Three grants totaling more than $334,000 were awarded to Wisconsin Sea Grant to support the state’s commercial fishing and aquaculture industries, particularly in the areas of career development and resilience planning.

Sharon Moen, Eat Wisconsin Fish outreach specialist. (Photo: Marie Zhuikov)

Recently, NOAA Sea Grant announced federal funding to aid the sustainable growth of the U.S. seafood industry. One of the efforts focuses on the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on seafood resources. Wisconsin Sea Grant has been awarded $186,000 in funding through that competition, meant to increase the resilience of the seafood sector to respond to future disruptions. The project has a two-year time span and was one of 13 awarded nationally by NOAA Sea Grant. Sharon Moen, Wisconsin Sea Grant’s Eat Wisconsin Fish outreach specialist, is the project lead.

A second recently announced grant of $98,000 was awarded through NOAA Sea Grant and NOAA Office of Sustainable Fisheries (more specifically, through the “Food from the Sea” Careers Program).

The work funded by this grant enables the Michigan and Wisconsin Sea Grant programs to collaborate on building the framework for a Great Lakes commercial fisheries apprenticeship program over the next six months. Project leads for this effort are Titus Seilheimer, Wisconsin Sea Grant fisheries specialist, and Lauren Jescovitch, a Michigan Sea Grant extension educator in the Upper Peninsula. Moen will also be a key player. Together, the team will assess apprenticeship program needs among both tribal and nontribal fishers. The implementation phase of the apprenticeship program will be funded by the two-year grant.

Titus Seilheimer, fisheries outreach specialist.

A third grant of $50,000 enables the Eat Wisconsin Fish initiative to continue to grow its outreach potential over the next year. Moen leads this project.

“It is exciting that NOAA Sea Grant selected these three Wisconsin proposals for funding,” said Moen. “Food fish—both wild-caught and farm-raised in the U.S.—is an important part of our economy and food security. This funding will enable us to build on our efforts to help commercial fishers and fish farmers thrive in a challenging environment.”

The commercial fishing side of the projects focuses on developing the Great Lakes region’s first-ever apprenticeship program in fishing and fish processing. “Commercial fisheries across the country are graying as the older generation gets older, but who will take the wheel to keep these fisheries going?” said Seilheimer.

Continued Seilheimer, “Our work will build the framework for an apprenticeship program to train the next generation of commercial fishers. We will learn from tribal and state fishers about the needs and wants for a new training program. We hope to build an apprenticeship program that will provide an experienced workforce for tribal and commercial fisheries for years to come to support sustainable Great Lakes fisheries.”

Clarence Pratt of the Red Cliff Fish Co. shows a vacuum-sealed package of lake trout from Lake Superior that has just been processed. (Photo: Bonnie Willison)

While the pandemic has been tough all-around, noted Moen, “It has had a disproportionate impact on Indigenous commercial fishers.” One partner in this project is the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, which operates the Red Cliff Fish Co. The fish market prioritizes local retail sales and supplying Lake Superior fish to Native American elders.

While other states have apprenticeship programs focused on commercial fishing and fish processing, Moen said this one will focus on needs specific to the Great Lakes.

The aquaculture side of the projects will include efforts to inform fish consumers and the general public about fish-farming methods.

“Aquaculture in the U.S. has come a long way in the last several decades, and public perceptions have not kept up with reality,” said Moen. “Regulations in the U.S. as a whole are quite strict, and even more so here in Wisconsin, which should give consumers confidence that they’re choosing a safe product that has been raised responsibly. It pays to check labels or ask at the fish counter when you’re shopping.”

Moen and Seilheimer will carry out the funded activities along with members of Sea Grant’s science communication and education teams.

At their core, the three grant-funded projects are responding to challenges faced by Wisconsin fish farms and commercial fishers, from pandemics to workforce issues. “In the end,” said Moen, “We want to create a stronger food network and food systems so that when future disruptions happen, we’ll be better prepared.”

Those interested in learning more about these projects may contact Sharon Moen or Titus Seilheimer.

The post Wisconsin Sea Grant awarded $334,000 to support state’s commercial fishing and aquaculture industries 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/wisconsin-sea-grant-awarded-334000-to-support-states-commercial-fishing-and-aquaculture-industries/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=wisconsin-sea-grant-awarded-334000-to-support-states-commercial-fishing-and-aquaculture-industries

Jennifer Smith

For Nicole Ward, Wisconsin Sea Grant’s current J. Philip Keillor Great Lakes Fellow, returning to Madison for this opportunity has brought her academic journey full circle.

Keillor Fellow Dr. Nicole K. Ward (Submitted photo)

Ward earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison just over a decade ago, then left the Badger State for graduate studies in Idaho and Virginia. Yet Ward was eager to get back to the Upper Midwest and work on Great Lakes topics—making the Keillor Fellowship, which began June 1, an excellent fit for the newly minted Ph.D.

She is based at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Office of Great Waters, where she works closely with Madeline Magee, monitoring program coordinator, and Cherie Hagen, the Lake Superior Basin supervisor. Ward is also active in the Great Lakes Working Group of the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI).

Broadly speaking, her focus is on incorporating climate change resilience planning into the DNR’s Great Lakes projects. The three main projects she’s associated with are:

  • The WICCI Great Lakes Working Group report, expected to be published online in late September. The report summarizes climate change effects on Great Lakes ecosystems and covers some potential solutions.
  • Great Lakes coastal wetlands: assessing the condition and resiliency of Wisconsin’s coastal wetlands in the face of climate change. This, in turn, could inform the prioritization of wetlands for restoration or protection.
  • Developing climate adaptation resources and information for DNR Office of Great Waters staff to ensure climate resiliency is built into all projects involving the Great Lakes and Mississippi River.

The range of duties draws upon Ward’s passion for freshwater ecosystems, but also allows her to grow her skillset. “I’ve worked in multiple other types of freshwater ecosystems, like rivers, streams, lakes and reservoirs, but this will add to my repertoire through working on the Great Lakes and coastal wetlands,” she said.

Nicole K. Ward explores some of Wisconsin’s waters by canoe. (Photo: Titus Seilheimer)

A native of Rochester, Minnesota, Ward spent three years with the Minnesota DNR working on native mussels and stream ecology after earning her bachelor’s degree.

Those years with the Minnesota DNR set her future direction in motion: “It was while snorkeling and scuba diving in the streams and rivers of Minnesota that I began seeing the effects of land management and decision-making that were far removed from the stream itself,” she said. “I had an ‘aha moment’ while working there, when I decided I needed to learn more about how people make environmental decisions, and how those decisions may change in response to changing ecosystems. The ever-changing and complex Great Lakes Basin is really the perfect place to apply my skills in understanding feedbacks between ecosystem change and human decision-making.”

After a master’s degree at the University of Idaho in water resources, doctoral work in biological sciences at Virginia Tech followed. There, she examined land use and climate change over the course of 31 years in the Lake Sunapee watershed in New Hampshire.

During her time at Virginia Tech, she also worked with a local lake association to co-produce an online, interactive data visualization tool for communicating with landowners about lawn management practices. She collaborated with a social psychologist to develop the tool and gauge its effectiveness.

This points to another area of interest: science communication and finding effective strategies for connecting with varied audiences. One of the key things she learned from working with the psychologist, Ward said, was that “Simple messaging is better. While you see that in the literature, this experience was a really direct, personal reality check of just how simple you need to keep things if engaging with a particular audience for the first time about a topic.”

The human dimension of environmental decisions is a throughline in her work. Said Ward, “A foundational part of how I think about myself as a scientist is to fully recognize that people make environmental decisions based on much more than just scientific evidence. Water issues are never actually about the water, they’re about the underlying values and priorities of people, and people have more shared values than we often recognize.”

The post Keillor Fellow to integrate climate change planning into Great Lakes and coastal wetlands projects first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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News Releases | Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases | Wisconsin Sea Grant

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Jennifer Smith

Wisconsin’s Sea Grant’s “Lake Talks,” a series of informal science presentations, returns for the fall season with an event on Thursday, Sept. 23, from 7-8 p.m. Kicking off the new season is speaker Jackson Parr, the J. Philip Keillor Flood Resilience-Wisconsin Sea Grant Fellow. His talk is titled “Understanding Flood Resilience in Your Community.”

The virtual event will be held on Zoom. It is open to everyone, though registration is required. (Register for this event now.) The hour will include time for audience questions.

The Keillor Flood Resilience Fellowship is jointly supported by Wisconsin Sea Grant and the Climate and Health Program at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), where the fellow is stationed. The goal of the position is to boost resilience to flooding events in communities around the state—particularly smaller ones that may have less capacity or fewer resources to devote to this issue than larger municipalities.

Jackson Parr (submitted photo)

Parr’s topic is a timely one, as flooding and other damage from Hurricane Ida has captured the concern of the nation. While Wisconsin does not face hurricanes, other severe weather events have caused damage and displacement here. For example, widespread and significant flooding in the southern portion of the state in 2008 led to 31 counties being declared disaster areas. According to the National Weather Service, more than 40,000 homes and 5,000 businesses were damaged, and state officials estimated the total damage at more than $1.2 billion.

In his talk, Parr will describe a tool called the Flood Resilience Scorecard, which helps communities assess their level of flood preparedness through three lenses: environmental, institutional and social. The tool also assesses readiness for dealing with the health impacts that often follow floods. Parr and colleagues at DHS and Sea Grant work with communities on completing the scorecard, and, based on the outcomes, they help those communities take action to boost their readiness.

Parr is well-versed in Wisconsin communities as both a former Door County journalist and a two-time graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He holds master’s degrees in public affairs and water resources management.

Future Lake Talks this fall will focus on Wisconsin shipwrecks (October); Great Lakes children’s literature by Native American authors (November); and a conversation with Minnesota-based poet Moheb Soliman, who draws upon his Great Lakes travels in his work, including his most recent poetry collection, HOMES (December). Those talks will also be delivered via Zoom.

For Lake Talks event and registration information, visit the Sea Grant website, or follow Wisconsin Sea Grant on Facebook or Twitter. You can register for Jackson Parr’s talk now.

For questions about this series, contact Wisconsin Sea Grant science communicator Jennifer Smith.

The post Series of informal science talks returns with a focus on flood resilience in Wisconsin communities first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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News Releases | Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases | Wisconsin Sea Grant

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Jennifer Smith

NOAA Sea Grant, in collaboration with U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Geological Survey, announces six new partnership positions. The Sea Grant Federal Partnership Liaisons will integrate Sea Grant extension expertise with science, products and services from NOAA labs and other publicly supported scientific research programs. These jointly-funded positions expand on a key component of Sea Grant’s work, extending science to end users and doing so through collaborative partnerships.

“The Sea Grant Liaisons provide strong connection points between emerging research and interested parties to tackle some of coastal and Great Lakes communities’ most pressing issues,” stated Dr. Jonathan Pennock, director of NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program. “By engaging user communities around the country, Sea Grant’s Federal Partnership Liaisons program harnesses the Sea Grant network’s strengths to inform the work of federal science and service agencies.”

Focus areas for the new liaisons include aquatic invasive species, climate resilience, offshore wind energy, aquaculture opportunity areas, harmful algal blooms and community science for underserved communities. They join three existing Sea Grant partnership liaisons who work in ocean acidification, tsunami and coastal resilience, and Great Lakes research with NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

The positions announced today are the result of a competitive funding opportunity announced in 2020. These Federal Partnership Liaisons are as follows:

  • Aquatic Invasive Species Liaison, with Wisconsin Sea Grant and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service;
  • Coastal Resilience Liaison, with Georgia Sea Grant and U.S. Department of Defense;
  • Community Science Liaison, with Louisiana Sea Grant, Lake Champlain Sea Grant, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Geological Survey, NOAA Office of Education and NOAA Fisheries;
  • Harmful Algal Bloom Liaison, with Florida Sea Grant, NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service;
  • Offshore Wind Energy Liaison, with Rhode Island Sea Grant and U.S. Department of Energy; and
  • Shellfish Aquaculture Liaison, with Connecticut Sea Grant and NOAA Fisheries Office of Aquaculture and Milford Laboratory.

Wisconsin Sea Grant’s Tim Campbell will serve as one of the new liaisons. (Photo: Wisconsin Sea Grant)

Wisconsin Sea Grant’s Aquatic Invasive Species Outreach Specialist Tim Campbell will be the AIS Liaison. He will serve in this capacity part-time while continuing his current role with Wisconsin Sea Grant. As a liaison, he will work broadly on AIS outreach coordination for the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force, co-chaired by USFWS and NOAA. He will also work to strengthen Sea Grant connections with the regional aquatic nuisance species panels and assist with AIS work in the National Sea Grant Office.

In addition to closely aligning with Sea Grant strategic goals and Sea Grant Network Vision Plans, the Liaisons support shared priorities in sustaining coastal and Great Lakes communities. These positions will build on agencies’ efforts to address three of the Biden Administration’s Executive Orders, “Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis”, “Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad” and “Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.”

“EPA is excited to work with our federal partners to address critical water research needs in coastal communities,” said Dr. Wayne E. Cascio, Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Science in EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “By working directly with communities, we can increase scientific knowledge and promote more inclusive public engagement in priority environmental concerns, including environmental justice and climate change.”

The Sea Grant Liaisons will serve as a resource to the public, helping to engage and educate communities. Learn more about Sea Grant’s Federal Partnership Liaisons here.

The post NOAA Sea Grant Liaisons address critical research areas across federal agencies first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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News Releases | Wisconsin Sea Grant

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Jennifer Smith

It’s always nice to have one’s praises sung, and Deb DeLuca, director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, helped communicate the value of Sea Grant during a recent Capitol Hill briefing. The virtual briefing was held July 29 and moderated by Susan White, director of North Carolina Sea Grant. (Watch video of the briefing here.)

Sponsored by the Sea Grant Association, the briefing for members of Congress, their staffs and other interested people was designed to demonstrate the impacts Sea Grant programs have in their home states.

Deb DeLuca (submitted photo).

While DeLuca provided a Great Lakes perspective, other speakers were Beth Ginter, executive director of the Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council in Maryland, and Seth Rolbein, director of the Cape Cod Fisheries Trust in Massachusetts.

Of course, it’s no surprise that DeLuca would be a dedicated advocate for Sea Grant; after all, she serves on the advisory councils of both Wisconsin Sea Grant and Minnesota Sea Grant. That dual commitment makes perfect sense, given that the “Twin Ports” nickname refers to Duluth and Superior.

After sharing some facts about her port—the largest by tonnage on the Great Lakes and one of the top 20 in the nation, also by tonnage—DeLuca outlined some of the challenges the maritime transportation industry is facing, as well as concrete ways Sea Grant is helping with those challenges.

Some of DeLuca’s observations:

  • There’s been gentrification of the working waterfront in the Duluth/Superior area, and it’s important to work on public perceptions and social license for the shipping industry. While it may seem like all 21st century jobs are going digital, that is not the case. Roughly 8,000 jobs in DeLuca’s region are tied to shipping, and they pay well. What’s more, “These jobs are accessible across a broad range of educational backgrounds,” she said.
  • With the boom in outdoor recreation spurred by the pandemic, Sea Grant programs jumped in to keep people safe while engaging in recreational boating, kayaking and the like, such as a “Paddle Safe” program about avoiding entries to the harbor, how to behave around ships, and—for swimmers—how to stay safe from rip tides. “We do want people to use the water and for these two uses”—industry and recreation—“to exist together. Sea Grant’s been fantastic for that.”
  • DeLuca’s port has 19 miles of navigational channel that need to be dredged to remain operational, and “it’s always an issue where to put that material,” she said, as well as to determine most accurately the window of time it can be done safely. Sea Grant has pulled together fish habitat and reproduction data, as well as stakeholder input, to inform those decisions.

These are just three areas among several DeLuca noted to illustrate Sea Grant’s value in guiding smart, science-based decisions for the Great Lakes that balance the needs of various users and protect the environment for generations to come.

Watch the full briefing online to hear more of DeLuca’s comments, as well as those of her counterparts along the Atlantic Ocean.

The post At a virtual Capitol Hill briefing, Duluth port director describes Sea Grant’s impact first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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Blog | Wisconsin Sea Grant

Blog | Wisconsin Sea Grant

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Jennifer Smith

You could say that preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) is a team sport. While it takes the professional efforts of natural resource managers, AIS specialists and others in the environmental field, it also takes the cooperation of the public.

Professionals encourage and rely on boaters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts to take preventative actions such as cleaning, draining and drying their boats and other watercraft and not moving water or live bait from one lake to another. Successful management of AIS and the help of a vigilant public go hand in hand.

Yet for community members to take necessary actions, they must first be aware of the negative impacts AIS can have and how to stop their spread. Communicating with them about AIS in an effective way is vital.

New research from Wisconsin Sea Grant Aquatic Invasive Species Outreach Specialist Tim Campbell, University of Wisconsin-Madison Associate Professor Bret Shaw and consultant Barry T. Radler sheds new light on such communication. The researchers analyzed which communication strategies are most effective and which may pose unintended problems. Shaw is a faculty member in the Department of Life Sciences Communication and is also an environmental communication specialist in the university’s Division of Extension.

The team’s findings were published online Aug. 14 in the journal Environmental Management (“Testing Emphasis Message Frames and Metaphors on Social Media to Engage Boaters to Learn about Preventing the Spread of Zebra Mussels”).

This advertisement is an example of the “science” message framing–a straightforward, factual approach. (Artwork by Brooke Alexander)

The trio used Facebook as a platform to test five types of messages—each invoking a different metaphor or message frame—to educate people about zebra mussels, a significant problem in the Great Lakes and elsewhere. These communication strategies can shape how people understand and form opinions about complex issues.

Paid advertising on Facebook and the social media site’s message-testing feature enabled the researchers to present these different messages to 270,000 people in Wisconsin with an interest in lakes, boating or fishing.

Although the ads presented messages similar to those commonly used in invasive species communication, up until this point little testing had actually been done about their effectiveness. The commonly used message frames were dubbed hitchhiker, militaristic, nativist, science and protective. The messages were paired with artwork by Brooke Alexander.

Many communication goals, the team found, can be achieved by using fact-based or more positive message frames. In general, the science frame—a direct, factual approach—will always perform at least as well as nativist and militaristic frames.

Said Campbell, “This work provides real-world results that can help those working with invasive species achieve their desired communication results, while avoiding possible unintended consequences from their messaging.” For example, nativist message framing (e.g., “alien,” “exotic”) can have unwanted xenophobic connotations while also not performing better than other frames on any tested metric.

Militaristic message framing can be fraught with unintended connotations. (Artwork by Brooke Alexander)

Similarly, militaristic framing (such as stating we are “at war” with invasive species) can create potentially unhealthy relationships with nature and misguided views on how to manage invasive species.

Shaw noted that the metrics tested for the Facebook ads included cost-per-click, shares and comments. As he explained, “Many scholars and AIS professionals have debated the use of nativist or militaristic language in prevention campaigns, since many of them find that language to be fraught with unwanted implications. Based on our research, we recommend that outreach professionals skip those nativist and militaristic frames and focus instead on clearly communicated science.”

The team’s journal article may be read online. The research was supported by Wisconsin Sea Grant and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension.

For further information, contact Campbell at tim.campbell@wisc.edu.

The post New research provides guidance for effective public messaging about invasive species prevention first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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News Releases | Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases | Wisconsin Sea Grant

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Jennifer Smith

If you’re interested in sustainable farming practices and how fish gets to your plate, an upcoming virtual event is for you.  The second annual Sea Grant Great Lakes Aquaculture Days will take place Aug. 31 through Sept. 2. This year, the event is moving from a single day to three days of fun-filled aquaculture learning opportunities!

The interactive event will showcase the region’s fish and seafood production through virtual farm tours, live interviews with farmers and Q&A sessions. 

