Wild cranberries grow on a floating sphagnum mat in November in central Wisconsin. Image from the American Society for Agronomy.

By Alexandra Lakind, Ph.D. student, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, UW-Madison. “Tap In” newsletter.

Wisconsin is the leading producer of cranberries in the U.S., and it is the official state fruit! Cranberries, and their growers, interact with water in many unique ways. Cranberries grow naturally in marshes. They require acidic soil and an ample, local supply of water and sand. In Wisconsin, the cranberry plants flower in late June/early July, and the berries are harvested in September and October, depending on the cultivar.

Because the berries contain a pocket of air, when the marsh is flooded, the berries float to the surface to be picked up by harvesting equipment. Cranberry growers, to quote UW-Madison Horticulture professor Jed Colquhoun, “are the ultimate water engineers.” They protect the fruit buds in the winter by covering the beds with a thick layer of ice, which acts as insulation for the plant. Yet, the effects of climate change (water irregularities, fluctuating temperatures, and loss of ice) pose new challenges. To learn about a wide range of projects seeking to understand cranberries and ensure they make it to your table, visit the UW Fruit Program

The post Will you be eating Wisconsin's state fruit this week? first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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The Port Washington Marina. Image credit: Mari Mitchell

Port Washington Marina has been recertified as a Wisconsin Clean Marina. The marina was the first to join the program in 2010 and has continued to uphold a high standard of environmental stewardship.

“Our tenants are proud of the fact that we are a clean marina. They do their part to keep the marina safe and clean, and we want to support that,” said Dennis Cherny, harbor master, Port Washington Marina.

Cherny has been an active member of the Wisconsin Clean Marina Program since its launch. “He creates innovative solutions to uphold the best management practices set by the program,” said Theresa Qualls, Wisconsin Clean Marina Program coordinator. “Whether it’s collecting rainwater to water the beautiful landscaping at the marina or using fuel bibs to catch drips of gasoline while fueling boats, Cherny is constantly working to improve Port Washington Marina. Dennis and Port Washington Marina have really embraced the program and taken proactive steps to make Lake Michigan cleaner and safer for boaters to enjoy.”

Marinas, related industries and services contribute more than $2.7 billion to Wisconsin’s economy. Through the Wisconsin Clean Marina Program, marinas will prevent pollution and protect fish, wildlife and public health. They know that clean water is important to boaters and Wisconsin’s coastal communities. 

The Wisconsin Clean Marina Program was launched in 2010, and 20 Wisconsin marinas have since taken steps to voluntarily adopt practices to become certified.

The Wisconsin Clean Marina Program is administered by the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Program in partnership with the Wisconsin Marine Association, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Fund for Lake Michigan.

For more information:

Theresa Qualls, Wisconsin Clean Marina Program, (920) 465-5031, quallst@uwgb.edu

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Wisconsin Sea Grant

By Mari Mitchell, Wisconsin Clean Marina Program

South Shore Yacht Club of Milwaukee has been recertified as a Wisconsin Clean Marina. The yacht club has upheld the best-management practices set by the Wisconsin Clean Marina Program since it was first certified in 2014.

South Shore Yacht Club. Image credit: Mari Mitchell

“Members of South Shore Yacht Club recognize and are fully committed to responsible stewardship of the lakeshore frontage entrusted to us by Milwaukee County,” said Bill Smitz, general manager, South Shore Yacht Club. “Our members are actively engaged in every aspect of maintaining and managing our club’s facilities consistent with our environmental policies and the spirit of the Wisconsin Clean Marina Program. We proudly display our Clean Marina certification at the entrance to our grounds.”

South Shore Yacht Club recently received a grant from the Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust, which allowed the marina to install a sump system that is used to collect and treat the water from boat washing during haul out in the fall. In addition, South Shore Yacht Club was granted a stormwater permit by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

“These initiatives have enhanced our efforts to continually improve the quality of stormwater entering Lake Michigan,” said Smitz.

