By Eva Ryan, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The next specialist I interviewed in celebration of Wisconsin Sea Grant’s 50th anniversary was Emma Wiermaa, aquaculture and education outreach specialist. Together, we discussed details of Wiermaa’s specialty that have changed and details she hopes to see change in the future.

Wiermaa is stationed at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility (NADF). Her position is in collaboration between Wisconsin Sea Grant and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. NADF is a research and demonstration facility for freshwater finfish that may be used for a variety of food fish, baitfish or conservation species projects. The facility also partners with various organizations, private, public and tribal, looking to engage in sustainable aquaculture.

Emma Wiermaa at the Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant

“My job is to take the research that we’re doing and convert it into a way that’s understandable and usable for various groups,” said Wiermaa. One of Wiermaa’s key audiences are K-12 students. Her duty involves effectively engaging and educating these children on what aquaculture is and why it is important, not only for educational purposes but also as a career pathway.

Though Wiermaa has only been working for the aquaculture industry for eight years, she said, “In the past 50 years from what I’ve seen, there seems to be a lot more interest in the growth of recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS).” Essentially, RAS have the potential to create the best possible circumstances to optimize fish growth throughout the year. This includes control of various environmental factors such as temperature, flow rates, lighting, water quality and biosecurity. She said that temperature control is especially important in our Midwest climate for species that require warmer temperatures for optimum growth, such as the walleye.

“We’re part of these national groups that want to see this (RAS) succeed, and they’re (the NADF) doing it in a sustainable way. They’re thinking about water reuse, effluent (water leaving the site) and optimum control of the fish-rearing environment.”

Not wasting any time in looking forward to the next 50 years of aquaculture, Wiermaa expressed her hope to continue supporting local and sustainable aquaculture, not only aquaculture research but also the farmers working hard to support local communities while providing fresh and local fish. “It is important for consumers to know that purchasing fish and seafood raised in the U.S. ensures a safe, healthy and tastefully fresh option that supports local jobs and communities,” she said.

To help achieve this, Wiermaa notes that misconceptions about the aquaculture industry need to be addressed to erase any stigma. “We need the trust, we need the support, and we need the research,” Wiermaa said.

Wiermaa mentioned one specific detail: farmers know better than anyone that fish are sensitive animals that require a healthy environment with good water quality in order to survive on a daily basis. Farmers must ensure clean living conditions for these fish because otherwise, the fish would not survive. She stressed that maintaining honesty in research and information is essential in eliminating misconceptions.

To cap off the interview, Wiermaa expressed her appreciation for Wisconsin Sea Grant in supporting aquaculture research and sustainable practices. She said, “I think that’s why everyone who works at the facility is so passionate about it because we’re doing cutting-edge research that really helps our partners. It’s all about partnerships and helping to advance sustainable aquaculture.”

 

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Marie Zhuikov

A steel dock post on a lake near Cotton, Minnesota, shows the same biocorrosion tubercles as those found in the Duluth Superior Harbor. Photo taken in 2020. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant

The calendar has flipped to 2022. Our staff members are ready to tackle new projects in the coming 12 months, which also happens to mark Sea Grant’s 50th anniversary. Before they move more deeply into the new year, however, some staff members took a moment to retain the glow of their favorite 2021 project. Marie Zhuikov shared her thoughts. She’s our senior science communicator.

My favorite project happened right on the cusp of 2021. It all started the previous fall, when I found strange rusty bumps on the steel support legs of our cabin dock. The lumps looked familiar to me because I’d seen similar ones on steel pilings in the Duluth-Superior Harbor. But my dock was on an inland lake in northern Minnesota, far from the harbor. Could the same accelerated corrosion of steel that was happening in the harbor and in Lake Superior be happening in inland lakes?

I knew who to ask about this from interviews for stories that I did about this issue in the past. Some background: Research funded by both Wisconsin Sea Grant and Minnesota Sea Grant determined the cause of accelerated corrosion of steel infrastructure in the Duluth-Superior Port, which was first noticed in 1998. Corrosion of this nature is most often seen in saltwater environments, but Sea Grant work determined it was related to microbial action combined with winter ice scour. Coatings and jackets have been devised, with Wisconsin Sea Grant support, to protect port infrastructure. In 2018-19, the value of harbor assets protected was $5.4 million. An expert panel originally thought the corrosion microbes were only found in Lake Superior waters.

I conferred with Sea Grant researchers and corrosion experts, sending them pictures of my dock legs. The more I dug, the more intriguing and complex the story became. The researchers confirmed the corrosion was caused by the same factors at work in the Duluth-Superior Port. They told me that microbially influenced corrosion problems are not confined only to Lake Superior. Corrosion is impacting steel structures far up the St. Louis River, which empties into Lake Superior, and has been found in several inland lakes.

I wrote a story and produced a podcast about the findings, which led to stories in several local media outlets and magazines. This increased the public’s understanding of the corrosion issue, how to mitigate its effects, and ongoing research efforts to counteract it. My cabin neighbors now know how to keep their dock legs from buckling too soon.

Usually, I get story ideas from scientific journals or research proposals. This story originated because I was paying attention to what was happening out my own back door, so to speak. That’s why it’s my fave for 2021.

 

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Marie Zhuikov

The next River Talk will take place at 7 p.m., Wednesday, January 12, in person at the Lake Superior Estuarium (3 Marina Dr., Superior, Wisconsin). Jeff Savage, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa cultural center and museum director, will share, “Stories of Spirit Island.”

Spirit Island. Image credit: David Bowman

On the Minnesota side of the St. Louis River in a widening called Spirit Lake, lies Spirit Island. This small island is of spiritual and cultural significance to the Ojibwe people and was the second-to-last stop on their migration to this area from the East Coast. The Fond du Lac Band bought the island from a private seller in 2011 and it’s an important site of stories, both past and present.

The event will last an hour and will include time for comments and questions. Refreshments will be provided. Use of facial masks is required for safety. The talk summary will be posted on Wisconsin Sea Grant’s blog. In case of inclement weather or pandemic-related shutdowns, this event will shift to virtual. Watch the Reserve’s or Wisconsin Sea Grant’s Facebook pages for further information.

Other River Talks will be held Feb. 9, March 8, April 13 and May 11, 2022. For more information, visit the River Talks page: go.wisc.edu/4uz720.

The River Talks are sponsored by The Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Wisconsin Sea Grant Program.

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Marie Zhuikov

The November River Talks featured Samuel Geer, president of Urban Ecosystems, presenting, “Revealing the Invisible: Experiencing and Interpreting the St. Louis River Along Waabizheshikana (The Marten Trail).” Through his landscape architecture practice, Geer was the lead designer of the interpretive plan for the trail, which was formerly known as the Western Waterfront Trail in Duluth, Minnesota.

The trail was renamed during the previous year to better reflect the history of the area and because plans were in place by the city of Duluth to change and lengthen the trail. Although currently over 3 miles, once completed, the trail will stretch from the community of Fond du Lac neighborhood at the western end to near Indian Point and Kingsbury Bay, over 10 miles to the north. Geer shared the process his team began in 2020 to gain public input about ways to celebrate the people, animals, plants and landscapes along the St. Louis River waterfront.

Sam Geer. Image credit: Submitted photo

“One of the stated goals of the process was to incorporate Native American languages and worldviews into the plan and the whole process,” Geer said. “This spot – the estuary – is just crawling with life and has an abundance of natural beauty and character that really makes people want to spend time there. The trail plan preserves the activities of the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad that’s currently there, plus provides opportunities for cyclists and pedestrians to explore the waterfront.”

Geer said the trail interpretive elements celebrate Duluth’s industrial history but also acknowledges the damage that industry has had on the environment. He described their interpretive approach like this, “In order for people to appreciate this place, they need to be able to access it and get down to the waterfront regardless of age or ability to explore the place and be comfortable in the process of doing it. Ultimately, the goal is to have people develop a sense of connection and caring toward this landscape and an appreciation for how diverse and multilayered it is.”

The team chose natural colors for their color palette. Signage will take the form of freestanding signs and “story poles,” 10-foot-tall metal rectangles that honor the iron ore and steelmaking legacy of the area. They will contain interpretive panels that feature Ojibwe words and laser-cut stainless-steel animal sculptures. Eight segments of the trail will each be “branded” with different animals visitors could encounter along that stretch. They will also feature portrayals of the various ways people have made a living from the estuary, be it wild ricing or a lumber mill. Cairns made from local rock material will mark trail spurs.

Sarah Agaton Howes, a member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, created much of the animal artwork. Historian Christine Carlson provided text, and John Koepke, Ojibwe landscape architect, provided illustrations.

Geer said they emphasized including diverse and often overlooked perspectives into the interpretive plan, such as women’s and African American stories.

“You know, Jay Cooke paid for a railroad and only came here one time, yet he has a state park named after him,” Geer said. “There were many people who spent their entire lives in this area who offered up a lot more meaningful things in terms of their personal contributions and life experiences. If you’re not oriented to these types of things, they’re invisible but if you can open up a view into some intimate aspect of the history of the place or someone who lived there, I think it creates a powerful connection to the place in a way you don’t get from a big elaborate installation.”

The plan is not on-the-ground yet. It’s being included in a grant proposal to the state of Minnesota, which will request money to pay for interpretation and construction.

To watch a video of Geer’s presentation, visit the Lake Superior Estuarine Research Reserve’s YouTube site.

The River Talks are sponsored by the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Wisconsin Sea Grant Program.

Other River Talks will be held Jan. 12, Feb. 19, March 8, April 13 and May 11, 2022. For more information, visit the River Talks page: go.wisc.edu/4uz720.

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Marie Zhuikov

In our continuing series of stories for Wisconsin Sea Grant’s upcoming 50th anniversary in 2022, I interviewed former extension agent, Harvey Hoven, who worked out of our office in Superior. Hoven was employed from 1989 through 2003 (14 years) focusing on coastal businesses along the South Shore of Lake Superior, aquaculture in the Midwest and initial efforts to remediate the St. Louis River, the largest U.S. tributary into Lake Superior.

Harvey Hoven’s picture from a “Littorial Drift” newsletter article about his hire with Sea Grant in 1989. Image credit: Wisconsin Sea Grant

Hoven had already worked a full career in finance in Minneapolis before he found Sea Grant. He retired from banking and moved back to his hometown of Superior in the mid-1980s. Hoven boated and fished on Lake Superior frequently, enjoying his leisure. But his time boating also piqued his curiosity about the things living in the lake.

On the advice of some Wisconsin Department of Natural resources staff members, Hoven decided to pursue a degree in aquatic biology at the University of Wisconsin-Superior even though he already had an MBA from the University of Minnesota.

While he was studying, he heard that Wisconsin Sea Grant might be hiring locally. “I thought that would be a good thing to look into,” Hoven said. “It interested me, so I got involved. I kind of edged my way in there and got hired.”

Although his duties weren’t clearly defined at first, because of his finance background, they shaped up to focus on business enterprises along the Wisconsin shore of Lake Superior. Hoven said these included marinas, bait shops, charter captains and fishing groups. He worked to “get a feel of who’s doing what, what were some of the issues, what were the problems, what were the questions they wanted answers to. I played the role of go-between – somebody who was on the shoreline but had access to the university campus in Madison where the experts were – the fisheries experts, the engineering people. I was a gofer for UW-Madison on the lakeshore,” he said.

Initially, he spent much of his time getting to know people along the shore. This naturally led to projects. “I started doing an annual economic survey of business activity along the shoreline,” Hoven said. “I found that very interesting for two reasons. One, it gave me a sense of what was happening economically on Lake Superior. Secondly, it got me into everybody’s store!”

At first, business owners were reluctant to provide Hoven with their financial information, but as they got to know him they began to trust him. Hoven also credits help from former Barker’s Island Marina manager Jack Culley for their cooperation.

“He was a real dynamic guy and a hard-driven guy. He didn’t trust me at first, but after a while, we got to know each other quite well and he opened up his records to me. I think he maybe pushed the word up and down the shore that when I came around to talk about who’s doing what, they’d better sit down and talk to me so that their information would get into the survey and report, as well,” Hoven said.

He conducted the economic survey for about 10 years, comparing growth sectors and where new developments were happening.

Hoven also used to hold a daylong seminar for charter captains along with staff from Minnesota Sea Grant. Attendees talked about rules and regulations, who’s catching what kind of fish and what their records were showing in terms of fishing effort. Hoven used to also offer the captains business consulting advice.

After observing numerous crates of cisco (formerly called lake herring) on commercial fisherman’s docks seeming to go to waste as fertilizer or mink food, Hoven teamed with a professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth to conduct a market analysis to find a profitable use for the fish. They ended up getting a grant to conduct a marketing survey.

“As it turns out, we never did develop a great market for herring, but it’s an example of somebody like myself being in the position I was along the lakeshore, who kept my eyes and ears open and said, ‘Hey, there’s something we should work on.’”

Hoven also teamed with Sea Grant aquaculture specialist Fred Binkowski to develop business models for prospective aquaculture operations. “I was kind of in the middle again,” Hoven said. “I relied on Fred for the economic data for producing fish, but I also went the next step, which was telling them what they could expect when they market it and how to go about marketing it.”

Hoven presented his business model at several national aquaculture meetings. He also developed an aquaculture directory for the Midwest. For that, he visited every aquaculture facility, which took him a year.

His last project was perhaps Hoven’s most noteworthy. He chaired the group that developed the first Remedial Action Plan (RAP), which directed environmental restoration efforts for the St. Louis River after it had been designated as an Area of Concern by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It also led to the founding of the St. Louis River Alliance, a nonprofit that works to protect the river.

Hoven said he chaired the board, a consortium of 25 people representing different businesses and organizations around the river, for five or six years. “That took a lot of my time, but it was very good because I got to be close to everybody in the community who was working on the river.

“At first, it was contentious because nothing was getting done. The businesses only could see dollar signs in the millions in front of them. We used to argue and yell at each other. Eventually, things got resolved and we published the first report, coordinating it with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s RAP efforts across the country,” Hoven said.

That report provided an important blueprint for restoration efforts and has been updated over the years. “The river really was a mess, I’ll tell ya. But little by little, it’s getting cleaned up now,” Hoven said.

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Marie Zhuikov

By Eva Ryan, University of Wisconsin-Madison

In 2022, Wisconsin Sea Grant will celebrate its 50th anniversary, marking five decades of work geared toward protecting ecosystems, addressing natural and economic disasters, supporting aquaculture industries, educating the public on related topics, and much more. Wisconsin Sea Grant has been a beacon of accurate, scientific information, and will continue to be so in the future.

To kick off the celebration, I interviewed Tim Campbell, aquatic invasive species (AIS) outreach specialist, to see how things have changed in his field in the past 50 years, and how he hopes they will progress. His story is first in an anniversary series we plan to continue on our blog.

Visitors learn about aquatic invasive species at an information stand hosted by Tim Campbell, Wisconsin Sea Grant (right) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources during the Ghost Ships Festival, Milwaukee, 2013. Image credit: Wisconsin Sea Grant

Campbell recounted a brief history of the study of invasive species: The creation of the Welland Canal, a human-made waterway that links Lake Ontario to Lake Erie in the mid-1800s sparked the idea of invasive species in the Great Lakes. Sea lampreys and alewives were able to travel through the Welland Canal into the Great Lakes, majorly impacting both people and fish.

While Great Lakes invasion science used to be primarily focused on managing sea lamprey and alewives for the benefit of commercial and recreational fisheries, Campbell noted that “now, what we think about in terms of invasive species in the Great Lakes and the Great Lakes region is so much more broad than just alewives and sea lamprey.” New invasive species like zebra and quagga mussels have expanded what requires management. Another task trying to be proactive in keeping other nonnative species from being introduced. Improvements in control programs give AIS managers alternatives and new prevention programs have helped reach wider audiences.

And while advancement in science and technology have bolstered our understanding of invasive species and the pathways they use to breach new areas, new pathways are continuously arising. Campbell cited online marketplaces as an example. These marketplaces, which allow customers to purchase species from anywhere in the world, have complicated AIS management in the past 10 years. Additionally, new segments of existing pathways – like recreational watercraft with ballast tanks – keep AIS managers readdressing pathways they thought were already sufficiently covered by their management plans.

“I think we’re starting to get more specific with pathways and how we can focus less on the actual invasive species and more on the people using the pathways – how we can work with them to stop unintentionally moving plants and animals around,” Campbell said. He went on to mention that “as we have gotten a better handle on some pathways, new ones are also emerging. We need to be aware of how these pathways function, how these species and goods are moving around, and how we can make sure that only things that we want are being introduced into the environment.”

So where does invasion science go from here? Through the eyes of Campbell, the “limiting factor” of his field is often not new biological facts about invasive species, but rather “getting people to understand the impacts of their actions and getting them to take action.” In terms of progressing the field of invasion science, Campbell has high hopes that the approach of shifting toward social science and trying to incorporate more of it into invasive species management will bode well.

“In the next 50 years, I hope we keep going down this track of interdisciplinary work and trying to use all of the different scientific disciplines to address our problems” in order to, “leave no stone unturned for potential improvements,” Campbell said.

When asked for final comments, Campbell left me with this: “It [the Sea and Land Grant College approach] has historically been very important in managing our agricultural problems and natural resource issues, and I think we will be even more important in the future because of where we sit between science and communities. Especially in this age of finding anything on the internet, no matter the accuracy, I think that it’s important to have this trusted source of scientific information to help communities make the best decisions possible.”

