Sylvan Island

.. below the level of the island and is often tricky to get down to. The island itself is very flat with few fluctuations in its surface (Moline 30). There are only two noticeable fluctuations on the entire island and one is the old limestone quarry that has been filled in, but still has depreciation in ground level. Types of Soils The heavy limestone buildup under the soil prevents the island from having mature soil.

A layer of humus covers the limestone less than six to eight inches thick on the eastern side of the island, and considerably thicker getting up to two feet on the western side. (Moline 30). Vegetation differences cause the difference in thickness. The western side of the island was not as harmed by the steel company as the eastern side. Because of this the flora managed to survive through the industrialization of the island.

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This is evident by more mature trees and plants due to the maturity of the humus and its thickness. The thicker the humus is, the greater the chance for survival of the plants and wildlife around it. The fill area of the old limestone quarry on the eastern part of the island falls into a category of its own. The materials used to fill the quarry are slag, metallic debris, and coal. Beneath all the fill materials, two or three feet below the surface lies a layer of sandy clay that which then overlays the limestone.

This clay is usually about six inches thick and varies throughout the fill (Moline 30). At the western end of the island there is another exception to the general rules about soil. Fill material of silt loam or sandy loam composition fill the river dredging at the west end (Moline 30). The materials used to fill the dredging favor the fertility and emergence of small garden plots on its surface and as a result several small garden spots have arose on its surface. Bodies of Water As a result of the islands high position above its surrounding waters, it is not of threat of flooding often.

The western shoreline of the island is the lowest part of the island and most susceptible to flooding. As a result, the northern levee has been raised to keep the entire island virtually safe from flooding and any other damages caused by water. The western shore below the damn however cannot be protected. Floodwaters have risen to as high as 50 feet inland at high water times. Erosion around trees and deposition of river silt and shells leave heavy evidence of flooding. This part of the island is solely used for fisherman it is not greatly affected by it (Moline 31).

The island is surrounded by Sylvan Slough and the tail race. The slough is a man made channel that is straight as a line made by the army core of engineers. Both meet up with the Mississippi and run into it. Both the Slough and the tail race were in very bad shape from the 1950s until the 1970s. Sewage drains ran into the Mississippi and caused pollution of the waters.

The quality was so bad in the 1970s that it is highly recommended that pedestrians not swim in them any longer (Gary Madson). In the early 1930s, the water in the slough and the water in the quarry were a playground for the kids in the surrounding neighborhood. Many of their fathers worked at the steel plant and their homes were all near by in what is now a commercial area. They often swam by the damn owned by the government that provides power for the Arsenal Island side, ignoring the warnings about the current (Jesse Perez). The kids had their own private playground to use and enjoy.

As the steel plant closed and the surrounding area became covered by business, the atmosphere of the surrounding area changed. No longer were little kids around to enjoy the natural beauty of the island. They, along with their families moved away to different jobs and new areas. The current conditions of the water are the best they have been in years. No longer do sewers drain into the rivers and many laws have been passed against the pollution of bodies of water.

Storm drains still however flow into the slough that can be scene as you cross the bridge (Thomas Greene). These however only empty natural run off into the water causing no harm. Because of the good conditions of the water, many fisherman speculate that this is the reason fishing has gone down. The food sources and things that lived in the water during the dirty times are no longer around for the fish to feed on and live off (Gary Madson). Once considered a prime fishing spot in the U.S.

by major outdoor magazines, the current fishing around the island is down. Although many fishermen are still evident on the island throughout the day, the general consensus is that the fishing isnt like it was back in the days of 1960s when it was a fishing hotspot (Jesse Perez) Fish And Wildlife As a very important aspect of the island, the wildlife on the island provides both beautiful sights and sport for many of the Sylvan Island visitors. Many of the people that cross the bridge onto the island are fishermen looking to catch the big one. They are looking to catch one of the islands 12 different kinds of fish. The islands most famous fish are its walleye and sauger.

Although the recent population of these fish is down, the two fish brought much of the early fishing attention to the island because they look for fast waters to spawn in. Fisherman came in from far away to catch Sylvan Islands famous walleye. Perhaps the most pursued fish by fishermen currently is the white bass. It is native to the Mississippi river area. It provides a great fight for the fishermen and is also a very delicious reward.

The waters contain two different kinds of catfish, the channel catfish and the flathead catfish. Both are bottom feeders that can become extremely large in size and can be caught from the shore around the island and of the bridge. The paddlefish is also another large fish in the water, but is only caught near the damn because it eats the small plants growing along the walls. The river carp-sucker is for sport anglers only because the meat is too bony to eat. They are scavengers and eat basically anything and can be caught all around the island.

Perhaps the cutest fish on the island, the emerald shiner is a minnow and very abundant in the water. Although it is too small to be sought by the fishermen, it attracts bigger fish to feed on them. The gizzard shad is the most abundant fish in the water. A little larger the emerald shiner, it is the largest source of food for the bald eagles in the winter. The Bowfin is known as the best fighter in the waters, but is not sought by the fishermen due to its lack of edible meat. The freshwater drum is a member of the perch family and the most common species in the slum waters (the waters that are dirty and mucky).