Marinas, related industries and services contribute more than $2.7 billion to Wisconsin’s economy. Through the Wisconsin Clean Marina Program, marinas will prevent pollution and protect fish, wildlife and public health. They know that clean water is important to boaters and Wisconsin’s coastal communities. 

The Wisconsin Clean Marina Program was launched in 2010, and 20 Wisconsin marinas have since taken steps to voluntarily adopt practices to become certified.

The Wisconsin Clean Marina Program is administered by the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Program in partnership with the Wisconsin Marine Association, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Fund for Lake Michigan.

For more information:

Theresa Qualls, Wisconsin Clean Marina Program, (920) 465-5031, quallst@uwgb.edu

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Wisconsin Sea Grant

By Elise Ertl, University of Wisconsin-Superior

An internship can be a gateway to someone’s future, to a better career, and the beginning of a lifelong learning opportunity. This summer, I was fortunate enough to have had one of those opportunities through the Coastal Science Communications Internship at Wisconsin Sea Grant with my mentors Marie Zhuikov, Moira Harrington and Tim Campbell.

This year, however, the internships through Sea Grant presented themselves a little differently as they were virtual due to COVID-19. Not only was this a new experience for me, but for everyone at Sea Grant. Despite not being able to meet in person, the internship remained equally educational and exciting.

Elise Ertl. Submitted photo

Throughout the internship, I was given a calendar of tasks I was expected to complete day by day. However, I did not know at the time that those tasks would lead me to learning more about science communication than I could’ve imagined. This included what seemed to be a recurring theme for me, getting my foot in the door, exploring different forms of work, and learning the processes of being a part of a communications team. There are so many parts to communication. All of those parts are intersections that connect not only the work of many people within an organization, but at the very base, connect the people themselves. After realizing just how important communication really is, it is hard to imagine where we would all be without it. This was just the beginning of my ten-week long learning process.

My first project was to write an intern news release. I had never written a news release before, but now I was going to do it for eight interns, including myself. This new and challenging endeavor gave me the opportunity to meet and learn more about all of the interns as I contacted each to hear about what they would be working on during their own internships. The intern news release got posted on the Wisconsin Sea Grant website as well as sent to their individual hometown newspapers.

As each intern’s internship continued, so did our communication. Each week, we would attend a “brown bag” meeting where all of us would share their current progress throughout their week. Afterward, just the interns would talk together to share common experiences and bounce ideas off each other. Communicating with the interns made me more aware of my own communication style and led me to become more confident reaching out to people.

As the internship went on, I became constantly reminded of the essence of time. Even when I may feel something is time-sensitive, it probably is not that way for everyone. It is just as important to be patient with people as it is to not be a pushover when it comes to contacting them, especially about interviews.

I interviewed two people over the course of the internship, which was yet another completely new skill for me. I was surprised by the amount of time it took to get an interview, do the interview and write a story. However, in this, I was able to discover what methods work best for me such as using a recorder to recall and sort through information.

Outside of writing and interviews, I was also able to learn how to create podcasts. This work was very exciting especially because of how podcasts are increasing in popularity. I learned the online software, Audacity, and how to use several pieces of recording equipment such as the Sonus iTwo audio box, microphones and headsets. As I worked on the podcasts, I was able to gradually increase in the amount I was able to do. I started initially with editing quotes and narration and, by the last Wisconsin Water News podcast, was able to make a whole podcast almost completely on my own.

Beyond my tasks, I also attended meetings and helped set up meetings as well, giving me a taste of the interworkings of an organization, while increasing my communication skills. The more you practice communication, the less scary the idea becomes.

The skills I learned in this internship are invaluable and are something I can not only apply directly to future careers, but can apply anywhere in my life. I plan to bring the knowledge and skills I have gained from working for Wisconsin Sea Grant with me wherever I go, and I will always remember the people and place who put faith, time and energy into me and guided me through the beginning of the rest of my career. For what I know now and for what I have experienced, I am forever grateful.

