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Biologist Report - Environmental Committee

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Biologist Report January 31, 2022

Greetings, Lake Vilbig residents!

This letter is to discuss our January 2022 management efforts. I came out once in January on the 12th. Everyone bundle up. We are in for a stretch of a few cold days this week. It won’t affect the lake much, maybe drop the temperatures a little.

On the 12th. Water temp took a pretty decent dip this month, and my readings were water temps in the mid to upper 50s. Average of 56 F. This is normal for January, if not just a little on the warm side. Suppose you can call mid-50s friendly. Visibility was around 30 inches. pH was still high. 8.2. The water was pretty straightforward—a very lovely

green color, especially for this time of year. Alkalinity was stable at 120.

I think the most significant observation from this month was the birds. There were a lot of them—precisely a few different species of our migratory gulls and cormorants as well as ducks and coots. I tried to drive through the gulls in my boat, but they just moved over. I knew it would be an exercise in futility, but it was one I took on nonetheless. They were also all over the lake. Every central part of the lake had some species of bird around it.

Now onto our mystery guest. A species was discovered recently, although not a new one. It started when a resident texted me a picture of a gelatinous egg mass attached to the underside of a boat—then followed by a picture of a couple of salamanders in a bucket. At least at first, I thought they were salamanders.

Upon further investigation turns out they are called Lesser Siren. Amphibians are

Closely related to salamanders. They are a pretty cool species of amphibian. Diet consists mainly of invertebrates, small crustaceans, snails, worms, etc. They are pretty common but often seldom seen because they are secretive. Lesser Sirens tend to spend most of their time buried in the substrate of slow-moving bodies of water. i.e., lakes, especially well-established lakes. It is entirely possible that they came in from across the street in the swampy area, but I feel they have been around a while, Just not something anyone sees very often. They have several defense mechanisms, including burying themselves in the mud and “hibernating during winter. Sirens are very primitive and have lived on this planet since we lived in caves. Pretty Cool!

Thanks, Vilbig Residents!

Chad Fikes

Fisheries biologist

Joel D’Souza


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