Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid at Mt. Lake: 2010 Report

Each year, scientists from Virginia Tech's Entomology Department monitor and treat Mountain Lake's Eastern hemlocks, Tsuga canadensis, against the detrimental effects of the wooly adelgid aphid infestation. The 2010 report informs that wooly adelgid populations remained low at Mountain Lake in 2010, thus no insecticide treatments were administered to the trees.

A predaceous small, black beetle Laricobius nigrinus is released as a biological control agent for the wooly adelgid. In 2010, a total of 2,000 L. nigrinus adults were released at Mountain Lake. 
L. nigrinus, native to the Pacific Northwest,
and predator of the exotic wooly adelgid
Continued sampling of the release sites in 2011 will determine if L. nigrinus popluations have become established, and re-assess the survival and health status of the hemlock trees.
Release and recovery locations of predatory
biological control beetles at Mountain Lake.

We extend a big Thank You to all members and friends of the Mountain Lake Conservancy! Your membership and contribution provides direct support for conservation efforts such as the hemlock treatment program at Mountain Lake.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A.T. Hiking near the Wood's Hole Hostel

Last Friday, we took a trip out to the Wood's Hole Hostel in Pearisburg, VA, to scope out nearby hikes on the Appalachian Trail. As part of the MLC "Day Hikes along Southwest Virginia's Appalachian Trail" 2011 Road Scholars program, we are planning for a stop at Wood's Hole to enjoy the story behind this special place.

Wood's Hole Hostel & Mountain Retreat

The A.T. crosses just 1/2 a mile from the hostel. We hiked South to an overlook at Flat Top Tower, and then back North to the Doc's Knob Shelter. It was a warm and gorgeously sunny day, and we encountered lots of wildlife and many signs of spring along the hike!

Wood frog eggs in a small pool

A garter snake out getting some sun

An overlook from Doc's Knob

In relation to the Doc's Knob Shelter

Doc's Knob Shelter

Monday, March 14, 2011

Update: Lake Level Rise

Since March 5th, 5.68 inches of rain have fallen on the mountain. This rainfall has yielded a significant rise in the lake water level. The springs are gushing and the water is around 20 feet out from the extended boat dock. The lake level is currently estimated at 52-59 feet below full pond, or approximately 10% full by volume.

Do the rain dance!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Unpredicted Dusting

This morning, we were pleasantly surprised to find the mountain sparkling with a fresh blanket of snow. On Sunday, the pouring rain we experienced at lower elevations turned to snow about 1 mile from the hotel entrance. The roads are icy in spots so be careful if you plan on driving up today. There is about 1" of snow accumulation on top of a thin layer of ice.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

An afternoon wood frog chorus

Approximately 40+ wood frogs, Rana sylvatica, could be heard calling in our man-made wetland on a sunny and warm afternoon yesterday. One of the first frogs to breed in early spring, this lovely chorus could be heard loud and clear from the Conservancy Visitor Center.

Check out this site with more information about the wood frog. Make sure to read all the way to the bottom to learn how this amphibian has "perfected the cryogenic freezing process". Way Cool!!