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https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/one-interns-reflection/

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By Elise Ertl, University of Wisconsin-Superior

Sarah DeZwarte, education director at YMCA Camp Y-Koda in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, had the opportunity to, not only once, but to twice take part in the Lake Guardian teacher cruise and Shipboard Science Workshop. While each trip entailed a different experience, both provided fundamental learning and education that DeZwarte was able to carry on to the students and residents of the Lake Michigan coastal area.

Sarah DeZwarte

DeZwarte believes that the knowledge of students and community has the power to change how we treat our environment and ecosystems, especially when speaking locally. After her experience with the Lake Guardian teacher cruise and the Shipboard Workshop, DeZwarte is taking her knowledge and collaborating with the Sheboygan Area School District to inform and create field experiences for students to learn about Lake Michigan.

“In the past, they’ve been learning about Arctic ecosystems, which is great, but that is not in their backyard. We’ve been able to provide new textbooks for students to learn about Lake Michigan for about a month and then, I will meet with them at Kohler-Andrae State Park, where we will do three different activities. They will then continue learning about Lake Michigan for the next three weeks,” DeZwarte said.

The most important thing to DeZwarte is that kids in her area are finally able to learn about Lake Michigan.

One activity DeZwarte carries out with students is to collect macroinvertebrates using leaf bags, which are mesh bags filled with leaves that soak in a wetland for 21 days prior to the activity. The macroinvertebrates will make their way into the bag and slowly work on decomposing and shredding the material. All the students need to do is pour the bag contents into a pan and then they can pick out and identify the macroinvertebrates present. The other two activities involve piping plovers and sturgeon. These activities show the productivity of the coastal wetlands and just how important every part is to its success.

Students from YMCA Camp Y-Koda learn about macroinvertebrates from Lake Michigan.

Developing these activities for kids has provided them with an early, real-world experience that gives them a taste of what research is like. It inspires them to learn about their local area and protect environmental areas that already exist right before their eyes and in their backyard and hopefully, continue to spread their knowledge throughout their communities.

The Shipboard Science Project has not only impacted local students but also DeZwarte herself. “As an educator, I’ve been impacted in terms of my passion. Whenever you get to be a scientist yourself, I think it just elevates your ambition to share it with children.”

These experiences have elevated DeZwarte’s opportunities and need to reach out to her community about the importance of being aware of local ecosystems and environments.

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https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/sea-grant-learning-programs-help-environmental-educator-put-students-in-touch-with-lake-michigan/

Wisconsin Sea Grant

Madeline Island Yacht Club has been certified as a Wisconsin Clean Marina. As such, the yacht club promotes environmentally responsible business practices to minimize pollution and improve water quality.  

The Wisconsin Clean Marina Program was launched in 2010, and 20 Wisconsin marinas have since taken steps to voluntarily adopt practices to become certified.

Madeline Island Yacht Club (Submitted photo)

“We commend Madeline Island Yacht Club for following the best management practices set by the Wisconsin Clean Marina Program at their marina,” said Theresa Qualls, Wisconsin Clean Marina Program coordinator.

“We love the lake. We as a club, the membership, the staff and the board felt it was important because we value the great resource that we have been lucky enough to enjoy. Whether having grown up in the area or traveling great distances to get here for a summer get away, we love the lake and call it home,” said Alan Hardie, assistant service manager, Madeline Island Yacht Club.

Marinas, related industries and services contribute more than $2.7 billion to Wisconsin’s economy. Through the Wisconsin Clean Marina Program, marinas will prevent pollution and protect fish, wildlife and public health. They know that clean water is important to boaters and Wisconsin’s coastal communities. 

The Wisconsin Clean Marina Program is administered by the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Program in partnership with the Wisconsin Marine Association, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Fund for Lake Michigan.

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News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/madeline-island-yacht-club-is-wisconsins-newest-clean-marina/

Wisconsin Sea Grant

By Elise Ertl, University of Wisconsin-Superior

Tackling the challenge of developing resilience in coastal communities across the Great Lakes region is a two-way process that combines both science and policy.