The post Invasive Species: Then and Now first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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Marie Zhuikov

A new website is available that details what Indigenous communities in the Upper Midwest are doing to conserve and protect water. Named Bimaadiziwin Nibi, Water is Life, the story map is divided into sections, each centered around a different environmental issue. These include wild rice, fish, nonlocal beings (invasive species), mining, contaminants and beach sampling. Within each section are photos, reports and videos from tribal natural resource departments and a summary of interviews with scientists.

The project was created by Brenna DeNamur during her internship with Wisconsin Sea Grant in 2020. DeNamur, a recent University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, partnered with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) to develop the content in a culturally responsive manner.

Image courtesy of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission

“It’s my hope that visitors to the site will gain a better understanding of the challenges faced in the intersection of conversation efforts and tribal culture, and that they be introduced to the diverse voices working in this area,” DeNamur said.

For instance, in the nonlocal beings section, DeNamur writes, “Although Indigenous science teaches respect and consideration for all, these nonlocal beings still pose a threat to biodiversity and the individual species, such as manoomin (wild rice) and ogaa (walleye), that Native Americans have had deep relationships with for generations.”

In response, GLIFWC has taken action against nonlocal beings. They conduct surveys, control actions and follow up monitoring for both terrestrial and aquatic species. The web page details how the commission divides its efforts into prevention, early detection and rapid response, control and management, research, and cooperation and coordination.

“This story map is a great tool for understanding how the collaboration of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Western Science methodologies can produce strategic and respectful conservation efforts concerning water throughout the Ceded Territories and beyond,” said Hannah Arbuckle, GLIFWC Outreach Coordinator.

Anne Moser, Wisconsin Sea Grant senior special librarian/education coordinator and DeNamur’s mentor, hopes to see the story map grow in the coming years. “I am grateful and honored to collaborate with GLIFWC on this project. It helped me gain a deeper understanding about Great Lakes literacy and how to incorporate Indigenous approaches into my work in education and outreach.”

“Ultimately, teaching Indigenous science is about understanding the world from different perspectives. If more people lived by this, we could sustain a healthier, more prosperous world,” DeNamur said.

To access the story map, visit go.wisc.edu/4n6n3n.

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Marie Zhuikov

 

Sharon displays the Greek-Style Lake Whitefish, sizzling in the pan. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant

For the latest “dish” about Great Lakes fish, you’ll want to listen to “The Fish Dish.” The podcast, co-hosted by longtime coworkers and friends Sharon Moen and Marie Zhuikov, introduces you to the people behind Wisconsin’s fishing and aquaculture industries. Each episode includes a “Fish-o-licious” section where Moen and Zhuikov cook a new fish recipe.

The first episode features Craig Hoopman, a sixth-generation commercial fisherman from Bayfield, Wisconsin. Hoopman shares his beginnings in the business, current challenges, plus his dreams for the future. Also, Eat Wisconsin Fish Outreach Specialist Moen and Science Communicator Zhuikov share their backgrounds in fishing and introduce listeners to the Eat Wisconsin Fish campaign. During the “Fish-o-licious” part of the show, they cook Greek-Style Lake Whitefish at Hoopman’s recommendation.

Tying it all together is ska music by Twin Ports band, Woodblind.

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Marie Zhuikov

The revamped stormwater pond at Barker’s Island Marina. Before the improvements, the pond often used to flood after storms. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant

Greener and Cleaner: How a Marina Takes Big Strides Toward Cleaner Water

The new season of River Talks began in October with three speakers who described projects designed to control stormwater runoff and prevent pollution at the marina on Barker’s Island in Superior, Wisconsin.

Theresa Qualls with the Wisconsin Clean Marina Program, Eric Thomas with Barker’s Island Marina and Michael Krick with the city of Superior gave in-person presentations in the Lake Superior Estuarium. Their talk was originally scheduled to be an outdoors tour, but inclement weather changed plans.

Barker’s Island Marina has been working for several years on certification to become a Wisconsin Clean Marina. These clean marinas voluntarily go the extra mile to adopt measures to reduce pollution from their marina, boatyards and recreational boats. Designated clean marinas are recognized as environmentally responsible businesses.

Qualls began the presentation by providing information about the clean marina program. “Clean lakes and rivers are good for business. Boaters really care about the water resource,” said Qualls, coordinator of the program. “In addition, it creates a safer and healthier place to work and recreate, and it really can enhance the image of the marina among the community and among boaters.”

The new boat wash station at Barker’s Island Marina. It better controls wash water that could potentially carry toxic boat paint residue. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant

She said marinas are in a unique position to improve water quality because of their location near water. Earlier that day, she met with Barker’s Island Marina staff to finalize a plan for their certification. Once approved by a technical team and certified, Barker’s Island Marina will join 22 other clean marinas in the state. She said most of those are coastal marinas, but they are working to encourage more inland lake marinas to pursue certification.

Thomas said his marina wanted to be in the clean marina program because, “We have a ton of boats. We have a ton of machinery. All these boats are full of machines, engines, oil, grease – all kinds of yucky stuff . . . As somebody who has been on the Great Lakes all my life, and in the water my whole life, it’s so easy to make mess — we have to work really hard not to. But the rewards are huge.”

One thing the marina did to control stormwater runoff is to let native plants along the shoreline grow instead of continuously cutting them down. This also deters geese from walking onshore and defecating on sidewalks.

At the far end of the marina is a new boat wash station. When boats are lifted out of the water at the end of the season, the power wash water is collected in tub, filtered and sent to the sewage treatment plant. This keeps toxic boat paint residue from entering the lake. They also regraded the boat washing pavement so that rainwater drains into a new engineered wetland constructed by the city of Superior.

Krick described the construction process for the wetland, which contains a forebay and several cells to slow down stormwater and treat it via native plant processes. The outlet drains into the harbor. “It was really hard to grow anything this year, everyone’s aware of the lack of rain we had,” Krick said of the process to plant the wetland vegetation. “But the last month has been very nice in terms of getting vegetation established before winter. I’m fairly happy with the way it looks.”

Thomas added, “We’re able to treat an inch or inch-and-a-half of rain through the wetland effectively. So, when we get one of these good soakers, we’re not releasing anything immediately into the lake. It’s all getting filtered through this.”

The new engineered wetland at Barker’s Island Marina. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant

The wetland project was funded by the Great Lakes Protection Fund and engineered by The Ohio State University. Staff at the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve monitor conditions at the wetland and stormwater pond to ensure they are working properly.

The last improvement discussed was the marina’s stormwater pond, which is near the road. Because it had no outlet, the pond would often flood the marina parking lot during heavy rains, creating hazardous conditions.

The pond was retrofitted with a forebay to catch and treat the water, allowing sediment to settle. A pipe allows the water to flow into the bay once it gets high enough.

Barker’s Island Marina is one of three marinas in the states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio chosen for installation of green stormwater infrastructure practices.

For more information about Barker’s Island environmental projects, visit this blog story.

The Nov. 10 River Talk will feature Samuel Geer, president of Urban Ecosystems, presenting, “Revealing the Invisible: Experiencing and Interpreting the St. Louis River along Waabizheshikana (The Marten Trail).”  His talk will be via Zoom at 7 p.m.:

https://uwmadison.zoom.us/j/97648986592?pwd=THZIU1JBYTZRdzg3V1hkdUZOSExuUT09 
Meeting ID: 976 4898 6592
Passcode: 924675

Other River Talks will be held Jan. 12, Feb. 19, March 9, April 13 and May 11, 2022. The March talk will be held in conjunction with the St. Louis River Summit and the date may change. For more information, visit the River Talks page: go.wisc.edu/4uz720.

The River Talks are sponsored by The Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Wisconsin Sea Grant Program.

The post Greener and Cleaner: How a Marina Takes Big Strides Toward Cleaner Water first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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Marie Zhuikov

Sam Geer. Image credit: Submitted photo

The next River Talk will take place at 7 p.m., Wednesday, November 10 via Zoom. Samuel Geer will present, “Revealing the Invisible: Experiencing and Interpreting the St. Louis River along Waabizheshikana (The Marten Trail).”

Geer is president of Urban Ecosystems, a Twin Cities-based landscape architecture practice.  He was lead designer for the interpretive plan for Waabizheshikana (formerly the Western Waterfront Trail in Duluth) and will share the process by which the team sought to celebrate the plants, animals and landscapes along the waterfront. The plan collects stories of noteworthy people, river places and lost landmarks that are revealed to visitors by a constellation of interpretive elements.

Here is the Zoom link and info:
Join Zoom Meeting
https://uwmadison.zoom.us/j/97648986592?pwd=THZIU1JBYTZRdzg3V1hkdUZOSExuUT09 

Meeting ID: 976 4898 6592
Passcode: 924675
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The event will last an hour and will include time for comments and questions. The talk will be recorded and posted afterward on the Reserve’s Facebook page and YouTube. A summary will also be posted on Wisconsin Sea Grant’s blog.

Other River Talks will be held Jan. 12, Feb. 19, March 9, April 13 and May 11, 2022. The March talk will be held in conjunction with the St. Louis River Summit and the date may change. For more information, visit the River Talks page: go.wisc.edu/4uz720.

The River Talks are sponsored by The Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Wisconsin Sea Grant Program.

 

The post River Talks to feature Marten Trail plan first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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News Releases | Wisconsin Sea Grant

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Marie Zhuikov

Sam Geer. Image credit: Submitted photo

The next River Talk will take place at 7 p.m., Wednesday, November 10 via Zoom. Samuel Geer will present, “Revealing the Invisible: Experiencing and Interpreting the St. Louis River along Waabizheshikana (The Marten Trail).”

Geer is president of Urban Ecosystems, a Twin Cities-based landscape architecture practice.  He was lead designer for the interpretive plan for Waabizheshikana (formerly the Western Waterfront Trail in Duluth) and will share the process by which the team sought to celebrate the plants, animals and landscapes along the waterfront. The plan collects stories of noteworthy people, river places and lost landmarks that are revealed to visitors by a constellation of interpretive elements.

Here is the Zoom link and info:
Join Zoom Meeting
https://uwmadison.zoom.us/j/97648986592?pwd=THZIU1JBYTZRdzg3V1hkdUZOSExuUT09 

Meeting ID: 976 4898 6592
Passcode: 924675
One tap mobile
+19292056099,,97648986592# US (New York)
+13017158592,,97648986592# US (Washington DC)  

The event will last an hour and will include time for comments and questions. The talk will be recorded and posted afterward on the Reserve’s Facebook page and YouTube. A summary will also be posted on Wisconsin Sea Grant’s blog.

Other River Talks will be held Jan. 12, Feb. 19, March 9, April 13 and May 11, 2022. The March talk will be held in conjunction with the St. Louis River Summit and the date may change. For more information, visit the River Talks page: go.wisc.edu/4uz720.

The River Talks are sponsored by The Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Wisconsin Sea Grant Program.

 

The post River Talks to feature Marten Trail plan first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Original Article

News Releases | Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases | Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/river-talks-to-feature-marten-trail-plan/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=river-talks-to-feature-marten-trail-plan

Marie Zhuikov

Wisconsin Sea Grant’s emerging contaminants scientist, Gavin Dehnert, earned his Ph.D. by studying the effects of commercial 2,4-D herbicide exposure on the development and behavior of freshwater fish at different life stages. Now, he’s taking his research out of the lab and into the natural environment, where 2,4-D herbicides are used to treat lakes for the invasive plant, Eurasian watermilfoil.

During his doctoral studies, Dehnert found that exposure to concentrations of 2,4-D similar to those allowed during application to lakes significantly decreased survival in fathead minnow larvae and also other young fish species such as walleye, yellow perch, largemouth bass, northern pike, white crappies and white suckers.

“We saw an increase in about 20 to 35% mortality of the young fish when exposed to 2,4-D,” Dehnert said. “But we kept getting this big question: We know what happens in the laboratory, but what happens in the real world?”

With funding from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Dehnert designed two sets of experiments this summer in lakes that were undergoing 2,4-D treatments. For the first,

One of two lakewater systems Dehnert uses. In this one, water is taken directly from a lake that had 2,4-D applied, then distributed to tanks where the fish are held. Image credit: Gavin Dehnert, Wisconsin Sea Grant

The second employed an in-lake exposure system. Young fish were put in the lake in two-liter buckets with holes in them covered in mesh, which allowed water and food to pass through, but not the fish.

Dehnert explained, “This allowed us to see what goes on during an actual herbicide treatment. It’s applied to the entire lake and we look at what goes on with the fish.”

He anticipates a possible higher mortality in the lake setting because there are more variables at play. “I would expect more like a 35 to 45% decrease in survivorship because there are more stressors on the fish – temperature changes, storms, nutrient runoff, etcetera. That’s why it’s important to do this experiment in a natural lake setting, so we can get those real-world scenarios,” Dehnert said.

Dehnert is just beginning to process the data from his lake experiments and expects to finish up next year (2022).

Wisconsin lake associations are interested in Dehnert’s work because they want to eradicate Eurasian watermilfoil. Besides the use of an herbicide, the invasive plant can be controlled by manually removing the plants or by introducing beetles that eat it.

“All of these lake associations want to make sure they’re causing the least amount of impact to the other organisms in the lake,” Dehnert said. “So, it’s really exciting to work with them to determine the risks of the different control methods. How do we get rid of this invasive species but keep intact what we already have in the lake?

“Let’s understand what could happen, so we can make an educated decision on whether the benefits outweigh the cons,” he said.

The post Treating lakes for Eurasian watermilfoil with herbicides can harm young fish first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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Marie Zhuikov

Kayakers receive instructions from their guide before a trip in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant

A new international training program for outdoor guides and outfitters is now available online for northwestern Wisconsin. The program, named Guide and Outfitter Recognized Professional (GORP) is being offered by Wisconsin Sea Grant in conjunction with Oregon Sea Grant.

GORP content was developed with input from professional guides, educators and tourism organizations. It’s aligned with best practices recommended by the Adventure Travel Trade Association. With completion of the program, experienced guides and outfitters will be recognized for their existing knowledge and information on a wide range of topics and best practices, demonstrating the value of their guiding services over competitors to potential clients. For aspiring guides, it will provide a great foundation for their future business.

GORP consists of four online modules that participants are encouraged to complete within a month, although there is flexibility. These are augmented by optional live webinars conducted by Oregon Sea Grant Extension staff. The next course begins Monday, Nov. 1, and it is free. Future course offerings will have costs associated with them. Although the course is geared toward northwestern Wisconsin, registration is open to all and may be helpful to guides in other parts of Wisconsin, too.

Course content covers a broad range of knowledge and skills that guides can use to improve client experiences, including identification of 101 local species of plants and animals, knowledge of local history, natural resource agencies, tourism organizations and economic impacts, group management, customer service, sustainability, marketing, personal interpretation skills and more.

Those completing the GORP program will be awarded a certification and a package of marketing benefits including: a GORP branded shirt, GORP logo vinyl for boat or truck, special listing on the GORP website, and other online marketing services.

Development of Wisconsin’s GORP program was led by Natalie Chin, climate and tourism outreach specialist for Wisconsin Sea Grant. For more information or to register, visit the GORP site and choose the Wisconsin program.

The post Outdoor guide online training program offered for free first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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Marie Zhuikov

Deidre Peroff, Wisconsin Sea Grant’s social scientist outreach specialist, is part of a new project designed to foster community-engaged learning and environmental stewardship in Milwaukee. The $2.8-million undertaking, funded by the National Science Foundation, is led by Ryan Holifield, associate professor of geography at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

The project will integrate art with STEM experiences (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), along with geography, water management and social science. The goal is to develop collaborations among artists, scientists and communities to bring informal sustainability science learning to Milwaukee.

Named “WaterMarks,” the four-year effort will include activities such as neighborhood walks led by artists, scientists or community members where participants are encouraged to consider the characteristics, histories and ecosystems in their neighborhoods. The walks will be expanded upon through workshops that will explore water-related environmental challenges and proposed solutions. Art projects and a website are other ways learning will be encouraged.

An artist’s redition of what one of the “WaterMarks” public art installations would look like. Image credit: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Peroff will serve as a researcher, collecting and analyzing data, writing reports – and she will also facilitate public engagement in the project.

Collaborators include City as Living Laboratory and the COSI Center for Research and Evaluation. Contact Peroff for more information.

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Marie Zhuikov

The revamped stormwater pond at Barker’s Island Marina. Before the improvements, the pond often used to flood. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant

The River Talks, a series of informal science presentations, returns for the season with “Greener and Cleaner: How a Marina Takes Big Strides Toward Cleaner Water,” an in-person tour of environmental improvements on Barker’s Island in Superior.

Three speakers –Theresa Qualls with the Wisconsin Clean Marina Program, Eric Thomas with Barker’s Island Marina and Michael Krick with the city of Superior – will describe new projects designed to control stormwater runoff and prevent pollution on the island at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13.

Marinas attract customers who care deeply about sustaining water quality. With support from the Clean Marina Program, the city of Superior and many partners, Barker’s Island Marina has taken great strides over the past few years to install an engineered wetland and a large boat wash station. Tour participants will visit these innovative projects and learn more about the Clean Marina Program.

Meet at the marina’s Ship Store. Parking for this can be found in the northwest corner of the Barker’s Inn Resort parking lot (see map below). The tour will involve a round-trip walk on easy, paved surfaces from the Ship Store to the service center (three-fourths of a mile). It will last until 6 p.m. and will include time for Q&A.

In case of rain, the presentations will be held in the Lake Superior Estuarium on Barker’s Island (3 Marina Dr.).

