A habitat assessment and
general biological inventory were conducted at the Vilbig Lake marsh/wetland
area (site) in Irving, Dallas County, Texas.
Figure 1 presents the area surveyed/assessed. This report summarizes activities and presents the habitat
assessment results. It does not
strive for the creation of a pristine area, but rather seeks preservation of the
area that will allow humans to enjoy the benefits of a quality environment,
which supports humans and human-tolerant wildlife.
To obtain a general understanding of the ecological systems present at the site, a habitat assessment was conducted from December 1997 to May 1998. Components of the habitat assessment included listing observed flora and fauna (including threatened and endangered species) and critical area determination. The objective was to provide a baseline of information regarding habitats at the site.
Plant and animal species encountered visually or by sign as tracks, gnawing’s (beaver), and scat were identified to species if possible, and listed according to specific groups. Various field guides were used to facilitate identification. Wetlands associated with the site were confirmed in forested, stream fringe, and shoreline areas.
Description of Study Area (Site)
The site lies in North Central Texas specifically, western Dallas County. The site is totally within the Trinity River basin. Current land use in the vicinity of the site is residential, recreational, light industrial, and undeveloped. Average population density per square mile for Dallas County is 2, 069 people.
Topography is characterized by relatively flat land with a portion dissected by a small stream. Land elevation is approximately 440 feet mean sea level.
General Community Types
Within a broad classification, the site lies within the Blackland Prairies ecological region of Texas and is close to the Cross Timbers ecological region. Because of the two ecological regions, presence of a major tributary of the Trinity River, and the transition of moist climes of East Texas to dry West Texas, the site may support diverse habitats.
A classification of the natural communities of the site was not the main objective of this habitat assessment, but the constituents of the communities noted in the course of this assessment are listed and briefly described.
Plant communities at the site range from open field/grassland to dense riparian woodlands. These communities support diverse populations of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects.
The following habitats occur o or near the site based on the results of the assessment.
o Open water (Vilbig Lake)
o Emergent wetlands
o Riparian woodlands
Mixed open lands
Open water habitat occupies most of Vilbig Lake. Shoreline habitat follows the boundary of Vilbig Lake. Emergent wetlands exist adjacent to the shoreline and in the many sloughs and backwaters that are present (Figure 1). Riparian woodlands exist along the stream on the eastern portion of the site and on the numerous peninsulas that exist. Mixed open lands comprise the remaining habitat type. Figure 2 presents the approximate location of each habitat type. No other significant natural communities are present on or adjacent to the site.
The habitat assessment
consisted of visual inspections of site conditions 1 to 2 days per month from
December 1997 to May 1998. Concerning
vegetation, dominant species were identified [as well as major community types].
This was accomplished by walking transects through the habitat types
[except for open water] and observing plants, birds, plants and other wildlife. The shoreline was assessed for vegetation and other wildlife
sign (tracks, scat, fish, and tadpoles). A
list of plants (flora) and animals (fauna) observed during the assessments is
provided in Tables 1 and 2. The
flora and fauna are provided using the common name only, for simplification.
3.1 Open Water Habitat
Open water habitat is comprised of Vilbig Lake and associated sloughs and backwaters that are devoid of vegetation. This open water habitat supports fish and also provides benefit for birds, mammals, snakes, turtles, and amphibians. Birds such as double-crested cormorant, pied-billed grebe, Franklin’s gull, Bonaparte’s gull, ring-billed gull, and bufflehead were observed.
3.2 Shoreline Habitat
A habitat associated with the open water habitat is the vegetated shoreline. This area virtually extends throughout the boundary/border of Vilbig Lake. The vegetated shoreline at the site appears to be highly productive for plant material and provides shelter for birds and other animals. Plants such as tamarisk (salt cedar), broom sedge, and false indigo were observed. Birds such as American coot, red-winged blackbird, killdeer, common snipe, mallard, and great-tailed grackle were observed in this habitat.
3.3 Emergent Wetlands
Emergent wetlands are those areas that support a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Vegetation was limited to non-woody herbaceous plants such as cattails, rushes, sedges, smartweed, grasses, duckweed, and water primrose. Birds such as great blue heron, great egret, snowy egret, green-backed heron, blue-winged teal, northern shoveler, red-winged blackbird, common yellowthroat and American coot were observed in this type of habitat.
Emergent wetlands account for a small percent of the area within the site but they are very important in the productivity of fish and wildlife resources. They are also critical for the maintenance of clean water and controlling of floodwaters.
