Little Bluestem – Blueberry Sandplain Grassland
Crystal Spring Farm is home to a rare natural community, called the “Little Bluestem – Blueberry Sandplain Grassland.” Once common along the northeastern coast, development and changing land uses have all but eliminated this unique biome. The Maine Natural Areas Program lists this habitat as “critically imperiled.”
The unique habitat is a product of geologic history and human actions. The sand and gravel deposited by melting glaciers at the end of the last ice age provides a level, well-drained base that acidic plants love. Both Native Americans and European settlers used fire deliberately as a way to maintain the area as grassland and promote blueberry production.
Poverty oatgrass, little bluestem, woodland sedge, northern blazing star, and blueberry are highly adapted to this place. This natural community often provides nesting habitat for several rare, ground nesting, grassland birds including the grasshopper sparrow and upland sandpiper, and habitat for a rare snake, the northern black racer.