Monthly Archives: November 2015

Second Visioning Meeting to be Held Monday, November 9, at Northlake-Barbara Loar Library

The DeKalb County Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs will hold a Park Visioning meeting at the Northlake-Barbara Loar Library, 3772 LaVista Road, Tucker, GA 30084, on Monday, November 9, 2015 from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. This is the second meeting held by the Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs. A draft master plan has been prepared and will be available for public review at the meeting. This process is supported by the Friends of Briarlake Forest, a volunteer group dedicated to maintaining the 21-acre urban forest. For more information or directions, the telephone number for the Northlake-Barbara Loar Library is (404) 679-4408.

A vulnerable species in the Briarlake Forest

IMG_1755Eastern Box Turtle, Terrapene carolina

The Eastern Box Turtle is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because of declining populations. Many states have laws protecting this species from exploitation; in Georgia it is illegal to keep a box turtle as a pet.

Box turtles can live over 100 years. Here is a quote about Box Turtles from an article on that should give you an idea of why Box Turtles are protected:

Every adult box turtle is vital to its population’s future.

In the fragmented habitats that are typical of the eastern United States box turtle populations are so sensitive to losing adults that, in modeling studies performed by Dr. Richard Seigel of Towson University, a loss of only three adult box turtles from a population of 50 males and 50 females could put the population on a slow, and irreversible, decline to extinction.

Most box turtles never survive to reach breeding age (8 + years): Foxes, raccoons, skunks, crows, opossums, turkeys, domestic cats and dogs, and other animals eat turtle eggs and young turtles with shells not yet hard enough to provide good protection. Any turtles that do survive have to contend with roads and also with development which causes a loss of habitat, which also brings more roads, more dogs and cats, and more people who like to take turtles from the wild, hoping that they can make pets of them. Every one of the years (50 – 100) that a wild female box turtle can live is critical to ensuring that, of the three to five eggs she lays a year, at least one of her young will become an adult to replace her in that population.

Box Turtles spend their whole life in a 2 to 4 acre range. They have an instinctive homing ability; if removed from their home, they will go back to it. They need sunlight and the moist forest floor to thrive.

So if you see a Box Turtle in the forest, leave it alone! But feel free to take a photograph and share it here or with the Friends of Briarlake Forest.

Streams in the Forest

(By Laurie Marion)

Today presented an opportunity to see the intermittent streams located in the Briarlake Forest. Focusing only on the 15-acre parcel, I found four intermittent streams. The largest one runs behind the properties on Blackwood Road. The streambed along the back of these properties shows some erosion due to waters running fairly swiftly during storms. Here is a video documenting the stream that parallels Blackwood Road:

The second intermittent stream I found is also fairly large, and runs from somewhere above the large dead tree that is lying at the top of the bulldozer path that bisects the property north to south, along the center of the property to a culvert that runs beneath Amberwood Drive to the northern section of the forest. Again, I found areas where the streambed has eroded from the swiftly flowing water.

The third intermittent stream I found runs from the center of the forest towards Castleway Lane and flows into a culvert that crosses beneath Amberwood Drive at the intersection with Castleway Lane and continues beneath a property on Castleway Lane. Until recently a sinkhole was apparent on the property. DeKalb County workers have filled in the sinkhole with dirt and covered it with new sod, but water still collects in the area.

The fourth intermittent stream I found also runs towards Castleway Lane. This one starts from the bulldozer path that parallels Blackwood Road and runs through the forest towards the first house to the east of the forest on Castleway Lane, and ends in an English ivy patch, where it cascades into the gutter on Castleway Lane.