Spring Break: Dunnellon, Florida

I spent an hour snorkeling through a river in Florida observing wildlife. Rainbow River in Dunnellon, Florida supports a vast array of fish, wildlife, and plants. It contains different distinct natural communities, which I learned includes sandhills, flatwoods, upland mixed forests, and hydric hammocks.  Within these communities include oak, longleaf pines, magnolia, dogwood, redbud, and hickory trees. While snorkeling, I was able to observe cormorants dive and hunt for fish under the surface of the water. Other bird species residing in the area include swallowtail kites, ospreys and kingfishers. There was very lush vegetation around the riverbanks and the water was a comfortable 72 degrees due to the hundreds of natural hot springs that feed into the river.

Natural Community

Salmon Hole is a Riverside Outcrop. This community has ice and flood scoured bedrock and stream banks. It contains a small amount of scattered low upland herbaceous plants and ferns, with only a small variety of young tree species. Since Salmon Hole is situated along a small river, it would probably be good habitat for a few riverine and upland mammals such as otters, mink, and raccoon.

There is much more debris on the floor of the community. There are a high volume of sticks and dried out plants littered about. Salmon Hole seems quieter than before- there is not much human or wildlife activity. The soils are quite thin and eroded, probably from the rain Burlington has been getting lately.

According to Biofinder, Salmon hole has both uncommon plant and animal species, as well as some rare species. The RIverside Outcrop seems to be an uncommon natural community in Vermont and there are a few vernal pools in the surrounding area.