3.4 Riparian Forest
The riparian forest area exhibits 25-50 percent tree cover and comprises a majority of the eastern portion of the site. Dominant trees include early success ional wetland species such as willow, green ash, and some cottonwood; moist area species such as cedar elm; and drier area species such as pecan, elm, walnut, and eastern red cedar. This forest also includes hackberry, sugar maple, black cherry, and mulberry.
This riparian habitat is typical to other riparian forests in North Central Texas in that it is a higher productive habitat that provides storage to floodwaters, removes sediments and pollutants from water, provides habitat for migratory warblers and other small birds, provides a wind break, and cools the air in summer.
Birds such as wood duck, yellow-billed cuckoo, great horned owl, belted kingfisher, red-bellied woodpecker, yellow-bellied sapsucker, downy woodpecker, northern flicker, least flycatcher, willow flycatcher, Carolina chickadee, Carolina wren, house wren, ruby-crowned kinglet, Swainson’s thrush, cedar waxwing, white-throated sparrow, swamp sparrow, and numerous warblers were identified in this habitat. A complete list of birds observed in this habitat and the site is provided in Table 2. Mammals observed were beaver, fox squirrel, raccoon, Virginia opossum, and red fox were observed.
Small shrub habitat occupies a small percent of the area and is a transition habitat from early success ional open field or emergent wetland to the forest community. Shrubs include young tree species less than 12 feet tall plus some hawthorn, yaupon, and deciduous holly. Birds such as mockingbird, northern cardinal, Carolina wren, brown thrasher, and eastern towhee were identified in this habitat.
3.5 Mixed Open Lands
Mixed open lands include the remaining habitat with less than 25 percent trees and/or shrubs. This includes the grassy areas and the field. The field provides a wildlife food source and floodwater storage. It appears to have high herbaceous vegetative productivity. Plants such as the prairie primrose and white clover were ubiquitous. Birds such as scissor-tailed flycatcher, eastern phoebe, and mourning dove were commonly observed.
General soils comprising the site are Siliwa-Silstid-Bastsil: deep nearly level to sloping, loamy and sandy soils; on stream terraces. The soil unit that comprises the site is Arents, loamy, gently undulating. This unit is made up of areas that have been mined for gravel and sand. The areas are lower than the surrounding landscape. Slopes range from 1 to 5 percent. Arents are used as pasture and for urban uses, including light industry, racetracks, golf driving ranges, sanitary landfills, and residential area.
A habitat assessment was performed at the Vilbig Lake site. Flora and fauna were identified to species when possible. Habitats such as open water, shoreline, emergent wetlands, riparian forest, and mixed open land were identified. Conditions at the site were generally conducive to high productivity and species diversity. A variety of wildlife was observed throughout the site. Tables 1 and 2 provide a comprehensive list of the flora and fauna identified. No threatened and/or endangered species were identified on the site. However, this does not imply that none exist or visit the site
FLORA IDENTIFIED ON THE SITE
FORBS and GRASSES
|Eastern Red Cedar||Mustang Grape||Broomsedge|
|Black Cherry||Viginia Creeper||Wild Onion|
|Salt Cedar (Tamarisk)||Greenbrair||Composites (various)|
|American Elm||Vetch (species)|
|Cedar Elm||Bull Thistle|
|Sugar Maple||Blue Sage|
|Chinese Tallow||Texas Dandelion|
|Carolina Buckthorn||Water Willow|
|Honey Locust||Aster's (species)|
|False Garlic (Crow Poison)|
|Panicum Grass (species)|
|Bromus Grass (species)|
|Sedges (Carex Species)|
|Rush's (juncus species)|
FAUNA IDENTIFIED ON THE SITE
|Pied-billed Grebe||Yellow-billed Cuckoo||Dark-eyed Junco|