Other River Talks will be held Nov. 10, 2021, and Jan. 12, Feb. 19, March 9, April 13 and May 10, 2022. The March talk will be held in conjunction with the St. Louis River Summit and the date may change. For more information, visit the River Talks page: go.wisc.edu/4uz720.

The River Talks are sponsored by The Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Wisconsin Sea Grant Program.

The post River Talks resume with Barker’s Island tour first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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Marie Zhuikov

Birders on Wisconsin Point look for rare jaegers. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant

The third weekend in September is traditionally a time for beach cleanups by communities in the Great Lakes. Volunteers scour beaches and shorelines for trash as part of the International Coastal Cleanup. Our Sea Grant staff members got in the spirit, participating in cleanups spanning across the state, from Wisconsin Point in Lake Superior, to Madison, to Manitowoc on Lake Michigan.

Marie Zhuikov and Russ Maron on Wisconsin Point. Image credit: Russ Maron

The event on Wisconsin Point featured a twist: birding. Besides being a good time to collect trash, this season offers a narrow window for Wisconsin birders to see parasitic jaegers, fast-flying pirates of the water bird world, as they migrate past Wisconsin Point from the arctic tundra to southern climes.

The “parasitic” part of their name comes from their food-stealing habits. They are categorized as “kleptoparasites,” which means they steal food from other seabirds.

The Friends of the Lake Superior Reserve (FOLSR) took advantage of the timing to invite Jaegerfest birders and FOLSR members to cleanup the beach when they weren’t on the lookout for birds.

Science communicator Marie Zhuikov and her husband have attended many beach cleanups in the past, but never one that combined jaeger-watching. On a calm and quiet Saturday morning, they joined the professional birders and their high-powered spotting scopes.

Dried bee balm flowers. Image credit: Yael Gen, Wisconsin Sea Grant

Zhuikov and her husband had better luck finding trash than birds. Alas, no jaegers were to be seen, although many ring-billed and herring gulls floated serenely in the lake. The duo moved to the end of the point and collected two bags of trash from the beach. The most interesting finds? A single Birkenstock sandal and fireworks debris.

Their efforts became even more impressive with the addition of four other bags of garbage plus a car bumper that others had collected and left bagged near the parking lot. All total, their haul weighed 160 pounds!

Their colleagues editor Elizabeth White, educator Ginny Carlton and graphic designer Yael Gen participated in a more botanical cleanup at the Lakeshore Nature Preserve on the Madison campus. They began by collecting seeds from dried bee balm plants. Gen said they pulled the seed heads off and saved them in paper bags. “If you turn one upside down and shake it, the seeds resemble ground pepper,” she said. The seeds will be used for a class and to reseed other areas of the preserve.

Titus Seilheimer and his sons with one of their beach cleanup finds in Manitowoc. Image credit: Amy Seilheimer

Next, they got a workout clearing an invasive buckthorn thicket along the shores of Lake Mendota using loppers and saws.

Fisheries specialist Titus Seilheimer and his family worked on Silver Creek Beach in Manitowoc. “We typically organize two cleanups per year, spring and fall,” Seilheimer said. “We had two other volunteers for our cleanup for a total of six. We removed 68 pounds of trash. That included two tires for most of the weight. We found fairly typical trash with 40 cigarette butts, small pieces of foam and plastic, shotgun shells and wads, bottle caps and plastic bottles.”

Way to go, Sea Grant staff! You cleaned up 228 pounds of trash, plus gobs of unwanted plants and provided seeds for the future. A commendable effort for one morning in September.

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Marie Zhuikov

Participants on the tour listen to Matt Steiger, Wisconsin DNR, describe improvements to the Barker’s Island inland beach. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov

Last week, I joined a walking tour to check on the progress of projects designed to improve the environment on Barker’s Island in Superior, Wisconsin. After a welcome at the Lake Superior Estuarium by Jim Paine, the mayor of Superior, we hoofed it over to Barker’s Island beach. Although most of the work on the beach was done back in 2019, progress is still being made.

Native plants that replaced invasive buckthorn bushes were thriving and in fine color. Yellow sunflowers and purple bottle gentians lined the raised boardwalk along with many other grasses, flowers and shrubs. Our tour guides from the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve (Reserve) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) pointed out porous concrete underneath the picnic tables and pervious pavers in the parking areas along the street. These are designed to allow water to soak into the ground instead of running directly into the lake, which diminishes pollution.

The Barker’s Island beach and boardwalk. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant

Matt Steiger with the Wisconsin DNR said the changes are working. Before the improvements, the E. coli bacteria amount exceeded standards 42% of the time for the summer season in 2015 and 2016. After the project was completed in 2020, E. coli exceedances dropped to only 8%.

The second area we visited encompassed the charter fishing dock parking lot and the Barker’s Island Inn lot and tennis courts. Funded by a grant to the city of Superior from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Sustain Our Great Lakes Program, progress on these projects has been slower than anticipated because of the many challenges brought about by the COVID pandemic.

However, city staff expect ground to be broken in the spring of 2022 on medians in the parking lot, which will be planted with native trees and shrubs to slow water runoff. The tennis courts behind the inn will be turned into a green space, and the paved walking path across from the inn will be extended.

Our next stop was Barker’s Island Marina. Manager Eric Thomas showed us the many improvements completed this spring thanks to several grants and cooperation among Sea Grant programs in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio, as well as the City of Superior, the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, The Ohio State University, and the Wisconsin Marine Association. These include a rubber mat that catches toxic paint chemicals and biofouling organisms when boats are removed from the water and washed at the end of the season.

Eric Thomas, manager of Barker’s Island Marina, describes new environmental improvements. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant

Pavement at the marina has been replaced and regraded so that it drains toward a new engineered wetland along its edge. Todd Breiby with the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program explained that the wetland includes a forebay, which catches the pavement runoff and allows contaminants to settle. Then the water moves into a basin filled with plants, which filter the water, and then into another plant-filled basin, before emptying into the bay.

Breiby and Thomas then walked us closer to the road to the marina parking lot stormwater pond, which was retrofitted to make it function better. The pond used to flood the lot because it had no outlet, so a culvert was added that allows water to drain into the bay once it reaches a certain level. A forebay was also installed, which captures sediment coming off the marina parking lot and improves water quality.

To ensure these new marina improvements are doing their job cleaning water, researchers from Ohio State and the Reserve are monitoring water quality and noting “before” and “after” changes.

Todd Breiby with the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program describes changes to the Barker’s Island Marina parking lot stormwater pond. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant

Walking back to my office (which is on Barker’s Island) at the end of the tour, I was struck by how things that look so natural, like the wetland and the pond, can do such a good job of cleaning water if we give them a chance.  Although some had only been put in this season, they already looked like they’d been around for years. It’s good to know that these features are in place and working, and that they’ll serve as examples for other communities and marinas to try.

The post Environmental improvements to Barker’s Island progressing first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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Marie Zhuikov

Amercian white pelicans take flight off Cat Island in lower Green Bay. Image credit: Amy Wolf, University of Wisconsin Green-Bay

When Amy Wolf and Bob Howe with the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay bring new research partners or students out to the restored Cat Island chain in lower Green Bay on Lake Michigan, their reactions are memorable.

“To see people’s expressions when they enter the midst of thousands of loud, often smelly and sometimes defecating birds is pretty amazing and gratifying,” said Wolf, biology professor with the Department of Natural and Applied Sciences.

This avian abundance is relatively new, made possible by habitat restoration projects in the bay coupled with pollution remediation and control. For instance, the number of American white pelicans nesting has increased from about 250 in 2005 (State of the Bay report), to more than 3,000 now.

Wolf and Howe are coordinating a small army of students and government agency researchers to count and observe the behavior of birds that eat fish (piscivorous birds) in the lower Green Bay area around Cat Island, an area that Howe likens to the “Serengeti of Lake Michigan” due to the sheer abundance of wildlife. With two years of funding through Wisconsin Sea Grant, they are working to gain basic information about populations of pelicans, cormorants, terns, egrets, herons and gulls in the lower bay, including information about what the birds eat and where they spend their time.

Double-crested cormorants and American white pelicans on Cat Island. Image credit: Amy Wolf, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Howe, professor and director of the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity, explained, “We want to know what impact these large numbers of fish-eating birds have on the lower Green Bay ecosystem in general, and specifically on the fishery, which is so important for public recreation and commercial harvesting.”

Every two weeks during the spring and summer, Howe, Wolf, UW-Green Bay research specialist Erin Giese, and a team of undergraduate and graduate students surveyed all the piscivorous birds from southern Door County down to the DePere Dam on the Fox River, and then up the lakeshore to Oconto, Wisconsin. Graduate students Jacob Woulf and Brandon Byrne flew drones down the Cat Island causeway to count the thousands of birds there. Additionally, the students conducted firsthand observations of what the birds eat, where they catch fish and what other bird species they associate with.

In concert with the bird surveys, Howe said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is conducting fish surveys in the lower bay.

“We’re learning about what kinds of fish these birds are taking and where they’re taking them,” he said. “We’re really excited about this information so far.”

They are also tracking double-crested cormorants with two types of technologies: one uses the cellular phone network and the other uses radio telemetry. For the cellular tracking, the birds are fitted with a lightweight harness that contains a solar-powered transmitter. The device provides information about a bird’s position every hour, even if it leaves Green Bay.

Birds with the radio transmitters are tracked through special towers stationed around Green Bay and in a growing network across eastern North America. They plan to track pelicans next year.

Preliminary findings

The researchers are only beginning to crunch numbers from their first season of data, but Howe and Wolf already have preliminary findings to share.

In terms of tracking, they’ve found that some of the cormorants move much farther than they anticipated. Wolf said, “They hang around Cat Island, they feed around Cat Island, but they definitely range widely; one bird flew 75 kilometers south to Lake Butte Des Morts and returned to Green Bay during the same day. Another went over 110 kilometers north toward Gills Rock, where it stayed for days before returning to lower Green Bay.”

Their feeding observers have noted that the cormorants and pelicans are foraging with each other. Howe suspects their social nature might be why they are the dominant piscivorous species in the Green Bay system. “Social foraging behavior might give them a leg up on exploiting the fish in the lower bay.”

Howe said their counting surveys have provided a good estimate of how many piscivorous birds are in lower Green Bay. By mid-summer 2021, well over 4,000 pelicans and 2,000 cormorants were present.

“We know that a pelican can eat up to three pounds of fish per day. A cormorant can eat about a pound of fish per day. You start doing the math and realize that these birds take tens of thousands of pounds of fish every week. They’re significantly shifting the biomass from one place to another,” Howe said.

Pelicans congregate near recreational fishing boats in Green Bay. Image credit: Bob Howe, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

They’ve also noted that pelicans, and cormorants to a lesser extent, have developed a relationship with recreational fishermen. The birds hang around the boats and feed on fish that the fisherman don’t want and throw overboard.

“The pelicans have learned there’s free food there,” Howe said. “We didn’t anticipate this relationship and it’s very obvious from the data that we’re seeing.”

They expect their research will be helpful for agencies working on management decisions about the abundance of piscivorous birds, including gulls.

Additional partner agencies aiding the project include the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bird Studies Canada, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services Program, Brown County Port Authority and Mississippi State University. The research team has also received cooperation and support from landowners and marinas along the shores of lower Green Bay.

The bird banding crew on Cat Island. The person in the center is holding a cormorant. Image credit: Bob Howe, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

The post Researchers investigate the impact of water birds on Green Bay first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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Marie Zhuikov

Teachers in the Rivers2Lake Summer Institute receive basic canoeing instruction from Luciana Ranelli of the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant

Teachers from northern Wisconsin and northern Minnesota received firsthand experience in their watershed recently, thanks to the Rivers2Lake Education Program run by the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve (Reserve).

Six teachers took part in a weeklong Rivers2Lake Summer Institute where they traveled the upper reaches of the St. Louis River, trapping water bugs in nets, learning how to test water quality and developing a relationship with the river and Lake Superior. They are gathering ideas and techniques to share with their students with the Reserve’s help.

This is the ninth year of the program, which has been funded in part by Wisconsin Sea Grant for four of those years. One activity during the institute involved a short canoe trip around Pokegama Bay in Superior, Wisconsin. The teachers learned why the area is important.

Ryan Feldbrugge, education specialist with the Reserve. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant

“Pokegama is our reference site,” said Ryan Feldbrugge, education specialist with the Reserve. “It’s an example of an undisturbed or minimally disturbed ecosystem.”

Feldbrugge explained how the Reserve monitors conditions in the area with a meteorological station and water quality equipment. “The idea is to have baseline data so we can track how the wetlands are changing and how the plant communities are changing so that we can do stewardship or restoration efforts if that’s what’s needed.”

Luciana Ranelli, Reserve education coordinator, said the quiet, protected bay is also a good place for students to explore the St. Louis River Estuary. “You could imagine your tiny tikes or older students here, doing what we are doing,” she said to the teachers. Plus, a new boat launch developed by the Reserve, city of Superior and the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program provides easier access and vault toilets.

During that recent canoe trip, the teachers battled wind past the meteorological station and learned about purple loosestrife, a pretty but invasive plant scattered along the bay’s shores. Feldbrugge said the Reserve has been working closely with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for several years to rear and release beetles that feed exclusively on loosestrife. They are slowly making progress in controlling the plant in the estuary.

Two guests joined the teachers: Noah Pinnsonault, a research and monitoring technician for the Reserve, and Megan Hogfeldt, a water resources specialist with the city of Superior. Once out of the wind, the teachers rafted their canoes together to hear Pinnsonault describe work he’s doing to address damage by the emerald ash-borer beetle, which destroys black ash trees, a prevalent tree species in the estuary. He’s determining survival rates for alternative tree species that were planted in 2015. These include hackberry, northern white cedar and red maple.

“In really low-lying sites, black ash is basically the only thing that will grow there. So, we’re trying to figure out what besides the ash will work. If we can’t save the black ash, we need to at least preserve the ecosystem function and keep it forested, otherwise, everything will change,” Pinnsonault said.

Megan Hogfeldt, a water resources specialist with the city of Superior. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant

Once back on shore, Hogfeldt described the stormwater control work she does for the city, while Reserve staff loaded the canoes on their trailer. “If you haven’t been through Superior, the city has about seven streams that go through it. We’re always interacting with water in Superior and Duluth,” Hogfeldt said.

She offers several programs that teachers and their classes can participate in, such as storm drain art, a stream monitoring program and an adopt-a-storm drain program.

After the institute completes, the Reserve offers teachers continued support to integrate Lake Superior science, history, research and stewardship into their classrooms.

“The effects have been transformative,” Ranelli said. “Teachers appreciate the sustained support through the school year, and students in Rivers2Lake classrooms have improved learning and enhanced engagement. We’re proud to support local teachers and students in learning about their watershed.”

For at least two teachers on the paddle, this wasn’t the only time they’ve been on the water with Reserve staff. Melissa Hepokoski from Cooper Elementary School and Jasmine Haroldson from Northern Lights Elementary attended an Outdoor Learning Clinic for two days last summer.

In her teacher institute evaluation, Haroldson offered, “The presenters were an amazing asset – so knowledgeable and excited! The nonthreatening, supportive community that was built in just four days will be so beneficial to me. I now have a huge library of resources — people and print — at my fingertips.”

For information about the Reserve’s work with Rivers2Lake students, please see this previous story.

Educators Melissa Hepokoski, Shawn Stewart and Jasmine Haroldson enjoyed their paddle time on Pokegama Bay. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant

The post Rivers2Lake Program continues connecting teachers and students to the Lake Superior Watershed first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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Marie Zhuikov

It’s not often that a Sea Grant research project proposal contains the word “forgiveness.” However, that’s one of the missions of a multi-Sea-Grant-program endeavor taking place in three communities along the Lake Michigan coast.

Record-high water levels, severe storm surges and shoreline armoring have caused significant erosion to the bluffs and beaches in many areas along the 1,460-mile Lake Michigan shoreline. The ground beneath houses and garages on the shore is washing away, causing some structures to topple into the lake.

Along with this physical breakage comes emotional breakage, with neighbors blaming neighbors and community organizations for these problems.

Project lead Chin Wu, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said he is working to strengthen broken relationships and soothe anxiety. For example, tensions have run high in Mequon, Wisconsin, following Concordia University’s 2008 bluff stabilization project, including a lawsuit against the school brought by neighbors.

“There are people mad about every different aspect [of erosion],” Wu said. “But instead of blaming each other when natural forces take place, it’s the high-water levels that we need to cope with.”

The two-year joint project that began in 2020 is co-led by Wu, Guy Meadows with Michigan Technological University and Cary Troy with Purdue University. With funding by Sea Grant programs in Illinois-Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin, the project seeks to address complex erosion issues through an integrated physical, social and community approach.

Although their joint project has the capacity to impact the whole of the lake and lakeshore communities, the research team is concentrating on three locations that are all experiencing erosion: Mequon, Wisconsin; the dunes at Beverly Shores, Indiana; and the shoreline of South Haven, Michigan.

For the physical aspect, they are working to identify coastal areas with high erosion potential, characterize areas where sediment is trapped or diverted by using historical aerial photos, and compile an inventory of coastal sediment budgets in Lake Michigan – how much sediment is coming into the lake, how much is going out, and how much is being stored. The team will also assess the cumulative impacts of shoreline protection structures through historical aerial images and different computer model scenarios of varying lake levels and storm events.

For the social aspect, the team will assess public attitudes and perceptions about different shore protection options and examine variables that affect community relationships.

