Blog

AEM Inc.- Bringing the Kids to the River!

Each year, AEM Inc. staff volunteers their time to teach the 7th grade class of Christian Heritage Academy about river ecology. They man stations such as the hydrolab station which measures the water temperature, pH, turbidity and dissolved oxygen as well as a station that measures the flow of the stream. They also examine the macro and microinvertebrates found in the river-  they even found an Illinois darter, a crappie and a handful of crayfish for the kids to observe.

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Wetland Plant Installation

AEM Inc. staff planted three 160x8ft sections of wetland plants. Plants included:

1) Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia)

2) Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)

3) Sweet Flag (Acorus calamus)

4) Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)

5) River Bulrush (Scirpus fluviatilis)

6) Water Lilies (Nymphaea odorata)

Before planting, each plant type was divided into bags that were labeled with the destination in which they would be planted.

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The team broke into groups and installed each plant species section by section.

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At the end of the installation, predation fencing was install to ensure the safety of the newly planted aquatic bulbs. They are a favorite treat of muskrats!

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Fighting the Good Fight: Teasel Removal

Teasel, a biennial introduced from Europe, has spread rapidly in North America over the last 20-30 years. This has been aided by the construction of interstates along which teasel happily grows. Its spread is also aided by it’s seeding habits. A single teasel plant can produce 2,000 seeds of which 30-80% germinate depending on a variety of conditions. Such aggressive seeding ability has allowed teasel to take over native prairie and savannah habitats.

AEM Inc. regularly removes and controls the growth of teasel. Controlling teasel is most often done in spring by spraying the teasel rosettes to inhibit their growth. Later season removal involves the mechanical removal and disposal of teasel that has not quite gone to seed.

Below, AEM Inc. surveys a site in Northbrook with the goal of removing the intermittent teasel rosettes (which are indicated by the flags).

Learn more about the natural history of teasel from the Prairie Research Institute.

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Cattail Removal- Working Towards a Diversified Ecosystem

AEM Inc. strives to restore balance to natural as well as installed prairies, aquatic systems and more. At the Village of Deerfield’s Water Reclamation Facility, they are dedicated to similar goals. The village hired AEM to increase diversity of their prairies and rain gardens as well as clear their pond of cattails. To say the least, the cattails had become a monoculture. However, after AEM staff did a clearing, there is the possibility of introducing new, diverse aquatic plants to the system.

 

Before

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After

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Spring Shoreline Cleanups

AEM, Inc. has been busy with spring shoreline cleanups. Picture below is North Pointe while our crew is removing winter’s duff and debris. Spring cleanup allows our springtime blossoms to receive full sunlight while reducing the amount of organic matter entering into the aquatic systems. You can tell it works by the Spring 2014 picture of the same area!

March 2015

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Spring 2014

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Fish & Wildlife Stocking

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Now that winter is coming to a close, it is important to consider its effects on our aquatic systems. The snow and ice brought by winter correlates with a lack of dissolved oxygen in ponds. A lack of dissolved oxygen is the most common cause of winter fish kills. In ponds covered by snow and ice, no oxygen is brought into the water column through surface to air mixing and no photosynthesis, which releases dissolved oxygen, is able to occur. Maintaining an appropriate level of dissolved oxygen is critical to sustaining desirable levels of fish and aquatic wildlife.

AEM Inc. works with local fish hatcheries to stock fish and wildlife. Fish stocking began in approximately 1871 with the goal of increasing food and sport fish throughout the nation. In its infancy, fish stocking was not as ecologically informed. However, fish stocking is now used to help create, maintain or restore ecologically sound aquatic systems. In local ponds, fish stocking helps create a healthier aquatic system throughout the summer. Restocking of fish and wildlife also promotes fishing, increasing the recreational attractiveness of an aquatic system.

Ponds vary considerably in their fish and wildlife stocking needs. AEM Inc. will determine such factors as pond depth and size, water chemistry, existing fish populations and sediment loading. With these factors in hand, AEM Inc. will determine the most appropriate fish and wildlife population to provide optimum ecological balance and recreation, if that is desired.

AEM Inc. recommends stocking takes place during the month of April for the best acclimation possible. Get in touch with us today to schedule your fish & wildlife stocking quote.