|Double-crested Cormorant||Great Horned Owl||Red-winged Blackbird|
|Great Blue Heron||Chimney Swift||Common Grackle|
|Great Egret||Belted Kingfisher||Great-tailed Grackle|
|Snowy Egret||Red-bellied Woodpecker||House Finch|
|Green-backed Heron||Yellow-bellied Sapsucker||American Goldfinch|
|Wood Duck||Downy Woodpecker||House Sparrow|
|Green-winged Teal||Northern Flicker||White-throated Sparrow|
|Mallard||Acadian Flycatcher||Swamp Sparrow|
|Northern Shoveler||Alder Flycatcher||Lincoln's Sparrow|
|American Wigeon||Willow Flycatcher||Chipping sparrow|
|Bufflehead||Eastern Phoebe||Indigo Bunting|
|Red-shouldered Hawk||Great Crested Flycatcher||Northern Cardinal|
|Killdeer||Scissor-tailed Flycatcher||Wilson's Warbler|
|Common Snipe||Blue Jay||American Robin|
|Franklin's Gull||American Crow||Brown Thrasher|
|Bonaparte's Gull||Carolina Chickadee||White-eyed Vireo|
|Ring-billed Gull||Tufted Titmouse||Tennessee Warbler|
|Rock Dove||Carolina Wren||Nashville Warbler|
|Morning Dove||House Wren||Yellow-rumped Warbler|
|Golden-crowned Kinglet||Ruby-crowned Kinglet||Black-and-white Warbler|
|Swainson's Thrush||American Redstart||Common Yellowthroat|
|Northern Mockingbird||Solitary Vireo||Yelow Warbler|
|European Starling||Orange-crowned Warbler||Blackburnian Warbler|
|American Coot||Blue-winged Teal||Least Flycatcher|
|Cedar Waxwing||Eastern Towhee|
|Fox Squirrel||Virginia Opossum|
|Turtles (2 species)||Frogs (3 species)||Snakes (2 species)|
INSECTS (various and numerous)
FLORA IDENTIFIED BY THE RESIDENTS OF LAKE VILBIG
(Report any new findings to the Web Author and it will be posted)
Person posting the flora
|American Waterwillow (Justicia americana)||6/4/01||Brandon Wooddell & Al Kohutek|
|Muskgrass (chara species)||6/4/01||Brandon Wooddell & Al Kohutek|
|Spatterdock (Nuphar advena) Yellow water lily,||6/4/01||Brandon Wooddell & Al Kohutek|
|Cat-tail (Typhan species)||6/4/01||Brandon Wooddell & Al Kohutek|
|Pennyworth (Hydrocotyle species)||6/4/01||Brandon Wooddell & Al Kohutek|
|American Lotus||2011||Al Kohutek sprayed and killed in 2011|
|American Pondweed||10/1/2016||Al Kohutek 2016|
|Coastal water hyssop or herb-of-grace (Bacopa monnieri)||12/8/02||Al Kohutek|
|Rush||6/4/01||Brandon Wooddell & Al Kohutek|
Baccharis neglecta - Roosevelt weed (other names are
New Deal Weed, or Jara Dulce, or Poverty Weed)
FAUNA IDENTIFIED BY THE RESIDENTS OF LAKE VILBIG
(Report any new findings to the Web Author and it will be posted)
|Person Posting & Notes|
|Greater Canadian Goose||
|Hooded Merganser||12/2000||Al Kohutek|
|American White Pelican||2001||Tom Root|
|Ring-necked Duck||01/2001||Al Kohutek|
|Lesser Scaup||01/2001||Al Kohutek|
|Purple Martin||04/21/01||Al Kohutek|
|Greater Canadian Goose||02/24/03||Al Kohutek|
|White Wing Dove||02/22/03||Al Kohutek|
|Snow Goose||03/09/03||Al Kohutek|
|House Finch||05/20/03||Al Kohutek - nesting in back yard|
|Barn Swallow||04/21/01||Al Kohutek|
|Alligator (Click here for picture)||08/15/01||Behind Marty's dock|
|Snake - EASTERN YELLOW BELLY RACER||06/20/06||Jim Ferguson|
|Graham's crayfish snake||08/15/01||Caught in a minnow trap by Al|
|Mediterranean Gecko||2001||Al Kohutek|
|Texas Spiny Lizard||05/06/01||Al Kohutek|
|Diamondback Water Snake||05/09/01||Al Kohtuek|
|Great Plains Rat Snake
(Elaphe emoryi) sometimes called a chicken snake
|Ground Skink (Scincella lateralis)||05/24/03||Al Kohutek|
|Common Snapping Turtle||08/19/04||Steve Martin|
|Red-eared Slider Turtle||09/18/04||Al Kohutek|
|Soft-shelled Turtle||09/02/03||Al Kohutek|
|??? Turtle||08/07/03||Al Kohutek|
|??? Frog||05/17/03||Al Kohutek|
|Greater Siren (Siren lacertina)||09/199/02||Steve Martin|
|Cotton Tailed Rabbit||2001||Al Kohutek - Very numerous|
|Nutria||2000||Al Kohutek - Very numerous|
All the fish listed below have been identified in the Lake Vilbig fish surveys or reported by areas anglers or reported in lake records page.