For the community aspect, the team will develop a community of practice to guide decision-making for what coastal stabilization measures to use and communicate the information learned through the project back to the communities. A community of practice is a group of people who share a common concern, a set of problems, or an interest in a topic and who come together to fulfill both individual and group goals.

Ph.D. student, Miles Tryon-Petith, installs a real-time camera to track erosion on the Lake Michigan shoreline in Mequon, Wisconsin. Submitted photo.

Miles Tryon-Petith, Wu’s civil and environmental engineering Ph.D. student from UW-Madison, said the community of practice will include local and regional organizations, such as the Department of Natural Resources as well as community leaders.

The forgiveness aspect of the project enters with factors that affect community relationships. Robert Enright, psychology professor, and his Ph.D. student, Lai Wong, at UW-Madison will employ social justice circles, a scientifically verified program that works to address issues about which people feel strongly. This method convenes opposing parties in a dialogue with the goals of fostering understanding and mutual problem-solving.

“Developing strong community relationships and introducing the social justice circles seemed very important because people’s homes and livelihoods are threatened by this ongoing problem. These are people living through the situation,” said Tryon-Petith.

The hope is that after working through the understanding and forgiveness exercises, communities can move on to discussing erosion-control solutions.

Wu emphasized that solutions lie with shoreline protection structures that employ engineering principles, which work with natural processes. He calls these nature-based solutions. These may include features that are completely natural, such as planting native vegetation on dunes, and those that are “hard,” such as concrete structures like seawalls. Multiple types of nature-based features are often combined within a project. Wu said the features would also be attractive to wildlife.

Adam Bechle, coastal engineering outreach specialist for Wisconsin Sea Grant and project team member, said, “There is growing interest in nature-based shorelines in the Great Lakes. We are eager to explore what types of these features can work at these sites and hopefully bolster their use in the region.”

Tryon-Petith said the project team met recently with community members in Mequon and Concordia University. “People were excited about moving forward – about what they could do or how we could work with each other, rather than lingering on what happened in the past. So, I’m optimistic about that.”

The goal of this project is not to actually build erosion-control structures but to identify which ones would work in different locations along the lake. Then, communities could seek funding for building them and implementing other erosion control measures.

“The dream is that we’re able to approach changing shorelines better,” said Tryon-Petith. “Erosion is such a behemoth of an issue. I’m starting to feel very excited working to find ways to tackle shoreline erosion around the lake. It’s not going to be the same solution everywhere . . . It’s very special to work on this issue with colleagues from Michigan and Illinois-Indiana. You can tell this isn’t a chore for them. This is clearly a passion for everyone involved.”

Read more details about the work going on in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan by following the links.

Other project personnel include Todd Breiby and Kate Angel with the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program; Pengfei Xue, Michigan Technological University; Sean Vitousek, United States Geological Survey; Stuart Carlton and Aaron Thompson, Purdue University; Mark Breederland, Michigan Sea Grant; and Sarah Peterson, Boyuan Lu, Yuli Liu and Josh Anderson with the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Additional funding is being provided by the Michigan Coastal Management Program and a NOAA Coastal Resilience grant.

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Marie Zhuikov

Plastic pollution at the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area on Lake Erie demonstrates the problem of marine debris in the Great Lakes. Image credit: NOAA

Wisconsin Sea Grant is leading one of six projects recently funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program. The projects, announced today, focus on preventing the introduction of marine debris (trash, fishing gear and microplastics) into coastal and Great Lakes environments.

Wisconsin’s project is, “The Play’s the Thing: Using Drama as an Introduction to Marine Debris Prevention and Meaningful Stewardship Experiences.” Led by Ginny Carlton with help from Anne Moser and Jim Hurley, the project will harness the power of storytelling to engage, educate and inspire performing artists and community members to be committed stewards of their Great Lakes watershed.

The team will work with the American Players Theater to pilot a theatrical piece about marine debris science to educate and motivate change in two Lake Michigan communities (Racine and Egg Harbor, Wisconsin). In addition to the performance, the project includes marine debris prevention workshops, cleanup events, and public outreach and education activities. The script from the play will be available for use for Great Lakes education after the project is completed.

The other five projects are coming from Sea Grant programs in Florida, Georgia, Hawai’i, Illinois-Indiana and Puerto Rico. They were awarded $300,000 in federal funds, matched by nonfederal contributions, bringing the total investment to approximately $600,000. The activities begin this summer and continue for up to two years.

See the full list of projects.

“The continued effort between Sea Grant and the Marine Debris Program leverages the strengths of both programs to effectively address marine debris challenges nationwide,” said National Sea Grant College Program director Jonathan Pennock. “We look forward to seeing these new and creative strategies for marine debris prevention.”

This is the second year that Sea Grant and the Marine Debris Program offered a joint funding opportunity. Projects funded in the first year were aimed at reducing marine debris across the U.S.

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Marie Zhuikov

Natalie Chin, Wisconsin Sea Grant’s Climate and Tourism Outreach Specialist based in Superior, was recently appointed by Governor Tony Evers to the Wisconsin Council on Tourism.

“We’re working to make sure our state and our economy continue to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, and the Wisconsin Council on Tourism will play an important role in advising the Secretary of the Department of Tourism in the weeks and months ahead,” said Governor Evers. “Our tourism industry and workforce are a critical part of our state’s economy, and I’m proud of the work we’ve done through my first two budgets and targeted federal assistance to help support tourism in Wisconsin and ensure this industry can bounce back from this pandemic.”

Natalie Chin. Image credit: Bonnie Willison, Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Chin works on issues related to climate change, tourism and outdoor recreation within the context of the sustainable use of the Great Lakes. She also serves as one of the North Central Region representatives for the National Extension Tourism Network; is co-leading the Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Working Group for the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts; and is a member of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion Committee.

“It’s truly an honor to be appointed to the council,” Chin said. “The Great Lakes are a key part of the state’s tourism industry and will certainly play an important role in its recovery. I can’t wait to contribute to the council’s efforts to support and advise the Department of Tourism.”

Evers also appointed three others to the Wisconsin Council on Tourism:

  • Mary McPhetridge (Reappointment) is the Executive Director of the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce. A pillar of the Wisconsin tourism industry for more than 20 years, she serves in multiple leadership roles locally and with the state. In addition to serving on the Council on Tourism, she currently serves on the state’s marketing committee. Prior to her current role, Mary taught Hospitality Management classes for technical college and high school students and served as Executive Rooms Director at the Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club.
  • Dr. Robert “Bert” Davis, DVM (Reappointment) is the President and CEO of America’s Black Holocaust Museum in Milwaukee and serves as a board member at the Association of African American Museums. Davis also serves as the principal of DRMD Strategies LLC, a nonprofit strategic consulting firm with expertise in the areas of diversity, equity, collaborative alliances, communications, animal health and diversity, inclusion planning and implementation, and is the former President and CEO of the Zoological Society of Milwaukee. Dr. Davis is a co-chair of the Department’s Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion committee. 
     
  • Denise Stillman (New Member) is the co-owner of Foremost Management Services, Inc., a hospitality consulting firm in Door County, and the co-owner/operator of Parkwood Lodge in Fish Creek.  Denise has been active in Door County tourism for over 30 years.  She is a past Chair and Board member of the Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association and currently serves as the Board President of Visit Fish Creek.

The 21-member council, which includes 14 gubernatorial appointees and 7 ex-officio members, represents varied geography and wide-ranging expertise that includes, but is not limited to, recreation and attraction business owners, hospitality and service industry business owners, convention and visitor bureaus, economic development specialists, industry thought leaders, legislators and leaders of arts, historic and cultural destinations. Despite the pandemic, the tourism industry supported more than 157,000 jobs and drove $17.3 billion in total business sales in 2020.

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Marie Zhuikov

It’s a thin volume with a worldwide span. In 2020, we sent out a call for river poems for The River Talks speaker series we hold with the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve. Poets were offered the opportunity to read their poems via Zoom during one of the River Talk monthly presentations.

Poets from across the world responded. With help from a judging committee, we narrowed the pool to a dozen poets, who read their works in March 2021 in conjunction with the St. Louis River Summit. The event was so moving, and the poems so well received, we created a publication to showcase them. “A River of Poems,” is now available as a free download.

In “I Held Us on for 36 Hours After the Levee Broke to Hell,” Heather Dobbins tells the story of a family who spends the night atop a phone pole to escape a raging river.

In “Catching Your Drift,” Lorraine Lamey highlights the subtle humor in natural resource regulations for a river in Montana.

Poet Ron Riekki shares how water can be an antidote for PTSD from war in “It Took a Long Time to Discover.”

A river in Detroit burns in Derold Sligh’s “Rouge River” poem, heralding a cry for environmental and social justice.

Download the book here.

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Marie Zhuikov

Olivia Dachel, a Merrill High School teacher who is active in Wisconsin Sea Grant educational programs, has again put knowledge she gained through Sea Grant to help her students succeed. Her team of students took home the Judges’ Choice Best Tabletop System Design Award in the 2021 Aquaculture Challenge competition cosponsored by Lake Superior State University in Sault St. Marie, Michigan, and Michigan Sea Grant.

Drew Polak sits next to his team’s award-winning aquaponics system. Image credit: Olivia Dachel

Three of the team members were part of a team that won two awards in last year’s competition. They were team captain Drew Polak, a senior who plans to attend the University of Wisconsin-Platteville for engineering after he graduates; Brendan Blystone, a sophomore who developed the system’s automated monitoring coding; and Teeny, a goldfish who represented an aquaculture fish species.

The students were challenged to create a small-scale aquaponics system, which included developing a way to monitor system parameters such as air and water temperature, luminosity and soil moisture. They also developed an action plan to help ensure the business succeeds.

Their system featured a self-contained aquaponics unit in a sleek countertop cabinet with a built-in 10-gallon aquarium. The adjacent gardening system was accented with grow lights and a mounted touch-screen tablet for system monitoring.

“They really upgraded the automated monitoring system this year,” Dachel said. “I was so impressed with it!”

Aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture, which is growing fish and other aquatic animals, and hydroponics, which is growing plants without soil. To be successful, an aquaponics unit must carefully balance nutrients, fish, bacteria and plants. Anything out of balance will cause the system to collapse. (A video produced by Sea Grant presents one of these systems.)

The Merrill team competed against 19 others from across the Midwest, totaling over 300 students in grades 9-12. The team benefitted from information provided by the Sea Grant-sponsored Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility.

“They provided a virtual tour, plus schematics and baseline information that the students needed,” Dachel said.

The pandemic provided challenges to the team last year. This year was no different.

“If anything, it offered even more challenges,” Dachel said. “Even though we could have been face-to-face, due to student options for attending school at home or in a hybrid fashion, and due to the number of quarantines and health factors, it was very difficult to get students to meet in person to discuss the project. Most of the work occurred at home in separate areas or in the classroom at separate times when others weren’t around. When you’re working on circuitry, that’s pretty difficult.”

However, something must have gone right, given the team’s outcome. Just think what they could do if they were all together.

Oh, and Teeny? He now lives at home with Dachel.

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Marie Zhuikov

This summer on Bradford Beach in Milwaukee, swimmers might notice people in light blue T-shirts pushing an ice cream cart across the sand. Instead of frozen treats, the cart contains brochures and other information that beachgoers need to keep safe.

This cart, filled with water safety information, is a centerpiece of the new Beach Ambassador program on Bradford Beach in Milwaukee. Image credit: Deidre Peroff, Wisconsin Sea Grant

The cart is part of a new Beach Ambassador Pilot Project run by Wisconsin Sea Grant, Milwaukee Water Commons, Milwaukee Riverkeeper, Coastline Services LLC and the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center. These organizations created the project in response to four drownings that occurred on McKinley Beach in Milwaukee in 2020, and an increase in beachgoers because of the pandemic.

“Obviously, there were not that many things to do during the pandemic, so a lot more people were getting outside and utilizing the beach,” said Deidre Peroff, Wisconsin Sea Grant’s social science outreach specialist. “People were coming from all different backgrounds and different levels of swimming knowledge and competency, so it was just really risky.”

Peroff said there was a lifeguard shortage last year and that this year, in 2021, there are no lifeguards on Milwaukee beaches. This makes the Beach Ambassador project even more relevant. She explained the project is not designed to replace lifeguards, “But just to provide education and information for people so that they can protect themselves, and then, hopefully, share that information with others. There’s also a social justice element to it because all four people who drowned at McKinley Beach last year were African American.”

This project supports Peroff’s ongoing work to address racial disparities around swimming in Milwaukee and providing access to more opportunities for people to have meaningful experiences with water.

With funding from a National Sea Grant Covid 19 Pandemic Relief Social Justice grant that was matched by Milwaukee Water Commons, three beach ambassadors were hired as well as an intern. The ambassadors are walking Bradford Beach in teams with their cart each Thursday through Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day in 2021. (McKinley Beach is closed.) They inform people about topics related to water safety such as water quality conditions, rip currents, dehydration and hypothermia. The ambassadors encourage them to check the Milwaukee County Parks Weather and Beach Conditions website for more information and also let them know where safety equipment is located on the beach, should it be needed.

Jumana Tanner and Deidre Peroff. Image credit: Deidre Peroff, Wisconsin Sea Grant

Jumana Tanner is the intern Peroff hired for the Beach Ambassador project. A sophomore enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying marine biology, Tanner is excited about spending time on the beach several days each week.

“I’m definitely getting a lot of hands-on experience with people. There’s a lot of networking and interactions with the public and strategizing how to effectively communicate about science. I have realized it doesn’t matter how much knowledge I might have – being able to effectively communicate that with people makes a greater difference,” Tanner said.

Tanner was thankful for the extensive training she received leading up to her posting as a beach ambassador. She said the ambassadors learned about dangerous currents, E. coli testing and drowning statistics. They also practiced various educational scenarios for interacting with the public.

With her colorful headscarf and heart-shaped sunglasses, Tanner cuts an unusual and enthusiastic figure on the beach. Besides providing beach information, she sees her internship as an opportunity to show people her character and Muslim culture, as well as furthering her career goals.

“I try to match my scarf with something else on me like jewelry or my shoes. When I come up to people with my bubbly personality, they get that color coordination to match with it. I use it to show people what my personality’s like and that I’m not intimidating. They shouldn’t be scared of me.

“My ultimate career goal is to effectively communicate with people about discoveries in our water. Our water is our greatest resource and it’s not being taken care of the way it takes care of us. That’s an issue for the future,” Tanner said.

Besides walking the beach, Tanner is helping to evaluate the project to shape it for possible future use at additional beaches. After each engagement with the public, the ambassadors write down what kind of information they provided and how people reacted.

Peroff said she’s not sure what the next steps will be for this unique program. “We’ll see how it goes and see if people are finding it valuable and go from there.”

The Beach Ambassadors and their mentors. From left to right, back row: Jumana Tanner, Deidre Peroff, Dylan Tripler, Jacob Donovan, Stephanie Alvarez, Teresa Coronado. Front: Lloyd Seawright, Cesar Castillo. Image credit: Deidre Peroff, Wisconsin Sea Grant

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Marie Zhuikov

The brains behind the SeaCavesWatch.org website have developed a new website that offers real-time wave condition information for the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Lake Superior. Before venturing onto the lake, paddlers and boaters should check WISC-Watch (https://go.wisc.edu/7y2x4o), which stands for Water Information for a Safe Coast Watch. The WISC-Watch site provides information from seven spotter buoys recently deployed throughout the islands, plus Chequamegon Bay near Ashland and Siskiwit Bay near Cornucopia. The buoys monitor wave height, water temperature and wind information.

Lynne Dominy. Image credit: National Park Service

“Apostle Islands National Lakeshore offers world-class sea kayaking and sailing in a remote environment,” said Lynne Dominy, park superintendent. “But treacherous waves and frigid water temperatures can imperil boaters. We hope boaters will use this system to assess current conditions and to make good decisions before venturing out on Lake Superior.”

The site was developed as part of a yearlong project by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Wisconsin Sea Grant with advice from the National Park Service and the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program.

Chin Wu, project leader and a professor in the UW-Madison Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, said spotter buoys were deployed in mid-June at the mainland sea caves, Sand Island, Devil’s Island, Stockton Island and southeast of Madeline Island, in addition to Chequamegon Bay and Siskiwit Bay.

“Besides the mainland sea caves, real-time measurements of wave heights and water temperatures have never been provided at these locations before,” Wu said. “The data we collect will also help us make nearshore wave and current forecast models operational.”

Next summer, a team led by Natalie Chin, Wisconsin Sea Grant climate and tourism outreach specialist, and Todd Breiby with the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, will conduct a public survey to assess and evaluate the best ways to communicate real-time wave information. This could lead to refinements to the website and buoy locations.

Sarah Peterson, a Ph.D. student at UW-Madison, holds one of the spotter sensors deployed in the Apostle Islands for the WISC-Watch Project. Image credit: Chin Wu

Water conditions around the 22 Apostle Islands vary dramatically due to sheltering effects from the archipelago and rapidly changing winds and fast-moving storms. Recent boating accidents are an unpleasant reminder of the dangers. Under certain conditions, freak waves, which can tower more than 10-feet tall, or unexpected dangerous currents can also occur.

The WISC-Watch Project was funded by the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, Wisconsin Sea Grant and the UW-Madison Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Other project partners include the National Park Service, the National Weather Service in Duluth, the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, the cities of Bayfield and Ashland, Northland College, the Lake Superior Nearshore Working Group, the Friends of the Apostle Islands and local outfitters.

