GLA is currently undergoing new research to help find ways to control swimmer’s itch. In this picture, you can see Ron Reimink of Freshwater Solutions, LLC, working on a tree cavity found in an old broken oak tree on Big Glen. He is using a long telescopic pole with a GoPro video camera at the end to “look into” the possible nesting site of a female Common Merganser. GLA is in the process of monitoring several possible nest sites and the full result of this effort will be reported at a later time. Remember, the key to controlling swimmer’s itch is to try and limit the number of merganser broods that come to our lake in FUTURE years. Also, remember that it is against the law and federal fines could be imposed if anyone harms this bird or her eggs during the nesting season. If you feel you have a potential nesting cavity or better yet, see a merganser fly in or out of a tree cavity, please email Rob Karner at: email@example.com and he will follow up on your sightings.
The Glen Lake Association is experimenting with drone technology to combat swimmer’s itch. The objective is to locate common merganser nest cavities in the trees so we can learn more about their natural history that might give us a better handle on controlling their populations and thus reducing swimmer’s itch. GLA has partnered with Zero Gravity LLC and are finding that with drones, we can get a “bird’s eye view” of the forest and better analyze where nest cavities might be located. So far, we are making modest progress. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Rob Karner firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Glen Lake Association (GLA) is pleased to announce partnering in 2017 with Ron Reimink, owner of Freshwater Solutions, under a comprehensive contract to combat swimmer’s itch on Glen Lake. We have over 30 years of successful experience with Ron whose reputation is superb.
Our plan will be to live trap and relocate common merganser broods this spring/summer. In addition, we plan to control itch by covering common merganser nests (tree cavities) in the summer/fall of this year, after the broods have left the nest. Based on the behavioral ecology of mergansers, we believe this will reduce the number of broods on the lake in 2018 and beyond.
We have a professional crew working on finding nests and we hope to locate as many as 5 to 7 nests. Once we find the nests, GLA, with your permission, would like to place cameras on the nest while it is active to monitor the nesting environment and learn vital information about their natural history that will make it easier to find nests in the future. Even though we have activated this crew, with your help, we could increase our chances of finding more nests.
If you are able and willing to help us find active nest sites in trees near your home, then please consider this request. During the month of May, females fly around the forests as they visit their nest cavities as they lay their eggs (one egg per day). These flight patterns are best observed between daybreak and 9 a.m. The mergansers often will vocalize while flying (low-pitched grunts). Nest sites are often close to the shoreline but can be several hundred yards from shore as well. The nest height off the ground can be from 2 to 50 feet high.
If you suspect an active nest and you want to confirm your finding(s), please call Ron at 616-293-0252. Either Ron or myself will come evaluate the situation. We also would seek your permission to access to your property during the nesting period.
P.S. More detailed information about our comprehensive program for controlling swimmer’s itch will come via the website and spring newsletter.