Through the J. Philip Keillor Wisconsin Coastal Management Sea Grant Fellowship, the recipient, Lydia Salus, plans to do just that by building on what past fellows have accomplished, which includes writing and editing a coastal processes manual and outreach to local stakeholders.

Lydia Salus. Submitted photo.

“I am looking for some real-world policy experience to see water management on a broader scale,” Salus said. “There are a lot of different facets and opportunities for water management in Wisconsin, especially being placed between two Great Lakes.”

The fellowship is a full-time, yearlong position that will allow Salus to help communities build coastal resilience and make informed decisions. It places a recent master’s or doctoral graduate alongside mentors who will assist in developing water resource management and technical skills regarding water issues. In this case, Salus will be working closely not only with Sea Grant mentors but also with staff at the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program.

When asked what drew her to this fellowship Salus said, “This fellowship is a lot about actionable science, which is very attractive to me. It is going to allow me to take those technical skills and actually be able to do something with them and give that information to communities who will be able to solve problems and make themselves more resilient to coastal processes.”

During the fellowship, Salus hopes to develop her career and focus her career goals. Previously, she worked as a restoration field technician in southeastern Wisconsin to restore areas anywhere from prairie fields to coasts. Since then, her career goals have been focused on water resource management.

“Often, there is a gap between science and decision making and with this position, one of my goals is to be the bridge for that gap and connect science and decision making, especially in the Great Lakes communities,” Salus said.

During her graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Salus was also presented the opportunity to work with Sea Grant as a project assistant on the Southeastern Wisconsin Coastal Resilience Project. Before that, Salus worked to gain an extensive water resource and environmental science background but said having that direct experience with coastal management with Sea Grant drove her to a new section of water resource management, science and policy, and has launched her into this fellowship.

After completion of the fellowship, Salus wants her “future work to be less about the actual position I have and more about the work that I’ll be doing. I want to be able to connect scientific knowledge to fit the needs of different communities and to help them use that knowledge to make informed decisions about the area they live in.”

 

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News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

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Wisconsin Sea Grant

By Elise Ertl, University of Wisconsin-Superior

Tackling the challenge of developing resilience in coastal communities across the Great Lakes region is a two-way process that combines both science and policy.

Through the J. Philip Keillor Wisconsin Coastal Management Sea Grant Fellowship, the recipient, Lydia Salus, plans to do just that by building on what past fellows have accomplished, which includes writing and editing a coastal processes manual and outreach to local stakeholders.

Lydia Salus. Submitted photo.

“I am looking for some real-world policy experience to see water management on a broader scale,” Salus said. “There are a lot of different facets and opportunities for water management in Wisconsin, especially being placed between two Great Lakes.”

The fellowship is a full-time, yearlong position that will allow Salus to help communities build coastal resilience and make informed decisions. It places a recent master’s or doctoral graduate alongside mentors who will assist in developing water resource management and technical skills regarding water issues. In this case, Salus will be working closely not only with Sea Grant mentors but also with staff at the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program.

When asked what drew her to this fellowship Salus said, “This fellowship is a lot about actionable science, which is very attractive to me. It is going to allow me to take those technical skills and actually be able to do something with them and give that information to communities who will be able to solve problems and make themselves more resilient to coastal processes.”

During the fellowship, Salus hopes to develop her career and focus her career goals. Previously, she worked as a restoration field technician in southeastern Wisconsin to restore areas anywhere from prairie fields to coasts. Since then, her career goals have been focused on water resource management.

“Often, there is a gap between science and decision making and with this position, one of my goals is to be the bridge for that gap and connect science and decision making, especially in the Great Lakes communities,” Salus said.

During her graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Salus was also presented the opportunity to work with Sea Grant as a project assistant on the Southeastern Wisconsin Coastal Resilience Project. Before that, Salus worked to gain an extensive water resource and environmental science background but said having that direct experience with coastal management with Sea Grant drove her to a new section of water resource management, science and policy, and has launched her into this fellowship.

After completion of the fellowship, Salus wants her “future work to be less about the actual position I have and more about the work that I’ll be doing. I want to be able to connect scientific knowledge to fit the needs of different communities and to help them use that knowledge to make informed decisions about the area they live in.”