Additional team members include Mike Friis with the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, Jim Hurley and Marie Zhuikov with Wisconsin Sea Grant, Julie Van Stappen and Karl Carlson with the National Park Service, Josh Anderson with UW-Madison, and Mary Monroe Brown and Julieann Fox with Travel Wisconsin.

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Marie Zhuikov

Anne Moser. Credit: Wisconsin Sea Grant

Anne Moser, our senior special librarian and education coordinator, is participating in a conversation about the Great Lakes with several others in Door County on July 2. Organized by Write On, Door County, the in-person conversation about how the arts and science intersect is part of a book tour for Moheb Solimon’s poetry collection book, “Homes.”

Joined by fish biologist Mark Holey, the trio will present, “The Great Lakes: Why we love them and why we need to protect them.” It will be held from 10-11:30 a.m. at the Door County Maritime Museum. For more details, please access this event announcement.

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Marie Zhuikov

Dangerous currents can be caused by winds and waves on beaches and often form around islands or piers, as well. They are a hidden but lethal hazard. Across the Great Lakes, an average of 11 drownings and 23 rescues happen related to dangerous currents every year.

This is the spotter sensor (right) that was deployed off Park Point recently for the Dangerous Currents Project. Image credit: Jerry Henneck, Natural Resources Research Institute

Local water researchers studying dangerous currents want the public to know they’ll be active on the Lake Superior beaches of Park Point this summer. One of their activities in July will turn the lake water a fluorescent yellow green with a nontoxic dye to trace water currents as part of a safety project to predict dangerous currents. Research equipment will also be deployed into swimming waters off the shore. A spotter sensor (a buoy that measures waves and temperature) was deployed last week off Park Point, and a GPS drifter tracker will go in the water in July.

Chin Wu, one of the lead researchers with the project and a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, explains what the research activities will entail. “The spotter sensor is a basketball-sized, solar-powered yellow buoy that will be anchored. The GPS drifter tracker looks rather like a red post floating upright in the water. It will be drifting with the current. We’d appreciate it if the public would allow the equipment to operate. We plan to release the dye after a storm. It’s the same type used by the military to spot downed pilots in the ocean or track leaks in sewer pipes. It’s nontoxic and disperses within 45 minutes.”

The project involves a team of personnel in Wisconsin and Minnesota who are working to better understand and characterize dangerous currents along Lake Superior’s South Shore, improve the ability to predict when and where they will form, and develop a framework for public safety warnings and education programs. The project is focusing on six locations: three on Park Point, and one each in Port Wing, the Apostle Islands and Chequamegon Bay.

While on the beach this summer, Park Point beachgoers might also notice signs requesting them to take a survey. Results of this survey will be used to guide water safety efforts in the future.

Funding for the project is provided by the Wisconsin and Minnesota Sea Grant programs. Other partners include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service, the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory; the University of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota Duluth, the Natural Resources Research Institute and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

A GPS drifter tracker in Lake Superior. Image credit: Jerry Henneck, Natural Resources Research Institute

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Marie Zhuikov

Amy Wolf speaks during the Wequiock Creek Natural Area gathering. Image credit: Daniel Meinhardt

This spring, a small but dedicated group of people gathered in the woods near the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay campus to commemorate restoration efforts that are beginning on the Wequiock Creek Natural Area.

Contributing to the restoration is Stephanie Dodge (formerly Stephanie King), a First Nations graduate assistant with Wisconsin Sea Grant. Dodge, an enrolled Oneida Nation Member, is incorporating Indigenous oral histories into work on the Wequiock Creek wetlands. The area is ancestral lands for the Ho-Chunk Nation, Menominee Nation, and Potawatomi, as well.

During the gathering of First Nations folks, Dodge listened to the group’s ideas, thoughts and feelings about what the wetlands means to them. Along with restoration team partners at the UW-Green Bay Cofrin Center for Biodiversity, Dodge shared intentions and goals for the land.

The gathering opened with a tobacco offering and Menominee prayer by David Grignon, tribal historic preservation officer with the Menominee Indian Tribe.

David Grignon and Stephanie Dodge. Image credit: Daniel Meinhardt

“It is my hope that good things happen at the site and a natural ecosystem can be developed and maintained,” Grignon said.

Dodge obtained the tobacco from a garden center near Wequiock Creek. The owners are friends of her mentor, Julia Noordyk, Wisconsin Sea Grant water quality and coastal communities outreach specialist. Dodge traded white corn flour products for it. Trading versus buying the tobacco is another example of incorporating traditional ways.

The group then toured the area and continued their discussions. The east shore of Green Bay, which includes Point au Sable, Wequiock Creek and Red Banks, remains a significant area for First Nations, who have been connected to this land for millennia.

“We hope this is just one of more gatherings and conversations to come,” said Bobbie Webster, natural areas ecologist for the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity.

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Marie Zhuikov

Back in 2004, when I worked for Minnesota Sea Grant, I was part of an effort to eradicate “feral” goldfish that had been flourishing in a pond on the University of Minnesota Duluth campus. The two-acre Rock Pond drained into a trout stream, which led to Lake Superior. Although it’s unlikely the goldfish would have survived in Lake Superior, they are illegal to release into waterways, and it’s not a good idea to have them swimming around in trout streams or a Great Lake.

After considering all options, a plan was put into place to drain the pond and compost the goldfish. At that same time, we were in the middle of developing “Habitattitude,” a national educational campaign that sought to prevent the release of aquarium and water garden fish and plants. Developed by Sea Grant, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council and involving large aquarium fish retailers such as PetCo, Wal-Mart and others, the campaign is still active today.

We decided Rock Pond would make a perfect pilot test of the new campaign logo and messages. After all, we didn’t want to clean up the pond only to have goldfish find their mysterious way back into it. For several years, we targeted the college students a few weeks before they left for the summer with emails, fliers in residence halls, and signs near the pond offering information about alternatives to releasing their unwanted pets.

It seemed to work well. As far as I know, the pond has not been infested with goldfish since. But I suppose you’re wondering why I referenced “murder” in the title of this story. Well, let me tell you a story behind the story.

After Rock Pond was drained, my supervisor at the time, Minnesota Sea Grant Assistant Director Jeff Gunderson, was back in his office looking over photos he took. He noticed something strange. He called me and our invasive species coordinator, Doug Jensen, into his office. He enlarged a section of a photo that seemed to show something white in the bottom of the pond.

“What does this look like to you?” Gunderson asked.

Jensen and I looked at the image and then looked at each other in disbelief. “That looks like a human skull!” I said.

We examined the image some more and came to consensus that yes, it very well could be a skull, half-buried in the mud.

Adrenaline coursed through my Sea Grant science communicator’s heart. We could have a murder mystery on our hands. Murder, combined with aquatic invasive species, what a wonderous and newsworthy combination!

What happened after that is a bit blurry in my memory, but I think we alerted the campus police and Gunderson sent them the photo. They investigated quickly. The result? Yes, it was a skull . . .

BUT, it was a plastic skull – like one a person would use for Halloween or some sort of occult ritual. (It had symbols carved into it.)

We were a bit deflated by the news, but also happy that no one had met their demise in the pond with the goldfishes.

It just goes to show that even with projects as routine as combatting invasive species, exciting things can happen.

The post Murder and Aquatic Invasive Species? first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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Marie Zhuikov

Prarthana Shankar gets around, and it’s all in the name of science. She has moved from tropical southern India, to California, to Oregon. Her next stop? The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Great Lakes Toxicology and Ecology Division in Duluth, Minnesota.

Shankar is one of the latest fellows in a partnership with the EPA, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and its Aquatic Sciences Center. The goal of the three-year U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Human Health and the Environment Research Fellows program is to train the next generation of scientists in environmental and ecosystem health. Shankar’s position will last two years.

Along with her EPA mentors Gary Ankley and Dan Villeneuve, Shankar has been working from her home in Oregon since May to understand the risks that per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) pose to freshwater fish and ecosystems. She plans to use fathead minnows and zebrafish in her studies.

Prarthana Shankar, submitted photo.

“In the past few weeks, I’ve developed an interest in understanding the thyroid system,” Shankar said. “PFAS have been shown to have negative effects on the thyroid system, so I’ll be testing that and also seeing if they have higher-level impacts such as on the growth of the fishes.”

PFAS are a class of chemicals of emerging concern. PFAS exposure is linked to human health concerns, including compromised immunity, low birth weight, endocrine disruption and cancer. These chemicals get into the environment from sources like firefighting foam and industrial processes.

Shankar credits her dentist father for her love of science. “He was the kind of person who would look through my school biology books and talk to me about the concepts,” she said.

After growing up in India, Shankar had an opportunity to come to the U.S. to study, which she did. It was then she realized she loved the environment and wanted to be involved in ecological research. She eventually enrolled in California State University-Fullerton, where she majored in biology with a minor in chemistry.

While there, she was chosen for the Southern California Ecosystems Research Program (SCERP), which allows scholars to work on independent projects and present their work at conferences, concluding with a thesis.

“The SCERP program is what really got me into doing research and gave me my first experience in a lab setting,” Shankar said.

Shankar then moved onto Oregon State University in Corvallis, where she completed her Ph.D. program earlier this year. She studied the effects of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (a class of chemicals that occur naturally in substances such as coal, oil and gas) on zebrafish.

Due to the pandemic, she has not moved to the EPA office in Duluth yet, but looks forward to it in a few months. She has even learned how to cross-county ski in preparation. “This postdoc position is the perfect opportunity to combine my work with my passion for the environment. Corvallis is the coldest place I’ve lived up until now. Moving to Duluth is going to be an adventure!”

The post EPA Fellow’s world travels lead to Duluth first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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Marie Zhuikov

With a master’s degree already under her belt, Sally Mayasich had worked as an environmental consultant for three companies: “One went bankrupt, the other downsized and in another, I was working part time and not making much money, so I decided I had to do something different,” Mayasich said.

Sally Mayasich. (Submitted photo)

At an age when most people are comfortably ensconced in their careers, Mayasich enrolled in the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) to earn her Ph.D. Her work paid off and now she is one of the latest fellows in a partnership between the Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Toxicology and Ecology Division in Duluth, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and its Aquatic Sciences Center. The goal of the three-year U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Human Health and the Environment Research Fellows program is to train the next generation of scientists in environmental and ecosystem health.

Mayasich’s mentor is Carlie LaLone. They are working with others in the “fathead minnow group” to protect human health and the environment by evaluating the safety of chemicals. They are looking at the effects of chemicals across species, from humans to frogs, to fish, to insects. Using bioinformatics and computer molecular models, they can predict how sensitive a particular species might be to pesticides or other potentially harmful chemicals.

Mayasich explained, “If you have wetlands near a farm field and frogs live in the wetland, and the frogs are more sensitive to a particular pesticide, this knowledge helps regulators consider whether to restrict use of that pesticide in that area. Some people in our group are working on a new group of pesticides called neonicotinoids. They can affect bees. Making sure that we understand how these pesticides affect pollinators is important because pollination by bees is a huge part of our natural ecosystems and also the economics of farming. If you don’t have pollinators, you won’t have crops.”

Mayasich grew up on the Iron Range in Northern Minnesota. She credits time at her family’s cabin on Lake Vermilion for her love of science and nature. “We caught frogs and snakes and did all that kind of stuff when we were kids,” she said. Following in the footsteps of her older sister, Mayasich went to Bemidji State University and earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental studies. She continued her education at the University of Maryland, where she earned her master’s in marine and estuarine environmental science.

After her eventful time in the workforce, Mayasich was accepted into the Integrated Biosciences Program at UMD where she studied sea lamprey hormones, specifically, vasotocin – the lamprey equivalent of the human “love hormone,” oxytocin. She investigated whether the genes in lamprey that control the vasotocin system work in the same way as the oxytocin system in mammals.

“Even the parts that turn the vasotocin gene on and off are similar in lamprey to those in mammals. It’s pretty well-conserved over evolutionary time,” Mayasich said.

Mayasich said she would not change the path she took to obtain her degree. “I’m still very excited about having gone back to school and starting an entire new chapter in my life. Even though I’m not going to have another 30 or 40 years to my career, I’d like to think that what I’m doing in the moment is important. The work I’ve published wouldn’t have been done without me, and it’s being cited by other researchers. That wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t gone back to school. I’m very happy to be able to contribute to scientific progress.”

The post Nontraditional student is latest EPA fellow first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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Marie Zhuikov

With a master’s degree already under her belt, Sally Mayasich had worked as an environmental consultant for three companies: “One went bankrupt, the other downsized and in another, I was working part time and not making much money, so I decided I had to do something different,” Mayasich said.

Sally Mayasich. (Submitted photo)

At an age when most people are comfortably ensconced in their careers, Mayasich enrolled in the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) to earn her Ph.D. Her work paid off and now she is one of the latest fellows in a partnership between the Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Toxicology and Ecology Division in Duluth, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and its Aquatic Sciences Center. The goal of the three-year U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Human Health and the Environment Research Fellows program is to train the next generation of scientists in environmental and ecosystem health.

Mayasich’s mentor is Carlie LaLone. They are working with others in the “fathead minnow group” to protect human health and the environment by evaluating the safety of chemicals. They are looking at the effects of chemicals across species, from humans to frogs, to fish, to insects. Using bioinformatics and computer molecular models, they can predict how sensitive a particular species might be to pesticides or other potentially harmful chemicals.

Mayasich explained, “If you have wetlands near a farm field and frogs live in the wetland, and the frogs are more sensitive to a particular pesticide, this knowledge helps regulators consider whether to restrict use of that pesticide in that area. Some people in our group are working on a new group of pesticides called neonicotinoids. They can affect bees. Making sure that we understand how these pesticides affect pollinators is important because pollination by bees is a huge part of our natural ecosystems and also the economics of farming. If you don’t have pollinators, you won’t have crops.”

Mayasich grew up on the Iron Range in Northern Minnesota. She credits time at her family’s cabin on Lake Vermilion for her love of science and nature. “We caught frogs and snakes and did all that kind of stuff when we were kids,” she said. Following in the footsteps of her older sister, Mayasich went to Bemidji State University and earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental studies. She continued her education at the University of Maryland, where she earned her master’s in marine and estuarine environmental science.

After her eventful time in the workforce, Mayasich was accepted into the Integrated Biosciences Program at UMD where she studied sea lamprey hormones, specifically, vasotocin – the lamprey equivalent of the human “love hormone,” oxytocin. She investigated whether the genes in lamprey that control the vasotocin system work in the same way as the oxytocin system in mammals.

“Even the parts that turn the vasotocin gene on and off are similar in lamprey to those in mammals. It’s pretty well-conserved over evolutionary time,” Mayasich said.

Mayasich said she would not change the path she took to obtain her degree. “I’m still very excited about having gone back to school and starting an entire new chapter in my life. Even though I’m not going to have another 30 or 40 years to my career, I’d like to think that what I’m doing in the moment is important. The work I’ve published wouldn’t have been done without me, and it’s being cited by other researchers. That wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t gone back to school. I’m very happy to be able to contribute to scientific progress.”

The post Nontraditional student is latest EPA fellow first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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Marie Zhuikov

The North Beach area in Racine features several coastal engineering structures and a popular beach that will offer learning opportunities for middle-school students in the community. Image credit: David Mickelson, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program

When Adam Bechle, Wisconsin Sea Grant’s coastal engineering outreach specialist, was growing up in Green Bay, he did not feel connected to Lake Michigan. When he visited the shore during rare school field trips, he enjoyed the outings but there was no one who could tell him how waves worked or why the dike he was sitting on was built.

So, when Sea Grant senior special librarian and education coordinator, Anne Moser, approached Bechle about a project designed to connect middle-school students to their watershed by exploring coastal engineering concepts, he thought it was a great opportunity.

The two wrote a proposal to the Great Lakes Region Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) program, through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which funds projects that encourage “meaningful watershed educational experiences” for K-12 students and their teachers. Their 17-month pilot project, “Coastal Engineering Education: People, Place and Practice,” was funded through a competitive process and begins soon.

Moser said their Great Lakes B-WET project is unique. “This place-based approach to watershed learning is innovative in its use of coastal engineering as an educational framework to engage students. The other thing that struck the funders was that the project is focused not only on the place and the practice of coastal engineering, but also on the people. It was important for us to include career pathways that introduce students to a variety of coastal engineering, green infrastructure and healthy beach management careers.”

Bechle and Moser plan to work with seventh-grade students and at least four teachers in the Racine Unified School District. Bechle explained that they chose Racine for several reasons. “Racine got hit by a big storm in January of 2020 that did a lot of damage on the lakefront, plus high water levels have been causing problems at North Beach. It’s being inundated frequently and there’s standing water at times. So, there’s ongoing engineering work happening there. We also have a good relationship with the city of Racine, specifically, their public health department. They’ve done great work to bring their beaches up to outstanding water quality and have nature-based features that help with filtering stormwater.”

Crew leaders and a crew supervisor (right) with the Great Lakes Community Conservation Corps measure the width of North Beach. Image credit: Anne Moser

Also in Racine is Chris Litzau, president of the Great Lakes Community Conservation Corps (CCC), an organization that trains and educates disadvantaged populations in Racine with outdoor projects reminiscent of those conducted by the original Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Litzau’s group has been working with seventh graders in Racine over the past five years on a healthy beaches project on North Beach. The wide sandy beach can average over 1,000 visitors per month during summer. Numerous rock breakwaters, jetties and revetments lie south of the beach and offer examples of erosion and sediment movement.

