Presenting Bantam Lake Cyanos at the Northeast Algal Society Symposium

James Fischer will be presenting the Bantam Lake Cyanos project at the 57th annual Northeast Algal Society Symposium.  Bantam Lake Cyanos is the wildly popular platform that Amanda Keilty developed to communicate weekly cyanobacteria assessment and strategies that people can use to make informed decisions regarding their recreational activities.  Bantam Lake Cyanos consisted of a website that communicates how people can make better decisions to reduce their impact on the lake ecosystem.  The smartphone app encouraged users to upload images of scums observed on the lake and facilitated a citizen science approach to help lake managers.  Bantam Lake Cyanos is a collaborative project with Bantam Lake Protective Association who contracted Northeast Aquatic Research to perform the weekly assessments and monitoring. 

The Northeast Algal Society Symposium is being held at the University of New Haven on April 13 - 15, 2018.  The theme for the symposium is "Broaden Your Impact" which will inspire a discussion of how to communicate research to a broader audience.  Several noteworthy environmental reporters have been invited to address the group.  More information about the symposium can be found here

James Fischer, White Memorial Conservation Center
Amanda Keilty, Johnson State College
George Knoecklein, Northeast Aquatic Research
Constance Trolle, Bantam Lake Protective Association

Saving Lakes One App and Website at a Time

Bantam Lake experiences cyanobacteria blooms annually, but the bloom of 2016 was unusually intense and sustained.  It ultimately resulted in beach closures and restricted lake usage when seasonal use was at its highest.  As a result, incidence/crisis communication to stakeholders became the primary job for the Bantam Lake Protective Association.  The BLPA decided that a proactive approach was necessary in 2017. They contracted Northeast Aquatic Research for weekly assessments of cyanobacteria activity (cell counts/ml) and other lake measurements to effectively manage the blooms. This data was also useful when informing stakeholders about the state of the lake. We developed Bantam Lake Cyanos as a communication portal that provides up-to-date forecasts of cyanobacteria activity and other lake measurements via a website and smartphone app. The website also informs visitors of the health risks associated with blooms and the daily decisions they could make to reduce nutrient run-off, which aids in the bloom growth and formation. App users shared images of blooms, thereby turning them into citizen scientists and alerting lake managers of changes to the lake. We will review usage statistics for these communication portals that indicates their relevance to stakeholders.

Game Camera on Coyote Carcass

This motion-detect trail camera was set by volunteer Sarah McQuade with the help of Research Director James Fischer. The center of these photographs is a coyote that was struck and killed by traffic on route 202 in Litchfield in late-December. Its carcass was transported by Mr. Fischer to this site off North Shore Road in the Bantam River Field. The photgraphs taken by the camera give some insight into the life history and behaviours of certain species. Please enjoy some of these interesting photographs and make some inferences about the ecological relationships at play here.

Four Virginia Opossums (Didelphis virginiana) surround the carcass in the early evening

A Bobcat (Lynx rufus) entering the frame on the Left, seems to be approaching the carcass.

The carcass is covered in snow, and a(n) Opossum has burrowd an access hole through the snow to the body. 

Opossum appears to be approaching the access hole through the snow to the carcass

Bobcat approaching the carcass from the right 
Bobcat on top of the carcass

Bobcat approaching carcass from behind

Raccoon, left of the carcass, rolling around in the flesh. 
Coyote appraching snow coverd carcass from the left. 

Vernal Pool Season is Right Around the Corner

The best vantage point when assessing a vernal pool is to carefully wade through it.

Wood Frog egg mass are often found in the vernal pools where the sunlight reaches through the forest canopy.

Blue-spotted X Jefferson hybrid Salamanders use vernal pools for breeding habitat.
I was interviewed by John Torsiello TownVibe Litchfield.  You can read his article here

As the snow melts and spring rains blow in, the vernal pools fill with water.  Many wildlife species migrate through the forest in search of mates and safe places to lay their eggs.  Vernal pools provide a predator-free site that lets juveniles to fully develop before the pool dries.