the Public Boat Ramp.
 The CSNA is free and open to the public.
It currently has an observation deck overlooking the swamp, a forested area with two rustic hiking trails and a boat slip for kayaks and canoes. All trails are clearly defined on maps at the trailhead Kiosk. It is also the trailhead for the Yalobusha River Paddling trail.
Trail Information
South Trail – 1/2 mile long. This is a wide multi-purpose trail / road. It is comprised of a Woodland, Meadow, and Swamp Loop.
North Trail –  1/4 mile footpath meandering through a mature bottomland forest following the north edge of the swamp and an old road bed.

csna-north-trail

Yalobusha River Paddling Trail – a 48.8 mile water trail connecting downtown Grenada to downtown Greenwood. It is ideal for kayaks and canoes year round. For more information visit http://lowerdelta.org/paddling-trails/yalobusha-river-paddling-trail/
Rules & Regulations
This area belongs to the City of Grenada and is a wildlife sanctuary. It is free and open to the public.
Please be respectful and Leave No Trace!
Carry out ALL trash, pick up after your pet, do not drive on wet roads
Allowed: hiking, fishing, camping, kayaking
Not allowed:  dumping, littering, shooting firearms, hunting, trapping, fireworks, driving motorized vehicles off road, removing or adding plants or animals

This area is within the City Limits of Grenada. It’s patrolled by the Grenada Police Department. Violators are subject to fines or arrest

Ecology

BALD CYPRESS  SWAMP

Because their seeds cannot germinate under water, cypress require land that is dry for part of the year. Regeneration does not occur every year because of variations in seed production and water level. Seeds are not produced every year by every tree and they will not germinate under standing water. Also, regeneration seems to be best in nearly full sunlight, so new seedlings may establish only once in several years.

Most cypress swamps in the Southeast were harvested during the late 1800s and early 1900s.  The wood was used for a variety of purposes, some of which took advantage of the rot-resistant properties of the heartwood in very old (>100 yrs.) trees.  Most of the cypress trees we see in swamps today were established after those harvests.

The water level of most cypress swamps fluctuates dramatically once or twice a year, exposing the peat floor for weeks to months at a time.  This is when these ecosystems can be exposed to fire.

Fun Fact: Cypress knees
It was once thought that the purpose of cypress knees was to supply the tree with oxygen, though a tree appears unaffected if its knees are removed. It is now theorized that these strange projections may act as further anchorage to stabilize the tree in wet soil.

DUCK WEED

Duckweed is an oval shaped plant that floats on the surface of water. It is the smallest flowering plant. When mature, the smallest species is two mm or less in diameter, and the largest species is about 20 mm in diameter, roughly the size of a fingernail or thumbnail. Duckweed looks like tiny floating leaves on the water surface. There are four duckweed genuses– Lemna, Spirodela, Wolffia, and Wolffiella–with over 40 species identified to date.

Often spread by aquatic birds and floods, duckweed grows in clusters and can grow rapidly with adequate food (phosphorus and nitrogen), sunlight and shelter from wind. Commonplace worldwide and quite hardy, it will even tolerate brackish water. But the facts are that duckweed will remove plant nutrients from water, block sunlight and out compete algae. It can even reduce evaporation loss from a dugout.

While duckweed is an indicator that excessive nutrients exist in the water, it doesn’t contribute to water quality problems. In fact, this macrophyte plant improves water quality by removing phosphorus and nitrogen from the water and by naturally filtering unwanted matter in the water.

duckweed_bbpond

OPEN MEADOW

Meadows are defined as more or less natural (comprised of native species) kinds of vegetation (or biotic communities if animals included) or ecosystems irrespective of the use made of them.

The value of cover can not be over-emphasized. Ground-dwelling birds rely on a range of cover types, such as nest cover to incubate eggs, brood cover to raise young, loafing cover to rest between forays, and winter cover against the elements. Warm season grasses stand upright and are quite tall, from six to eight feet. Height provides valuable overhead cover from predators, like hawks, as wildlife moves about underneath. Dry grass stalks bend over and form pockets of protection even during winter, when other plants are completely covered by snow.

Another advantage of native warm season grasses is that they grow in clumps or bunches. The spaces between the clumps are exposed patches of bare ground, and the first six inches above the ground is loosely structured and fairly open. In this environment, seeds and insects are more accessible to birds like quail and turkey broods. Wildlife can also move quickly and easily be- tween the plants should danger strike.

Wildlife which keys in on these open, early stages of plant growth or succession are called “early succes- sional species.” Of nation- al concern is the grassland bird community that has been especially vulnerable to increasing development pressure and whose numbers are declining. In addition to quail mentioned above, other early successional species that benefit from native grassland management are grasshopper sparrow, dickcissel, meadowlark, sedge wren, and the state threatened up- land sandpiper and loggerhead shrike.

Switchgrass, indian grass, and big bluestem are native grasses that benefit a variety of bird species, including the sedge wren perched on foxtail grass and bobwhite quail.

BOTTOMLAND HARDWOOD FOREST

Bottomland hardwood forests are river swamps. They are found along rivers and streams of the southeast and south central United States, generally in broad floodplains.

These ecosystems are commonly found wherever streams or rivers at least occasionally cause flooding beyond their channel confines. They are deciduous forested wetlands, made up of different species of Gum (Nyssa sp.) and Oak (Quercus sp.) and Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum), which have the ability to survive in areas that are either seasonally flooded or covered with water much of the year. Identifying features of these wetland systems are the fluted or flaring trunks that develop in several species, and the presence of knees, or aerial roots.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please click on links below

birds-of-csna

csna-basic-plant-list

wildlife-species

PROTECTING OUR NATIVE ECOLOGY
Don’t Pick Up Hitchhikers!   When you are playing outside this summer, especially if you’re traveling, don’t forget to clean your hiking boots, boat, and other equipment that could be transporting tiny “hitchhikers.”  Invasive species such as water hyacinth, bermuda grass, johnson grass, privet hedge and honeysuckle can catch a ride on our boots and boats and spread at incredible rates.
About 42% of the species on the federal threatened or endangered species lists are at risk primarily because of invasive species, so clean your equipment before your next outdoor adventure!