The event is free and open to the public.  Registration is required. Farm tours begin at 2 and 3 p.m. central time each day (3 and 4 p.m. Eastern). Tours last approximately 15 minutes, followed by live interviews and Q&A with the featured farmers.

The event will showcase farms across the Great Lakes region that have been successful in creating viable businesses, producing high quality products and limiting their environmental impacts.  Farm tours will highlight different aquaculture methods. Each farm is privately owned and operates in a unique way, producing a variety of different species. Attendees will learn about the diversity of aquaculture operations in the Great Lakes region.

The farm tour lineup is as follows: 

  • Aug. 31, 2 p.m.: Branch River Trout Hatchery, Wisconsin – raceways in combination with a winery
  • Aug. 31, 3 p.m.: Cedar Brook Trout Farm, Michigan – trout raceways
  • Sept. 1, 2 p.m.: Hickling’s Fish Farm, New York – bass and trout raceways and ponds
  • Sept. 1, 3 p.m.: Ozark Fisheries, Indiana/Missouri – pond and flowthrough
  • Sept. 2, 2 p.m.: Ripple Rock Fish Farms, Ohio  – recirculating aquaculture system
  • Sept. 2, 3 p.m.: Lincoln Bait LLC, Minnesota – bait farm

The event is hosted by the Sea Grant Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative, which is a project of Sea Grant programs across the Great Lakes region working to share resources and promote best practices throughout the aquaculture industry. Wisconsin Sea Grant is a member of this effort; for more Wisconsin-related information about Aquaculture Days, contact Titus Seilheimer, fisheries outreach specialist.

Attendees will have opportunities to interact with other participants through the question-and-answer sessions at the end of each farm tour. These sessions also offer a chance to pick the brains of experienced aquaculture operators across the region. 

Globally, aquaculture is the fastest growing sector of agriculture. It now accounts for more than 50% of the world’s seafood production, surpassing production from wild-caught fisheries. However, in the United States, the growth of aquaculture has been stagnant, and seafood supply from U.S.-based, wild-caught fisheries is not enough to meet the national demand. One result is a $14 billion seafood trade deficit. 

The U.S. aquaculture industry has the potential for growth, especially in the Great Lakes region, where abundant inland freshwater resources have enabled a handful of aquaculture operations that employ a local workforce and produce sustainable, healthy and tasty fish. 

In Wisconsin, consumers can learn more about fish that is both farmed and wild-caught in the state by visiting EatWisconsinFish.org, a project of Wisconsin Sea Grant. The site includes recipes, information about producers, health facts and more.

For more information about Great Lakes Aquaculture Days 2021 or to register, visit greatlakesseagrant.com/aquaculture or contact Michigan Sea Grant Extension Educator Elliot Nelson, elliotne@msu.edu. For information about the Sea Grant Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative, contact Minnesota Sea Grant Extension Educator Amy Schrank, aschrank@umn.edu.

The post Aquaculture Days virtual event connects public with fish farmers and local fish first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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News Releases | Wisconsin Sea Grant

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Jennifer Smith

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Sea Grant College Program are pleased to announce the finalists for the 2022 class of the Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program. The one-year fellowship places early career professionals in federal government offices in Washington, D.C. The 74 finalists in the 2022 class represent 28 of the 34 Sea Grant programs. Since 1979, almost 1,500 fellows have completed the program, becoming leaders in science, policy, and public administration roles.

Knauss finalists are chosen through a competitive process that includes comprehensive review at both the state Sea Grant program and national levels. Students who are enrolled in or have recently completed master’s, Juris Doctor (J.D.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs with a focus and/or interest in marine and coastal science, policy or management apply to one of the 34 Sea Grant programs. If applicants are successful at the state program level, their applications are then reviewed by a national panel of experts.

Among the 74 finalists are four who applied through Wisconsin Sea Grant: Becky J. Curtis, Elizabeth McNamee, Samm Newton and Theresa M. Vander Woude.

“At both the state and national levels, Sea Grant’s active recruitment and student engagement efforts supported one of the most robust applicant pools in fellowship history,” said Jonathan Pennock, Ph.D., National Sea Grant College Program director. “I have no doubt that the finalists’ diverse perspectives will provide great insight towards addressing critical marine policy and science challenges. We look forward to welcoming the 2022 class of Knauss fellows.”

This year’s class comprises students and recent graduates from 51 distinct universities, including 11 minority-serving institutions. The finalists completed coursework and research in a range of fields, such as agronomy, anthropology, ecology, environmental policy and law, fisheries, geology, marine and coastal sciences, oceanography, tourism management and urban and regional planning.

Beyond completing rigorous academic programs, the 2022 finalists come from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences. Many of the finalists are multilingual, some grew up and studied in countries outside of the U.S.,  and others engaged in international study and experiences. The 2022 finalists include first-generation college graduates, former service members and leaders in diversity and inclusion initiatives. They have supported their communities as educators, mentors and volunteers; worked in international, national and state political offices; and engaged with scientific research at NOAA and other federal agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, NASA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Furthermore, finalists are science communicators and artists who have demonstrated their skills and desire to translate research to broad applications. This year’s class also includes an ultimate frisbee coach, a pilot, an ocean historian, a beekeeper, a slam poet, an ice hockey captain, a woodblock carver, and a blackbelt in taekwondo. Learn more about the Wisconsin finalists from the “postcards” below this story; to view postcards about all 74 finalists, visit the National Sea Grant College Program website.

This fall, the 2022 finalists will participate in a virtual placement week to get to know each other and interview with potential host offices. Following placement, they will begin their fellowships in February 2022.

Executive appointments for the 2021 Knauss fellows included placements throughout NOAA as well as with the Department of Energy, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Science Foundation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies. Legislative placements included the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (Majority), the House Committee on Natural Resources (Majority), the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation (Majority and Minority), and several placements in both majority and minority personal offices (House and Senate).

The 2022 Knauss finalists will become the 43rd class of the fellowship and will join a group of almost 1,500 professionals who have received hands-on experiences transferring science to policy and management through one-year appointments with federal government offices in Washington, D.C., like alumna and current NOAA chief of staff, Karen Hyun, Ph.D.

“Congratulations to the finalists on being selected for this prestigious fellowship. The Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship is truly an opportunity to launch your careers in coastal and marine science and policy. As a former fellow, my advice to you is to take advantage of all the opportunities the fellowship year provides. The connections you make this year can turn into lifelong professional relationships and friendships. I, for one, am so pleased to have come full circle working at NOAA with so many familiar, talented individuals!”

Former Knauss fellow and current NOAA senior advisor, Letise LaFeir, Ph.D., also reflected on the role Sea Grant has played in her career. “I’ve had a deep connection to NOAA and Sea Grant throughout my career. From Knauss fellow to National Sea Grant Advisory Board member, Sea Grant has continued to support me along the way. I look forward to seeing where the fellowship will take this next generation of Knauss fellows, and I’m sure I’ll get to work with many of you in the near future.”

Want to learn more about the Knauss Fellowship? The Knauss Blog shares stories from the 2021 Knauss class on fellowship experiences and their journeys to D.C.

Placement of 2022 Knauss finalists as fellows is contingent on adequate funding in Fiscal Year 2022.

 

 

 

 

 

The post Four Wisconsin finalists among those chosen for the 2022 John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program 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/four-wisconsin-finalists-among-those-chosen-for-the-2022-john-a-knauss-marine-policy-fellowship-program/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=four-wisconsin-finalists-among-those-chosen-for-the-2022-john-a-knauss-marine-policy-fellowship-program

Jennifer Smith

Every year, summer seems to go by in a flash—and, with it, Sea Grant’s summer internships. If you follow the news section of our website, you know that we have seven creative and capable interns this year, each working on a different project with a different mentor.

We caught up with one of those interns, Hunter Goldman, recently to see how things are going with Hunter’s work on the “Eat Wisconsin Fish” project under the guidance of Outreach Specialist Sharon Moen. Below are some excerpts from our conversation.

Wisconsin Sea Grant intern Hunter Goldman at Lake Superior (Submitted photo)

Major: Sustainable Community Development

College: Northland College, Ashland, Wisconsin

Hometown: Marietta, Georgia

So, how did a vegetarian end up helping with Eat Wisconsin Fish?

I e-mailed back and forth with Sharon, and she knew that I love cooking and have GIS experience. I also looked at the Eat Wisconsin Fish website to connect my interests to the mission of EWF. One of its goals is to cater to a wide audience, and I felt I was up for that challenge.

I also mentioned to Sharon some sauces I had made recently, and that’s part of how this came to be: our “get saucy with Sea Grant” theme this summer, with my making recipes on Facebook Live.

How have the weekly Facebook Live cooking events been going? It’s been fun watching you in your home kitchen.

It took a little getting used to, but I’m more comfortable behind the camera than presenting for a large audience face-to-face, so it’s easier for me to project myself over Facebook Live.

You’re using your GIS (geographic information systems) background to help with updates to the map on the Eat Wisconsin Fish website. What can we look forward to when this is complete?

The updated map will be really in-depth and easily filtered. It will be an upgrade to what’s currently there.

What I have planned is we’re going to have multiple layers, so you can easily select what you’re looking for, such as fishers, markets, academic or research facilities and so forth. For each producer, you’ll be able to easily see their location, address, a description, links to social media, a phone number and that sort of information.

Eat Wisconsin Fish is all about finding and enjoying fish that is sustainably caught or farmed in our state. That’s a nice fit with your major in sustainable community development. What draws you to this field?

I’ve always had a passion for the environment. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with how the Earth works and how humans impact it. Long-term, I’d like to implement geography and GIS and do urban planning that is focused on sustainability.

We heard that you’re intrigued by Iceland and would love to work there someday! Tell us more.

As a country, Iceland is really focused on sustainability; they’re huge leaders in that field, with geothermal power and an emphasis on sustainable energy. Another aspect I like is Iceland’s emphasis on social justice and equality. Iceland has amazing things going on for the LGBT community, which I’m a member of.

I also have an odd fascination with puffins! Iceland has the largest puffin population in the world, with about 60% of the world’s Atlantic puffins.

In Wisconsin, we have to make the most of summer. It goes too fast! What’s your go-to dish this time of year that would pair well with Wisconsin fish?

My family has a great recipe for gazpacho. If you let it sit in the fridge for a bit, those flavors of tomato, lemon, onion and garlic really come together. It’s refreshing and very light.

You could serve this with a simple fish recipe, like the Fish Fillets with Lime from the Eat Wisconsin Fish website, using whitefish or whatever you like best. It would be a good choice for a hot summer day!

The post Summer intern spotlight: Hunter Goldman and Eat Wisconsin Fish first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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Blog | Wisconsin Sea Grant

Blog | Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/summer-intern-spotlight-hunter-goldman-and-eat-wisconsin-fish/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=summer-intern-spotlight-hunter-goldman-and-eat-wisconsin-fish

Jennifer Smith

I’ve always been a fish fan. Though I didn’t grow up in Wisconsin, both of my parents hailed from the Badger State, so the fish-fry culture is in my blood. Of course, there’s a lot more to eating fish than deep frying it, which is why I hopped on to a recent live webinar offered by the Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative—of which Wisconsin Sea Grant is a part—and hosted by Ohio Sea Grant.

“Fish to Fork: Grilling in the Great Lakes” featured my colleague here at Wisconsin Sea Grant, Sharon Moen, as well as two Sea Grant-ers from my home state of Michigan, Lauren Jescovitch and Elliot Nelson. Sharon runs our Eat Wisconsin Fish initiative, working with fish farmers, commercial fishers and consumers.

Shrimp and veggie kabobs ready for the grill.

Sharon, Lauren and Elliot put on a lively session via Zoom, with Lauren and Elliot beaming in from their kitchens in Michigan’s U.P., and Sharon from her tree-lined deck in the Twin Ports area (Duluth/Superior).

While I encourage you to watch the recording yourself to pick up some fish tips, I thought I’d blog some of my impressions and takeaways from these three experts.

When possible, they said, it’s great to get your fish directly from local producers, such as a fish farmer in your area or commercial fishers. That way, you know your product is very fresh and you can ask questions about how it was raised or caught. And because these products (whether farmed or wild-caught) are highly regulated in the U.S., you can feel confident you’re getting a safe product.

If you can’t buy direct from a producer or at a specialty fish market, you’re probably picking up your fish at a large grocery store or big-box store. Labels are your friend! Elliot, an extension educator covering Michigan’s eastern U.P., suggests finding out where the fish or seafood came from. You might be surprised to find some local or regional choices.

Also, noted Elliot, don’t assume that the fresh fish counter is automatically superior to the freezer section. Sometimes “fresh” fish at the counter can be past its prime. Avoid mushy textures, strong fishy odors or things that look opaque or cloudy.

In the frozen section, you don’t want to see ice on the outside of the bag or on freezer shelves, but ice inside the bag is fine. Vacuum-sealed products are also a good way to go.

Lauren, an extension educator covering the western U.P., preceded Elliot with an impressive—and only slightly gory—demonstration of how to gut and fillet whole fish.

Lauren recommended gutting smaller fish, leaving them more or less intact, then placing seasonings inside before cooking. She used fish from the Watersmeet Trout Hatchery, as well as a local maple barbecue seasoning rub. For larger fish, she recommended filleting.

Impressively, during the live hour on Zoom, she cooked her clean, gutted trout on an indoor grill and then showed the removal of skin and pin bones before eating. While I know she’s had plenty of practice, it looked very do-able!

Sharon Moen makes a fish kabob during a live webinar hosted by Ohio Sea Grant.

While Elliott focused on food selection and safety, and Lauren showcased her knife skills, Sharon assembled a colorful, healthy kabob for an outdoor grill, using a combo of shrimp, catfish, trout and vegetables. She showed off her finished product at the end of the hour, which looked to have just the right amount of char on the veggies.

I’ll be sure to invite myself over to Sharon’s next time I’m in the Twin Ports—both the skewers and her deck looked fabulous on a summer’s day. Add a glass of wine, and that’s my idea of a perfect summer lunch or dinner!

You can find Sharon’s kabob recipe, Fishes on Sticks, on the Eat Wisconsin Fish website. And to hear more from Sharon, check out her June 19 appearance on the Buckeye Sportsman radio show, when she chatted with host Dan Armitage about grilling fish and more (Sharon’s segment runs from 14:15-30:38 on the recording).

As Elliot said near the end of the hour, there’s “a bounty of flavors when it comes to seafood,” and preparation doesn’t have to be complex. If you watch the archived webinar from this trio of fish experts, I’m sure you’ll agree.

In the meantime, here are some Sea Grant-supported web resources that that can help you find producers, specialty fish markets, recipes, health info and more:

Eat Wisconsin Fish

Eat Midwest Fish

Seafood Health Facts

The post Getting your grill on with Sea Grant first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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Blog | Wisconsin Sea Grant

Blog | Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/getting-your-grill-on-with-sea-grant/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=getting-your-grill-on-with-sea-grant

Jennifer Smith

If you’re interested in aquaculture, Wisconsin Sea Grant has released a new publication for you.

Dr. Ryan Newton (Photo: UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences)

Written by Ryan Newton, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences (SFS), this 20-page paper describes the importance of microorganisms in freshwater aquaponics. It’s the first in a series of aquaculture technical briefs produced by Fred Binkowski, senior scientist at SFS and aquaculture outreach specialist at Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Titled “Microorganisms in Intensive Aquaponics,” the paper starts with an explanation of exactly what microorganisms are and then covers the diversity of roles they play in aquaponics systems. Although they may not be the first part of an aquaponics system that comes to mind, microbes are crucial to the healthy functioning of the system. The paper includes suggestions for biosecurity and suggestions about pre- and probiotics. A table of common freshwater fish pathogens is also included.

Binkowski said, “This is a great resource for fish farmers because it provides a clear picture and understanding of the function of the invisible workers — the bacteria – that form one of the most important components of a healthy and productive aquaponics system.”

The paper is available for free download at Wisconsin Sea Grant’s online publications store at publications.aqua.wisc.edu.

The post New aquaculture paper produced; will be first in a series 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/new-aquaculture-paper-produced-will-be-first-in-a-series/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=new-aquaculture-paper-produced-will-be-first-in-a-series

Jennifer Smith

Whether you’re loyal to charcoal or have a gas grill with all the bells and whistles, summer means grilling in Wisconsin. An online event involving Wisconsin Sea Grant will help people make the most of grilling fish from the Great Lakes region.

Eat Wisconsin Fish Outreach Specialist Sharon Moen. (Photo: Marie Zhuikov)

“Fish to Fork: Grilling in the Great Lakes” will take place Wednesday, June 23, at noon central time. The one-hour event will include Sharon Moen of Wisconsin Sea Grant’s “Eat Wisconsin Fish” project. She will talk about proper seafood preparation and grilling techniques, as well as what to do with your leftovers.

Participants may register for this free, online event on Ohio Sea Grant’s website. Please note that the registration page lists Eastern time; the event begins at noon Wisconsin time.

“While people love burgers and brats on the grill, it’s fun to switch it up and offer your guests a fish or seafood skewer with colorful veggies. Kabobs are great for family gatherings since you can make individual ones to suit people’s tastes,” said Moen.

Moen will be joined by Sea Grant colleagues from a neighboring state: Lauren Jescovitch and Elliot Nelson of Michigan Sea Grant. Jescovitch will talk about food safety considerations when selecting your seafood, and Nelson will cover food safety at home.

Shrimp and veggie kabobs ready for the grill.

The event will focus on seafood raised sustainably in the Midwest through aquaculture. Featured species are shrimp, rainbow trout and catfish.

Moen, who is based in Wisconsin Sea Grant’s Lake Superior Field Office, works with Wisconsin’s commercial fishers, fish farmers and fish consumers.

An earlier webinar from the same series on cooking Great Lakes fish is now available for viewing on YouTube. That April webinar featured Wisconsin Sea Grant Fisheries Specialist Titus Seilheimer and Peter Fritsch, president of Wisconsin’s Rushing Waters Fisheries. View “Fish to Fork: Cooking Great Lakes Fish” here.

The June 23 event is hosted by the Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative, of which Wisconsin Sea Grant is a part, and Ohio Sea Grant. The National Sea Grant College Program is a federal-state-university partnership with 34 programs across the nation, including in each of the Great Lakes states. These science-based programs are centered on research, education and outreach to foster the sustainable use and care of Great Lakes resources.

For questions about this event, contact Moen at smoen@aqua.wisc.edu.

The post “Fish to Fork” event provides tips for grilling Great Lakes fish and seafood 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/fish-to-fork-event-provides-tips-for-grilling-great-lakes-fish-and-seafood/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fish-to-fork-event-provides-tips-for-grilling-great-lakes-fish-and-seafood

Jennifer Smith

Making tracks is nothing new for Jackson Parr, the J. Philip Keillor Flood Resilience-Wisconsin Sea Grant Fellow. A serious athlete who once committed to walking across the entire United States (his plan has morphed to running it in segments), he has also traversed the scenic towns of Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula as a newspaper reporter and editor.

Jackson Parr (Photo: Len Villano)

Now, he’s getting acquainted with dozens of small communities statewide to help them build resilience to flooding hazards.

Parr began his one-year Keillor Fellowship in April. The position stems from a partnership between Wisconsin Sea Grant and the Climate and Health Program at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS).

He’ll work extensively with the Flood Resilience Scorecard, a toolkit that measures how well prepared a community is to cope with the effects of flooding—and identifies steps they can take to boost that preparedness.

The Illinois native brings a varied set of skills to this work. Parr holds two master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison: one in public affairs and one in water resources management. His capstone project for the water resources degree involved analyzing the severe flooding of Coon Creek in Vernon County in August 2018. The project was suggested and advised by UW research scientist Eric Booth.