 

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News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

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Wisconsin Sea Grant

Canada geese swimming through wild rice on the St. Louis River. Image taken by a trail cam.

By Elise Ertl, University of Wisconsin-Superior

The final River Talk of the season, “Deterring Geese on the St. Louis River to Protect Wild Rice,” was presented by Sam Hansen, a former summer undergraduate research fellow with the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, on May 13. The presentation was done virtually via Zoom, which allowed people to come together during the Coronavirus pandemic. It is available on YouTube.

Hansen completed his research in the summer of 2019. In his talk, he discussed the effects of low-impact kayaking on the Canada geese population in bay areas and the relationship between these geese and wild rice.

Wild rice is an important resource in our area, not only economically, but socially and culturally as well. Hansen began his talk by discussing the current situation of declining rice in the St. Louis River and what could be causing levels to drop. “There are a couple reasons for the depletion of wild rice in recent years. One is rising water levels, sulfide levels and the focus of this study, goose predation.”

Canada goose. Image credit: Sam Hansen

Canada geese were once endangered in our area, however since then, geese have replenished their population, reaching around 5 million breeding geese in 2013. Hansen says the increase in the population is likely due to the increase in agricultural grain, meaning the geese have more feeding opportunities. This includes wild rice in their diet.  This increase in goose population means a decrease in wild rice.

To test whether human activity, such as low-impact kayaking, would have an effect on goose visitation in areas with wild rice, Hansen set up eight trail cameras: four on visited lakes (lakes with frequent human visitors), and four on unvisited lakes (lakes with no visitors). The trail cams took photos every ten minutes, totaling around 30,000 pictures that he had to sort through at the end of the observation period. 

Hansen acquired kayakers for the visited lakes through volunteerism, Craigslist, and geocache opportunities. Geocaches are small, hidden containers that usually include a notepad and pencil or a small item inside with which people are then able to leave a small note or exchange an item of their own bringing with an item inside the container. This is something that is a unique addition to the study to attract more people that may normally not have visited the lakes otherwise. People that were not volunteers for the study, but were still present on the lake, were also taken into account.

Hansen said, “The geocaches were meant so that people would have to kayak out to find them and, therefore, deter geese. Some people, however, did just grab them from land, but fortunately, we were able to still count them as visitors.”

For his research, Hansen recorded what time of the day geese were most likely to be active and what stage of growth the wild rice was in when most geese were present. Hansen said, “There is a higher abundance of geese during the flowering leaf stages of wild rice and the bays are most frequently visited during dawn and dusk, while midday times were avoided. Kayaking or visiting the bays during morning and night will most effectively deter geese.”

Hansen’s overall results showed non-motorized water recreation could be a goose deterrence method and would be most effective in areas with more wild rice in the flowering stages.

One audience member noted that goslings are grown by the time the rice flowers, and speculated that more geese are present during the flowering stage because the young geese increase the population counts.

Another audience member asked if bringing a dog while paddling could also help deter geese. While Hansen said no further studies on goose deterrence are being conducted right now, both of these ideas could be a potential study in the future.

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https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/deterring-geese-on-the-st-louis-river-to-protect-wild-rice/

Wisconsin Sea Grant

By Elise Ertl, University of Wisconsin-Superior

As part of the River Talks series, Vern Northrup presented his five-year photography journey titled, “Akinomaage: Teaching from the Earth,” on March 3 at the St. Louis River Summit held at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. He explained how he was able to use photography to show connection between Earth and spirit and the relationship between sustainability, growth and fire.

“Biboon” (winter) — an image from Vern Northrup’s photography book.

Northrup got his start when he was asked five years ago to have an exhibit at Duluth’s American Indian Community Housing Organization. He was presented with his next opportunity when the Duluth Art Institute asked him to create an exhibit, which is his now photography book, “Akinomaage: Teaching from the Earth,” the first book the institute has published. 

