Nature Update 2009

PHRAGMITES

This year an administrator was hired to coordinate the phragmites treatment program on Beaver Island. Jacque LaFreniere was chosen to head up this program. The first part of the job was to survey the beaches of Beaver, Whiskey, Trout and Squaw- on foot- and document on paper and GPS all locations and sizes of patches of Phragmites. (The state surveyed High, Garden and Hog). That was completed with the help of a CMU grad student and the science teacher at Beaver Island Community School in June and July. At the end of July, two companies arrived to look at the job and determine their bids. Only one bid was received, from the same company that performed the treatment last year, J F New. They sent their crew over in late August and treated Beaver, Garden and High Islands. Very little phragmites remains on Beaver (less than an acre) and the previous year’s treatment of Garden and High showed significant improvement as well. Whiskey has a small patch, Trout and Squaw were clean. Hog Island is heavily infested and the state could not afford the cost of treatment at this time.

AVIAN BOTULISM UPDATE

Crews this year were not activated as of this writing. We have only found one dead loon on the Island and few other species. There are many people who
routinely walk the beaches and have reported no significant die off as there was two years ago. Seems like the higher lake levels and colder temperatures are keeping the botulism at bay.

NATURAL RESOURCES AND ECOTOURISM COMMISSION

The townships recently agreed to the formation of a Natural Resources and ecotourism commission. Members were appointed from various organizations of the island including the planning commissions, trail committee, the townships, Wildlife Club, BIA, DNR, Little Traverse Nature Conservancy, CMU, and at large. At present there are 15 members on the commission. They are currently working to determine their goals and strategies. Chair is Sandy Birdsall, Vice Chair is Jacque LaFreniere and Secretary is Pam Grassmick. BIA representative is Jim Jones.

OTHER NATURE NEWS

4 Loon babies were fledged from Beaver Island’s inland lakes this year.
Barney’s produced 2, Font 1 and Fox 1. Deer population appears to be down, coyote population is up.

Turkeys are doing well and will be fed again this winter through the Wildlife Club. Spotted

Knapweed is a concern in local fields (another invasive) as it is overrunning native grasses and plants.

Weather was cool this summer with average temperatures below normal. Rainfall was consistent until Sept. when we had a little mini drought the first three weeks of the month… gorgeous weather though, calm, sunny and warm. We are paying for it now with cold, rainy and windy the first couple of weeks of October. But it is what it is on Beaver Island.

– Jacque LaFreniere