The village of Coon Valley was downstream from the breached dams during the August 2018 flood event. (Photo: John Lee)

“There were a few dam breaches in that region during that flooding event, and it devastated the area,” said Parr. Flash flooding brought on by torrential rains displaced residents and caused major damage to homes, businesses and public infrastructure. “While I didn’t have an academic interest in flooding before working on that capstone project,” said Parr, “I found myself fascinated with the ways that rural communities navigate these issues.”

As he noted, sometimes smaller communities lack the administrative capacity or technical expertise required to fully address issues or tap into available funding sources that might help them. As a Keillor Fellow, Parr will be in a position to link communities with needed resources.

By March 2022, when his fellowship concludes, Parr hopes to have worked through the Flood Resilience Scorecard with 30 communities. Those locations will be chosen through collaboration with Wisconsin’s nine regional planning commissions.

First rolled out in 2019, the scorecard focuses on three key areas that affect a community’s resilience to flooding: environmental factors (such as precipitation patterns and soil composition), institutional factors (such as city planning documents) and social factors. Social factors include the socioeconomic makeup of the community, which may affect what happens after flooding.

“Since this effort is a partnership with the Department of Health Services, they’re definitely interested in the public health aspect of flooding. Demographic data is important in considering populations that might have socioeconomic vulnerabilities that would exacerbate their health outcomes related to flooding,” said Parr.

As an example, he noted that residents in low-income communities often lack the resources to find other housing when displaced. As a result, those populations face not only physical injuries related to flooding, like blunt-force trauma and hypothermia, but extreme stress and other mental health impacts.

“The goal is to identify communities that face these vulnerabilities and hopefully target more resources toward those communities to achieve health equity,” he said.

As Parr conducts this work, he has a trio of mentors. At DHS, he reports to Climate and Health Program Coordinator Margaret Thelen. On the Sea Grant side, he’s working with Climate and Tourism Outreach Specialist Natalie Chin and Coastal Engineering Specialist Adam Bechle.

Said Thelen, “The partnership between the Department of Health Services and Sea Grant has allowed us to work together to integrate our flood resiliency tools for local decision makers. These resources allow Wisconsin to better prepare for and respond to increased extreme precipitation events due to climate change. We are fortunate to have Jackson Parr, through the Keillor Fellowship, working to improve these tools and make them more accessible to municipalities across the state.”

Parr in his triathlon days. Though he no longer competes, he’s running across the United States in segments. (Submitted photo)

As university travel restrictions related to the pandemic ease, Parr hopes to complete in-person assessments, arranging visits to work through the scorecard with elected officials, administrators and planning staff in the selected communities.

“There’s a huge value in having these conversations face to face; it takes collaboration from people of different backgrounds” who actually live in those communities, said Parr.

But completing the scorecard with a community is not an end point, Parr stressed. Rather, he hopes it is a springboard for taking action.

“While community leaders would immediately get some high-level recommendations on ways to improve resilience, I’d go back and look through our conversations and come back to the municipality and work with them on implementing recommendations. It’s a whole other ballgame to actually pass an ordinance or apply for a grant or participate in a buyout program. The goal is for communities to act on the recommendations they receive,” said Parr.

Parr can be reached at jackson.parr@dhs.wisconsin.gov.

The post Keillor Fellow will enhance flood resilience in Wisconsin communities 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/keillor-fellow-will-enhance-flood-resilience-in-wisconsin-communities/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=keillor-fellow-will-enhance-flood-resilience-in-wisconsin-communities

Jennifer Smith

Wisconsin Sea Grant has a new team member in the effort to protect our waters from aquatic invasive species. Scott McComb began May 3 as the southeast Wisconsin aquatic invasive species (AIS) outreach specialist.

Scott McComb has joined the staff of Wisconsin Sea Grant. (Submitted photo)

McComb’s position focuses on Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee counties, where he will coordinate education, monitoring and outreach programs for communities, stakeholders and volunteers to prevent the spread of AIS. His office is located at the Kenosha County Center in Bristol, though he anticipates spending a significant amount of time in the field in the three counties.

The three main programs McComb will focus on are the “Clean Boats, Clean Waters” campaign, a purple loosestrife biocontrol program and a citizen lake monitoring program. When possible, he’ll also have a presence at local and regional events (like Racine’s Salmon-A-Rama in July) to help spread the word about AIS prevention and answer the public’s questions.

McComb is eager to engage with a wide range of people. “Honestly, I feel like everyone under the sun is my stakeholder!” he laughed. He will partner with lake or homeowners’ associations that monitor bodies of water, government entities like parks departments, volunteer groups, conservation corps and individuals with an interest in maintaining healthy ecosystems for future generations.

He’s also keen to work with people of different ages. “I’d really like to engage youth and the diversity of cultures and backgrounds in this region. There are so many great groups and people to connect to,” said McComb.

As the summer recreation season gets underway and people head out for boating, fishing and other outdoor pastimes, McComb stressed the basics of protecting our waters, such as the “Inspect—remove—drain—never move—dispose” motto. People should inspect their boats, kayaks or other watercraft for aquatic plants and animals; remove any that are found; drain water from live wells and other areas; never move water, plants or animals between waterbodies; and dispose of unused bait in the trash.

Additionally, he said, “Just be curious and keep your eyes open with what’s going on in the different lakes that you use. You don’t need to be an expert on aquatic vegetation to see a species start to take over, and there’s a whole bunch of people—including myself and DNR folks—who are here to help you identify something if you think it’s an invasive.”

McComb during a hike in Zebra Canyon, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah. (Submitted photo)

McComb grew up in the Madison area and earned a bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He then spent several years in Utah, where he completed a master’s degree in bioregional planning and worked in planning and conservation.

Said Tim Campbell, Wisconsin Sea Grant’s aquatic invasive species outreach specialist, “Scott has a lot of experience helping communities plan and implement projects that help them improve their communities. I look forward to seeing how that experience helps him build upon existing local partnerships in southeast Wisconsin to improve aquatic invasive species prevention and management.”

A desire to be closer to family brought McComb and his wife back to Wisconsin. In their free time, they enjoy canoeing, kayaking and simply being out in nature.

As McComb settles into his new role, he encourages people seeking AIS information to get in touch. He can be reached at 608-890-0977 or McComb@aqua.wisc.edu.

The post Scott McComb ready to take on aquatic invasive species role in southeast Wisconsin 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/scott-mccomb-ready-to-take-on-aquatic-invasive-species-role-in-southeast-wisconsin/

Jennifer Smith

In the May installment of Wisconsin Sea Grant’s Lake Talks, guest speakers from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism will explore the role that Great Lakes tourism plays in Wisconsin’s economy. They’ll also share their ideas for fun summer getaways.

The Lake Talks are informal, interactive presentations on Great Lakes issues, especially those involving Lake Michigan. In light of the ongoing pandemic, these public events are currently being offered via Zoom.

On Thursday, May 6, from 7-8 p.m., the featured speakers will be Wisconsin Department of Tourism Acting Secretary Anne Sayers and Office of Outdoor Recreation Director Mary Monroe Brown.

Dunes at Kohler-Andrae State Park, located along Lake Michigan in Sheboygan, Wis. (Photo: Wisconsin Department of Tourism)

As the top driver of visits to Wisconsin, outdoor recreation plays a major role in the success of our state’s tourism industry. With 800 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, Wisconsin’s vibrant coastal communities invite visitors to experience the state’s rich outdoor heritage and natural wonders.

Sayers and Brown will discuss how tourism and outdoor recreation are intertwined and work together to create eye-popping economic impact for Wisconsin. Plus, they’ll share tips on what to see and do on your next Great Lakes adventure.

Register now for this free event.

For connection information for future talks, or to watch video of previous talks, visit the Lake Talks page on the Wisconsin Sea Grant website, or follow Wisconsin Sea Grant on Facebook or Twitter.

For questions about this series, contact Wisconsin Sea Grant science communicator Jennifer Smith.

The post Next Lake Talk will examine Great Lakes tourism's role in Wisconsin's economy 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/next-lake-talk-will-examine-great-lakes-tourisms-role-in-wisconsins-economy/

Jennifer Smith

Wisconsin Sea Grant-funded research is revealing a more detailed picture of the range of viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) in Wisconsin waters. This invasive pathogen can cause affected fish to die. Since the early 2000’s, it has caused deaths in more than 30 fish species in the Great Lakes region.

The researchers’ findings have been published in the Journal of Aquatic Animal Health, a publication of the American Fisheries Society. The findings show that VHSV in Wisconsin can be found further inland and in more bodies of water than previously known.

Authors of the research paper (“Widespread Seropositivity to Viral Hemmorhagic Septicemia Virus in Four Species of Inland Sport Fishes in Wisconsin“) are Whitney A. Thiel, Kathy L. Toohey-Kurth, David Giehtbrock, Bridget B. Baker, Megan Finley and Tony L. Goldberg.

They key to discovering this new information was testing fish for the presence of antibodies to VHSV through a process known as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). While the general method of ELISA is not new, the particular ELISA for VHSV is, and it was developed with Sea Grant support. “It’s a valuable tool in fish health testing,” said Goldberg, an epidemiology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine.

In this July 2016 photo taken near Wauzeka, Wis., Whitney Thiel draws blood from a brown trout while Tony Goldberg observes. (Photo: Bryce Richter, UW-Madison)

While other, more common testing methods look for presence of the live virus, the new method detects past exposure to VHSV, which, said Goldberg, is “really useful for screening populations and looking back in time.” Blood samples are collected from fish in a non-lethal way.

The research team focused on four sport fish that are economically important in Wisconsin: bluegill, brown trout, northern pike and walleye. Fish with VHSV antibodies were found in 37 of 46 inland water bodies tested, including water bodies far from known outbreak events. Sampling occurred in 2016 and 2017.

Researchers found the results surprising. Said Thiel, first author of the journal article, “I suspected we’d see it spread out in some of the inland water bodies connected to the Winnebago watershed or the Green Bay area—where we already knew VHS was—but I didn’t expect we would see it so far inland.” Thiel completed a master’s degree in freshwater and marine sciences at UW-Madison in 2019 and is now a research scientist at the University of Idaho.

Another intriguing finding was what members of the team characterized as “hot spots” and “not spots,” which were often close together. Prior to the research, they expected that any additional instances of VHSV detected would be near bodies of water known to have problems. However, in a number of cases, a body of water with no evidence of VHSV could be found neighboring one with evidence of the virus.

Giehtbrock, fish culture section chief at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, said that this new information was all the more reason for those using Wisconsin’s waters—like recreational boaters and anglers—to keep taking preventative steps against the spread of aquatic invasive species in general.

“We need to continue all those practices that have been in place for a long time, to mitigate any transfer of VHSV between bodies of water, which is what we were already asking people to do everywhere. From invasives like Eurasian watermilfoil to carp to VHSV, we’re already asking people to clean their boats, drain their live wells and not transfer water between bodies of water,” said Giehtbrock.

“What people should take away from this is, we want to keep it out of where it’s not,” echoed Goldberg.

Giehtbrock, who supervises DNR fish hatcheries around the state, does not foresee a change in fish stocking practices at this point. Citing both Department of Agriculture regulations and the DNR’s own policies, he said that managing the health of fish for stocking is already strictly controlled.

Blood samples were drawn from fish in a non-lethal way. In this 2016 photo, a sample is taken from a brown trout. (Photo: Bryce Richter, UW-Madison)

“VHSV is one big component of that,” explained Giehtbrock. “We do virus testing on all of the stocks prior to their departure from the hatchery for stocking. So in terms of actual stocking practice, I don’t see a change because we’re already doing all the testing and monitoring that is feasible to make sure that everything we put out there is healthy and not spreading disease.”

Where Giehtbrock does see a possible change, however, is on the demand side, if more fish are needed to maintain or supplement fisheries being affected by VHSV fish kills. However, such a situation has not occurred yet.

This new information paints a more accurate and complex picture of VHSV in Wisconsin than previously understood. The research team recommended vigilance against potentially spreading the virus or other invasives. The best offense is a good defense, such as adhering to current advice promoted by the “Clean Boats, Clean Waters” campaign and similar initiatives.

The post Research reveals a more accurate picture of the occurrence of VHSV in Wisconsin waters 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/research-reveals-a-more-accurate-picture-of-the-occurrence-of-vhsv-in-wisconsin-waters/

Jennifer Smith

In the April installment of Wisconsin Sea Grant’s “Lake Talks,” Sarah Balgooyen will discuss “Forever Chemicals: PFAS in the Green Bay Watershed.”

The Lake Talks are informal, interactive science presentations on Great Lakes issues, especially those involving Lake Michigan. In light of the ongoing pandemic, spring 2021 Lake Talks are being offered via Zoom.

Balgooyen will speak Thursday, April 15, from 7-8 p.m. (Register now for this Zoom webinar.)

Dr. Sarah Balgooyen at work in a laboratory on the UW-Madison campus. (Photo: Bonnie Willison)

PFAS are a category of chemicals frequently found in firefighting foams, Teflon and many other common products. They are a hot topic in water research because they are estimated to contaminate the drinking water of 16.5 million people in the United States alone, and much more needs to be understood about these chemicals.

One site of concern in Wisconsin is the Tyco Fire Products facility in Marinette. These concerns involve not only drinking water from private wells in the area, but also the possibility for contaminants to get into the bay of Green Bay and, ultimately, out into Lake Michigan.

Balgooyen, who completed her Ph.D. at UW-Madison in 2019, has been studying this area as the J. Philip Keillor Water Science Fellow at Wisconsin Sea Grant.

In this informal talk geared toward a general audience, Balgooyen will talk about her research process and what she’s found so far. There will also be time during the hour for audience questions. This Zoom webinar is free and open to all.

For connection information for future talks, visit the Lake Talks page of the Wisconsin Sea Grant website, or follow Wisconsin Sea Grant on Facebook or Twitter. You can register for Sarah Balgooyen’s talk now.

For questions about this series, contact Wisconsin Sea Grant science communicator Jennifer Smith.

The post Informal science talk to address PFAS in the Green Bay watershed 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/informal-science-talk-to-address-pfas-in-the-green-bay-watershed/

Jennifer Smith

A series of informal, interactive science presentations on Great Lakes issues will return in spring 2021 with new topics and speakers.

Wisconsin Sea Grant’s “Lake Talks” series highlights topics related to Lake Michigan or, more widely, the Great Lakes basin. Spring talks will be offered through Zoom in light of the ongoing pandemic.

The spring series kicks off on Thursday, March 18 at 7 p.m. with “What cartoon zebra mussels taught me about invasive species communication.” (Register now for this Zoom webinar.)

Aquatic Invasive Species Outreach Specialist Tim Campbell. (Photo: Wisconsin Sea Grant)

The speaker is Tim Campbell, Wisconsin Sea Grant aquatic invasive species outreach specialist. Campbell will discuss how metaphors—such as aquatic invasive species as “hitchhikers” or “invaders”—affect how people perceive the issues, and how certain metaphors pose ethical issues or may not lead to productive engagement.

As Campbell explained, “People use many different message frames and metaphors when talking about invasive species, and we know that metaphor use can affect how people understand complex issues. We wanted to better understand how these communication strategies impact actions people might take in regards to invasive species.”

Because preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) depends significantly on public cooperation, communicating with the public in an effective way is highly important. Learn what Campbell and his fellow researchers discovered through work that was funded by Wisconsin Sea Grant. The research focused on communication about zebra mussels.

The Lake Talks series will continue with talks in April, May and June. Those future talks will address PFAS (contaminants in our waters often referred to as “forever chemicals”), tourism in the Great Lakes and rip current safety.

The image and tagline here are an example of “militaristic” message framing about invasive species. (Artwork: Brooke Alexander)

All sessions will last one hour on Zoom and include time for audience Q&A. For connection information for future talks, visit the Lake Talks page of the Wisconsin Sea Grant website, or follow Wisconsin Sea Grant on Facebook or Twitter as event dates draw closer. You can register for Tim Campbell’s talk now.

For questions about this series, contact Wisconsin Sea Grant science communicator Jennifer Smith.

The post “Lake Talks” series returns for spring 2021 with presentation on invasive species communication first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/lake-talks-series-returns-for-spring-2021-with-presentation-on-invasive-species-communication/

Jennifer Smith

Wisconsin Water Week—March 8 to 12—is almost upon us, and this year’s theme is “Navigating in Turbulent Times.” A virtual conference organized by the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership will explore many facets of this precious resource and give attendees a chance to network with others interested in water.

Several Wisconsin Sea Grant staff and fellows are involved as presenters, virtual exhibitors or session organizers. To help you take advantage of Sea Grant-connected offerings during Wisconsin Water Week, we’ve pulled together the handy list below.

To learn more about the conference, you can watch a teaser video on YouTube, or view the agenda and registration link.

Wisconsin Sea Grant participation in Wisconsin Water Week 2021:

Exhibitors with booths March 8-10: Sharon Moen (Eat Wisconsin Fish), Anne Moser (Wisconsin Water Library)

Monday, March 8

12-12:45 p.m.
Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and Living on the Edge: Updating the Coastal Processes Manual to Promote Resiliency on Wisconsin’s Great Lakes Shorelines
Speakers: Lydia Salus and Adam Arend

12:45-1:30 p.m. (Exhibitor: Eat Wisconsin Fish)
Let’s eat trout: cooking demo and discussion
Sharon Moen

Tuesday, March 9

10:40-11 a.m. (Exhibitor: Eat Wisconsin Fish)
Wisconsin’s fish farmers and commercial fishers: presentation and discussion
Sharon Moen

3-3:30 p.m. (Exhibitor: Eat Wisconsin Fish)
Let’s eat smoked fish: cooking demo and discussion
Sharon Moen

3:30-4:30 p.m. Lightning talks
AIS Messaging Frames
Speaker: Tim Campbell

Wednesday, March 10

8:30-9:30 a.m. Combined Session
The aquatic invasive species prevention knowledge, behaviors, and beliefs of Wisconsin boaters
Speaker: Tim Campbell

9:30-10 a.m. (Exhibitor: Eat Wisconsin Fish)
Wisconsin’s fish farmers and commercial fishers: presentation and discussion
Sharon Moen

10-11 a.m.
Behind the Scenes of Introduced: a Podcast about Aquatic Invaders and Wisconsin’s Changing Waters
Speakers: Bonnie Willison and Sydney Widell

11 a.m.-noon
Tackling Wisconsin’s Water Challenges through UW Water Science-Policy Fellowships and Agency Partnerships
Speakers: Jen Hauxwell and Aquatic Sciences Center fellows

Noon-12:45 p.m. (Exhibitor: Eat Wisconsin Fish)
Let’s eat lake whitefish: cooking demo and discussion
Sharon Moen

Thursday, March 11

10:35-11:15 a.m.
Tourism futures: adapting outdoor recreation & tourism to climate change & changing visitation in Northern Wisconsin
Moderator/organizer: Natalie Chin

1:15-2:15 p.m.
Building Resilience in the Lake Superior Basin: Using Green Infrastructure & Natural Management to Reduce Flood Impacts
Moderator/organizer: Natalie Chin

1:15-2:15 p.m.
Showcasing the Coastal Resource Hub
Speakers: Deidre Peroff and Amy Lentz

The post Sea Grant staff active in Wisconsin Water Week first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Original Article

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/sea-grant-staff-active-in-wisconsin-water-week/

Jennifer Smith

In the Wisconsin Sea Grant online newsroom, we recently introduced four new members of the Advisory Council. Council members help shape Sea Grant’s future, enabling it to better serve the people of Wisconsin.

Now, here on our blog, we’d like to give people a chance to get to know those four newcomers better through Q & As. Our fourth and final installment features Lori Tate of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Tate is section chief of the DNR’s Fisheries Management Bureau and is based in Madison.

Lori Tate (submitted photo).

