Friday, June 28, 2013

Aquatic Invertebrates at Hall's Lake - A "4th Thursday" program with the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy

Yesterday I went out to the Hall's Lake Natural Area in western Isabella County to take part in the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy's 4th Thursday at Hall's Lake nature walk program.  I would be co-leading a program on aquatic macro-invertebrates with Doug Valek, retired Biology professor from Central Michigan University.  The property that we would be exploring is not currently owned by the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy, but is currently being held in trust by Larry and Judy Schaftenaar with the expectation that the CWC will eventually purchase the land to preserve it.  Larry and Judy currently allow public access to their parcel (which connects to the CWC's Kabana and Neely Preserves) except during deer hunting season.


This was my first time visiting Hall's Lake and I did not know what to expect so I arrived early to explore the property a little bit.  The property is almost entirely wooded and includes a mixture of Southern and Northern species.  After a few minutes exploring the area on my own, I heard Larry calling to me from the parking area.  He took me out to show me the wooded pond that we would be investigating - it is a kettle pond over a ridge from the main trail that I would never have known was there without Larry telling me.  He also told me about a wooden bridge across a slow moving stream further along the main trail.  I went along the trail to the bridge and Larry went back to the parking area to greet people as they arrived.  Eventually a total of 18 people were gathered in front of Larry and Judy's house (four more people would join us later in the morning for a total of 22).  After a short introduction by Doug Valek and myself, the group walked back into the woods and began sampling the pond water.  We eventually would sample in three locations (pond, stream, and lakeshore).  Below are some pictures from the day.

Retired CMU Biology professor Doug Valek (right) helps participants identify aquatic invertebrates

Gathered around a table for up-close views
A Water Strider on the side of a washbasin

The pond is the open area in the background - the center of the pond is filled with low shrubs.

The pond was full of Green Frogs (Rana clamitans)

Much of the forest floor around the pond was carpeted with Ground Pines (Lycopodium sp. - possibly L. dendroideum)

My favorite picture of the day - Ground Pine and Green Frog

Doug Valek helps some of the younger participants with identification.

Some of our finds  - (clockwise from lower left) predaceous diving beetle larva, damselfly nymph, dragonfly nymph, damselfly nymph, and predaceous diving beetle larva.

A listing of the different aquatic macro-invertebrates that we found.

For a copy of the identification guide that we used, visit the University of Wisconsin Extension Office website

So what was the highlight of the day for me?  For me it was finding Clam Shrimp.  I had never seen them before - unfortunately due to their fast movement and the low light, none of my pictures of them turned out.  Looks like I have a reason to go back.

1 comment:

  1. I really like your post and references. I will be referring to it, in the Quality Parks Master Naturalist Handbook for students to review. Do you have any suggestions for visiting freshwater wetlands in the winter. Thanks, Mindy from