Wildlife on the lake

We haven’t seen a lot of people this summer, but the wildlife has been better than usual with a noisy pair of loons, breeding mergansers, the occasional otter, and our family of eagles in the First Black channel. The eagle parents have been observed teaching their offspring how to fish this week. And here are the results of the July bat survey – an impressive five species were detected on the night of July 23, including threatened little brown bats in several different locations.

We’re also participating in the Wisconsin Mussel Monitoring Program and have identified seven species of native clams in Lake of the Falls and up the river since June. Clam species have great names like Wabash Pigtoe, Fatmucket, and Spike, and their presence in our waters is a good indication of a healthy lake.

Have any good wildlife photos? Send them to lofassociation@gmail.com and share them with everyone!

 

Board meeting and Fish Count Form

The LOFA board meeting, scheduled for September 6, has been cancelled by unanimous consent of the board members. Hopefully by next spring things will be returning to something close to normal, and we can pick up where we left off in 2019.

But there are still plenty of folks out there fishing on Lake of the Falls and First Black Lake! So don’t forget to fill out a Fish Count Form, either on paper or electronically, each time you get back so we can get a better picture of the numbers and health of our fish populations. Paper forms can be printed by you, or there are usually some available at the public boat landing. We appreciate it!

We’re still monitoring LOTF and First Black for water quality, and this year we’ve been invited to monitor water chemistry (phosphorus and chlorophyll), too. Water test results can be seen any time by following this link.

Curly Leaf Pondweed

Last week several LOFA members attended an online training session led by Zach Wilson of the Iron County Land and Water Conservation Department about how to identify Curly Leaf Pondweed (CLP), a persistent aquatic invasive species which has infested Rice Lake and has been recently discovered growing in PIke Lake, just up the river from Lake of the Falls. The ICLWC is partnering with the Iron County Lakes and Rivers Alliance in an effort to control CLP and prevent it’s spread., and the landowners around Pike Lake are forming a new lake association specifically to meet this challenge. Volunteers are being trained and scheduled to hand-pull the weeds in the next few weeks during their early growth period, when they can be identified and removed without spreading further.

If Curly Leaf Pondweed were to make its way into Lake of the Falls it would be a serious problem for all of us. Our lake has the perfect environment for it to grow and thrive. Here is a video produced by the North Lakeland Discovery Center showing how to identify the plant. Since we can’t meet in person to learn about this together, please watch the video and be on the lookout for CLP when you are out on the lake or up the river. If you find any don’t pull it, but send a note immediately to lofassociation@gmail.com so we can let Zach know. And if you want to volunteer as a “pondweed puller” on Pike Lake see this page on their website for more information

Thanks!

Turtle River Watershed Management Plan

In response to concern about environmental threats to our waterways in Iron County, the Iron County Lakes and Rivers Alliance (of which LOFA is a member) has been working with the State of Wisconsin to create a new model for assessing and improving the health of our lakes and rivers. ICLRA secretary Dick Thiede’s letter, sent by LOFA treasurer Jack Schuett to LOFA members last Tuesday, goes into a lot of detail about the reasons for this effort and is worth the time it takes to read. The upshot is the creation of the Turtle River Watershed Management Plan, a cooperative effort to address specific problems in the river system that can potentially affect everyone, such as the aquatic invasive species which are already present in some upriver lakes. The ICLRA is hosting a “kickoff” conference on Wednesday, January 29 to start the ball rolling on this important initiative. Time and place are still TBD and will be posted here. As Jack stated in his email to LOFA members on Tuesday,

While this is not an ideal time for many of you to attend, it is imperative to get the “ball rolling” as to have something in place ASAP. We know the the problem will not resolve itself. There will be committees and studies to be done so there will be plenty of chances to get involved.

We’ll keep everyone posted on the progress of this initiative.

To read Dick Thiede’s email, click here, and here to see a map of the Turtle River Watershed.

Our second annual fall get-together

. . .at Beaver’s Resort was a success last Saturday with 17 people in attendance (at least that’s what I counted) and lots of lively conversation and good feelings all around. It’s always sad to see another season end, but this is a great way to say farewell! I took a couple of pictures of the group but they were a little blurry and the light was bad, so, instead, enjoy this photo of some otters who visited the north end of the lake on a gorgeous morning last week. Before it started to snow!