Do you have a favorite spot in the Great Lakes, or a favorite natural area?

Growing up in Canada, Lake Superior was always my favorite. Long drives along the north shore and stops at Old Woman Bay, Nanabijou (Sleeping Giant Park) – those were my favorite childhood places.  Now, I feel so fortunate to call Wisconsin my home, and I love taking my family to explore the southern shore of Lake Superior. One of our other favorite camping spots is Peninsula State Park on beautiful Green Bay.

What drew you to say “yes” to serving on the Advisory Council?  

I am committed to fostering relationships between partner organizations and our Wisconsin DNR Fisheries Management program.  I feel that the work that Sea Grant does in Wisconsin is so important, and I was honored to join the Advisory Council.

Is there a special aspect of Sea Grant’s work or mission that speaks to you the most?

Sea Grant’s active outreach efforts connecting Great Lakes stakeholders with research and management is the aspect of the mission that speaks most to me. 

Where would you like to see Sea Grant headed in the near future? 

I am excited to see Sea Grant engaging in more collaborative fellowships, like Bryan Maitland’s; this is a great model for helping to answer research and management questions, and it provides these fantastic opportunities for young scientists!

The post Get to know the Advisory Council: Q & A with Lori Tate first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Original Article

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/get-to-know-the-advisory-council-q-a-with-lori-tate/

Jennifer Smith

In the Wisconsin Sea Grant online newsroom, we recently introduced four new members of the Advisory Council. Council members help shape Sea Grant’s future, enabling it to better serve the people of Wisconsin.

Now, here on our blog, we’d like to give people a chance to get to know those four newcomers better through Q & As. Our third installment features Becky Sapper, who directs the Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program. The program is part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension, and Sapper is based in Ashland, Wis.

You can find our previous Q & A session with Deb DeLuca here and with Madelyn Leopold here. Stay tuned to the blog for our fourth and final installment, which will feature Lori Tate.

Becky Sapper (submitted photo).

Becky Sapper (submitted photo).

Do you have a favorite spot in the Great Lakes, or favorite natural area?

I have lived on the shores of Lake Superior for over 25 years, so the waters of Lake Superior provide my sense of place. But, more specifically, my favorite places on the Big Lake are my fishing holes, and I can’t disclose their locations! But I do like to take friends and family to Houghton Falls and Little Girls Point.

What drew you to say “yes” to serving on the Advisory Council?  

While I was in a previous role with Extension, I was fortunate to collaborate with several Sea Grant staff during the designation of the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve back in 2010.  I have the utmost respect for those individuals and the work Sea Grant has done both in Wisconsin and at a national scale. It was an honor to be asked to join the Advisory Council.

Is there a special aspect of Sea Grant’s work or mission that speaks to you the most?

I like that Sea Grant’s efforts include both research and education priorities.  It’s important that we continue to learn more about our Great Lakes, but we also need to understand why it’s important and how that impacts local communities. Sea Grant’s education and outreach efforts really work to tie the people of Wisconsin and the Great Lakes together in a natural way.

Where would you like to see Sea Grant headed in the near future? 

Sea Grant’s strategies are already very comprehensive, but in the future I’d like to see Sea Grant continue to strengthen their work with emerging issues that impact people living in and visiting our coastal communities. We often take our water-rich state for granted. I think it’s important that Sea Grant’s efforts are relevant and relatable for those who value and rely on the Great Lakes for work and for play.

The post Get to know the Advisory Council: Q & A with Becky Sapper first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Original Article

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/get-to-know-the-advisory-council-q-a-with-becky-sapper/

Jennifer Smith

In the Wisconsin Sea Grant online newsroom, we recently introduced four new members of the Advisory Council. Council members help shape Sea Grant’s future, enabling it to better serve the people of Wisconsin.

Now, here on our blog, we’d like to give people a chance to get to know those four newcomers better through Q & As. Our second installment features Madelyn Leopold, a retired attorney and private landowner.

You can find our previous post about Duluth Seaway Port Authority Executive Director Deb DeLuca here. Keep following the blog for future posts on the remaining two new members: Becky Sapper and Lori Tate.

Madelyn Leopold (submitted photo).

Do you have a favorite spot in the Great Lakes, or favorite natural area?

I love rivers, so my favorite spots usually have a river somewhere in the scene.  One favorite is Pikes Peak State Park in Iowa, across the Mississippi from Prairie du Chien, at the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers.  The views from the high bluffs in that park always remind me of how vast and grand our Midwestern landscape is.

What drew you to say “yes” to serving on the Advisory Council?  

To be honest, it was (Sea Grant Assistant Director for Communications) Moira Harrington.  She and I serve together on the Board of Park Commissioners in Madison. Moira always brings a broad, science-based perspective to the board discussions. It was clear that her lens was much broader than most, and I credited some of that perspective to her work with Wisconsin Sea Grant. I was curious to know more about her organization and the work that it does.

Is there a special aspect of Sea Grant’s work or mission that speaks to you the most?

I am excited about many elements of Sea Grant’s work and mission. What comes first to mind is its emphasis on engaging young people of diverse backgrounds in science-based projects; we need to broaden the community of people who care and are smart about managing our waters.

I’m also excited about how Sea Grant’s work engages communities and businesses in local projects where the impacts can be seen and appreciated and supported; these connections are important for expanding the public’s understanding and support of scientific research.

It’s also great to see the “Wisconsin Idea” reach into so many corners of the state through Sea Grant’s focus on a resource that all Wisconsinites know and love–their waters and waterways.

Where would you like to see Sea Grant headed in the near future? 

I’d like to see Sea Grant’s work become better known among the general public; the stories coming out of its work are interesting and compelling.

The post Get to know the Advisory Council: Q & A with Madelyn Leopold first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Original Article

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/get-to-know-the-advisory-council-q-a-with-madelyn-leopold/

Jennifer Smith

In the Wisconsin Sea Grant online newsroom, we recently introduced four new members of the Advisory Council. Council members help shape Sea Grant’s future, enabling it to better serve the people of Wisconsin.

Now, here on our blog, we’d like to give people a chance to get to know those four newcomers better through Q & As. We begin with Deb DeLuca, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.

Keep following the blog for upcoming installments with the other three new members: Madelyn Leopold, Becky Sapper and Lori Tate.

Deb DeLuca (submitted photo).

Do you have a favorite spot in the Great Lakes, or favorite natural area?

As a Lake Superior community resident, I spend a lot of free time (as well as work time) within view of, or on the shores of, Lake Superior.  I love disappearing along Lake Superior’s North Shore, including those areas around Minnesota state parks, most often Tettegouche, Temperance River and Cascade River.

Along the South Shore, Pictured Rocks National Seashore and Porcupine State Park (in Michigan) are amazing, as are the Bayfield Peninsula and the Apostle Islands.

I adore any bike route, or hiking or Nordic ski trail, that includes Lake Superior views–especially when you turn a corner or descend a hill and the lake is suddenly spread out before you in all its glory–regardless of weather or season.

What drew you to say “yes” to serving on the Advisory Council?  

My “yes” answer was driven by two trains of thought.  First, I am not only a Wisconsin native, I am also a proud University of Wisconsin graduate.  I earned my master’s degree through the land resources program at (what is now) the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. My research focused on the occurrence of pesticide degradation products in groundwater contaminated by the parent product, and the implications for health-risk-based standards for those pesticides.

My home department was the water chemistry department, whose building was located near the Memorial Union overlooking Lake Mendota.  I was very aware of the Sea Grant program while I was in graduate school. One of our fantastic water chemistry professors, and a huge personality, Anders Andren, was Sea Grant director at the time.

Fast-forward many years: my son recently graduated from UW-Madison, and my father is still a UW emeritus professor. Serving on the Advisory Council keeps me close to my Wisconsin and UW roots and lets me return service to the University of Wisconsin System.

Secondly, I appreciate Wisconsin Sea Grant’s mission to promote “the sustainable use of Great Lakes resources” and its vision, which is “thriving coastal ecosystems and communities.”  Thriving communities must thrive on ecosystem, societal and economic bases, and realistic solutions must balance the intersection of these three realms.

Great Lakes shipping plays an important role in the state and regional economy, yet it is relatively invisible, especially to non-waterfront communities.  I am proud to represent the interests of shipping and waterborne commerce on the Advisory Council. 

 Is there a special aspect of Sea Grant’s work or mission that speaks to you the most?

There are many aspects that appeal to me.  Working waterfronts and resilient coastal communities are key to all of us who live in towns and cities on the Great Lakes and love Great Lakes resources.

Resiliency will only become increasingly important with climate change.  The aquatic invasive species focus is also important in my line of work: as responsible stewards of the Great Lakes, we must be aware and realistic about associated risks and set policy that is effective and practical. 

 Where would you like to see Sea Grant headed in the near future? 

As an incoming member of the Advisory Committee, I think it is important to first engage and listen before articulating or identifying a direction for the organization.

The post Get to know the Advisory Council: Q&A with Deb DeLuca first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Original Article

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/get-to-know-the-advisory-council-qa-with-deb-deluca/

Jennifer Smith

Feb. 2, 2021

By Jennifer A. Smith

It can be easy to take clean drinking water for granted; we turn on our taps and simply expect it to be there. At the same time, safe water is priceless. Yet putting a price on water is just what environmental economist James Price is doing as part of a University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute-funded study. Specifically, Price is comparing the relative costs of protecting groundwater at it source versus treating that water at a plant.

Dr. James Price (submitted photo).

“The overarching objective here is to understand the relationship between source water quality and the cost of treating drinking water,” said Price, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences.

This work will help groundwater community water systems in Wisconsin make smart, cost-effective decisions.

Over the course of his two-year study, which is in its early stages, Price will consider both short-term costs at treatment plants (such as labor and chemicals needed for water treatment) and long-term costs (like capital expenses). He’ll also factor in the connections between source water quality and the choice of specific treatment technologies.

Much of the data needed for Price’s analysis is publicly available, but it still needs to be compiled from various sources and reformatted in a way that will let him run his analyses. “The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has a great data set on water treatment costs… and then the Wisconsin DNR has some information on source water quality,” he said.

Francesca Sanchez, a graduate student in the professional master’s degree track at the School of Freshwater Sciences, is aiding in the data cleanup that will make the project possible. That data may be supplemented by an internet-based survey sent to specific contacts at water treatment plants.

The study appears to be the first of its kind looking solely at groundwater (other cost-related studies on drinking water have looked at surface water, or a combination of surface and groundwater).

Groundwater is an important resource in Wisconsin; seven in 10 people in the state depend on it for their water supply. (Photo: Simon Kadula from Pixabay)

Groundwater is abundant in Wisconsin and it is a critical resource: seven in 10 Wisconsinites and 97 percent of the state’s inland communities depend on groundwater for their water supply.

Price is relatively new to Wisconsin, having arrived at UW-Milwaukee in mid-2019. Previously, he did a postdoctoral fellowship at Brock University in Ontario, where he worked on a project that was somewhat similar but not focused on groundwater. That project looked at the relationship between the cost of treating drinking water in Canada and turbidity levels driven by forest fires.

Then, he moved on the Environmental Protection Agency in Cincinnati and looked at different land uses around well heads, source water intake and their effects on water treatment costs. Study results suggest that forestland is associated with lower treatment costs, while agricultural and urban land are associated with higher costs.

Being able to incorporate capital costs in his current WRI-funded project will offer a new angle, said Price. Few prior studies have had the information needed to factor in those costs. He’s also hoping to look at a wider range of contaminants than many prior studies have.

The end result should be actionable information for local water providers in Wisconsin. “From a community water provider’s perspective, their goal is to provide clean water at an affordable price, and so they need to consider the relative costs and benefits of treating in-plant versus protecting water at the source,” he said. “I imagine that this information will be of interest to water providers who are considering source water protection, and they’ll be interested in what kind of benefit that might mean long-term, down the road.”

The post UW-Milwaukee researcher will help water utilities make cost-conscious decisions first appeared on WRI.

Original Article

News Release – WRI

News Release – WRI

https://www.wri.wisc.edu/news/uw-milwaukee-researcher-will-help-water-utilities-make-cost-conscious-decisions/

Jennifer Smith

Four new members joined the Advisory Council of Wisconsin Sea Grant in fall 2020. Invited to serve by the organization and officially appointed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison chancellor, these individuals help shape Sea Grant’s future, enabling it to better serve the people of Wisconsin. The four new members are Deb DeLuca, Madelyn Leopold, Becky Sapper and Lori Tate.

With 15 members total, Wisconsin Sea Grant’s Advisory Council brings together individuals from academia; state, tribal and local governments; private industry; and the public at large. This body meets two to three times per year. Members’ varied viewpoints and experiences help ensure Sea Grant’s responsiveness and accountability to its constituencies.

Sea Grant is grateful to these individuals for contributing their time to address challenges and opportunities facing our Great Lakes. The brief profiles below will help you get acquainted with them; watch the Wisconsin Sea Grant blog in the coming weeks for more in-depth Q&A features with each.

Deb DeLuca, executive director, Duluth Seaway Port Authority, Duluth, Minn.

Deb DeLuca (submitted photo).

For Deb DeLuca, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where Wisconsin Sea Grant is headquartered, is in her blood. She earned her master’s degree at what is now the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies on campus. Said DeLuca, “I was very aware of the Sea Grant program while I was in graduate school,” having crossed paths with former Sea Grant director Anders Andren, who taught water chemistry. DeLuca’s graduate research focused on the occurrence of pesticide degradation products in groundwater contaminated by the parent product, and the implications for health-risk-based standards for those pesticides. 

Now, years later, DeLuca is the parent of a recent UW-Madison graduate, and her father is an emeritus professor there. “Serving on the Advisory Council keeps me close to my Wisconsin and UW roots, and it lets me return service to the University of Wisconsin system.”

DeLuca leads the bustling Duluth Seaway Port Authority, the Great Lakes’ largest port, as its executive director—the first woman in that role in the port authority’s 60-year history. (She spoke about her career journey in a public talk co-presented by Sea Grant last year; you can find a recap of that event on our blog.)

She feels a strong connection to the Sea Grant vision of thriving coastal ecosystems and communities, as well as the sustainable use of Great Lakes resources. As she said, “Thriving communities must thrive on ecosystem, societal and economic bases. Realistic solutions must balance the intersection of these three realms.  Great Lakes shipping plays an important role in the state and regional economy, yet it is relatively invisible, especially to non-waterfront communities.  I am proud to represent the interests of shipping and waterborne commerce on the Advisory Council.” 

Madelyn Leopold, private landowner and retired attorney, Madison, Wis. 

Madelyn Leopold (submitted photo).

Madelyn Leopold, a retired attorney with a commitment to conservation, found her way to the Advisory Council though another body on which she serves, Madison’s Board of Park Commissioners. There, she met Sea Grant Assistant Director for Communications Moira Harrington, a fellow commissioner.

Said Leopold, “Moira always brings a broad, science-based perspective to the board discussions; it was clear that her lens was much broader than most, and I credited some of that perspective to her work with Wisconsin Sea Grant.  I was curious to know more about her organization and the work that it does.”

Leopold finds Sea Grant’s emphasis on “engaging young people of diverse backgrounds in science-based projects” especially appealing.  As she observed, “We need to broaden the community of people who care and are smart about managing our waters.”

“I’m also excited about how Sea Grant’s work engages communities and businesses in local projects where the impacts can be seen and appreciated and supported; these connections are important for expanding the public’s understanding and support of scientific research,” elaborated Leopold. Examples of this include green infrastructure efforts and rip-current safety lights at Port Washington beaches. 

Becky Sapper, director, Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Division of Extension, Ashland, Wis.

Becky Sapper (submitted photo).For Becky Sapper, the waters of Lake Superior are her lodestar; she has lived near them for 25 years. Based in Ashland, she directs the Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program, which in 2020 was honored with the Dave Engleson Award from the Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education. That award recognizes significant contributions to the field of environmental education having statewide, regional or national impact.

As a new Advisory Council member, Sapper looks forward to making an impact with Sea Grant as well. The organization has long been on her radar, and, in 2010 (while she was in a previous Extension role), she collaborated with several Sea Grant staff during the designation of the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Sapper said she finds Sea Grant’s emphasis on both research and education/outreach compelling. “It’s important that we continue to learn more about our Great Lakes, but we also need to understand why it’s important and how that impacts local communities,” she noted.

Looking toward the future, “I’d like to see Sea Grant continue to strengthen their work with emerging issues that impact people living in and visiting our coastal communities,” she said, so that Wisconsinites continue to appreciate and value our water-rich state.

Lori Tate, section chief, Fisheries Management Bureau, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, Wis. 

Lori Tate (submitted photo).

Lori Tate, of the Wisconsin DNR’s Fisheries Management Bureau, came to Wisconsin in 2009, after growing up and spending her career until to that point in Canada. A fisheries biologist, she has experience with freshwater systems, as well as some exposure to aquaculture farms.

Tate is eager to grow connections between the DNR’s Fisheries Management program and the organizations it partners with, such as Sea Grant and its sister program, the University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute (WRI). She’s already a mentor to a postdoctoral fellow jointly supported by the Bureau of Fisheries Management and WRI (Bryan Maitland, a Wisconsin Water Science-Policy Fellow).

Said Tate, these collaboratively supported fellowships are “a great model for helping to answer research and management questions, and they provide fantastic opportunities for young scientists!”

What’s more, said Tate, she appreciates Sea Grant’s active outreach efforts to connect Great Lakes stakeholders with this research and management decision-making.

Follow our blog for more!

To learn more about our new Advisory Council members, including their favorite spots on the Great Lakes, follow the Wisconsin Sea Grant blog. In the coming weeks, we will add our full Q&A’s with each new member.

The post New Sea Grant Advisory Council members help guide program with their expertise first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/new-sea-grant-advisory-council-members/

Jennifer Smith

Dec. 8, 2020

By Jennifer A. Smith

While it’s not news to avid anglers, many Wisconsinites may be unaware that the Badger State has over 13,000 miles of coldwater streams that support many world-class fisheries for brook trout and brown trout.

Bryan Maitland snaps a photo with his black lab, Brook, on a hike in the Snowy Mountains near Laramie, Wyoming. (Submitted photo)

Coldwater streams are flowing waters with maximum summer temperatures under 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Trout living in these streams not only play an important role in ecosystems, but also represent significant economic value to the state. For example, according to research done by retired University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Professor Donna Anderson, trout fishing in Wisconsin’s Driftless region had an economic impact of $1.6 billion in 2015.

But these brook and brown trout face challenges. Two leading ones are climate change (and the resulting shifts in precipitation patterns and flood frequency) and high-capacity wells in the state, as those wells draw groundwater that might otherwise replenish streams.

Here to better understand these challenges—and ultimately help natural resource managers make decisions related to trout populations—is Bryan Maitland, a new Wisconsin Water Science-Policy Fellow whose position is jointly supported by the University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute (WRI) and the Bureau of Fisheries Management at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Maitland, who recently completed his doctorate in ecology at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, began his fellowship Sept. 1. He also holds a master’s degree in conservation biology from the University of Alberta in Canada. The fellowship is a one-year commitment with a possibility for a second year.

During this time, he’ll focus on building computer models that illuminate how long-term changes in hydrology across the state are affecting trout populations. “The flip side of this,” he said, “is the conservation and management side, translating it into some type of decision support tool that decision-makers can use to inform policy in the state.”

As Maitland elaborated, climate change has brought shifting precipitation patterns that have altered Wisconsin’s hydrology. Increased precipitation–and particularly the frequency of intense precipitation events–has triggered floods in rivers and streams statewide. Depending on their timing and severity, these floods can threaten the emergence of trout fry or the survival of juvenile trout.