Northrup, a member of the Fond Du Lac Tribe of Lake Superior Chippewa, began his talk by explaining how the tribe finds their connection with nature.  “The way we look at everything out there is that everything has a spirit. Everything that has been created, the Earth, the moon, the river, the water, has a spirit, and that is how we treat them, one spirit to another.”

Having this deeper connection with nature led to the inspiration that lies behind Northrup’s photos. As he began showing the contents of his photo book, he provided the audience with insight into how these spirits have influenced the way tribal members live. Gitchi-Gami-zibi, also known as the St. Louis River, has been a major influence in their lives.

“In the water, there are mermen and mermaids. They love us so much, they want us to come live with them. Of course, we cannot, so we show our appreciation by making offerings to them, and in return, they protect us,” Northrup said.

This is only one example of many that have become integrated as a part of their lives. The sumac tree, milkweed buds and wild animals are a few more of the important integrated benefits in their lives, providing food, medicine and tools. Northrup showed one unique photo of red leaves on a tree forming a phoenix, representing a culture that is ever rising, and the adaptation that it takes to thrive.

Vern Northrup

Northrup also worked with ishkode (fire) for a number of years and was invited to Stockton Island to return fire to sustain this part of the Apostle Island National Lakeshore. Northrup said the Anishinaabe used to burn there for thousands of years for blueberries. Island blueberries became a valuable trade item because of their varying, yet close, harvest time compared to berries on the mainland.

“The indigenous people in America had over 700 uses of fire to shape their environment. For whatever reason. It could have been anything from war, to cooking bugs, to everything,” Northrup said.  

He added that the purpose for fires was to attract different types of animals at certain times of the year, to encourage blueberry growth, or to add nutrients for the wild rice. “Fire is a cleanser of the land and the air,” he said. By burning the land, they were able to encourage new growth of food and plants that otherwise had not emerged in years.

Flowering wild rice — an image from Vern Northrup’s photography book.

A member of the audience asked how Northrup chooses what to photograph. His response was, “Some days I go out there, and I tell myself to sit down and listen to what’s around me to try and learn something. I enjoy taking pictures of the woods here. I’ve spent my time travelling, and now the woods are where I want to stay.”

The April River Talk, “What Tourism Means for the River,” will be postponed until a later date due to the Cornonavirus. If you’d like to get on the email list for River Talk notifications, please contact Science Communicator Marie Zhuikov at mzhuikov@aqua.wisc.edu.

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Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/catching-spirits-through-a-lens/

Wisconsin Sea Grant

Nancy Schuldt holds a copy of the health impact assessment document the Fond du Lac Tribe commissioned. Image by Michael Anderson.

By Elise Ertl, University of Wisconsin-Superior

Nancy Schuldt delivered her River Talk, “Promoting Tribal Health by Protecting and Restoring Manoomin (Wild Rice) in the St. Louis River and Beyond,” on Feb. 12, stressing the importance of manoomin’s presence in the St. Louis River and the benefits it creates in health, wellness and wealth.

Schuldt, the water protection coordinator with the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, began by noting how the tribe approached the manoomin decline. “Science simply just isn’t enough. You need policy and reform, and to start that, we decided it was best to conduct a health impact assessment.”

Manoomin provides many health benefits physically, economically and socially. Wild rice is packed with fiber and protein, measuring much higher than white and brown rice. The harvesting of wild rice, an important tradition in Native American culture, also provides a great deal of physical exercise that adds to the health benefits of wild rice. Schuldt said that economically, the manoomin harvest adds more than $20 million to the state economy each year and supports nearly 300 jobs. The growth of wild rice also promotes increased duck populations, which in turn promotes duck hunting for economic profit.

After focusing on the benefits that wild rice supports, Schuldt described what wild rice needs to grow properly and abundantly. She used a quote that was shared by a concerned tribal member, which read, “Water is necessary for not just wild rice but us as well. It has to be clean.”