The new project is multi-faceted and also involves Sea Grant staffers Natalie Chin and Ginny Carlson. In a nutshell, the team will meet with the school district to discuss its needs, create a five-lesson coastal engineering curriculum, bring the curriculum to teachers and to Great Lakes CCC crew leaders through workshops so that they can then teach their students, and work with the students to develop North Beach stewardship projects that use coastal engineering practices. Throughout the project, the students will also have the chance to be mentored by working engineers and other professionals who reflect the rich diversity of their community.

After evaluating how the project proceeds and is received, Bechle and Moser will make the curriculum available for use in other locations and school districts around the Great Lakes through the Center for Great Lakes Literacy. The Great Lakes CCC will be able to absorb the lesson into their regular programming.

Moser expects some challenges in developing the project curriculum. “We really have to start from scratch,” she said. “We need to pick Adam’s brain and take all the great work he’s done and somehow figure out how to engage the kids in a pretty technical field. It’s an exciting opportunity.”

What might the beach stewardship projects entail? Bechle said students could help with protecting fragile dune systems, reducing stormwater runoff, or even by developing social media campaigns to share the issues they learn about through the project. “There’s plenty of ideas where we can connect kids to the beach,” he said.

Readers who are connected to the engineering field and are interested in helping the project can contact Anne Moser. She said they are looking for mentors from Racine, Kenosha or even Milwaukee.

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Marie Zhuikov

People gathered on Wisconsin Point to learn about the Ojibwe history of the area. Image credit: Michael Anderson

With the cool blue of Lake Superior and soft sloshing waves as a background, The River Talks season ended on a Wisconsin Point beach after a year of virtual presentations. Thomas Howes, natural resources manager with the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa presented, “Ojibwe connection to Wisconsin Point: Past, present and future,” to an audience of about 75, who enjoyed a warm evening.

Howes said the circumstances that brought the Ojibwe to Wisconsin Point were complicated. “This place has been important to who we are as Fond du Lac people, but also this region was important to expansion of trade. You couldn’t get to the Mississippi River very easily in those days. This was Highway 35 back then. All the goods coming from out East came through the lake, through here and up the river,” he said.

Thomas Howes. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant

Howes described how the Ojibwe fought with the Dakota people over this area because of its strategic location. White settlers and business owners also coveted Wisconsin Point. According to the “Duluth News Tribune,” the federal government owned the end of the point since 1901, when it condemned nearly 45 acres. In 1918, the Ojibwe lost more land on the point in a legal dispute with the Interstate Railroad Co., when a small village was forcibly moved and a nearby Ojibwe burial ground was bulldozed, with remains reburied at a Superior cemetery.

“A lot of painful things happened here,” Howes said. “A lot of beautiful things, too. This place is taking care of us. All of us who are from here, it’s all part of you. All the fish that came from here, all the berries, maple syrup, manoomin, all that is part of us.”

Thirteen acres at the end of the point where the Superior Entry connects the harbor with Lake Superior, became available when the U.S. Army declared it surplus property in 2002. Howes said the tribe received the property in 2017. It includes structures previously used by the University of Wisconsin-Superior as research facilities and by the Coast Guard.

“It needs some work. The whole area just needs some love. It’s overrun and has way too many chain-link fences. There’s a lot of opportunity there. It’s a huge thing to regain that territory; it’s symbolic,” Howes said.

He recently completed a project for his master’s degree at the University of Minnesota Duluth where he developed a stewardship plan for the 13-acre parcel. When asked what ideas are in his plan he joked, “There won’t be any casinos!” But he did mention development of some sort of visitation center, efforts to manage invasive plants and to restore the ecology. He said he has handed the plan over to the tribal government for consideration.

His plan’s main goal is for the area to remain intact and natural. “The fact that it’s stayed this way is pretty amazing,” Howes said.

He also thinks the tribe should own the Ojibwe Cemetery land so that it can protect it. He cited a recent incident where people involved in a medallion hunt dug in the burial grounds while on their search.

He also said the band is interested in having “the area from the lake all the way up the river to the reservation to be considered a cultural corridor. Because it is. When there are undertakings that are significant, they should be monitored for archeological resources and reasons. This is a really rich region archeologically and it should be respected.”

The River Talks series will be taking a break for the summer. Look for talks to begin again in fall. To receive email notifications about the series, please contact organizer Marie Zhuikov at mzhuikov@aqua.wisc.edu.

The lighthouse on Wisconsin Point. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant

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Marie Zhuikov

The John D. Leitch, a self-discharging bulk carrier vessel, makes its way through the Duluth-Superior Harbor in 2012. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant

A preponderance of climate studies on the Great Lakes predict a trend toward reduced ice cover. Ice is expected to form later and melt earlier. With Wisconsin Sea Grant funding, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Superior (UWS) are looking into how this might impact the shipping industry on the Great Lakes.

Richard Stewart, director of the Transportation and Logistics Research Center at UWS, is undertaking the yearlong study with Daniel Rust, UWS assistant professor of transportation and logistics. To begin, they conducted a literature review of Great Lakes climate studies on ice cover.

“By the year 2050, which is only 30 years away, there are expectations that there will be relatively little ice on the Great Lakes that will impede the navigation of vessels,” Stewart said.

Richard Stewart. Image credit: University of Wisconsin-Superior

By collecting data on cargo movements from lake carriers along with data on the ship types and carrying capacities, they will create models that can be used by commercial ports and shipping companies. They plan to look at three main cargoes: taconite, coal and limestone, developing models first for a single vessel, then for a fleet and determining the operational and economic impacts if the shipping season is extended by 20 days. They will also conduct another analysis for a 50-day extension of the shipping season.

Stewart explains, “Say that with the existing fleet of ships, how many ships would be needed to carry that same amount of cargo if they could operate – instead of nine months per year – 10 months, 11 months and 12 months? If that cargo pie doesn’t grow bigger, we believe our research will indicate a need for fewer ships.”

A longer shipping season with fewer ships could have far-reaching ramifications, especially in Wisconsin, which is one of the nation’s largest shipbuilding and ship-repair sites. Taconite, coal and limestone terminals may no longer need to store large buffer stocks of their products to carry them through the winter since they might be able to operate year-round. Ship maintenance usually takes place during winter when ice impedes navigation. Maintenance work could switch to a short two-week period because the ships might be operating year-round. That’s what oceangoing ships do.

Daniel Rust. Image credit: University of Wisconsin-Superior

In fact, Stewart and Rust are looking to the Baltic Region shipping industry for guidance. “It has a similar geographic size to the Great Lakes and the same issues with ice,” Stewart said. “They operate year-round and move cargoes. We’ve visited the Baltic for preliminary research. We’re looking to see if there are similar cargoes and trade patterns that might have applicability on the Great Lakes.”

Stewart and Rust will also assess what opportunities may arise for new cargoes if the shipping season is extended by 20 days and 50 days. It could be that some commodities would move from rail and truck transport to vessel transport, instead.

Deb DeLuca, director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, expects the study will provide significant information. She said the possibility of having shipping seasons that are essentially ice-free could mean less risk to ships from ice and less expense needed for icebreakers. DeLuca agrees that year-round shipping could attract new commodities.

“It might open up the entire waterway to greater usage, which is a good thing because shipping is environmentally beneficial,” DeLuca said. “It takes trucks off the road. It would be a plus for all sorts of reasons, and the research allows us to plan ahead.”

The researchers are cooperating with many organizations on their study including the Lake Carriers’ Association, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the ports of Milwaukee, Gary-Indiana and Duluth-Superior.

Rust will be collecting data and overseeing student workers on the project. “We’ve just begun to scratch the surface on this issue,” he said. “Obviously, climate change is happening, and we need to be ready to adapt to whatever is coming and to take advantage if there are opportunities that arise.”

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Marie Zhuikov

To address contaminants of emerging concern that pose threats to Great Lakes ecosystems and public health in Wisconsin, Sea Grant created an emerging contaminants scientist position. After a nationwide search, Gavin Dehnert was hired, and he begins work on May 3.

Emerging contaminants include pharmaceuticals, personal care products, perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and pesticides. Although many of these compounds are detected at low levels in surface waters, they may have adverse impacts on aquatic ecosystems.

“Wisconsin Sea Grant has long funded researchers who strive to increase knowledge about contaminants affecting Great Lakes ecosystems,” said David Hart, Wisconsin Sea Grant assistant director for extension. “The National Sea Grant Office has identified contaminants of emerging concern in aquatic environments as needing increased investment. Gavin brings a wealth of experience that will help us build research partnerships addressing emerging contaminants and bridge research with outreach and education efforts.”

Gavin Dehnert. Submitted photo

If Dehnert’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he has a history with Wisconsin Sea Grant. Dehnert recently completed a Wisconsin Water Resources Science-Policy Postdoctoral Fellowship, where he worked with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) to develop groundwater standards for 22 drinking water contaminants, including 16 forms of PFAS. He also helped create a hazard index risk assessment, which offers guidance when mixtures of PFAS are found in water.

Additionally, Dehnert gained outreach experience through his fellowship. The PFAS drinking water standards were released through the governor’s office last year. “That was an experience like none other,” Dehnert said. “Giving a press conference – I felt like a TV star. I would definitely not have done something like that if I hadn’t been in the fellowship.”

His emerging contaminants position will put all these skills to use through the lens of actionable science – sound science guided by strong relationships with stakeholders, coupled with effective outreach and communication. Dehnert met many of those stakeholders during his fellowship.

“That network is one of the best things the fellowship gave me,” he said. “I’m also excited to continue both research and outreach. There’s no point in doing the research if you’re not able to share it or help move forward with actionable science. I’m excited to learn more about the different emerging contaminants that are coming to light and use science to further inform how we make decisions.”

Dehnert  has undergraduate degrees in marine science and biology from the University of Miami, and a Ph.D. in integrative biology with a focus on toxicology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he studied the effects of herbicide 2,4-D exposure on the development and behavior of fish at different life stages.

Connect with Dehnert via email at dehnert2@aqua.wisc.edu or (608) 263-5348.

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Billings Park in Superior on the St. Louis River Estuary. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant

The April River Talk featured two speakers who described programs that are designed to bring tourists to the St. Louis River estuary. First up was Nikky Farmakes, director of marketing and social media for the Superior-Douglas County Chamber of Commerce and Travel Superior. She explained that Travel Superior is the visitor center arm of the chamber of commerce.

Nikky Farmakes, Superior-Douglas County Chamber of Commerce and Travel Superior. Submitted photo

“We are the primary tourism entity in Douglas County,” Farmakes said. “We also partner with our neighboring counties to promote northwestern Wisconsin and we work with Travel Wisconsin, the state tourism agency, to advocate for the tourism industry in Douglas County.”

Travel Superior’s visitor center is housed in the Richard I Bong Veteran’s Historical Center, which is right off Highway 53 in Superior. Farmakes explained that in 2016, Travel Superior evaluated their marketing strategy and shifted focus to outdoor recreation because, “We realized our greatest strength was there, especially in activities connected to the St. Louis River and the estuary. Plus, the infrastructure and the culture around Superior and Douglas County supported it.”

Drivers of river tourism during summer include activities such as canoeing, kayaking and boating. “The Superior Municipal Forest with Pokegama Bay and all the other areas surrounding it offers extremely beautiful urban views,” Farmakes said. “It’s really hard to believe when you’re out on the water that you are within city limits.”

Fishing is also popular. Farmkes said that walleye and muskie are “huge for tourism.” The annual Dragon Boat Festival is a big draw as are swimming, standup paddle boarding, birdwatching, ship watching, hiking and biking.

Winter river activities include snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, ice fishing, and the annual Lake Superior Ice Festival. For those who prefer motorized sports, over 300 miles of all-terrain vehicle and snowmobile trails cross the county.

“The Superior Municipal Forest has some of the most beautiful snowmobile trails in the state,” Farmakes said. “The loop trail that goes along the St. Louis River has some of the most beautiful vistas that you will ever see in the winter, and you cannot get there during summer. So, if you can get out on a snowmobile trail, consider going on the loop trail. The views are worth it.”

Travel Superior’s 2021 marketing campaign hinges on the slogan: “Remember fun.” Framakes explained, “Everyone has been cooped up inside with covid for the last year and a half, so why not get out and enjoy all the beauty that surrounds us?” The campaign features different taglines for each season. Fall’s focus will be water. “We are going for a ‘watercolor’ campaign because a lot of our most beautiful spaces to view fall color come with water. We are a very water-centric area, so it works.”

Farmakes worked with the Discover Wisconsin television show to produce a recent video about motorized trails in Northwestern Wisconsin and the Lake Superior Ice Festival.

Farmakes summed up how the pandemic affected her industry and why she loves doing her job. “Tourism is one of our local economy’s top industries. Covid did affect us in 2020 just like it affected every other industry. We really won’t know the real impact until the new numbers come out in May, but the 2019 data continued the upward trend we had been seeing. Tourism supported over 1,300 jobs in Douglas County alone and it brought in over $150 million in business sales. The numbers we do have indicate we stayed strong throughout the pandemic, especially because we are an outdoor recreation destination and we were uniquely situated to weather that storm.

“There’s a lot to do here, especially around the river. It makes my job fun. It makes it easy. I’m always excited to showcase all the wonderful things you can see and do here.”

The evening’s second speaker was Kris Eilers, executive director of the St. Louis River Alliance. The Alliance manages the newly designated St. Louis River Estuary National Water Trail. The trail was designed under the direction of the city of Duluth and over 50 partners. The application was submitted by the National Park Service in 2017 and was signed by the secretary of the Interior in 2020. Unlike a hiking trail, the water trail is not linear but a series of loops for different skill levels and various watercraft. “It provides access to wild spaces in an urban area,” Eilers said.

Readers can access a video about the water trail here.

Eilers hopes that it will raise awareness about the river and help create stewards. The Alliance has created a water trail map for navigation and planning, which is available for free. Copies can be found outside their office in the DeWitt-Seitz Building in Duluth. Other places are listed here.

Kris Eilers, St. Louis River Alliance. Submitted photo

“The St. Louis River Estuary is the largest coastal wetland ecosystem on Lake Superior and the most significant source of biologic productivity for the western half of the lake,” Eilers said. “Getting families out on the water is important. With the pandemic, people started returning to the outdoors because it was one thing that we could do. I think it really helped restore our sanity. At the Alliance, we want to connect people back to their source of life: the water.”

A YouTube video of this River Talk is available for watching here.

One River Talk remains for this season. On May 12, Tom Howes with the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa will talk on the topic of Wisconsin Point. This will be an in-person field trip, weather permitting.

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Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/discovering-the-magic-of-the-st-louis-river-estuary/

Marie Zhuikov

The lighthouse at Wisconsin Point. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant

The River Talk series wraps up for the season with a field trip on Wisconsin Point at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 12. Participants will meet at parking lot #5 at the far end of the point near the shipping canal and lighthouse. Thomas Howes, natural resources manager for the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, will lead the outing entitled, “Ojibwe connection to Wisconsin Point: Past, present and future.” Howes will discuss events that brought the Ojibwe to Wisconsin Point, what occurred from that time to the present, how the Ojibwe use the area currently and what the future vision is for Fond du Lac-owned lands on the point. 

The event will last an hour and will include time for comments and questions. Use of masks is encouraged for safety. Bring a folding chair. A summary will be posted on Wisconsin Sea Grant’s blog. In case of rain, the talk will be held a week later on May 19 at 7 p.m. in the same location.

The River Talks are sponsored by The Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Wisconsin Sea Grant Program.

The post Wisconsin Point field trip wraps up the River Talk season first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/wisconsin-point-field-trip-wraps-up-the-river-talk-season/

Marie Zhuikov

White suckers migrate up Silver Creek in Manitowoc to spawn. Image credit: Titus Seilheimer

By Titus Seilheimer, Wisconsin Sea Grant Fisheries Outreach Specialist

Spring is the right time to head to your local stream to see the migration and spawning of Great Lakes sucker species. As water temperatures warm, white and longnose suckers feel the need to move from the Great Lakes into tributaries. They congregate in large groups and create the next generation of fish.

Sucker migrations are ecologically important, especially to smaller headwater streams, which benefit from the nutrients and energy inside the suckers as they move from the Great Lakes deep into watersheds. Suckers get a bad rap from anglers and the public because of the misconceptions that they eat sportfish eggs and compete with desirable species. However, small suckers are important food sources for many predator species and have a vital ecological role in our food webs.

Smaller streams can be great locations to spot these fish, because they mostly ignore people when spawning is on their minds. Suckers will start spawning in early April when the water reaches 7 degrees C (45 degrees F) and will return to the lake when finished. Temperature is an important cue along with water flow.

Yesterday in Manitowoc, I spotted about 100 white suckers in Silver Creek. Some were actively spawning and others were hanging out in a deep pool (probably waiting to move upstream). Areas with gravel and good flowing water are spawning habitat for suckers. This is what the scene might look like https://youtu.be/AgAvlCeuwJM

Sucker-watching tips

If they are splashing, they are spawning! White suckers in Silver Creek in Manitowoc. Image credit: Titus Seilheimer

Find a fairly shallow or narrow stream or river to watch. Water clarity is important because it’s hard to see fish in a cloudy or turbid river. Cut down the glare with polarized sunglasses. For observing spawning suckers, find a rocky area with moving water. Sit on the bank and watch. Early and late in the day are good times to look for active spawning. Keep an eye open for other species too, like small fishes or crayfish. White suckers are common throughout Wisconsin, so many streams will have spawning happening even away from the Great Lakes.