For example, a big winter flood can “scour out these little trout eggs that are growing under the stream in the substrate” that time of year, said Maitland. As a result, that year class of fish could be wiped out since eggs will not hatch in the spring. “That age-zero year class is really important for long-term trout population dynamics, because if you don’t have a good age-zero cohort, you can have very depressed populations in the stream for multiple years after that,” he noted.

At the same time, some high-capacity wells have the potential to deplete groundwater levels, thereby reducing input into nearby streams.

“The reason we have 13,000 miles of streams is because we have really good groundwater here in Wisconsin and good input into streams, which helps keep these streams colder in the summer and a little warmer in winter,” said Maitland, creating a favorable environment for brook and brown trout.

Maitland shows off his first fish caught in Wisconsin—a common shiner from the Blue River near Dodgeville, where he was fishing for trout. (Photo: Alex Latzka)

Maitland’s modeling work will pull together these two large-scale factors, and their interplay, to see how trout populations have been influenced over the past 26 years. Fish data collected from 1994 to 2020 are being used to inform the computer models to investigate how stream flow, precipitation and water temperature drive trout population numbers. Looking to the future, Maitland and collaborators will examine how increases or decreases in stream flow are likely to affect trout populations, with an eye to guiding a management framework for things like high-capacity well permits.

While economic considerations like the value of Wisconsin’s recreational trout fishery are outside the scope of his work, this effort could set the stage for other researchers to pursue this topic.

Maitland is an angler himself, which explains part of the appeal of this topic for him. Yet another draw is the chance to work with an array of other fellows and with permanent staff at the Wisconsin DNR. His collaborators at the DNR include former WRI fellow Alex Latzka, now a fisheries systems biologist there, and Lori Tate, section chief at the Fisheries Management Bureau and a member of Wisconsin Sea Grant’s Advisory Board. His efforts will intersect with that of other current fellows like Carolyn Voter and Dana Lapides.

“I think science and policy are team sports,” said Maitland. “To join such a big group of researchers and managers working on these big-picture issues in Wisconsin is very exciting.”

The post WRI Fellow looks at what’s ahead for brook and brown trout amid Wisconsin’s changing hydrology first appeared on WRI.

Original Article

News Release – WRI

News Release – WRI

https://www.wri.wisc.edu/news/wri-fellow-looks-at-whats-ahead-for-brook-and-brown-trout/

Jennifer Smith

Dec. 3, 2020

By Jennifer A. Smith

For Dana Lapides, the road to a postdoctoral fellowship has wended through organic farms on two continents. Lapides began her post as a Water Resources Science-Policy Fellow at the University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute (WRI) in early November.

In her free time, Lapides enjoys reading, playing music and hiking. She’s pictured here on a hike in Alaska. (Submitted photo)

She completed her Ph.D. at the University of California in May, focusing on surface water hydrology. Yet Lapides’ original intent in heading to the Berkeley campus was to study atmospheric science. After beginning her studies, however, she realized that field was not the right fit for her. She knew something else would suit her better as she sought to take her undergraduate background in math in a more applied direction.

While in California, she began volunteering on a campus-owned community farm, and that led to two summers on a farm in Portugal, where a farmer with a computer science background sparked Lapides’ interest in rainwater harvesting.

“He was really thoughtful about how he did everything,” said Lapides of Guy Miklos, owner of the farm Quinta do Barbeito. This introduction to rainwater harvesting drew Lapides to hydrology and sustainable water management. At last, she’d found her professional calling.

For her WRI fellowship, Lapides’ main charge, as she summarized it, “is to help develop a decision support tool for the screening of applications for high-capacity wells in Wisconsin. I’m thinking a lot about how to conservatively estimate how much stream depletion will be caused by a well, so that we can separate out applications into those that are definitely not going to impact stream ecology, and those that may negatively impact stream ecology and require site-specific review.”

Her work will intersect with another postdoctoral fellow, Bryan Maitland, whose holds a joint appointment between WRI and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Management Program. “I expect to be working a lot with Bryan on identifying ecological thresholds,” Lapides said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lapides is working remotely from Canada, but she hopes to move to Wisconsin at a later date. Wisconsin’s status as a water-rich state was part of what drew her to the WRI fellowship, she noted.

Lapides hails from Pennsylvania and did her bachelor’s degree there before heading to California for graduate school. “Because I didn’t have a water resources background until my Ph.D., my understanding of hydrology and hydrological systems is mainly shaped by California. Going into my postdoc, I was interested in learning about a different region with really different hydrology—a more water-rich system—to broaden my understanding. Wisconsin, in particular, is a very wet state and has more groundwater interacting with surface water, and that was another component I’m interested in investigating more.”

Lapides expects to spend two years in the fellowship program. As for long-term goals, she’s mulling options between government agency work and academia. For now, she said, “I’m excited to have my work be directly applicable and important to management decisions.”

Lapides may be reached at danalapides@berkeley.edu.

The post New Water Resources Fellow finds her path to hydrology through organic farms first appeared on WRI.

Original Article

News Release – WRI

News Release – WRI

https://www.wri.wisc.edu/news/new-wri-fellow-finds-path/

Jennifer Smith

Aquaculture, or fish farming, is a $21 million industry in Wisconsin. Wisconsin Sea Grant has a long history of nurturing the growth of aquaculture through research and public outreach. Coupled with Sea Grant efforts related to Great Lakes commercial fishing, these activities help Wisconsin producers offer consumers a sustainable, domestic alternative to imported fish and seafood.

A fresh chapter in this history is the Wisconsin Sea Grant Keillor Fellowship in Aquaculture, created in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility (NADF), where the position is based. The Bayfield facility is a national leader in aquaculture research.

Dr. Patrick Blaufuss (submitted photo)

The inaugural fellow, Dr. Patrick Blaufuss, began his two-year position in September. He holds a doctorate in animal physiology from the University of Idaho, where his research focused on nutrition and physiology in rainbow trout. He’s also a graduate of North Dakota State University and Southern Illinois University, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in zoology, respectively.

One of his greatest satisfactions, said Blaufuss, is seeing laboratory research provide useful results for fish farmers. “I’m excited to get experience with the aquaculture industry in the Great Lakes region… and to get more experience with commercial producers and the commercial setting, helping them refine what they do. Applying what we do in the lab out in the real world is very important,” said Blaufuss.

One of his top priorities will be analyzing data from past and current NADF projects and preparing manuscripts for publication in scientific journals.

Said Greg Fischer, NADF assistant director and research program manager, “Having Patrick on board as our new Sea Grant fellow will directly impact getting our completed research projects analyzed and published in a timely manner, which allows us to share results with the aquaculture industry and scientific community more rapidly, and to move aquaculture forward with confidence.”

Dr. Chris Hartleb, a UW-Stevens Point professor of fisheries biology and NADF co-director, echoed those thoughts. “Pat’s background and knowledge will assist us with completing past projects, restructuring current projects and expanding our ability to provide assistance to many aquaculturists with new projects.”

Blaufuss’ prior experience includes restoration aquaculture work with burbot in Idaho, where that species was almost extirpated from the Kootenai River watershed due to the operation of a dam that led to increased water temperatures (burbot need very cold water to spawn successfully). The recreational burbot fishery there had been closed since 1992. As part of the restoration work, Blaufuss served as a consultant to the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, which runs a commercial-scale fish hatchery. Employing results from University of Idaho lab research, Blaufuss helped the tribe with its first season of burbot aquaculture. Subsequent years of restocking efforts by the Kootenai Tribe have succeeded in restoring burbot populations to a level that recreational fishing is once again possible for anglers.

Commented Blaufuss, “I came out there [to the tribal hatchery] regularly throughout their first season, since there are multiple steps in burbot culture, and you have to be aware of them.” Burbot are extremely carnivorous, so cannibalization can be an issue, and they also have a longer larval rearing period compared to some other species. “It was very fulfilling to help them through each stage of the culture, and to see how our smaller-scale research data could be applied to a full-size commercial setting.”

Blaufuss kayaking on Lake Erie near Gibraltar, Mich. (submitted photo)

Currently, Blaufuss is writing a manuscript about previous NADF work on commercial diets for larval walleye and saugeye (a walleye-sauger hybrid that also occurs in the wild). “It’s so important that producers know the best diet to feed these larval fish,” he said. (Wisconsin Sea Grant funded this research in its 2018-20 grant cycle; read more about it here.)

He’s also working on a nanobubble oxygenation project, a novel way of introducing oxygen into aquaculture systems. “We’re looking at how it affects fish health, growth and other parameters,” said Blaufuss. The National Sea Grant Office is supporting the nanobubble work; read more about it here.

While much of his work is remote at the moment due to the ongoing pandemic, Blaufuss said that the two-year commitment at NADF gives him a good chunk of time to work with fish species and aquaculture systems that are new to him, as well as boost the facility’s research output.

It’s all part of Sea Grant and NADF’s broader goals to train professionals—from undergraduate students to postdoctoral fellows like Blaufuss—and support sustainable aquaculture that is backed by cutting-edge science. When the public health crisis abates, said Hartleb, Blaufuss will be able to get out to conferences, workshops and farms to enhance connections and share NADF information.

Said Fischer, “Wisconsin Sea Grant has been a great partner in all that we do, and we look forward to the future and continued partnership and cooperation.”

The post Sea Grant aquaculture fellow begins two-year position in Bayfield to boost research capacity first appeared on Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/sea-grant-aquaculture-fellow/

Jennifer Smith

All welcome at this free, virtual event

The first Sea Grant Great Lakes Aquaculture Day will be held Saturday, October 10. The online event will showcase the region’s potential for fish and seafood production and include a culinary competition. 

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required. Activities begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. central time with the cooking challenge, in which culinary students will test their creativity and flair.

The day will feature a variety of panel discussions and presentations on aquaculture. Those presentations will be targeted at a variety of audiences, from beginning and current farmers to consumers interested in learning more about preparing and cooking seafood.

The event is hosted by the Sea Grant Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative, a project of Sea Grant programs across the region—including Wisconsin Sea Grant—that are working to share resources and promote best practices in the aquaculture industry. 

Emma Wiermaa of Wisconsin Sea Grant and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility (NADF) will be one of the presenters at Great Lakes Aquaculture Day. She is pictured with NADF Assistant Director and Research Program Manager Greg Fischer. (Photo: Narayan Mahon)

Wisconsin Sea Grant outreach specialists Emma Wiermaa—who holds a joint position with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility in Bayfield, where she is based—and Titus Seilheimer, a fisheries specialist, will participate in the event.

The day will conclude with a cooking demonstration featuring Chef Jeff Igel of the Wisconsin Technical College System, followed by a competition between three culinary students from the Great Lakes region. Each student will be required to use a key ingredient and local aquaculture products in his or her dish. 

The Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative is currently accepting applications from post-secondary students for the competition. The three students selected will each receive a $250 stipend to cover ingredients costs and time. 

All Great Lakes Aquaculture Day attendees will be able to interact with other participants throughout the event and during breakout lunch gatherings. 

As the fastest-growing sector of agriculture worldwide, aquaculture now accounts for more than 50% of world seafood production, surpassing that from wild-caught fisheries. However, aquaculture growth in the U.S. has been stagnant, and seafood supply from U.S.-based, wild-caught fisheries is not enough to meet nationwide demand. One result of that is a $14 billion seafood trade deficit. 

The U.S. aquaculture industry has potential for growth, particularly in the Great Lakes region, where abundant inland freshwater resources have enabled a handful of state-based aquaculture operations to employ a local workforce and produce sustainable, healthy and tasty fish. 

For more information about the Sea Grant Great Lakes Aquaculture Day 2020 event and registration, visit the Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative website or contact Michigan Sea Grant Extension Educator Elliot Nelson. For information about the Sea Grant Great Lakes Aquaculture Collaborative, contact Minnesota Sea Grant Extension Educator Amy Schrank.

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/great-lakes-aquaculture-day-announced/

Jennifer Smith

Topics include aquatic invasive species, eating local fish and Green Bay’s ecosystem

Wisconsin Sea Grant’s “Lake Talks” series of free, public events will return this fall—in cyberspace. Four virtual events in the series will take place on Thursdays at 7 p.m. between Sept. 10 and Nov. 12.

The series was launched earlier in 2020 with an in-person event in Green Bay in early March. However, remaining spring events were canceled due to public health concerns surrounding the coronavirus. Now, because of ongoing health concerns and university policy, the series will move to a virtual format this fall. Wisconsin Sea Grant is headquartered at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The Lake Talks cover topics of special interest to residents in communities along or near the Lake Michigan shoreline—though anyone is welcome to attend.

Fall speakers and topics are:

Sept. 10: Molly Bodde of Kenosha, Wisconsin Sea Grant aquatic invasive species outreach specialist for southeast Wisconsin, will present “But It’s So Pretty: Combating Purple Loosestrife with Look-a-likes.”

Sept. 24: Chris Litzau of Racine, Great Lakes Community Conservation Corps director.

Oct. 22: University of Wisconsin-Green Bay graduate students Cadie Olson and Brandon Falish will speak about “Green Bay: A Saga of Life, Destruction and Restoration.”

Nov. 12: Titus Seilheimer of Manitowoc, Wisconsin Sea Grant fisheries specialist, will offer “How to Eat Wisconsin Fish.” Seilheimer will talk about his favorite fish, the benefits of eating Wisconsin fish—both wild-caught and farmed—and how you can incorporate local fish into upcoming holiday celebrations.

Zoom will be used as the online event platform. Each event will last one hour and include time for Q&A after the presentation.

While web links and other technical details for the sessions are still being finalized, those interested can get more information when it is announced by following Wisconsin Sea Grant on social media (at the handle @UWiscSeaGrant on both Facebook and Twitter), or by going to the Wisconsin Sea Grant website at seagrant.wisc.edu (search for “Lake Talks”).

Questions about the series may be directed to Wisconsin Sea Grant science communicator Jennifer Smith at smith@aqua.wisc.edu.

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/wisconsin-sea-grant-to-host-virtual-lake-talks-this-fall/

Jennifer Smith

A series of online videos for fisheries managers who need to sample for invasive carp species like bighead and silver carp is now available. This unique resource—a collection of 17 videos that can be watched on YouTube—grew out of a workshop that took place in spring 2019 at Lake Barkley State Resort Park in Kentucky.

The partners behind the workshop and the resulting video series are the Mississippi River Basin Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species (MRBP), Wisconsin Sea Grant, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. The videos can be found on Wisconsin Sea Grant’s YouTube channel.

Duane Chapman of the U.S. Geological Survey discusses an ichthyoplankton net and its use for silver, bighead, grass and black carp sampling. (Photo: Bonnie Willison)

The April 17-18, 2019 workshop on invasive carp species featured experts from around the country, who presented to about 65 attendees.

The MRBP funded the event, and Wisconsin Sea Grant Video Producer Bonnie Willison filmed on location in Kentucky to create the training videos, working in cooperation with Sea Grant Aquatic Invasive Species Outreach Specialist Tim Campbell. Campbell also serves as the Wisconsin representative on the MRBP.

Said Campbell, “This workshop was a one-of-a-kind interagency effort to train people in the methods needed to sample for bighead and silver carp.” Those methods can be different from standard ones familiar to most U.S. fisheries professionals. For example, different gear may be needed, and the video series covers different types of gear and how to use it, among other topics.

“I’m so glad that workshop organizers had the forethought to capture this event so this knowledge could be preserved and shared with more people,” added Campbell.

The effort as a whole is aimed at more effective management of these invasive species in the waters of the Mississippi River basin, a vast watershed covering about 40% of the continental U.S. The methods demonstrated at the workshop can be used for a combination of monitoring (to know where the fish are) and control (to remove the unwanted species).

Emily Pherigo of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service discusses the paupier boat and gives an overview of the equipment. (Photo: Bonnie Willison)

Bighead and silver carp are problematic because they eat a lot, grow rapidly and become quite large, with silver carp exceeding 60 lbs. and bighead carp exceeding 100 lbs. If left unchecked, they become abundant and make recreational uses of lakes and rivers difficult due to their sheer numbers. They also pose a significant threat to the Great Lakes, where they are not yet established.

The training videos may be viewed on YouTube.

Questions may be directed to Campbell at 608-263-3259 or tim.campbell@wisc.edu.

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/training-videos-for-fisheries-managers-cover-techniques-for-sampling-invasive-carp-species/

Jennifer Smith

One of the barriers to developing an aquaculture industry around yellow perch—popular in Wisconsin for its starring role in fish fries—has to do with columnaris disease, caused by Flavobacterium columnare, a naturally occurring bacterium affecting both wild and farmed freshwater fish.

Wisconsin Sea Grant-funded researchers have spent several years gaining a deeper understanding of F. columnare and working towards a vaccine that could prevent columnaris disease in farmed fish—and not just yellow perch, but other freshwater species as well.

In Sea Grant’s 2020-22 research cycle, professors Mark McBride and Jhonatan Sepulveda Villet of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and David Hunnicutt of St. Norbert College in De Pere are joining forces to understand just how F. columnare wreaks its damage.

“This is one of the top disease-causing organisms for freshwater aquaculture anywhere in the world,” said McBride, a microbiologist in UWM’s Department of Biological Sciences.

One of his discoveries—made in tandem with a group in Japan approaching the same problem from a different angle—is that many bacteria in the Flavobacterium family have a novel way of secreting proteins out of the cell. F. columnare’s secretion system is, it seems, a key to combating the disease it causes.

In earlier work that McBride and Hunnicutt conducted together, they found out that F. columnare’s secretion system secreted at least 40 different proteins from the cell, some of which were suspected to be involved in virulence, though it was not yet possible to determine which of those 40 proteins was the culprit.

At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, graduate students Nicole Thunes and Rachel Conrad assist with the research. (Submitted photo)

What they did find, however, was that knocking out the secretion system and creating a “mutant” without it made the bacterium unable to cause disease in fish.

Part of the current research focuses on which of those several dozen secreted proteins are the important ones in causing disease.

The secretion system also performs at least one other critical function: it helps F. columnare move, crawling over surfaces with a treadmill-like system. “These bacteria move kind of like a tank,” said McBride, “with moving treads along the surface of the cell.”

As he summarized, “The secretion machine has two jobs: it secretes proteins out through the cell surface, and it’s also the motor that moves those treads along the cell surface. Both may be needed to cause disease in the fish.”

Hunnicutt, the St. Norbert biology professor, brings expertise in fish and fish immunology and has known McBride for years, having completed a postdoctoral fellowship in McBride’s lab. Experiments for the current Sea Grant project will take place at both UW-Milwaukee and St. Norbert College.

Sepulveda Villet, an expert on yellow perch aquaculture at UW-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences, also plays a critical role in this work. In Milwaukee, McBride and Sepulveda Villet have the assistance of graduate and undergraduate students, and in De Pere, this work has proven to be a prime learning opportunity for Hunnicutt’s many undergraduates.

Said Hunnicutt, “I have run three immunology lab courses using the vaccine trial as our central project, meaning something like 70 students have been exposed to the immunology and microbiology of aquaculture almost without knowing it.”

The research has also provided learning opportunities for Prof. David Hunnicutt’s undergraduates at St. Norbert College in De Pere. (Submitted photo)

Continued Hunnicutt, “A lot of my students are interested in [human] medicine and want to do infectious disease research, but they’re undergraduates.” Working with fish gives them a safe chance to get their feet wet because none of the disease-causing systems they encounter in Hunnicutt’s lab will cause illness in people.

Funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is also playing a role in the research because USDA—like Sea Grant—has an interest in research that aids the U.S. aquaculture industry. With that additional funding, similar experiments will be performed using rainbow trout.

USDA research scientist Brian Shepherd serves as the principal investigator for the rainbow trout work, with McBride as a cooperator, in the agency’s terminology. “The USDA and Sea Grant-funded projects are dovetailing,” said McBride. “There’s a synergism between them.”