The Blue Sucker is a beautifully large fish that is very common in the waters but not often scene. It is known as the toughest catch and the smartest fish in the water. The island has a variety of fish that all have their own personal traits that make the waters around the island a desirable home for themselves. The wildlife on the island is as various as the fish. The island still has very few animals that call it home permanently due many of the trees conditions and the habitat on the island.

The beaver is the islands largest animal and often scene knocking down trees throughout the island building its own personal damn. Although the island is full of trees, the beavers on the island must leave every few years because the number of all edible trees had been depleted and that is their main food source. Eastern cottontail rabbits are permanent residents on the island, but however are not very common. They live in various spots on the island with no specific living areas. The beavers twin, the muskrat also lives on the island. Often mistaken for the beaver, it is smaller in size. The wholes dug into the banks of the island are their burrows and their homes and can be scene coming over the bridge.

Squirrels are the islands most abundant animals. Eastern gray squirrels live all over the island and are often scene searching for food or putting on a show for the friendly visitors to the island. The islands most prolific bird is the bald eagle. Not a permanent resident on the island, this great American symbol visits in the late fall and winter because of the open waters. Because of the rivers current, the water always remains open and provides as a food source for the birds.

They feed on the gizzard shad as their main food source. The redtail hawk is the most common hunting bird on the island. It comes and goes year round depending on weather conditions, but never makes the island a permanent home. The wood duck nests in the trees high above the island and can best be scene in early spring before the leaves grow back on the trees. The osprey follows the opposite migration pattern of the bald eagle and comes to the island for its food sources in the early fall and spring.

The island has seven types of gulls that grace it with their presence. The two most common are the ringbilled and herning. Both live off the fish on the island and the other water creatures. Perhaps the most prolific bird of the Quad Cities and present on Sylvan Island is the mallard. It is the most common bird on the island. It feeds on the surface and can be scene best on the island by the north levee.

The most distinguishable bird on the island is the great blue heron. It is an extremely large bird that is often scene standing in the waters off the islands shore roosting. It provides a beautiful sight for a visitor that is an image they can never forget. Plants, Trees and Vegetation Sylvan Island is filled with a numerous number of beautiful plants and trees. Much of the islands vegetation is not mature because much of it started to grow back after the long process of cleaning commenced. The most abundant plant on the island is poison ivy. It prefers well-drained soil and moist areas to grow and the island is mostly covered with areas such as that.

The woody mullein is most common in the sunny places on the island. Its yellow leaves make it a noticeable favorite on the islands. The soapwort is very common on the island with the most memorable name. Its leaves and stems if crushed can be made into soap thus explaining the name. The Queen Anns lace is a very pretty wild carrot that grows with in the sunny spots on the island also.

The island is full of an abundance of trees. Many have been cut down from the steel plant and many are making their reemergence onto the island after years of being missing in action. The black willow is most common along the river and is used by beavers most often as damns. The comno hackberry is taking over the areas on the island that were once dominated by the heavy elm population. The eastern sycamore is a giant pine tree that grows over the edges of the river and the most often tree that is lost to flooding. The eastern poplar cottonwood is the same in the aspects of the sycamore.

It lives in the same areas under the same conditions. The slippery elm is taking over the areas that were once the disturbed areas on the island and dont require that great of living conditions. The red mulberry trees are on the island in the cooler, moister conditions and look for the shade of taller trees and are an offspring of the box elder tree, another popular tree on the island. The box elder tree is the most common pioneer among trees. It often invades open land and has dominated the island since about 1960.

The tree of heaven is known for its ability to resist pollution and is no surprise to the island. It is most common in industrial areas as the island once was and the surrounding area of the island is. The green ash tree is the beavers favorite tree to eat and chop down. It grows in the better-soiled areas on the island and has only been present on the island since 1970 on, after the soil conditions became better and cleanup was commenced. The whole islands vegetation at one time may have been the vegetation of the bur oak savama.

It consists of a mixture of flowers, grasses and bur oaks all living in balance with each other. Although the island at one time may have consisted of this, due to the industrialization of it and the pollution of it, only one bur oak tree still remains on the island and it is at the northwestern side of the island next to the arsenal power damn. This is a prime example of the changes the island has gone through and how important the cleanup process has been in reviving its beauty. Sylvan Island is a beautiful piece of nature that has gone through several changes in its 135-year existence. In visiting the island you can see and enjoy the natural beauty along with revisiting its prolific history.

As you cross the bridge a transforming feeling takes over you and you feel like you are crossing into a different world. The paths provide a walkway for you to enjoy yourself and visit with the many different aspects of nature. Throughout the seasons, people are always at the park enjoying the outdoors and its many friendly creatures. Dog walking, jogging, bike riding, walking, and bird watching are all possible due to those people involved in the continuous effort to clean the Island up. It was their continuous efforts that make the island into what it is today.

Visible graffiti and other sings of vandalism are evident near the visitor center because the city of Moline isnt taking proper care of the park. They are currently in charge of the maintenance and cleanup of the island. This is the first year they have been in charge and the island isnt seeing the proper care it should (Jesse Perez). Many of the ideas for the future will not be able to be completed unless those who enjoy the island make a big enough impression on the Moline government to get their full attention. English Essays.