If community science to track suckers is interesting, check out the Shedd Aquarium’s sucker monitoring program in Lake Michigan. Karen Murchie is working with volunteers up the Lake Michigan coast to record daily numbers of suckers at specific sites and learn more about why and when suckers migrate. Follow these hashtags on social media #suckerforsuckers #drabisthenewfab #suckerwatch2021. https://www.sheddaquarium.org/care-and-conservation/shedd-research/investigating-great-lakes-sucker-migrations

https://news.wttw.com/2021/03/22/great-lakes-wildebeests-move-spring-migration-starts

If you’re close to northeastern Wisconsin (and it is safe to travel), watching the spawning sturgeon in the Wolf River is another must-do trip. Mid-April to early May is the typical time to see these ancient giants up close! https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Fishing/sturgeon/SturgeonSpawning.html

And here’s a Sea Grant video of sturgeon spawning:

The post Quiet time with the fish. Spring is the time for fish watching. first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/quiet-time-with-the-fish-spring-is-the-time-for-fish-watching/

Marie Zhuikov

Nikky Farmakes, Superior-Douglas County Chamber of Commerce and Travel Superior

The next River Talk will take place via Zoom at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 14. “Discovering the magic of the estuary: Bringing tourists to the St. Louis River,” will feature Nikky Farmakes, director of marketing and social media for the Superior-Douglas County Chamber of Commerce and Travel Superior, and Kris Eilers, executive director of the St. Louis River Alliance. Farmakes will provide an overview of tourism and outdoor recreation in the St. Louis River Estuary followed by Eilers who will talk about the recent St. Louis River Water Trail designation.

Here is the Zoom link and info:
Join Zoom Meeting
https://uwmadison.zoom.us/j/93108563539?pwd=bzV3OUNaUk8ydFJjKzNmdkxOUmF5UT09

Meeting ID: 931 0856 3539
Passcode: 176009
One tap mobile
+19292056099,93108563539# US (New York)
+13017158592,93108563539# US (Washington DC)

The event will last an hour and will include time for comments and questions. The talk will be recorded and posted afterward on the Reserve’s Facebook page and YouTube. A summary will also be posted on Wisconsin Sea Grant’s blog.

Kris Eilers, St. Louis River Alliance

The remaining River Talk of the season will be held on May 12. For more information, visit the River Talks page: go.wisc.edu/4uz720.

River Talks are sponsored by The Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Wisconsin Sea Grant Program.

The post St. Louis River tourism and new water trail talk first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/st-louis-river-tourism-and-new-water-trail-talk/

Marie Zhuikov

We expected only a few local poets would be interested. We thought they’d offer poems about the St. Louis River. That was our mindset when the River Talk planning team first developed the theme for the public poetry reading to be held in conjunction with the St. Louis River Summit as an evening program in March. We were mistaken, but in the best possible way.

In reality, our call for river poems through the literary submission management platform Submittable garnered interest from 76 poets from across the U.S. and around the world. They submitted 148 poems for consideration.

“As it turns out, a lot of people like to write about rivers. That’s because they are really important in our communities and in our lives,” said Deanna Erickson, director of the National Lake Superior Estuarine Research Reserve, which co-sponsors the River Talk series with Wisconsin Sea Grant.

We quickly realized we were going to need more judges. In the end, we gathered six who represented a good cross-section of the audience we expected to attend the summit.

We’d like to thank judges Hannah Ramage, monitoring coordinator with the Lake Superior Reserve; Julie O’Leary, director of the University of Superior’s (UWS) Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Program; Kari Jacobson-Hedin, watershed specialist with the Fond du Lac Tribe; Nick Danz, dean of academic affairs for UWS; Russ Maron, poetry appreciator; and myself (Marie Zhuikov), a poet and a science communicator for Wisconsin Sea Grant.

The judging was “blind,” which means the poets’ names were not associated with their poems. After two rounds, the judges narrowed the number of poems down to a dozen, with a few for backup in case any of the chosen poets could not be reached.

Although communication was sometimes a challenge, all 12 poets were enthusiastic about participating in the reading. They represented a wide diversity of ages and ethnicities.

The River Talk was several days ago, but the warm fuzzy feelings it engendered remain with me. I could use many adjectives to describe it: powerful, beautiful, stark, raw, funny — but it’s really best if you listen to the poems and feel all the feels for yourselves. The reading drew 85 Zoomers, a record attendance.

The Lake Superior Reserve, our partner in the talks, recorded the reading and it’s available on their YouTube channel. Here’s a list of the poets (in the order they read) and the names of their poems:

Tyler Dettloff (Michigan) “My Stars”
Heather Dobbins (Arkansas) “I Held us on for 36 Hours after the Levee Broke to hell”
Ben Green (New Mexico) “Immersion: A Prayer of Intent”
Lorraine Lamey (Michigan) “Catching Your Drift”
Joan Macintosh (Newfoundland) “The Current Feels”
Kate Meyer-Currey (England) “Timberscombe”
Rebecca Nelson (California) “Of the St. Louis River”
Stephanie Niu (New York) “To the Beaver’s Eyes”
Diana Randolph (Wisconsin) “Knowing the Way”
Ron Riekki (Florida) “It Took a Long Time to Discover”
Derold Sligh (South Korea) “Rouge River”
Lucy Tyrrell (Wisconsin) “Talking Water”

Ironically, the one poem specifically about the St. Louis River was written by someone who had never visited it. Rebecca Nelson said her poem, “Of the St. Louis River” was inspired by the spiritual experiences she’s had while watching water. She grew up in the Midwest and said she wrote the poem thinking of the rivers she knew from childhood. “I would love to visit sometime after the pandemic!” Nelson said.

Barb Huberty, St. Louis River Area of Concern coordinator for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, offered this comment in the Zoom chat, “I never knew that poetry could unite people across the globe.”

Sharon Moen, Eat Wisconsin Fish outreach specialist for Wisconsin Sea Grant, offered, “Thank you to all the poets and organizers! I am inspired by the depth of your thoughts and stories.”

Remaining River Talks will be held on April 14 and May 12. For more information, visit the River Talks page: go.wisc.edu/4uz720.

The post A “River of Poems” spans the world first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/a-river-of-poems-spans-the-world/

Marie Zhuikov

Plastic pollution at the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area on Lake Erie demonstrates the problem of marine debris in the Great Lakes. Image credit: NOAA

The statistics are daunting: 93% of water bottled in the Great Lakes region contains microplastics. 85% of trash found on Great Lakes beaches is plastic. 21.8 million pounds of plastics enter the Great Lakes each year.

Strolling through her Milwaukee community, Wisconsin Sea Grant’s Social Science Outreach Specialist Deidre Peroff said the plastic problem is obvious. “I live a five-minute walk from Lake Michigan. I’ve seen a lot of plastic trash out there and participated in some of the cleanups in the past or even on my own – just walking along, bringing a bag to put trash in.”

She worked with Leah Holloway from Milwaukee Riverkeeper, a science-based advocacy nonprofit, to develop a plastic project proposal since Peroff was aware of Riverkeeper’s involvement in a Milwaukee initiative to reduce plastics, called Plastic-Free MKE. The goal of the proposal is to reduce the amount of plastics that enter Lake Michigan. In 2020, the team was awarded two years of funding through the National Sea Grant-Marine Debris Special Projects Competition for “Plastic-Free MKE: Assessment and Education to Support Lake-Friendly Schools.”

Peroff described the project. “We came up with the idea to do education, focusing on a student-led, civic action project where students would do an audit of their schools or their classrooms and figure out how much plastic they are using, and then assess the inventory and figure out if it’s a problem or whether they are using more than that thought – and then come up with an action plan of how they could mitigate their impact on marine debris pollution.”

Belle Pappalardo is working with fifth-graders in Milwaukee to educate them about plastic pollution in the Great Lakes. Submitted photo.

The COVID-19 pandemic and distance learning for schoolchildren necessitated project modifications, turning the focus from the children’s classrooms to their own homes. To help, the team hired Belle Pappalardo, a professional master’s degree student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences. She is working with a fifth-grade class at the Clement J. Zablocki Community School in Milwaukee and their teacher, Diallo Tyler. Pappalardo researched existing marine debris toolkits, education programs and curricula. Now, she’s developing her own curriculum about the importance of fresh water and the issue of microplastics for the class, meeting with them every other Friday in a virtual session.

“The end goal is to do a plastic audit with them,” Pappalardo said. “They will do it at home. Then I’ll help them develop a student-led action plan to implement something for their school and develop a plastic pollution toolkit to take to teachers, the principal and their parents.”

Pappalardo graduates this May and hopes to find an outreach job where she can work with students and provide scientific information to the public.

Next year, Peroff hopes to hire another intern who will broaden the project’s scale and, COVID-willing, be able to work with the students for a longer time and in person.

“We’ve needed to be flexible and patient to get this project going because of many pandemic-related challenges, but we’re happy to be working with students now, even virtually. Because plastic is such a huge contributor to pollution in Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers, we figured anything we can do now to get children thinking about this issue will be a step in the right direction. The students seem to be enjoying learning about their watershed and how they can impact water quality,” Peroff said.

The post Plastic-free program targets Milwaukee first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/plastic-free-program-targets-milwaukee/

Marie Zhuikov

The February River Talk featured Alexis Berke with the Great Lakes Aquarium presenting, “A virtual visit: Explore the St. Louis River exhibits and animals at the Great Lakes Aquarium.” Berke, director of learning and engagement, offered a mini-guided tour of the St. Louis River exhibits at the aquarium designed for all ages. Along the way, she spotlighted some of the estuary residents and highlighted ways aquarium staff members work to make visits to their facility an inclusive experience.

Alexis Berke. Submitted photo.

“Each of the exhibits we’ll be visiting today are designed for animal care purposes,” Berke explained. “None of these animals exist alone – in nature, the ecosystem is not as separate as we’re going to see here today. Each of the animals, each of the plants, each of the people all work together to make this really rich landscape along the St. Louis River.”

Her energetic tour started with skunks, worked its way to turtles and ended with sturgeon. Berke gave viewers an inside look at the skunks’ log home. The animals did not much care for the intrusion – one of them started to raise its tail. Berke assured viewers that the skunks’ sulfurous scent glands had been removed.

“Skunks don’t really have that bad of a smell. It’s the chemistry of our noses that amplifies it,” Berke said. “Skunks are good neighbors. They tend to keep populations of unwanted pests under control – grubs, ant eggs and mites.”

The St. Louis River exhibit is home to several species of turtles, including painted turtles, a Blanding’s turtle and snapping turtles. One of Berke’s favorites is “Crush,” a 50-pound snapping turtle. He’s lived in the aquarium for seven years. Berke explained how snapping turtles are better adapted to life in the water than on land. For instance, they have developed long necks to help them reach the surface of the water to breathe air. Berke has never seen Crush on land in his exhibit.

“The St. Louis River has a really rich fishery. Human activities have impacted spawning areas and hatcheries, but restoration projects have brought back some of those habitats,” Berke said. Sturgeon are one such success story. Their numbers have begun to recover, and they have successfully spawned in the river during the past decade.

Berke said sturgeon are large and long-lived. They can grow up to eight feet long and females can live to 150 years. They don’t mature and breed until they are 20 years old. Restoration programs for them are still in play.

To make the tours accessible for all, the aquarium hired an inclusion coordinator in the past, who developed tactile tours for people with impaired vision. Berke is carrying on that work today. “What that means is we have our interpretive staff trained to use really descriptive language. We have some braille books and audio recordings people can check out from the aquarium. Some of the coolest stuff we have are props that allow visitors to understand what the animals are like without using their sense of sight,” said Berke. These props include a taxidermized wood duck, plastic models, a trout and a wood turtle. People interested in a tactile tour can call head to arrange one.

A video of Berke’s talk will be posted soon. The next River Talk will be held March 3 in conjunction with the St. Louis River Summit. The topic is “A River of Poems.” Poets from around the world and across the country will share their works about rivers.

The post A free visit to the Great Lakes Aquarium! first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/a-free-visit-to-the-great-lakes-aquarium/

Marie Zhuikov

The next River Talk will take place via Zoom at 7 p.m. (Central Time) Wednesday, March 3. During “A River of Poems,” a dozen poets from around the world and across the country will read their powerful, provocative and beautiful poems about rivers – the St. Louis River or others. This event is free and open to the public. Come experience a different perspective on waterways!

Here is the Zoom link and info:
https://uwmadison.zoom.us/j/93264788373?pwd=amRqSWgvT1ZxNW03WFBnU2ZYclZUQT09
Meeting ID: 932 6478 8373
Passcode: 776905

The selected poets are:
Tyler Dettloff (Michigan) “My Stars”
Heather Dobbins (Arkansas) “I Held us on for 36 Hours after the Levee Broke to Hell”
Ben Green (New Mexico) “Immersion: A Prayer of Intent”
Lorraine Lamey (Michigan) “Catching Your Drift”
Joan Macintosh (Newfoundland) “The Current Feels”
Kate Meyer-Currey (England) “Timberscombe”
Rebecca Nelson (California) “Of the St. Louis River”
Stephanie Niu (New York) “To the Beaver’s Eyes”
Diana Randolph (Wisconsin) “Knowing the Way”
Ron Riekki (Florida) “It Took a Long Time to Discover”
Derold Sligh (South Korea) “Rogue River”
Lucy Tyrell (Wisconsin) “Talking Water”

Held in conjunction with the St. Louis River Summit, the reading will last an hour and will include time for comments and questions. The talk will be recorded and posted afterward on the Reserve’s Facebook page and YouTube. A summary will also be posted on Wisconsin Sea Grant’s blog.

Remaining River Talks will be held on April 14 and May 12. For more information, visit the River Talks page: go.wisc.edu/4uz720.

River Talks are sponsored by The Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Wisconsin Sea Grant Program.

The post A River of Poems first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/a-river-of-poems/

Marie Zhuikov

The January 2021 River Talk featured Kelly Beaster and Reed Schwarting with the Lake Superior Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Superior tag-teamed and presented, “Coastal wetlands: Dynamic ecosystems of Lake Superior.”

Kelly Beaster in the field. Image credit: Lake Superior Research Institute

Beaster and Schwarting have spent the past five years monitoring the health of local wetlands along Lake Superior, including those in the St. Louis River Estuary. They described the formation and function of coastal wetlands and how they change over time. They focused on vegetation, covering the more common plant communities and some of their unique species as well as how wetlands have adapted to the short-term and long-term flux of water levels in the Great Lakes.

Schwarting said sediment is key to wetlands formation. “Sediment can come from tributaries along Lake Superior, but it can come from shoreline erosion, as well. Plants eventually start to grow. This stabilizes the sediment and encourages more sediment deposition and plant growth.”

Beaster described the three classifications of coastal wetlands. All three are low in nutrients (oligotrophic) due to the northern climate and cold water in Lake Superior when compared to the other Great Lakes. The first type, lacustrine wetlands, tend to form near large open lakes, such as Lake Superior. The second, riverine, form at and along river mouths. Barrier wetlands are separated from the lake by some type of barrier like a sandbar or a railroad bed.

Schwarting said wetlands function as carbon storage locations, which is helpful with climate change. The cold water, especially in lacustrine wetlands, limits decomposition. Wild cranberry, pitcher plants and bog buckbean are common species they find in their surveys. Although they are not rare, Beaster said these species are among some of the first to disappear from wetlands when nutrient loading occurs or the water level changes. “Some type of disturbance happens and the diversity starts to drop down.”

Reed Schwarting in the field. Image credit: Lake Superior Research Institute

They have found a notable plant in the St. Louis River estuary. “It’s incredible to think we have aquatic ferns floating around. They are no bigger than your fingertip. They’re really common in the estuary,” Beaster said.

Cattails are often the first thing people think about when visualizing an emergent marsh, but Beaster said cattails are often a sign of problems. “Often, they signify nutrient-loading. Cattails also out-compete native plants. There can be toxic chemicals present or heavy metals.” Allouez Bay in the estuary is an example of one such area.

Schwarting said control measures for invasive species like cattails include chemical, mechanical and biological measures. But care must be taken. “It’s not enough to control these species. As soon as you control something, you’re basically creating a disturbance,” he said. “Normally, a lot of invasive species come in through disturbances, so you’re opening them back up to having another species either come in or even the same species being reintroduced from your disturbance. So, we want to do some restoration work on top of any control.” Some plants used in this way are wild rice and seedlings of other native species already at the location.

Schwarting said that wetlands along Lake Superior are doing well. “While there are some negatively impacted sites on Lake Superior, we probably have some of the more diverse and higher-quality wetlands in the Great Lakes region. Especially compared to the more industrial sites,” he said.

Beaster said one of the top five coastal wetlands they’ve been to is on Madeline Island. Bog Lake is a barrier wetland and fen on northern part of island. “Once we’ve boated out there, we have about three hours to do our surveys, but we’d rather spend three days because it’s so cool. This wetland is iconic of what an oligotrophic plant community should be on Lake Superior. We don’t see any invasive species here. It’s pretty stable – easy walking on the ground. Year after year we don’t really see any changes.”

She said Bog Lake isn’t the only high-quality, undisturbed wetland in the area. “This fortunately is here, intact, and it’s very encouraging especially when what we see in the St. Louis Estuary doesn’t always seem like it’s very high quality any longer. However, the estuary contains about 25 different oligotrophic species. Some of them are very common: wire sedge, bog birch and bog buckbean. When we’re out in these habitats and we know we have these remnants of oligotrophic species, it always brings to mind what the estuary used to look like, which is incredibly different from what we see now. But it is encouraging that we still have those oligotrophic species there, and we have done a lot over the years to stop our nutrient loading and to clean up some of the areas of concern. We’ve been controlling invasive species and I believe we’ll continue to control them even further once these areas are cleaned up. Eventually, we will have some semblance of these oligotrophic plant communities back, and they’ll be fairly functional, I hope.”