That synergy stands to benefit the aquaculture industry broadly, recognizing that there may be differences in how bacteria interacts with one type of fish versus another, given the varying temperatures at which fish species grow and other factors.

Said McBride, “We need to have our eye on not just one fish species. If we’re going to make generalizations that are useful for freshwater aquaculture around the world, we need to have our eye on multiple fish to see where the generalities are in how this bacterium causes disease.”

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/secretion-system-is-key-to-understanding-columnaris-disease/

Jennifer Smith

A research project recently completed by Wisconsin Sea Grant found that there was no statistical difference between an experienced watercraft inspector removing aquatic plants and small-bodied invertebrates from a watercraft using hand removal or using a CD3 waterless watercraft cleaning system. There was also no difference related to cleaning treatment duration. Study results are available in a recently finalized Wisconsin Sea Grant report authored by Tim Campbell, Molly Bodde and Titus Seilheimer.

A CD3 waterless watercraft cleaning system is used to clean a small boat during an experimental trial. (Photo: Molly Bodde)

Experimental trials consisted of a researcher placing a known amount of Eurasian watermilfoil or a mixture of spiny water fleas and wetland plant seeds on a watercraft. Then the inspector used each cleaning treatment for 90 or 180 seconds. The researcher then collected the removed specimens and recovered the remaining specimens to determine the percentage of specimens removed for each trial.

The same inspector completed every trial—a trained Wisconsin Clean Boats, Clean Waters inspector with two summers of inspection experience. The inspector did not have any previous experience with the CD3 cleaning system.

A key finding from the study was that a trained, experienced inspector can be very effective removing plants and small-bodied organisms from watercraft, with the inspector removing between 93 to 99 percent of aquatic plants and 80 to 92 percent of small-bodied invertebrates with the treatments, with no statistical difference between the methods.

Compared to a previous, similar study that also used a trained inspector (but not a CD3 system for comparison), these new results show a slightly higher removal effectiveness. Future research should investigate the roles that training and experience have in the ability of inspectors and boaters to remove aquatic plants and small-bodied invertebrates from watercraft.

For more information, contact Aquatic Invasive Species Outreach Specialist Tim Campbell or Southeast Wisconsin Aquatic Invasive Species Outreach Specialist Molly Bodde.

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/report-compares-ais-prevention-actions/

Jennifer Smith

A research project recently completed by Wisconsin Sea Grant found that there was no statistical difference between an experienced watercraft inspector removing aquatic plants and small-bodied invertebrates from a watercraft using hand removal or using a CD3 waterless watercraft cleaning system. There was also no difference related to cleaning treatment duration. Study results are available in a recently finalized Wisconsin Sea Grant report authored by Tim Campbell, Molly Bodde and Titus Seilheimer.

A CD3 waterless watercraft cleaning system is used to clean a small boat during an experimental trial. (Photo: Molly Bodde)

Experimental trials consisted of a researcher placing a known amount of Eurasian watermilfoil or a mixture of spiny water fleas and wetland plant seeds on a watercraft. Then the inspector used each cleaning treatment for 90 or 180 seconds. The researcher then collected the removed specimens and recovered the remaining specimens to determine the percentage of specimens removed for each trial.

The same inspector completed every trial—a trained Wisconsin Clean Boats, Clean Waters inspector with two summers of inspection experience. The inspector did not have any previous experience with the CD3 cleaning system.

A key finding from the study was that a trained, experienced inspector can be very effective removing plants and small-bodied organisms from watercraft, with the inspector removing between 93 to 99 percent of aquatic plants and 80 to 92 percent of small-bodied invertebrates with the treatments, with no statistical difference between the methods.

Compared to a previous, similar study that also used a trained inspector (but not a CD3 system for comparison), these new results show a slightly higher removal effectiveness. Future research should investigate the roles that training and experience have in the ability of inspectors and boaters to remove aquatic plants and small-bodied invertebrates from watercraft.

For more information, contact Aquatic Invasive Species Outreach Specialist Tim Campbell or Southeast Wisconsin Aquatic Invasive Species Outreach Specialist Molly Bodde.

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/report-compares-ais-prevention-actions/

Jennifer Smith

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Sea Grant are pleased to announce the finalists for the 2021 class of the Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program. Two of those finalists, Stephanie Houser and Rachel Johnson, applied to the program through Wisconsin Sea Grant; learn more about each of them at the end of this story.

The one-year fellowship places early career professionals in federal government offices in Washington, D.C. The 74 finalists in the 2021 class represent 27 of the 34 Sea Grant programs, including Wisconsin. Since 1979, over 1,400 fellows have completed the program, becoming leaders in science, policy and public administration roles.

Knauss finalists are chosen through a competitive process that includes several rounds of review at both the state Sea Grant program and national levels. Students who are enrolled in or have recently completed Master’s, Juris Doctor (J.D.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs with a focus and/or interest in marine and coastal science, policy or management apply to one of the 34 Sea Grant programs. If applicants are successful at the state program level, their applications are then reviewed by a national panel of experts.

The 2021 finalists are a class with diverse experiences that go beyond completing rigorous academic programs. Many have held campus leadership positions and served their communities as volunteers and mentors. Others have worked with a variety of federal agencies, such as the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These finalists have received impressive awards and scholarships (including ones from the National Science Foundation, National Geographic and Fulbright Program), speak multiple languages and have traveled or worked in 47 countries outside of the U.S. The class includes NOAA scholars, fisheries observers, former delegates for the U.N. Climate Change Conference of Parties, marine animal rescuers, outdoor adventurers, science communicators and an Olympic athlete.

“We are excited to welcome the 2021 class of Knauss fellows and look forward to the skill and perspective that they will provide towards addressing critical marine policy and science challenges,” said Jonathan Pennock, director of the National Sea Grant College Program.  “As the government and the sciences adapt to new norms for working driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Knauss fellowship will create novel opportunities for the fellows to redefine how government and science interact and operate for the benefit of society.”

This fall, the 2020 finalists will participate in a virtual placement week to get to know each other and interview with potential host offices. Following placement, they will begin their fellowships in February 2021.

Executive appointments for the 2020 Knauss fellows included placements throughout the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as well as with the Department of State, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Navy and other agencies. Legislative placements included the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (Minority), the House Committee on Natural Resources (Majority), Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation (Majority and Minority), and several placements in both majority and minority personal offices (House and Senate).

The 2021 Knauss finalists will become the 42nd class of the fellowship and will join a group of over 1,400 professionals who have received hands-on experiences transferring science to policy and management through one-year appointments with federal government offices in Washington, D.C. For many fellows, this opportunity helps launch their careers at NOAA and other federal agencies, like alumni Emily Larkin and Stuart Levenbach.

Want to learn more about the Knauss fellowship? The Knauss blog shares stories from the 2020 Knauss class on fellowship experiences and their journeys to D.C.

Placement of 2021 Knauss finalists as fellows is contingent on adequate funding in Fiscal Year 2021.

Wisconsin Sea Grant 2021 Knauss finalists

Stephanie Houser

Stephanie Houser (submitted photo)

Houser completed her bachelor’s degrees at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, earning both a bachelor’s of science in civil engineering and a bachelor of arts in international relations. Next, she earned a master’s in environmental engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Currently, she’s nearing completion of a doctorate in civil and environmental engineering at the University of Iowa.

Houser, who is from Orchard Park, New York, said she first became interested in the intersection of public policy and engineering while an undergraduate at Bucknell. “This sparked an interest in the economic and political challenges that we face in solving environmental challenges. It also points to the need for strong policy to use science to save our environment and promote the public’s health,” she said.

While at the University of Iowa, she learned more about policy issues through her coursework. Now, with the expected completion of her doctorate a few months away, she is ready to begin her next chapter. “All of my experiences led to the decision that I wanted a career in the [policy] field and, as a result, I searched for opportunities that allowed me to gain firsthand experience in the policy sector,” she said. “The Knauss Fellowship is a perfect fit to bring together my policy interests, my science and engineering background, and my career goals.”

Rachel Johnson

Rachel Johnson (submitted photo)

Johnson earned her bachelor’s degree at Carleton College in Minnesota, majoring in geology and minoring in Spanish. She then continued her education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she completed a master’s in water resources management earlier this year and will soon complete a second master’s in biological systems engineering.

She is also a Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellow in Water Resources and has served on the executive committee of Water@UW-Madison, a group that connects water-related activity and research across campus, since 2017.

Originally from Woodbury, Minnesota, Johnson said that “research on land management and water quality for both of my master’s degrees has shown me how we live today with decisions made decades ago, and how policies–or the lack thereof–have long-lasting and far-reaching influences on our aquatic ecosystems.”

Looking ahead to her Knauss experience, “I’m excited to gain experience at the federal level in translating science into policy decisions,” Johnson said.

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/sea-grant-announces-2021-finalists-for-the-john-a-knauss-marine-policy-fellowship-program/

Jennifer Smith

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Sea Grant are pleased to announce the finalists for the 2021 class of the Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program. Two of those finalists, Stephanie Houser and Rachel Johnson, applied to the program through Wisconsin Sea Grant; learn more about each of them at the end of this story.

The one-year fellowship places early career professionals in federal government offices in Washington, D.C. The 74 finalists in the 2021 class represent 27 of the 34 Sea Grant programs, including Wisconsin. Since 1979, over 1,400 fellows have completed the program, becoming leaders in science, policy and public administration roles.

Knauss finalists are chosen through a competitive process that includes several rounds of review at both the state Sea Grant program and national levels. Students who are enrolled in or have recently completed Master’s, Juris Doctor (J.D.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs with a focus and/or interest in marine and coastal science, policy or management apply to one of the 34 Sea Grant programs. If applicants are successful at the state program level, their applications are then reviewed by a national panel of experts.

The 2021 finalists are a class with diverse experiences that go beyond completing rigorous academic programs. Many have held campus leadership positions and served their communities as volunteers and mentors. Others have worked with a variety of federal agencies, such as the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These finalists have received impressive awards and scholarships (including ones from the National Science Foundation, National Geographic and Fulbright Program), speak multiple languages and have traveled or worked in 47 countries outside of the U.S. The class includes NOAA scholars, fisheries observers, former delegates for the U.N. Climate Change Conference of Parties, marine animal rescuers, outdoor adventurers, science communicators and an Olympic athlete.

“We are excited to welcome the 2021 class of Knauss fellows and look forward to the skill and perspective that they will provide towards addressing critical marine policy and science challenges,” said Jonathan Pennock, director of the National Sea Grant College Program.  “As the government and the sciences adapt to new norms for working driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Knauss fellowship will create novel opportunities for the fellows to redefine how government and science interact and operate for the benefit of society.”

This fall, the 2020 finalists will participate in a virtual placement week to get to know each other and interview with potential host offices. Following placement, they will begin their fellowships in February 2021.

Executive appointments for the 2020 Knauss fellows included placements throughout the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as well as with the Department of State, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Navy and other agencies. Legislative placements included the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (Minority), the House Committee on Natural Resources (Majority), Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation (Majority and Minority), and several placements in both majority and minority personal offices (House and Senate).

The 2021 Knauss finalists will become the 42nd class of the fellowship and will join a group of over 1,400 professionals who have received hands-on experiences transferring science to policy and management through one-year appointments with federal government offices in Washington, D.C. For many fellows, this opportunity helps launch their careers at NOAA and other federal agencies, like alumni Emily Larkin and Stuart Levenbach.

Want to learn more about the Knauss fellowship? The Knauss blog shares stories from the 2020 Knauss class on fellowship experiences and their journeys to D.C.

Placement of 2021 Knauss finalists as fellows is contingent on adequate funding in Fiscal Year 2021.

Wisconsin Sea Grant 2021 Knauss finalists

Stephanie Houser

Stephanie Houser (submitted photo)

Houser completed her bachelor’s degrees at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, earning both a bachelor’s of science in civil engineering and a bachelor of arts in international relations. Next, she earned a master’s in environmental engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Currently, she’s nearing completion of a doctorate in civil and environmental engineering at the University of Iowa.

Houser, who is from Orchard Park, New York, said she first became interested in the intersection of public policy and engineering while an undergraduate at Bucknell. “This sparked an interest in the economic and political challenges that we face in solving environmental challenges. It also points to the need for strong policy to use science to save our environment and promote the public’s health,” she said.

While at the University of Iowa, she learned more about policy issues through her coursework. Now, with the expected completion of her doctorate a few months away, she is ready to begin her next chapter. “All of my experiences led to the decision that I wanted a career in the [policy] field and, as a result, I searched for opportunities that allowed me to gain firsthand experience in the policy sector,” she said. “The Knauss Fellowship is a perfect fit to bring together my policy interests, my science and engineering background, and my career goals.”

Rachel Johnson

Rachel Johnson (submitted photo)

Johnson earned her bachelor’s degree at Carleton College in Minnesota, majoring in geology and minoring in Spanish. She then continued her education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she completed a master’s in water resources management earlier this year and will soon complete a second master’s in biological systems engineering.

She is also a Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellow in Water Resources and has served on the executive committee of Water@UW-Madison, a group that connects water-related activity and research across campus, since 2017.

Originally from Woodbury, Minnesota, Johnson said that “research on land management and water quality for both of my master’s degrees has shown me how we live today with decisions made decades ago, and how policies–or the lack thereof–have long-lasting and far-reaching influences on our aquatic ecosystems.”

Looking ahead to her Knauss experience, “I’m excited to gain experience at the federal level in translating science into policy decisions,” Johnson said.

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/sea-grant-announces-2021-finalists-for-the-john-a-knauss-marine-policy-fellowship-program/

Jennifer Smith

July 16, 2020

By Jennifer A. Smith

Pyrite, the mineral commonly known as fools’ gold for its luster and yellowish hue, can be found in the sandstone formations of Wisconsin, including in Trempealeau County.

Water Resources Institute-funded researchers are now examining what happens when that pyrite meets oxygen and microbes deep below the surface, particularly at circumneutral pH, a situation that has not been well understood up to this point. This intermingling could affect groundwater quality.

The research team’s two-year project (“Microbially mediated oxidation of trace element-bearing sulfide minerals in sandstones of Trempealeau County, Wisconsin”) began in summer 2019.

The team consists of University of Wisconsin-Madison professors Eric Roden and Matt Ginder-Vogel, along with geoscience graduate student Lisa Haas and Beloit College professor Jay Zambito.

Zambito was formerly with the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey and, while there, worked on an earlier WRI-funded study with hydrogeologist Mike Parsen (also at the survey) that established some of the basis for the current study in terms of the presence of pyrite in two geologic units.

Haas and Roden visit a sand mine in Trempealeau County to collect freshly excavated Wonewoc sand and Tunnel City overburden for microcosm experiments. They are discussing the thin, intermittent clay sequences of the Wonewoc Formation. (Photo: Lisa Kamal)

The current study focuses on material found in the Tunnel City Group and Wonewoc Formation. While these rock units underlie much of the state, in Trempealeau County they are close to, or exposed at, the land surface and, depending on the amount of oxygen in the subsurface, have been observed to possess a notable amount of pyrite.

Roden described it: “In these sandstone formations, the pyrite is present in a state that you might call disseminated; it’s basically spread throughout the aquifer sand,” with the distributions varying in size and precise location.

What happens is that “when the pyrite in the sandstone is exposed to oxygen in groundwater, it reacts with the oxygen and that causes two things. One is that the mineral gets destroyed, if you will. It becomes oxidized,” he said. That results in a lowering of the groundwater’s pH. In turn, that increased acidity can lead to the release of toxic trace elements into the groundwater—things such as iron, arsenic, cadmium, zinc and lead—that have the potential to negatively affect groundwater quality.

The researchers believe this reaction is being sped up by the presence of microbes deep below the surface. “We’ve been working with the possibility that microbes, through their metabolism, can accelerate the reaction of oxygen with pyrite—and this is what’s crucial—at neutral pH,” said Roden.

Ginder-Vogel summarized, “It’s the microbes, water and minerals, and it’s this really interesting interface that is super dynamic and constantly changing. It’s really interesting from a broad groundwater perspective.”

The role of frac sand mining

The study bears a connection to industrial sand mining, also called frac sand mining, in this part of the state. When companies scrape off material known as “overburden”—in this instance, the Tunnel City Group rock—they set it aside in order to get to the sand (here, the Wonewoc Formation) they seek underneath. They later use the excavated overburden and low-quality sand for reclamation. However, the geologic material that was isolated in the subsurface is now disturbed and exposed to atmospheric levels of oxygen and rain at land surface. If pyrite was present in the rock, it will oxidize.

The team will examine whether this excavation and piling of materials help lead to the release of trace elements as a result of pyrite oxidation, which could have implications for the water quality of homeowners in the area. In experiments, they are working with collected samples of overburden and non-valuable geologic material and will be able to compare those with material collected from rock core of the geologic units of interest.

Haas, the graduate student, is running the lab experiments. A native of Mount Horeb, she completed her bachelor’s degree in the geoscience department in 2016 and then spent a few years with the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey before beginning graduate school. As an undergraduate, she served as a research assistant to Zambito and Parsen on the earlier, related study.

For the current project, she is wrapping up the first set of experiments capturing pyrite oxidation and subsequent metal release from subsurface rock samples of the Tunnel City Group and Wonewoc Formation in unfiltered groundwater samples with the native aquifer microorganisms—the microorganisms thought to be accelerating the pyrite oxidation reaction.

Four vials contain pulverized Wonewoc Formation rock, with a natural abundance of pyrite, in groundwater. The vials with red tape are the abiotic, or killed, controls. The live microcosms (without red tape) were sterilized and then inoculated with groundwater with live aquifer microorganisms. After 213 days following the start of the experiment, enough pyrite in the live microcosms oxidized to render the groundwater acidic (pH ~4). However, minimal pyrite was oxidized in the abiotic microcosms and the solution stayed circumneutral (pH ~8.5). (Photo: Lisa Haas)

As Haas described the process, “What we did is collect groundwater with some of those native microorganisms, and I put them in a vial and monitored chemical compounds that are produced as a result of this mineral dissolving and found that, with the native microbial communities, pyrite will dissolve faster than abiotically. So microorganisms are…significant drivers to this reaction.”

The next set of experiments will investigate pyrite oxidation in Tunnel City Group overburden and unprocessed sand from the Wonewoc Formation as described previously.

A kind of universality

While this experimental, analytical study is not designed to survey impacts to groundwater or surface water in Trempealeau County, it lays a foundation for possible future work.

“Our findings have a kind of universality,” said Roden. “Microbes are everywhere. And whatever we find, I can guarantee that that would apply in other environments where the lithology and also the hydrology were similar… All the details of what happens where on the landscape are determined by geology, but the microbes and the chemistry are always there.”

Ginder-Vogel echoed that thought: “These are reactions that are occurring everywhere. [Frac sand] mining may accelerate some of the reactions, and that’s where fundamental types of science—and what Eric and I do—comes in. We can understand these reactions and start to think about what types of processes might push them one way or push them another way, and then bring in some smart hydrologists to help us model what actually happens.”

The post Research on pyrite oxidation and native microorganisms has implications for groundwater quality in western Wisconsin first appeared on WRI.

Original Article

News Release – WRI

News Release – WRI

https://www.wri.wisc.edu/news/pyrite-oxidation-in-western-wi/

Jennifer Smith

I’m a memoir junkie and also a fan of cooking shows (though I don’t cook much myself—go figure). These interests dovetail in books written by chefs, food critics and others chronicling their personal journeys to and through the professional world of food.

Along these lines, I greatly enjoyed Amy Thielen’s 2017 book “Give a Girl a Knife,” her tale of growing up in the small town of Park Rapids, Minnesota, and, for the latter part of high school, the Twin Cities suburbs. After finishing college in St. Paul, she headed to New York for culinary school and spent several years in the trenches of high-end restaurants there, eventually returning to her home state and the even smaller town of Two Inlets.

