Fall/Winter 2010


Outreach


Projects Funded Through Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

Wisconsin is the beneficiary of funding made available under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), a $475 million program to restore fish and wildlife habitat, clean up toxic pollution, reduce nonpoint source pollution, and control and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes. Wisconsin Sea Grant will be involved in several regional projects that will be implemented with multiple partners. The four new projects are: developing a beach information communication system, developing a regional public outreach campaign on aquatic invasive species, developing a regional green marina education and outreach project, and expanding understanding of the Lake Michigan food web.

The beach information project will provide an online health and safety beach report that recreational users can use to learn about water temperatures, rip currents, bacteria levels and blue-green algae blooms before making their decision on whether or not to hit the beach. The program will be piloted in Minnesota and later expanded to two Lake Michigan beaches in Wisconsin and Michigan. Wisconsin Sea Grant’s coastal engineer, Gene Clark, is involved in this project.

All eight of the Great Lakes states are involved in the campaign to prevent, control and minimize the impacts of aquatic invasives, and the new GLRI funding will allow them to ramp up the currently underfunded public outreach campaign. Phil Moy, UW Sea Grant’s aquatic invasive species specialist, is Wisconsin’s lead in this cooperative effort.

Vicky Harris, Sea Grant’s water quality specialist, will be spearheading the Green Marina project with Michigan and Ohio’s Sea Grant programs. The project’s goal is to reduce the amount of nonpoint source pollution and toxic substances entering the Great Lakes from marina activities. This regional project will expand and improve upon the existing Clean Marina programs in the Great Lakes states.

Finally, Wisconsin Sea Grant will team up with Illinois - Indiana Sea Grant to further examine the nearshore Lake Michigan foodweb and connections between nearshore and offshore zones. Harvey Bootsma and John Janssen from the Great Lakes WATER Institute will be the Wisconsin principal investigators on this project.

While all these projects rely on collaboration, this final one required more than usual. As always, Wisconsin Sea Grant conducted its proposal review and funded as many projects as possible. However, there are often more meritorious projects—such as this food web effort—than can be funded. In this case, the Great Lakes Regional Research Information Network ranked projects to attract external funding, effectively supplementing base funding for investigators.

“Chronicle” Survey Results – Thanks for Voicing Opinions

It came through loud and clear – response to the recent survey on the “Aquatic Sciences Chronicle,” that is. Nearly 10 percent of the “Chronicle’s” readers weighed in to say, fairly overwhelmingly, that it’s a valuable publication. A majority of respondents said they read each of the four annual issues always or occasionally and that they pass on its content. A quarter of respondents also report having changed their activities, behaviors or plans thanks to something that appeared in the “Chronicle.”

The survey was in the field for roughly two months in late spring and into the summer. Here’s a sampling of some quotes that respondents volunteered after answering the standardized questions:

The “Chronicle” provides information in a format that non-scientists can understand.

I share the “Chronicle” with several other biologists on staff.

I’m a professor and I incorporate information into my classes.

I live in New England and read for content about the Great Lakes.

I have changed my behaviors about waste oil, catch and release, and fertilizers.

I have been sharing the information with my 15-year-old son. He is interested in environmental issues and I would like to encourage his interest for possible career ideas. We have attended several activities that we heard about through the “Chronicle.”

Chronicle staff is considering switching to an all-electronic format and survey responses in regard to that question were mixed. Whatever decision is made regarding production and distribution, the readership will certainly be well-informed in advance of any possible changes.

Although the survey has concluded, we always welcome feedback. Send comments to chronicle@aqua.wisc.edu or call (608) 262-0905.








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