|Fish||Scientific name, then person who first described the species in ( ) and other facts about the fish.|
|Largemouth Bass (Black Bass)*||Micropterus Salmoides (Lacepede). Stocked by the Vilbig Bass Club. See lake records page for current record and fish stocking page for more info.|
|Warmouth (Goggle-eye)*||Lepomis gulosus (Cuvier). See lake records page for current record. This fish can get up to 1.3 pounds in Texas.|
|Green Sunfish (Rock Bass)*||Lepomis cyanellus (Rafinesque)|
|Redear Sunfish*||Lepomis microlophus (Cuvier)|
|Longear Sunfish*||Lepomis megalotis (Rrafinesque)|
|Bluegill (Bream, Perch)*||Lepomis macrochirus (Rafinesque) Stocked by the Vilbig Bass Club|
|White Crappie*||Promoxis annularis (Rafinesque) See lake records page for current record.|
|Black Crappie||Promoxis nigromaculatus (Lesueur). Stocked on 3/19/98|
|Sand Bass (White Bass)*||Morone chrysops (Rafienseque) See lake records page for current record. Spawing occurs either near the surface, or in midwater in early spring. It is common to catch fish in the 3 pound range in Lake Vilbig.|
|Yellow Bass (Bar Bass)*||Morone mississippiensis (Jordan and Eigenmann). A trophy fish may not exceed one pound.|
|Flathead Catfish (yellow cat, opelousas)||Pylodicts olivaris (Rafinesque). 50-pounders are not unusual, some exceed 110 pounds. These pictures are from an actual Vilbig Flathead|
|Bullhead (mud cat, polliwog)||Ameriurus melas (Rafinesque). The largest specimen reported in Texas is 4.53 pounds.|
|Channel Catfish*||Ictalurus punctatus (Rafinesque) See lake records page for current record. At one time Lake Vilbig was a Catfish Farm.|
|Blue Catfish*||Ictalurus furcatus (Lesueur)|
|longnose gar*||Lepisosteus osseus (Linnaeus)|
|Freshwater Drum* (Gaspergou)||Aplodinotus grunniens (Rafinesque) See lake records page for current record.|
|Common Carp*||Cyprinus carpio (Linnaeus) See lake records page for current record|
|Golden Shiner||Notemigonus crysoleucas (Mitchill)|
|Blacktail Shiner||Cyprinella venusta (Girard) Maximum size is about 4.6 inches|
|Red Shiner (Red-horse minnow)||Cyprinella Lutrensis (Baird and Girard) Maximum size is about 3.5 inches|
|Western Mosquitofish||Gambusia affinis (Braird and Girard). Livebearers with a 21-28 day gestation period and the number of young in a single brood may range from a few to over 300. Length: about 1-2 inches|
|Inland Silverside*||Menidia beryllina (Cope) The normal life span appears to be less than 1.5 years, however, two-year-old females are occasionally collected. Length: maximun size is about 3 inches.|
|Blackstripe topminnow||Fundulus notatus
|Flathead Minnow||Pimephales promelas (Rafinesque). May lay as many as 12,000 eggs and may spawn 12 times during a single summer. Length: 1-2 inches|
|Gizzard Shad*||Dorosoma cepedianum (Lesueur). Gizzard shad usually easily distinguished form threadfin shad by the fact that the upper jaw projects well beyond the lower jaw. Amateur ichthyologists can run a finger underneath the mouth forward, and if the fingernail catches on the upper jaw and opens the mouth, in most cases the fish is a gizzard shad rather than an threadfin shad. Length: 9-14 inches some have been reported to exceed 20 inches.|
|Threadfin Shad*||Dorosoma Petenense (Gunther). Threadfin shad are usually easily distinguished from gizzard shad by the fact that the upper jaw des not project beyond the lower jaw. Temperature sensitive with die-offs reported at temperatures below 45 f, and may continue into the summer. Length: rarely exceed 6 inches.|
|Darter*||Etheostoma lepidum (Baird and Girard). Winter spawners beginning sometime in October and end in May. They grow to about 2.5 inches|
|Fresh Water Grass/Glass Shrimp*||Palaemonetes kadiakensis|
|Crayfish*||Stocked on 7/29/95 also reported in the lake survey|
* Identified in one of the Lake Surveys (1995 or 2000)