More precisely, though: even during her New York years, Thielen and her artist husband bounced between Brooklyn and the Northwoods, where, over the years, they improved on a rustic home he had begun building. Eventually, they found their nomadic lifestyle too unwieldy—and the lure of home too strong—and committed full-time to Minnesota.

I first became aware of Thielen from her former Food Network program, The Heartland Table, and later stumbled upon her blog post about the joys of eelpout (aka burbot or lawyer, an often underrated fish) after finally getting to try some at a fish market in northern Minnesota.

Not only is Thielen a vivid and engaging narrator whose willingness to follow her passions has paid off, I appreciate her resolute pride in the traditions and flavors of the Upper Midwest. While there is some truth to the jokes about gloppy casseroles and Jello salads, the Midwest does have rich and varied food traditions of its own—including many surrounding the freshwater fish found here—that reflect the heritage of its people, from original inhabitants to immigrant populations.

Baskets of crispy coated whitefish and eelpout on a summer’s day in northern Minnesota, 2019. (Photo: Jennifer Smith)

Here at Wisconsin Sea Grant, one of our efforts is the Eat Wisconsin Fish project, which encourages consumers to think local when they buy fish, whether that means wild-caught in the Great Lakes or sustainably farmed by Wisconsin fish farmers. (And, of course, we support those who like to catch their own fish!)

As someone who eats fish often and prefers it over many other proteins, I have found that Eat Wisconsin Fish has nudged me to shop more carefully and seek out Wisconsin (or other Great Lakes states’) products when possible. I even find that I now try more carefully to buy other local food products, too, from eggs to local coffee roasters. Especially in a volatile economy, I like knowing my choices are supporting regional companies and jobs.

In “Give a Girl a Knife,” Thielen offers a thoughtful approach to the flavors and landscapes of the Upper Midwest. Even better, she’s just plain entertaining to read. (For more from Amy Thielen, check out her James Beard award-winning cookbook, “The New Midwestern Table: 200 Heartland Recipes“, or find some of the recipes from her Food Network show online, like this one for Crispy Trout with Kitchen Butter Sauce.)

Happy reading and eating!

Original Article

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/amy-thielens-give-a-girl-a-knife/

Jennifer Smith

While I’ve seen numerous articles stating that the COVID-related stay-at-home orders in many states prompted a flurry of spring decluttering—followed by trips to thrift stores to unload the excess goods—my own streamlining process began before the pandemic hit.

“Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale” by Adam Minter (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019)

A couple of years had passed since I last did a serious purge. So, over the winter, I began neatly folding and bagging ill-fitting and unwanted clothes, pondering where to donate them once my reorganization was complete.

Then, in mid-March, life shifted rapidly. By March 16, we Sea Grant staffers were working from home. Work attire and comfy at-home attire became one and the same. Nationwide consumer spending on clothing took a hit (down by a whopping 78% for the month of April). Not only were people not going places, but their consumer confidence had tumbled.

It was in this environment—my own personal tidying project and this larger global picture—that I read Adam Minter’s book “Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale” (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019) in April.

Minter is a Great Lakes native, a Minnesota-raised journalist who specializes in recycling and the global trade in used goods. He grew up around his family’s scrap business in the Twin Cities. His book takes the reader to places as varied as Japan, Ghana and the more prosaic settings of the Minneapolis suburbs. One chapter focuses on an antique mall in Stillwater, Minnesota, just across the St. Croix River from Wisconsin.

Minter looks at where the things we no longer need—clothes, furniture, electronics and more—wind up, especially if they don’t sell at places like Goodwill. What are the next stops on their journey? Where do they eventually land? And how can durable, repairable, high-quality used goods play a vital role in the global economy? The author offers a detailed look at a world that goes unseen by many.

Personally, I have always been interested in the life of things. I wondered how to integrate the issues we address here at Wisconsin Sea Grant and the Water Resources Institute, what I learned from Minter’s book, and my evolving thoughts on consumption brought about by the pandemic.

One possible thread is this: water is an integral part of our consumption decisions, whether we realize it or not.

I thought back to a lecture Sandra Postel gave in Madison in 2013. Postel, director of the Global Water Policy Project, is an internationally known speaker on water issues. I helped organize her talk on behalf of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, where I worked at the time.

One of most vivid examples in Postel’s talk has stuck with me over the years: it takes 700 gallons of water to make a single cotton T-shirt, mostly due to the large amount of water it takes to grow the cotton. How many of us have closets full of T-shirts, some of which are seldomly worn?

Just two of the bags of clothes awaiting their trip to a local thrift store. (Photo: Jennifer Smith)

While I’m far from being an exemplary eco-conscious consumer, it’s stories like these that sometimes give me pause and avoid buying something I don’t need—as well as knowing that, someday, I will just have to get rid of it.

As Postel said in her talk, “Our choices as consumers can make a difference, especially if we multiply those choices many times.” If the top billion of the world’s consumers bought just two fewer cotton T-shirts each year, she noted, it would save enough water to feed five million people. (Food production also makes up a major part of our water footprint.)

And, as Minter points out, while we’d like to think our no-longer-needed items will hold value for someone else and find a second use, perhaps even right in our own community, this is often not the case. While secondhand markets do seek high-quality goods, including repairable items like electronics, a flood of low-quality goods is not needed.

The world of “stuff” is a complex place, both economically and environmentally (and, as the pandemic has reinforced, in terms of worker safety as well). I’m thinking more carefully about my role in that life cycle of stuff.

While having the range of consumer choices that I do is a mark of privilege, it is also a chance for me to evaluate what I do and don’t need and how my choices affect other people and our planet. “Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale” is a worthwhile and informative read for challenging times.

Original Article

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/the-global-garage-sale/

Jennifer Smith

Two Sea Grant-funded aquaculture studies have borne fruit with new publications. One aids the growing industry surrounding Atlantic salmon raised in land-based recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS). The other looks at Wisconsin residents’ views of aquaculture (often called fish farming) and related public policy.

Both tie in with the broader goals of Wisconsin Sea Grant and the National Sea Grant Office in terms of supporting a sustainable, domestic supply of fish and seafood and closing the trade gap in this sector of the economy.

In this 2018 photo, Greg Fischer and Emma Wiermaa handle a fish at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility, located in Bayfield. (Photo: Narayan Mahon)

The Atlantic salmon paper appears in the June/July issue of Aquaculture Magazine (Vol. 46, No. 3). Its authors are Greg Fischer, Emma Wiermaa, Chris Good, John Davidson and Steve Summerfelt. Fischer and Wiermaa are based at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility (NADF). Located in Bayfield, NADF is a frequent partner with Wisconsin Sea Grant and Wiermaa’s position as an aquaculture outreach specialist and research associate is co-supported by Sea Grant.

The Aquaculture Magazine article looks at some of the issues affecting the growing of the land-based salmon industry in the U.S., such as saprolegniasis (commonly called “fungus”), which can affect both farm-raised and wild fish. (For more information, see our previous story here.)

The piece also looks at methods for preventing “off flavor” in the fish. Often described as a musty or earthy taste, it can be off-putting for consumers.

Fischer, Wiermaa and their collaborators are also participants in a broader initiative funded by the National Sea Grant Office called RAS-N, for Recirculating Aquaculture Salmon Network. A large-scale effort between three Sea Grant programs—Wisconsin, Maryland and Maine—and numerous private and nonprofit research entities, RAS-N aims to support the growth of sustainable, land-based salmon production in the United States. That collaboration kicked off with a December 2019 meeting in northern Wisconsin.

The second paper hot off the digital press, so to speak, springs from social science research conducted by Bret Shaw, Kristin Runge, Laura Witzling, Shiyu Yang, Chris Hartleb and Deidre Peroff. On June 16, it was published online in the journal Environmental Communication.

The paper focuses on insights gleaned from a survey of 3,000 randomly selected Wisconsin households. While consumer views on aquaculture have been widely studied in Europe, the topic has received less attention in the U.S. The team looked at emotions and opinions about Wisconsin aquaculture—which, they found, were generally favorable among those surveyed.

The team also looked at predictors of support for environmental policy in nuanced situations: individuals may want policy to help an industry grow, to regulate it, or both at the same time.

The paper, “Predictors of Environmental Policy Support: The Case of Inland Aquaculture in Wisconsin,” may be found online.

Original Article

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

Blog – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/blog/findings-from-aquaculture-projects-published/

Jennifer Smith

As participants in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Undergraduate Research Scholars (URS) program know, it’s never too soon to gain exposure to the kind of research that goes on at a large university.

The URS program is designed as a two-semester course aimed at first- and second-year students. Participants take a weekly seminar and are paired with a research mentor who guides them as they conduct an original research project. Near the conclusion of the academic year, students present their research at a symposium.

While the COVID-19 pandemic meant that students finished out this spring semester at their permanent homes rather than on campus—and that the typical in-person symposium was replaced by virtual presentations—it still proved to be a valuable experience for two students mentored by Wisconsin Sea Grant Assistant Director for Extension David Hart.

Rykia Amos of Washington, D.C., and Celeste Gunderson of Milwaukee each zeroed in on challenging topics. We checked in with both to hear about their experiences.

Rykia Amos

Topic: A process to prioritize where to plant trees to decrease future stream temperatures to protect brook trout in the Black Earth Creek watershed

Rykia Amos (Submitted photo)

A wildlife ecology major, Amos went into her trout project as someone more focused on mammals. Yet, she said, “I realized I was a lot more interested in looking at fish than I expected.”

Trout fishing is a popular activity that also carries significant economic value in Wisconsin. Yet climate change projections and warming streams are worrisome. Said Amos, “They’re (brook trout) a very vulnerable species because most of them currently live in cold-water conditions.”

If the climate continues to warm as current scientific projections say, what will that mean for fish like the brook trout and brown trout?

Amos focused on the role played by tree cover and whether that can help mitigate warming temperatures in certain stream segments, to the benefit of the fish. “Data shows that tree planting is a cost-efficient and effective way to help temperatures decrease,” said Amos.

She used data from a U.S. Geological Survey program called FishVis to populate a spreadsheet of stream segments in the Black Earth Creek watershed, located west of Madison. She looked at both present conditions and projected conditions for the period 2046-2065.

Important variables that she considered were where the stream was projected to change from a colder to warmer temperature regime and where brook trout populations were being replaced by brown trout, which can tolerate warmer temperatures. She concluded by assessing the existing tree canopy and developing a formula to prioritize the variables.

At semester’s end, Amos presented her research first to Hart and Sea Grant Fisheries Specialist Titus Seilheimer. She then gave a separate presentation to Matt Mitro, a research scientist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Mitro had given input earlier in the semester, suggesting to Amos that she compare brook and brown trout.

Even though she’d prefer to focus on hands-on fieldwork in the future, Amos said, the computer modeling she undertook for her research gave her a window into a real-life challenge posed by climate change in our region. This work has relevance for the protection of ecosystems as well as the recreational fishing that many Wisconsinites love.

Said Hart, “I think there’s a lot of promise for this prioritization of the areas where you could plant tree cover and it would make a difference to decrease stream temperatures. As far as methods went, it was a great proof of concept.”

Going forward, this work could be expanded upon by adding more variables to the modeling, such as land ownership (which could impact the feasibility of tree planting). Hart has begun to look into a tool for constructing 3D tree canopy models from LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data and thinking about how that could come into play. “I wouldn’t have thought of this if I hadn’t worked with Rykia on this project,” he said.

Celeste Gunderson

Topic: Geodesign to guide green infrastructure practices for stormwater management in a changing climate

Celeste Gunderson (Submitted photo)

Gunderson, a resident of Milwaukee’s east side, examined an issue that is literally close to home for her: the impacts of climate change on residents of Great Lakes communities, and how increased precipitation events and severe weather affect lives and property.

It’s an issue her family faced in 2008, when Milwaukee endured widespread flooding caused by heavy precipitation. “It had a lot of effects on the foundation of our house,” said Gunderson, “and we had to get construction done… We’ve already felt the effects of increased precipitation and severe weather events.”

Gunderson is double majoring in environmental studies and people-environment geography. She explored mitigation strategies using a tool called GeoPlanner for ArcGIS, a geographic information systems product that allows users to create and analyze various planning scenarios.

With guidance from Hart and graduate project assistant Kayla Wandsnider, said Gunderson, “We looked at how geodesign—which is a process using GIS technology to look at different planning scenarios—could be used to then guide green infrastructure practices for stormwater management” in the part of the UW-Madison campus that drains to Willow Creek, specifically with an increase in precipitation.

She gave her stakeholder presentation to UW-Madison’s Rhonda James, a senior landscape architect, and Aaron Williams, an assistant planner and zoning coordinator. Both are with the campus Division of Facilities Planning and Management.

Gunderson will continue working on this topic over the summer as a Wisconsin Sea Grant intern.

Said Hart, “Celeste will be a real help. She made a great connection with Kayla, and together they will be able to bounce ideas off of each other and it will also magnify Kayla’s work” as a graduate student with a double focus on urban and regional planning and water resources management. “I think that the methods developed out of this [project] will be really useful for coastal communities.”

Continuing to focus on this area will also be gratifying for the Milwaukeean. Concluded Gunderson, “Sometimes you learn the science behind climate change, and this project explores the direct impacts and ways we’re going to have to adapt in the future… It felt very relevant and important, and that made it a very fulfilling experience.”

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/undergraduate-research-scholars-tackle-issues-relevant-to-great-lakes-communities/

Jennifer Smith

Once niche, podcasts have gone mainstream. According to figures cited in Forbes, 62 million Americans now listen to podcasts each week.

Sea Grant’s Yael Gen designed the cover art for the new podcast.

While Wisconsin Sea Grant and the University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute have been involved in podcasting for years—from the current series Wisconsin Water News to older programs like Earthwatch Radio—there’s a new kid on the block: a podcast called “Introduced” that will be devoted to aquatic invasive species (AIS). Its tagline is “aquatic invaders and stories from our changing waters.”

“Introduced” is the brainchild of Sea Grant Video Producer Bonnie Willison and student employee Sydney Widell, a UW-Madison geography and geosciences major from Shorewood, Wis.

The series will span seven episodes, with one per week released beginning May 27. Listeners can find it on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify and on Sea Grant’s website.

While the simple name for the series conveys a bit of mystery, it also makes perfect sense. Said Willison, “As Sydney and I started learning more about invasive species, we noticed that there is a tendency for people to villainize these species. But we also noticed that humans are the ones introducing all these species to new environments. The title for our series puts the agency on people, which is something that we focus on in the podcast.”

Sydney Widell, one of the creators of the new podcast, on a visit to an electric fish barrier in Illinois in February. The barrier helps keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. (Photo: Bonnie Willison)

Guests interviewed in the series include representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Geological Survey, UW-Madison, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and a rescue organization focusing on exotic animals. Several Sea Grant staff also make appearances.

Topics are wide-ranging, from Asian carp to the trade in invasive species on the Internet. Because the AIS field is so rich, Willison anticipates doing a second season of the “Introduced” podcast. Stay tuned!

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/introducing-introduced-sea-grants-newest-podcast/

Jennifer Smith

Joe Naughton is broadening his horizons even while working from his Washington, D.C., apartment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Originally from Brookfield, Wisconsin, Naughton is one of 68 fellows in the 2020 class of the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program. The prestigious program places early-career professionals in one-year fellowships working in federal government offices. The program is run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Sea Grant Office.

Joe Naughton at home in Washington with his work-at-home buddy, Suki, his roommate’s dog. (Submitted photo)

After being chosen through a competitive state and national process last July and then receiving his placement in the fall, Naughton began his post in early February 2020. Like many, he shifted from days spent in the office to telework in mid-March.

Naughton serves as the Interagency Ocean Policy Coordinator within NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR). His role is a mix of science and communication, and his primary responsibility is as Executive Secretary of the Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology (SOST).

Explained Naughton, “The SOST is a federal coordinating body that sits under the NSTC (National Science and Technology Council), so it’s under White House purview. It coordinates all federal work related to ocean science and technology. I do a lot of work across these different agencies, coordinating communication, working on various reports, and then I communicate all of this correspondence up to the co-chairs of this Subcommittee. The co-chairs are from NOAA, the National Science Foundation and the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and I serve as the SOST liaison to these agencies. But also, within the SOST, there are these technical working groups, which I really enjoy, since it’s a little more science-focused.”

With a background in water resources engineering from his studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Marquette University—where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, respectively—Naughton is finding that the fellowship is pushing him in some new directions. While he previously focused on hydrology and urban water issues, now he’s learning more about ocean concerns. “That’s a whole new world for me,” he said.

He’s also found unexpected benefits on the communication side: “One really great thing is I’ve worked a lot on my writing, which I didn’t foresee initially. I’ve been getting my hands on a lot of reports, and that’s a huge change.”

Like many professionals these days, Naughton spends a good chunk of his days interacting with his colleagues on a screen. “I have a lot of video calls, whether it’s hopping on these technical working groups or having quick tag-ups with NOAA, NSF or whatever other agency it may be. A lot of it is expressing concerns; these agencies have their missions, and they want that vocalized in whatever federal, coordinated ocean science work is being done.”

Naughton is also gaining exposure to some NOAA-specific efforts, such as the Ambassadors Initiative, in which someone like a fellow or an administrator goes to present in a school or other setting. Naughton helps assemble collections of materials for the ambassador’s visit.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on some of the travel, conference and professional development aspects of the Knauss Fellowship experience, Naughton is hopeful that some of those things will be possible towards the latter part of his one-year commitment.

In the meantime, he said, he’s found a supportive climate in his contacts with Wisconsin Sea Grant, the National Sea Grant Office and the other members of his Knauss class, who have been connecting virtually, whether to discuss each other’s research or simply have coffee.

Naughton is also enjoying the company of his roommate’s new puppy, a rescued Lab/beagle mix named Suki. While the pet adoption was in motion before the pandemic hit, it’s been a silver lining to be home with the new pup and help her get acclimated, or simply take a walk at lunchtime and get some fresh air.

Despite this highly unusual Knauss Fellowship year, Naughton and others in his cohort are making the most of it. Said Naughton, “The amount I’m able to touch in this fellowship is really great, and something I didn’t expect.” And despite the adjustments necessitated by the pandemic, said Naughton, “I’m definitely still fortunate to have this experience.”

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/wisconsins-knauss-fellow-broadens-horizons/

Jennifer Smith

Wisconsin Sea Grant’s outreach specialists are used to traversing the state, sharing information of relevance directly with impacted communities. In this year marked by a global pandemic, however, it hasn’t been so easy—yet staff are finding ways to get the job done.

In mid-March, Coastal Engineering Outreach Specialist Adam Bechle had planned, along with a variety of partners, to deliver three nights of back-to-back information on high Great Lakes water levels in three Lake Michigan coastal communities: Manitowoc, Somers and Mequon. Yet, due to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, those in-person sessions were replaced by a single online one on March 18.

The Zoom session featured Bechle along with speakers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers—Detroit District, National Weather Service Forecast Office in Milwaukee/Sullivan and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and local governments also played a role in putting the session together. About 112 participants watched it live.

The archived, two-hour webinar may be viewed on Wisconsin Sea Grant’s YouTube channel. “People in our Lake Michigan coastal communities have been hungry for information about what’s in store for water levels and what options they may have for dealing with some of the negative impacts,” said Bechle. “If people missed the live webinar, they can still get this information online, where they can hear directly from a variety of experts all in one place.”

Topics covered include forecasts for water levels through the summer, emergency management activities being undertaken by the Army Corps of Engineers, the local impacts of recent storms, how coastal processes in the water affect what’s happening on land, and the permitting process for constructing erosion control structures.

Listen and watch on YouTube.

Further questions may be directed to Bechle at bechle@aqua.wisc.edu.

