The Red River Gorge Geological Area (RRGGA) and Clifty Wilderness (CW) are two gems of biodiversity in eastern Kentucky. This area is known for its arches, rock houses, dry ridgetops, and the scenic Red River. It is also home to a number of small, poorly documented wetlands. Kentucky has lost over 80% of its historical wetlands, thus the documentation of remaining wetlands is pivotal for the conservation and management of our natural history. Vascular floras of three wetlands within the RRGGA and CW were conducted during the 2018 growing season to better document these unique habitats. Additional vouchers were used from a recent flora of the Red River Gorge. This project utilized 180 vouchers from 2016–2018, and documented 50 families, 87 genera, and 109 species. The most taxon-rich families include Cyperaceae (14 species), Asteraceae (7 species), Poaceae (5 species) and Rubiaceae (5 species). There were six alien species and one state-listed species (Liparis loeselii (L.) Rich.) were found in this study. Three ecological systems were investigated in this study, with three unique associations within them. Of these, two associations are listed as imperiled (G2) by NatureServe. A Floristic Quality Assessment was conducted for each site. Booth Pond had a Floristic Quality Index (FQI) score of 23.88 and a mean Coefficient of Conservatism (C) of 4.88, Fish Trap had an FQI score of 23.57 and a mean C of 5.14, and Quarry Pond had an FQI score of 29.88 and a mean C of 4.72.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 2019


Brad R. Ruhfel

Mentor Professional Affiliation

University of Michigan Herbarium

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Biological Sciences