A video of their talk is available on YouTube here. The next River Talk will be held March 3 in conjunction with the St. Louis River Summit. The topic is “A River of Poems.” Poets from across the country will share their works about rivers.

The post River Talk explores life on the soggy side: coastal wetlands first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/river-talk-explores-life-on-the-soggy-side-coastal-wetlands/

Marie Zhuikov

The next River Talk will take place via Zoom at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10. Alexis Berke with the Great Lakes Aquarium will present, “A virtual visit: Explore the St. Louis River exhibits and animals at the Great Lakes Aquarium.”

Alexis Berke. Submitted photo.

Berke, director of learning and engagement, will offer a mini-guided tour of the St. Louis River exhibits at the aquarium that all ages will enjoy. Along the way, she will spotlight some of the estuary residents and highlight ways the aquarium works to make visits to their facility an inclusive experience.

Here is the Zoom link and info:
https://uwmadison.zoom.us/j/97039831999?pwd=NUIreTAvV0d2b2ZVbTJnNnV4aFRMZz09 Meeting ID: 970 3983 1999
Passcode: 683032

The talk will last an hour and will include time for Q&A. The talks will be recorded and posted afterward on the Reserve’s Facebook page. A summary will also be posted on Wisconsin Sea Grant’s blog.

Other River Talks will be held on March 3, April 14 and May 12. The March talk will feature poets from around the country reading their river poems, held in conjunction with the St. Louis River Summit. For more information, visit the River Talks page: go.wisc.edu/4uz720.

River Talks are sponsored by The Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Wisconsin Sea Grant Program.

The post Explore the St. Louis River exhibits and animals at the Great Lakes Aquarium first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/explore-the-st-louis-river-exhibits-and-animals-at-the-great-lakes-aquarium/

Marie Zhuikov

The Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve (Lake Superior Reserve) is holding its 11th annual St. Louis River Summit March 1-3 via the virtual platform Zoom.

The theme for the summit is, “Resilient Ecosystems, Resilient Communities,” which highlights the ways the St. Louis River Estuary contributes to community well-being in the Twin Ports and beyond. The goal of the summit is to bring together key audiences working in the region to share information about the St. Louis River and encourage coordination of activities and funding proposals.

“We are adapting the event to fit a virtual format but will provide the opportunities for engagement that are a central feature of the summit. Yes, there will still be a poster session, a River Talk, and chances to connect with colleagues and community,” said Deanna Erickson, Lake Superior Reserve director. “We hope people will join us to learn about and celebrate the healing power of the estuary as we share our successes and look toward the future.”

Keynote speakers include photographer and author Dudley Edmondson and longtime Great Lakes champion Cameron Davis. Edmondson will present, “The Disconnect Between African Americans and the Outdoors.” Davis will present, “A Field Guide to Hugging the St. Louis River.”

On March 1, a special meeting will take place where participants can learn about a collaborative effort to sustain the health of the estuary once it’s no longer a U.S. EPA-designated Area of Concern. That session is called “St. Louis River Landscape Conservation Design Project System Analysis Update.”

A virtual poster session will take place 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 2. Also, the Friends of the Lake Superior Reserve (FOLSR) will hold a legislative listening session, time TBD.

During the morning of March 3, small-group, socially distanced field trips will be held. Options include birding with the FOLSR, Kingsbury Bay and the Waabizheshinkana Trail, snowshoeing near Pokegema Bay, and revitalization efforts on and around Barker’s Island.

At 7 p.m. on March 3, a virtual presentation will feature poets from across the country reading their poems about rivers. This “River of Poems” is being held as part of the popular monthly River Talk series, which is free and open to all.

Students from local schools and institutions are invited to attend the summit to learn more about the research community and river projects. Students are free but need to register.      

The cost to attend the summit is $30. To register and view the agenda, visit lakesuperiorreserve.org/summit/.

Initial sponsors include Duluth Pottery, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, the Friends of the Lake Superior Reserve, the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute, the Lake Superior Research Institute, the Large Lakes Observatory, LimnoTech, Inc., the Minnesota Land Trust, Roen Salvage Company, the University of Minnesota Duluth Natural Resources Research Institute, the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District, the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Sea Grant, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

The post St. Louis River Summit goes virtual first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/st-louis-river-summit-goes-virtual/

Marie Zhuikov

Owners of steel structures on inland lakes and a river in northern Minnesota are reporting the same kind of corrosion as seen in the Duluth-Superior Harbor and other harbors along Lake Superior. A structural engineering firm reported it has designed and overseen replacement of gates on dams along the St. Louis River, far removed from Lake Superior water, because of the corrosion.

Along with partners, Gene Clark, retired Wisconsin Sea Grant coastal engineer, devoted considerable energy into ferreting out the causes of and ways to mitigate this corrosion, which can lead to costly harbor infrastructure replacement.

The accelerated corrosion of steel pilings in the Duluth-Superior Harbor was first noticed in 1998. Researchers funded in part by the Wisconsin and Minnesota Sea Grant programs eventually identified microbes as the culprit combined with a complicated interaction between water and the steel. Bacteria form small lumps, or tubercles, on the steel. The lumps limit oxygen and allow small amounts of copper in the water to interact with and dissolve the steel, which results in pockmarks and holes that compromise steel structures.

A steel research “coupon” removed from the Duluth Superior Harbor in 2007 shows freshwater biocorrosion tubercles. Image credit: Wisconsin Sea Grant

Experts brought together to investigate the issue blamed water chemistry specific to Lake Superior. However, those still tracking the issue have discovered this microbially influenced corrosion problem is more widespread.

Chad Scott, principal at AMI Consulting Engineers, initially alerted harbor industries about the corrosion issue in 1998 when he was a diver inspecting structures in the Duluth-Superior Harbor. Scott said during the past few years his company has worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to place steel samples (or coupons) in the St. Louis River at the Thompson Dam, Scanlon, Cloquet and near Cotton.

“At every single location along the river, the steel had the same tubercles on them,” Scott said. “So, what that tells me is, what’s coming to the harbor is coming down naturally from inland in Minnesota.”

Scott said his firm designed and oversaw replacement of gates on the Fond du Lac Dam and the Sappi Dam in Cloquet.

“They were all heavily pitted. It looked just like harbor corrosion,” Scott said. He’s also had friends report biocorrosion on their docks on Fish Lake, Island Lake and Grand Lake. He’s seen firsthand the dock posts covered by corrosive tubercles on those lakes.

A steel dock post on Wilson Lake near Cotton, shows the same biocorrosion tubercles as those found in the Duluth Superior Harbor. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant

Randall Hicks, professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth, has worked for years to understand the microbiology behind the corrosion. He said he has seen the tubercles on his own dock on Barrs Lake near Two Harbors. He has also identified them in photos from a dock on Wilson Lake near Cotton.

“I don’t think it’s just a regional problem,” Hicks said. “I think it’s been happening all along for a long time in places where conditions are right.” Those conditions include the presence of sulfate-reducing bacteria and iron-oxidizing bacteria, a source of dissolved sulfate and iron, and low-oxygen conditions such as those sometimes found in spring water.

Hicks described how the process begins when a clean sheet of steel is placed in water. “Different bacteria will attach to the surface and form a biofilm first.” Dental plaque is a common example of a biofilm. Microorganisms multiply and create a thin but tight layer on teeth. In this case, the biofilm layer is on steel.

“As that biofilm grows, we see a lot of iron-oxidizing bacteria – they’re aerobic microorganisms,” Hicks said. He explained that as the iron-oxidizing bacteria next to the steel surface use up oxygen, sulfate-reducing bacteria, bacteria that can live without oxygen, become common. “It’s really their activities in combination with activities of the iron-oxidizers in the biofilm that accelerate the loss of steel from the surface of the metal.”

Jim Sharrow, retired director of planning and resiliency with the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, said the corrosion bacteria are not an invasive species. “They’re indigenous to this area. They’re all over.”

The Canadian Northern dock in the Duluth Superior Harbor shows damage caused by freshwater microbial corrosion in 2007. Image credit: Wisconsin Sea Grant

Previous research identified coatings that can be used to protect steel. Hicks is now working on ways to fool the bacteria in the first place. Hicks and Mikael Elias, associate professor from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, have found that adding a lactonase enzyme into a steel coating can reduce the biofilm produced, change the biofilm community and reduce the amount of corrosion. The lactonase enzyme works by destroying signaling molecules that the bacteria on steel produce to sense each other – in essence, fooling the bacteria into thinking they are alone, so “they don’t turn on genes to produce a biofilm,” Hicks said.

The nontoxic coating enzymes only last a month or two before degrading or diffusing out of the coating but Hicks said that, compared to untreated steel, the enzymes have reduced corrosion by 50% for at least two years, which was the length of their study.

“Hopefully, these enzymes can have an impact even farther out. If you’re in the shipping business and you expect a steel structure to last 100 years, then all of a sudden you have to replace it every 50 years because of the corrosion, that’s a big economic impact – and that’s just with doubling the corrosion rate. If we can reduce the rate, we don’t need to have a big impact to really extend the lifetime of structures quite a ways down the road,” Hicks said.

The University of Minnesota has applied for a patent for the lactonase enzyme coating. Hicks and Elias have also conducted tests in Lake Minnetonka and the Mississippi River to see if the same mechanism in the enzymes that inhibits biofilms from forming on steel inhibits larger invasive and nuisance organisms like zebra mussels and barnacles from attaching to underwater structures.

Elias said their experiments, funded by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund*, were successful. More recently, they added sites in sea water. Their pilot experiments in Florida show promise.

Until the lactonase enzyme coating becomes commercially available, what should cabin dock owners do to protect their steel from biocorrosion? Sharrow said, “Basically, what we found is, all you need to do is keep paint on your dock. You need to keep the water from touching the steel. You can use epoxy, but if you take your dock out every fall, you could probably use Rustoleum or something like that.”

Beyond docks, enzyme technology might also work on farm crops and in people. Elias said he is testing whether a lactonase enzyme spray can protect corn from a common bacterial infection (Gross’s wilt). Cystic fibrosis patients are prone to bacterial pneumonia, which forms in a biofilm.

Elias said, “One of our goals is to potentially use this enzyme as an aerosol to prevent biofilms in the lungs. . . It appears from our experiments that everywhere microbes are creating some sort of nuisance, this enzyme, because it changes the behavior of bacteria, can be helpful. We have a lot of different investigations to do and we are trying our best to pursue some of them as hard as we can.”

“This all grew out of those initial corrosion studies funded by Sea Grant and the work we did with Gene Clark and the other people in the corrosion study group,” Hicks said. Other organizations involved include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute.

*Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center and the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources.

The post Freshwater steel corrosion occurring beyond Lake Superior harbors first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/freshwater-steel-corrosion-occurring-beyond-lake-superior-harbors/

Marie Zhuikov

Owners of steel structures on inland lakes and a river in northern Minnesota are reporting the same kind of corrosion as seen in the Duluth-Superior Harbor and other harbors along Lake Superior. A structural engineering firm reported it has designed and overseen replacement of gates on dams along the St. Louis River, far removed from Lake Superior water, because of the corrosion.

Along with partners, Gene Clark, retired Wisconsin Sea Grant coastal engineer, devoted considerable energy into ferreting out the causes of and ways to mitigate this corrosion, which can lead to costly harbor infrastructure replacement.

The accelerated corrosion of steel pilings in the Duluth-Superior Harbor was first noticed in 1998. Researchers funded in part by the Wisconsin and Minnesota Sea Grant programs eventually identified microbes as the culprit combined with a complicated interaction between water and the steel. Bacteria form small lumps, or tubercles, on the steel. The lumps limit oxygen and allow small amounts of copper in the water to interact with and dissolve the steel, which results in pockmarks and holes that compromise steel structures.

A steel research “coupon” removed from the Duluth Superior Harbor in 2007 shows freshwater biocorrosion tubercles. Image credit: Wisconsin Sea Grant

Experts brought together to investigate the issue blamed water chemistry specific to Lake Superior. However, those still tracking the issue have discovered this microbially influenced corrosion problem is more widespread.

Chad Scott, principal at AMI Consulting Engineers, initially alerted harbor industries about the corrosion issue in 1998 when he was a diver inspecting structures in the Duluth-Superior Harbor. Scott said during the past few years his company has worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to place steel samples (or coupons) in the St. Louis River at the Thompson Dam, Scanlon, Cloquet and near Cotton.

“At every single location along the river, the steel had the same tubercles on them,” Scott said. “So, what that tells me is, what’s coming to the harbor is coming down naturally from inland in Minnesota.”

Scott said his firm designed and oversaw replacement of gates on the Fond du Lac Dam and the Sappi Dam in Cloquet.

“They were all heavily pitted. It looked just like harbor corrosion,” Scott said. He’s also had friends report biocorrosion on their docks on Fish Lake, Island Lake and Grand Lake. He’s seen firsthand the dock posts covered by corrosive tubercles on those lakes.

A steel dock post on Wilson Lake near Cotton, shows the same biocorrosion tubercles as those found in the Duluth Superior Harbor. Image credit: Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant

Randall Hicks, professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth, has worked for years to understand the microbiology behind the corrosion. He said he has seen the tubercles on his own dock on Barrs Lake near Two Harbors. He has also identified them in photos from a dock on Wilson Lake near Cotton.

“I don’t think it’s just a regional problem,” Hicks said. “I think it’s been happening all along for a long time in places where conditions are right.” Those conditions include the presence of sulfate-reducing bacteria and iron-oxidizing bacteria, a source of dissolved sulfate and iron, and low-oxygen conditions such as those sometimes found in spring water.

Hicks described how the process begins when a clean sheet of steel is placed in water. “Different bacteria will attach to the surface and form a biofilm first.” Dental plaque is a common example of a biofilm. Microorganisms multiply and create a thin but tight layer on teeth. In this case, the biofilm layer is on steel.

“As that biofilm grows, we see a lot of iron-oxidizing bacteria – they’re aerobic microorganisms,” Hicks said. He explained that as the iron-oxidizing bacteria next to the steel surface use up oxygen, sulfate-reducing bacteria, bacteria that can live without oxygen, become common. “It’s really their activities in combination with activities of the iron-oxidizers in the biofilm that accelerate the loss of steel from the surface of the metal.”

Jim Sharrow, retired director of planning and resiliency with the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, said the corrosion bacteria are not an invasive species. “They’re indigenous to this area. They’re all over.”

The Canadian Northern dock in the Duluth Superior Harbor shows damage caused by freshwater microbial corrosion in 2007. Image credit: Wisconsin Sea Grant

Previous research identified coatings that can be used to protect steel. Hicks is now working on ways to fool the bacteria in the first place. Hicks and Mikael Elias, associate professor from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, have found that adding a lactonase enzyme into a steel coating can reduce the biofilm produced, change the biofilm community and reduce the amount of corrosion. The lactonase enzyme works by destroying signaling molecules that the bacteria on steel produce to sense each other – in essence, fooling the bacteria into thinking they are alone, so “they don’t turn on genes to produce a biofilm,” Hicks said.

The nontoxic coating enzymes only last a month or two before degrading or diffusing out of the coating but Hicks said that, compared to untreated steel, the enzymes have reduced corrosion by 50% for at least two years, which was the length of their study.

“Hopefully, these enzymes can have an impact even farther out. If you’re in the shipping business and you expect a steel structure to last 100 years, then all of a sudden you have to replace it every 50 years because of the corrosion, that’s a big economic impact – and that’s just with doubling the corrosion rate. If we can reduce the rate, we don’t need to have a big impact to really extend the lifetime of structures quite a ways down the road,” Hicks said.

The University of Minnesota has applied for a patent for the lactonase enzyme coating. Hicks and Elias have also conducted tests in Lake Minnetonka and the Mississippi River to see if the same mechanism in the enzymes that inhibits biofilms from forming on steel inhibits larger invasive and nuisance organisms like zebra mussels and barnacles from attaching to underwater structures.

Elias said their experiments, funded by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund*, were successful. More recently, they added sites in sea water. Their pilot experiments in Florida show promise.

Until the lactonase enzyme coating becomes commercially available, what should cabin dock owners do to protect their steel from biocorrosion? Sharrow said, “Basically, what we found is, all you need to do is keep paint on your dock. You need to keep the water from touching the steel. You can use epoxy, but if you take your dock out every fall, you could probably use Rustoleum or something like that.”

Beyond docks, enzyme technology might also work on farm crops and in people. Elias said he is testing whether a lactonase enzyme spray can protect corn from a common bacterial infection (Gross’s wilt). Cystic fibrosis patients are prone to bacterial pneumonia, which forms in a biofilm.

Elias said, “One of our goals is to potentially use this enzyme as an aerosol to prevent biofilms in the lungs. . . It appears from our experiments that everywhere microbes are creating some sort of nuisance, this enzyme, because it changes the behavior of bacteria, can be helpful. We have a lot of different investigations to do and we are trying our best to pursue some of them as hard as we can.”

“This all grew out of those initial corrosion studies funded by Sea Grant and the work we did with Gene Clark and the other people in the corrosion study group,” Hicks said. Other organizations involved include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute.

*Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center and the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources.

The post Freshwater steel corrosion occurring beyond Lake Superior harbors first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/freshwater-steel-corrosion-occurring-beyond-lake-superior-harbors/

Marie Zhuikov