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/whats-in-store-for-great-lakes-water-levels-find-out-online/

Jennifer Smith

April 29, 2020

By Jennifer A. Smith

Now in its fifth year, the annual Water@UW-Madison symposium has become a vital event that gives attendees a chance to hear about a broad swath of cutting-edge water research and outreach. With many short sessions, it’s one of the fastest and most informative ways to learn about the state of Wisconsin’s water and what’s being done to protect this critical resource.

The online event takes place Tuesday, May 5. (Photo illustration: Water@UW-Madison)

This year, like most other conferences in the era of COVID-19, Water@UW-Madison is going virtual. The online event will take place Tuesday, May 5, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This year’s theme is “Working Together to Address Water Challenges: UW-Madison and State Government.”

Attendees can participate via Zoom or, if they prefer, by watching the Water@UW-Madison YouTube channel. One need not be affiliated with the university to participate. Currently, over 250 people have registered for the Zoom sessions.

Said David Koser, a project assistant at the UW-Madison Aquatic Sciences Center (home to Wisconsin Sea Grant and the Water Resources Institute), “The symposium is going to be informative and a lot of fun. UW-Madison’s partnerships and collaborations with state government are key to the health and well-being of the people of Wisconsin. Our speakers will have great material to share, and we hope that this event will show the strength of our existing relationships as well as help build new ones.” Koser helps coordinate this signature event.

Numerous Aquatic Sciences Center staff are involved in this year’s event. Director Jim Hurley and Associate Director Jen Hauxwell will both present sessions, and Hauxwell is chair-elect for the Water@UW-Madison group. During intermissions, virtual attendees will see water-related artwork chosen by Anne Moser, senior special librarian for the Wisconsin Water Library.

UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank will welcome attendees, and Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes has provided a video introduction. There will be an in-depth presentation by Rep. Todd Novak and Rep. Katrina Shankland of the Wisconsin State Assembly. These two legislators lead the Speaker’s Water Quality Task Force.

For complete information, including an agenda, visit https://water.wisc.edu/2020springsymposium/.

Original Article

News Release – WRI

News Release – WRI

https://www.wri.wisc.edu/news/asc-plays-key-role-in-water-symposium/

Jennifer Smith

Now in its fifth year, the annual Water@UW-Madison symposium has become a vital event that gives attendees a chance to hear about a broad swath of cutting-edge water research and outreach. With many short sessions, it’s one of the fastest and most informative ways to learn about the state of Wisconsin’s water and what’s being done to protect this critical resource.

The online symposium will be held Tuesday, May 5. (Photo illustration: Water@UW-Madison)

This year, like most other conferences in the era of COVID-19, Water@UW-Madison is going virtual. The online event will take place Tuesday, May 5, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This year’s theme is “Working Together to Address Water Challenges: UW-Madison and State Government.”

Attendees can participate via Zoom or, if they prefer, by watching the Water@UW-Madison YouTube channel. One need not be affiliated with the university to participate. Currently, over 250 people have registered for the Zoom sessions.

Said David Koser, a project assistant at the UW-Madison Aquatic Sciences Center (home to Wisconsin Sea Grant and the Water Resources Institute), “The symposium is going to be informative and a lot of fun. UW-Madison’s partnerships and collaborations with state government are key to the health and well-being of the people of Wisconsin. Our speakers will have great material to share, and we hope that this event will show the strength of our existing relationships as well as help build new ones.” Koser helps coordinate this signature event.

Numerous Aquatic Sciences Center staff are involved in this year’s event. Director Jim Hurley and Associate Director Jen Hauxwell will both present sessions, and Hauxwell is chair-elect for the Water@UW-Madison group. During intermissions, virtual attendees will see water-related artwork chosen by Anne Moser, senior special librarian for the Wisconsin Water Library.

UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank will welcome attendees, and Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes has provided a video introduction. There will be an in-depth presentation by Rep. Todd Novak and Rep. Katrina Shankland of the Wisconsin State Assembly. These two legislators lead the Speaker’s Water Quality Task Force.

For complete information, including an agenda, visit https://water.wisc.edu/2020springsymposium/.

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/aquatic-sciences-center-plays-key-role-in-wateruw-madison-symposium/

Jennifer Smith

Wisconsin Historical Society archaeologists lead Wisconsin Sea Grant-funded effort

A century ago, Lake Michigan was a busy water highway for the lumber trade, connecting merchants in northern Wisconsin and Michigan with customers in bustling cities like Milwaukee and Chicago. While this Great Lakes lumber trade persisted into the 1920s and ‘30s, it peaked in the late 1800s. At one time, about 500 vessels traversed Lake Michigan as part of this trade, before rail and eventually trucking took over.

Shipwrecks help tell the story of the Great Lakes lumber trade. The Wisconsin Historical Society’s (WHS) highly active program in maritime archaeology documents these and other wrecks and shares its findings through a variety of educational efforts.

Now, through funding from Wisconsin Sea Grant, WHS is embarking on a new, two-year project called “Boatloads of Lumber.” One key outcome will be online learning resources tailored to a range of ages. WHS Maritime Archaeologists Caitlin Zant and Tamara Thomsen will lead the project, which also involves Wisconsin Sea Grant’s Anne Moser, who oversees the Wisconsin Water Library and education activities.

Caitlin Zant talks to Girl Scouts at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum about shipwrecks and the aquatic sciences. (Photo: Wendy Lutzke)

Said Zant, “Our program [at the Historical Society] does a lot of outreach and education, but a lot of it is focused on public presentations to a broad audience, and not really working as closely as we might with museum educators to create programming and activities for kids of all ages.”

Zant said requests have been increasing to speak to groups like 4-H, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

Although this project, a part of Sea Grant’s 2020-22 funding cycle, has been in the planning stages for quite some time, the current COVID-19 pandemic and rapid shift to online instruction has made it even more relevant.

Said Zant, “Especially with recent events, everyone’s clamoring for this kind of content that anyone can teach to kids, to keep education going no matter what the age or no matter what the circumstances.”

The online resources will be developed in concert with museum educators, including those at museums devoted to maritime history. Collaborators include the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, the Port Exploreum in Port Washington and the Door County Maritime Museum’s locations in Sturgeon Bay and Gills Rock.

By end of year one, Zant said that museum educators will have tested draft versions of the new resources. Feedback from the educators will help the team refine the tools, and final versions will be ready by the end of year two.

Sea Grant’s Moser will help ensure that the tools convey a cohesive message in terms of Great Lakes literacy. Shipwrecks can be a way for learners of all ages to connect with other issues affecting the Great Lakes, from aquatic invasive species and water quality to currents and sand movement.

Diving into history

A second key aspect of the “Boatloads of Lumber” project is a field school to help recreational divers and archaeology enthusiasts learn techniques to properly survey and document wrecks they may find.

After a day of diving and collecting data, students in the 2015 field school work on the site plan of the shipwreck Grape Shot. (Photo: Tamara Thomsen, Wisconsin Historical Society)

As Zant noted, her office at WHS does not go out in search of shipwrecks, generally speaking. However, they do get valuable tips from members of the public when shifting sands and varying water levels uncover parts of a wreck. With training, history buffs and divers can learn more about maritime archaeology skills like how to draw underwater.

WHS first tried a field school approach in 2015, working with the Wisconsin Underwater Archaeology Association on a wreck in Door County. It was a great success.

For the current grant project, the focus will be on the Sidney O. Neff, a wooden vessel built in 1890 by a Manitowoc company. It sank in 1939 with no loss of life. Now it lies, heavily covered by invasive quagga mussels, in about 12 feet of water near the Marinette lighthouse.

Said Zant, “The Sidney O. Neff is well suited for learning because it is in a relatively protected area” with fairly shallow water. “Over the course of the project, students can come up out of the water and ask questions. We try to make [the field school] as safe an environment as possible. Sometimes people are working underwater for the first time.”

The Minnesota-based Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society has been a key partner in these field schools and will also participate in the Sidney O. Neff project.

Wisconsin stories—and national, too

Thanks to the diligence of Wisconsin’s maritime archaeologists, Wisconsin has the most individually listed shipwrecks on the National Register of Historic Places. (Shipwrecks, like buildings, may also be listed in groups as “districts.”)

The field of maritime archaeology excites Zant because it weaves together so many individual strands, from diving to archival research to public outreach and education. And getting shipwrecks in Wisconsin waters onto the National Register helps preserve and tell a larger story about their importance and history.

Said Zant, “Our state has been really active in using the National Register criteria… as a way to be able record these shipwrecks and then understand their historical significance not only to Wisconsin, but also to the country as a whole. They have this whole backstory that connects Wisconsin to the East Coast, and that connects the East Coast all the way out to the frontier, and it really tells this story on a more national level.”

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/maritime-archaeology-initiative-will-bring-wisconsins-historic-lumber-trade-alive-for-learners-of-all-ages/

Jennifer Smith

Due to public health concerns related to COVID-19, the two remaining events in the Lake Talks series for spring 2020 will be postponed and rescheduled for fall. Once new dates are selected, Wisconsin Sea Grant will announce the information on its website and social media accounts.

The rescheduled events were to take place on May 28 in Green Bay and May 30 in Kenosha.

A similar series, the River Talks, which is co-hosted by the Wisconsin and Minnesota Sea Grant programs along with the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, has also suspended its spring events out of ongoing concern for public health. Our first priority is keeping speakers and potential audiences safe.

To read about the spring Lake Talk that was able to take place–a March 4 event in Green Bay called “Setting Sail for Great Lakes Learning”–read our blog entry summarizing that panel discussion.

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/lake-talks-series-postponed/

Jennifer Smith

Research at UW-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility focuses on out-of-season spawning

Nothing says “Wisconsin” quite like a Friday night fish fry with all the trimmings: rye bread, cole slaw, French fries, and perhaps a cold beer or brandy Old Fashioned. For many people, the star at the center of the plate is crisply battered walleye.

Yet most of the walleye served in restaurants or purchased in grocery stores actually comes from Canada, including a sizable amount from the Canadian waters of Lake Erie, where it is netted by commercial fishermen.

These walleye, raised in a recirculating aquaculture system at the UW-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility, are about a year old. (Photo: UWSP NADF)

One way to increase the availability of this popular fish year-round and have it come from U.S. sources is through aquaculture, or fish farming. Research conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility (NADF) and funded by Wisconsin Sea Grant is helping fish farmers get closer to being able to raise walleye year-round in indoor recirculating aquaculture systems.

Said Chris Hartleb, NADF Director and Professor of Fisheries Biology at UW-Stevens Point, “For the past eight years, Wisconsin Sea Grant has provided funding to tackle some of the challenges” related to domesticating walleye (Sander vitreus) and making it suitable for farming. Previous research has examined whether walleye can be raised in tanks and, if so, what the optimal density in the tank is for the fish to thrive, as well as starter feeds for walleye and saugeye, a naturally occurring hybrid of walleye and sauger.  

Hartleb and Greg Fischer, NADF Assistant Director/Research Program Manager, are the lead investigators on a new project funded by Wisconsin Sea Grant in its 2020-22 project cycle.

The project will focus on making walleye eggs, fry and juveniles available year-round through out-of-season spawning triggered by photothermal manipulation. This means carefully controlling the amount of light and the temperature to which the fish are exposed. That way, multiple crops of fish could be produced throughout the year, as opposed to the single time per year that happens in the wild.

Other key players in conducting the research are NADF Foreman Kendall Holmes, an advanced fish technician, and fellow technician Jared Neibauer. Aquaculture Outreach Specialist Emma Wiermaa will communicate research results to the fish farmers who can use them.

For the study, some fish will be exposed to an early “spring” in early February 2021, through warming water and more light. “And then hopefully those fish will be triggered to spawn, and we’ll get eggs by the end of February. And so, if it works, we’ll get juvenile fish probably around April or early May,” said Hartleb.

A control group of fish will spawn on the normal cycle that wild fish would—sometime in April—and a third group of fish will have an extended “winter” (again, due to light and temperature) and spawn late.

While this plan may sound straightforward, it is not guaranteed to work in practice. “It sounds simple enough, since those are the two main triggers for fish to spawn: light and temperature,” said Hartleb. “But some studies have shown”—such as work by Sea Grant’s other aquaculture specialist, Fred Binkowski, involving yellow perch at UW-Milwaukee—“that if you rush them or if you delay them, sometimes the embryos, the offspring, turn out not be viable.”

And not only may embryos die, so may juveniles or early adults, so that’s why it is crucial to grow the fish in the study out to a marketable size of 1 to 1.5 pounds.

Because the NADF team will need to keep producing batches of walleye, they’re working with a range of public and private partners to help them grow the fish out to full size. Those partners include the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation in northern Illinois and Concordia University Wisconsin in Mequon, which is starting an aquaculture program. Northside Enterprises, a fish farm in Black Creek, Wisconsin, will also participate, and several other farms throughout the state have also expressed interest in raising the young walleye to market size.

Earlier walleye outreach at NADF has addressed topics like showing farmers how to feed-train walleye to consume a commercial diet from hatch. (Photo: UWSP NADF)

Said Fischer, who has worked with walleye in a variety of systems for about three decades, “The capability to spawn walleye out of season in a controlled aquaculture setting is paramount to bringing commercial walleye production to fruition in the U.S. We have got to have eggs year-round for this to be commercially acceptable. This newest project will allow us to move this species into the commercial aquaculture production sector in the Midwest.”

As with other NADF projects, outreach is a key component, with Wiermaa—whose position is jointly supported by Wisconsin Sea Grant—leading efforts to share NADF research with fish farmers throughout the state.

Said Wiermaa, “Making our projects results accessible and presenting them in ways that are useful to farmers is just as important as the research results themselves.”  This can take a number of forms, including fact sheets, manuals and videos.

Aquaculture Outreach Specialist Emma Wiermaa holds a walleye at the facility in Bayfield, Wis. (Photo: UWSP NADF)

Wiermaa has noted high interest among Midwest fish farmers looking to raise walleye commercially as a food fish. “To respond to these requests for assistance, the Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility recently completed a technical video series on raising walleye intensively in water reuse systems. The series compiles nearly a decade of research, and it is accessible online. Results from this newest project will be added to this video series and other outreach tools.”

Ultimately, the NADF team hopes that the research will result in more Wisconsin- and U.S.-raised fish on diners’ plates, and help expand Wisconsin’s aquaculture industry, which is currently a $21 million business that represents about 500 jobs.

“Every time we’ve concluded one of our projects, there’s just tremendous interest [from fish farmers] throughout the Upper Midwest. I think people realize that walleye are a great-tasting fish. And it’s a high-value fish, so it gets a good price on the market,” said Hartleb.

Original Article

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

News Releases – Wisconsin Sea Grant

https://www.seagrant.wisc.edu/news/new-walleye-study-at-uwsp-nadf/

Jennifer Smith

March 27, 2020

By Jennifer A. Smith

Unsightly and potentially toxic algal blooms have grabbed headlines in Wisconsin. Such blooms are driven by excessive levels of phosphorus or other nutrients. This can result in eutrophication, a process in which oxygen becomes depleted from a body of water, causing ill effects for fish and other aquatic life—and harming human activities like tourism and commercial fishing.

While agricultural runoff is a frequent source of excess phosphorus, research funded by the University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute (WRI) looks at a complex example in western Wisconsin where the answers are not so clear.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire are investigating the possibility that naturally occurring phosphorus deep in the aquifer is the driver behind elevated levels of phosphorus in both surface water and groundwater. The study is regional and includes a case study focused on the Mud Lake area in Barron County, about 45 miles north of Eau Claire.

The study’s principal investigators are Assistant Professor Sarah Vitale and Professor J. Brian Mahoney, both of the UW-Eau Claire geology department. They received funding in WRI’s 2019-20 cycle for the study assessing the source and mobility of phosphorus in the hydrologic system in western Wisconsin. Joining them as a collaborator is Anna Baker, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Upper Midwest Water Science Center.

Five UW-Eau Claire geology majors are gaining valuable hands-on experience by assisting the research team with fieldwork, collecting and interpreting data, and giving presentations at professional meetings.

UW-Eau Claire students Chloe Malin and Jonah Gagnon install a mini well in Mud Lake for the 2018 field season. (Submitted photo)

In fact, three of those undergraduates—Emily Finger, Evan Lundeen and Jacob Erickson— had a scientific poster accepted to the annual “Posters on the Hill” event hosted by the Council on Undergraduate Research in Washington, D.C. While the April 2020 event has since been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the students’ selection to present their research to members of Congress and their staffers remains a badge of honor.

And before state travel restrictions were in effect, Mahoney and some of his students presented their work at a “Research in the Rotunda” poster session in the Wisconsin State Capitol.

Building on earlier work to address “red flags”

While the WRI-funded portion of this project began in summer 2019, the work had its beginnings three years earlier.

Said Vitale of her colleague, Mahoney: “Brian initially started the foundations of this project in 2016. He started having students look at water quality in western Wisconsin because there was a lot of concern over what the increase in silica sand mining would do to water quality in this part of the state.”

At the time, Mahoney and his students analyzed water from a variety of sources, like municipal wells and streams. They were surprised to find a large amount of phosphorus in both groundwater and surface water in the area.

“That stood out as a really big red flag, because everybody says there’s not supposed to be phosphorus in groundwater. It’s just always been assumed it will absorb onto sediment surfaces—and so the fact that there were really high concentrations of phosphorus in groundwater led to this project’s current form,” said Vitale.

This sparked curiosity about possible natural sources of phosphorus and how that phosphorus might be moving through the system.

In 2018, Vitale and Mahoney began a case study investigating groundwater discharge into Mud Lake, a lake known to have eutrophication problems. “The way we wrote this [WRI] proposal was to help continue the investigation. It’s been able to fund a second season of investigation for Mud Lake, as well as continued investigation of regional water quality.”

Vitale and her collaborators plan to use the funding to draw conclusions about where naturally occurring phosphorus is coming from.

Summarized Vitale, “We hope to wrap up the regional investigation and to really constrain which aquifers seem to be the biggest problem. Where is phosphorus concentrated the most in different aquifers? And in these deeper aquifers, the phosphorus is probably sourced from the rock itself, so which rocks are the main contributors to that?”

UW-Eau Claire student Jacob Erickson, a UW Water Research Fellow, prepares to collect a water sample from a mini well at Mud Lake. (Submitted photo)

The team’s WRI funding runs through June 2020. Other funds supporting this work have come from UW-Eau Claire’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. In addition, backing from the UW System Water Research Fellowship Program has allowed the project to expand to Lake Altoona in Eau Claire County.

The team has also recently been awarded a fiscal year 2021 grant from the State of Wisconsin Groundwater Research and Monitoring Program (for “Source to sink evaluation of phosphorus in the hydrologic system in Wisconsin: Implications for lake eutrophication”).

Three experts, working together

Vitale, Mahoney and Baker all bring different areas of expertise to the study. Vitale is a hydrogeologist who specializes in aquifer flow characterization (how water moves through various types of geology). Mahoney brings a background in rock chemistry, and so his primary focus is on understanding what the chemistry of the geology looks like and the likelihood of its influencing the water quality.

Baker’s primary expertise is in phosphorus migration through sediment transport. Because phosphorus does migrate through sediment runoff and other surface processes, Baker is helping the team understand, in Vitale’s words, “What do we need to look at to understand which components of this might be the water side, and which components might be the sediment influence? Anna is bringing that nutrient-loading background.”

Last spring, Vitale shared some results from this project at the meeting of the American Water Resources Association—Wisconsin Section. As the research progress, findings are also being shared with key stakeholders like the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, and organizations local to the Eau Claire area.

Original Article

News Release – WRI

News Release – WRI

https://www.wri.wisc.edu/news/uw-eau-claire-research-untangles-complex-phosphorus-issue/

Jennifer Smith