February 2023 Monthly Update

Send us your suggestions for monthly topics and please keep email addresses updated!  

Membership and Volunteers

After last month’s BDLIA Monthly Update came out, new member Nate Chitko asked for an article on how new members or inactive members can become active members.  Nate gets a special prize for requesting an article in the Monthly Update.  He’s the first member to make such a request.  We think the upcoming Annual Report will give a succinct overview of all BDLIA’s activities and may highlight area(s) of interest for members.  In the meantime, here is a place to start. The blue categories give an idea of what we do. 

If you find any of these events of interest to volunteer your time, we would certainly welcome your participation.  Interested individuals may contact our office by e-mail at info@bdlia.org or call Steve Hughes at (920) 979-3301, and we will send you a volunteer questionnaire form.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Shoreline Restoration Workshop

Randolph Community Building

We are putting together a free workshop to be held during the morning of Saturday, April 1!

More information will be sent when details are finalized.

Puckagee Springs Update

We have received approval for our DNR CH 30 permitting for the Puckagee Springs project.  The DNR has reviewed various options for shoreline erosion control and prefer the bio degradable logs with live stake inserts.  The wind wave energy, which impacts this part of the lake, has been graded as rather low which will permit the use of this biologic revetment.  The coir log (shown below) is composed of coconut fiber and is encased by a netting structure which is designed to retain sediment.  Natural coir logs prevent soil from moving until natural vegetation can establish itself.  This design is more environmentally friendly than rock which presents poor habitat and does not promote the important pathway from wetland to water’s edge for the wildlife.  

Last month a plot view of the site was provided.  Below is the coir log barrier profile. These logs will be staked into the lake bed next to the shoreline and anchored in place with rope cables.  Once the logs are in place, live shrubs and seeds will be inserted along the length of the protected area.  The two photographs identify a completed typical installation application and work underway. 

Drax Shoreline will begin this work in early April with the targeted completion date in early June.  Emmons Olivier Resources and the DNR will provide technical assistance during all phases of the project.  With the collaboration of our partners in this project, we will protect this shoreline from erosion while improving wildlife habitat for years to come.

2023 Fundraiser:

Open for Registration!

Register Here

Fundraising Banquet

Monday, April 17

Bayside Supper Club

Join us during the evening of April 17 at our  27th Annual Fundraising Banquet!  There will be a great dinner and silent auction, live auction, raffles, door prizes, and more!  We hope to see you there!

A Bloom for Every Bee

by Carolyn Aita

One day over 140 million years ago, somewhere a tiny carnivorous Apoid wasp went hunting for spiders.  Perhaps she was frustrated by the lack of prey on that particular day, or discovered that an alternative source of protein could be obtained from the pollen grains of flowering plants that were emerging on the prehistoric landscape. We will never know what caused her to assert, “I’m done eating animals, I’m going vegan.”  And so we have our very first bee.

Bees and the flowering plants that nurture them coevolved.  Fast-forward to the present.  During the 2022 flight season, I participated in WiBee, a citizen scientist activity that studies bees foraging specific plants.  Monitoring the bees in my garden, I was amazed to find that these beautiful creatures come in many sizes and shapes.  And the plants from which they seek nectar, pollen, and floral oil accommodate their diversity.

The flat flower heads of the plants in the aster family give all manner of foragers a landing pad, easy access to the nectaries where nectar is kept, and a place to rest between snacking (see The Sunflower Tribe, BDLIA Newsletter January 2023). Look at these green sweat bees covered with pollen while foraging on woodland sunflowers (A) and mistflowers (B).  Factoid:  There are nine species of sweat bees in Wisconsin, so named because they are attracted to the salt in human sweat.  The species in (A) is Agapostemon virescens and it’s a gal.  How do I know?  She’s got black and white stripes on her back, which would be black and yellow for a guy. 

Other plant families sport tubular blooms that do not flash their nectaries and therefore may present more of a challenge to a forager intent on getting the sweet stuff.  It takes a big gal to pry open the tough flower of wild white indigo to get to its nectaries, but a two-spotted queen bumble bee is up to the task (C).  Worker bumble bees have easier jobs crawling into the more pliant tubular flowers of smooth penstomen (D) and obedient plant (E).  But what’s that other little guy on the obedient plant up to?  A possible nectar thief!  These robbers never enter a bloom.  From the outside of a flower’s base, they bite holes to access the nectaries and lap up the nectar. Nectar thieves don’t aid pollination.  Here’s why.  Pollen is stored on anthers.  In many tubular flowers, such as those shown in (D) and (E), the anthers are inside the tube structure.  Since nectar thieves don’t enter the flower, they don’t brush against the anthers to release pollen, and hence they don’t carry pollen away to pollinate the next flower they visit.

In short, nectar thieves cheat plants with enclosed anthers out of pollination events.  Not nice.

But some plants get around this problem.  Consider Culver’s root in which the anthers are held on long filaments that extend outside of the lips of the tubular blooms (F).  Visitors, such as the bumble bee in (F), can’t avoid contact with the pollen-laden anthers. In effect, this plant is informing all foragers, “There is no such thing as a free lunch here.  You land on me, you carry away pollen.”  But it’s win-win.  Pollen is needed by bees for protein, fat, and other nutrients.  Culver’s root’s unique anatomy makes pollen accessible to bees of all sizes and shapes.  And there’s no need to rob nectar from this plant.  The flowers, although tubular, are small and shallow enough so that even short-tongued bees can access the nectaries at their base.

This discourse gives a taste what can be found in a flower garden that has been planted for pollinators. Spring will soon be here and so will our native bees.  I encourage you, gentle Reader, to see for yourself (once weather permits) that there is indeed a bloom for every bee.

Photos by Mike Aita


BDLIA Mission Statement

We strive to engage the community in recreational activities; generate long-term

restoration projects working with like-minded, but diverse partners; and educate

the community on improving the quality of Beaver Dam Lake.

BDLIA Vision Statement

We envision a clean, restored, resilient Beaver Dam Lake with

gorgeous sunsets, recreational activities, and abundant wildlife for future generations.

Donate to BDLIA

Email us at info@bdlia.org or call us at (920) 356-1200. 

More information can be found on our website at http://bdlia.org

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