Good water quality and habitat are vital to the survival of this annual grass. Sulfate is one component being investigated because of its observed effects on wild rice. Schuldt said they are pushing for enforcing the state’s existing 10-ppm maximum of sulfate in the water, which the Band also has in its approved water quality standards. However, this can be a tough goal to achieve due to cost factors that arise for companies and wastewater treatment plants in treating their effluent. A lot of emphasis has been put on costs for the companies, but Schuldt believes the benefits of wild rice outweigh the costs.

A member of the audience asked why the water body sulfate specific standards were so important when cultivating wild rice. Schuldt delved deeper into the subject by explaining how sulfate turns into sulfide in the sediments surrounding the roots of the wild rice, which, over time, becomes toxic. The seeds then become less abundant and smaller, meaning less rice grows as the sulfide accumulates.

The next River Talk will be held at 6:30 p.m. on March 3 in conjunction with the St. Louis River Summit at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center. The topic will be “Akinomaage: Teaching from the Earth,” presented by photographer and Fond du Lac tribal member Vern Northrup. He will discuss how he uses photography as a tool to educate both himself and viewers about the rhythms of nature, the preservation of tradition, and the relationship between resilience and sustainability.

 

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Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/the-importance-of-cultivating-manoomin-in-the-st-louis-river/

Wisconsin Sea Grant

By Elise Ertl, University of Wisconsin-Superior

Deborah DeLuca presented this month’s River Talk on Jan. 8 at the Lake Superior Estuarium. Her talk, “The Duluth Seaway Port Authority – A Career Journey,” offered insight to the Great Lakes’ largest port and how she came to be the first woman to hold the executive director position at Duluth Seaway Port Authority in the 60 years since its establishment.

Deb DeLuca. Image by Marie Zhuikov.

The Duluth Seaway Port Authority’s mission is to bring business to the port of Duluth-Superior, economic development to the region and to advocate for maritime and transportation industries. The port authority also owns one of 20 active terminals – the Clure Public Marine Terminal – which is the only general cargo terminal in the harbor.

DeLuca said one of the challenges about being located in Duluth is how far inland the port is. Ships must travel to the western tip of Lake Superior to reach it.

Some of the primary cargoes shipped from the harbor are iron ore, limestone and coal. Grain is the No. 1 export. However, DeLuca also talked about the increasing wind turbine imports to our area. The wind turbine imports the port is receiving are shipped all across the upper Midwest, including states as far as Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. Wind turbine parts can be immense, with some blades over 200 feet long.

The talk of wind turbine imports added to what has always been a big part of DeLuca’s life, the environment and sustainability. In college, she earned her bachelor’s in molecular biology, and later a master’s in land resources at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She talked about her internship with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and her experience working with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Braun Intertec, an environmental consulting and testing firm.

During her college career, she worked at a bike shop, adding to the list of DeLuca’s wide interests and capabilities. While there, she purchased a bike and learned from her coworkers how to ride competitively. She quickly progressed and eventually made the U.S. National Cycling Team.

She also worked for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Later, she started her own company, DeLuca Strategies LLC, where she provided services such as funding strategies, grant-writing, project management, public outreach, and government relations to public, private and nonprofit clients.

DeLuca first started working for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority as the government and environmental affairs director for four years and afterward, became executive director.

The River Talks audience was engaged and asked an abundance of questions. One audience member asked whether the port authority has looked into tourism and possible recreational benefits for people who may want to see the ships up close at the port. DeLuca said, “Kayaking and paddleboarding down by the port may be a fun idea, but it is also dangerous because the ships cannot see people down below, and they can’t maneuver quickly or stop.”

DeLuca was also asked questions about the environment and people who may be studying the topic. She offered this advice: “You can have all the passion in the world to make a difference, but without an understanding of economics and finance, it will be difficult to implement change.” She recommended gaining knowledge of finance and economics in addition to environmental sciences.

The next River Talk will be held on Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Lake Superior Estuarium. Nancy Schuldt will be discussing the growth of wild rice in the estuary.

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https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/deluca-shares-her-journey-to-becoming-executive-director-of-the-duluth-seaway-port-authority/

Wisconsin Sea Grant