Volume 3 2012

Help light the way to our future efforts on behalf of the Great Lakes. Comment on our 2014-18 strategic plan.

Program and People News

Seeking Input on the 2014-18 Wisconsin Sea Grant Strategic Plan

Wisconsin Sea Grant is formulating a strategic plan for 2014-18. The plan will become the blueprint for our research, education, outreach and program administration. It all begins with a bottom-up process in which we invite broad participation. Weigh in about any gaps in the current approach to:
  • Promoting the health of coastal ecosystems
  • Applying research and best practices leading to wise decision-making on coastal planning and management
  • Increasing fish stocks in a sustainable manner
  • Building marine-science literacy

Email your thoughts to seagrantplan@aqua.wisc.edu

We also will have the opportunity to make some adjustments to our current plan, so feel free to offer comments regarding it. Visit bit.ly/eWPAKU.

Wisconsin Sea Grant Project Assistant off to the Mariana Islands

When Robbie Greene came to UW-Madison, he probably never thought it would lead to a job on a far-flung tropical archipelago with active volcanoes, but that’s just what happened. Greene, a landscape architecture major who had concentrated on urban agriculture, had not done much coastal work prior to coming to Madison. However, he always had a strong interest in the coastal environment, so when the chance to work with Wisconsin Sea Grant’s David Hart on the Wisconsin Coastal Atlas arose, Greene jumped at the chance.

For the Atlas, a project to develop a Web portal that contains data about the Lake Michigan and Lake Superior coasts of Wisconsin, Greene helped gather data involving beach access and hazards along the coasts. He also worked on other projects, such as developing digital elevation models for different Great Lakes harbors. Along the way, he met Kathy Johnson, a NOAA Coastal Management Fellow hired by Wisconsin Sea Grant.

“She described the fellowship as a wonderful opportunity,” said Greene. “I saw her network with different folks all over Madison. So it was in the back of my mind as a possibility.”

When Greene graduated with a master’s degree in landscape architecture this January he applied for the fellowship and moved to Tacoma, Wash., to pursue a coastal management job there in case the fellowship didn’t work out. Fortunately, it did. Greene recently returned from a fellow-matching workshop hosted by the NOAA Coastal Services Center in Charleston, S.C. During the week-long event, 11 candidates went through interviews and presentations for six fellowship positions.

Greene likened the stress of the situation to a reality TV show or a fraternity rush. “A few people were having trouble sleeping during the week,” he said. Greene went into the workshop hoping for a match on the Washington coast, but that changed. “It became apparent I was going to be a good match with the Mariana Islands program,” Greene said. This was because the work he would be doing for them closely matched the work he had done for Wisconsin Sea Grant.

Greene moves his possessions into storage, says goodbye to friends and relatives, and leaves for Saipan Island at the end of July for two years. The group of 15 islands is officially a commonwealth of the United States, as is Puerto Rico. With the excitement in his voice borne of a new adventure, Greene admitted, “I have some learning to do before I go out there, and I’ve been told the office dynamic is a bit different than what I’m used to.”

We hope your adjustment to island time goes well, Robbie.

Protecting the Lakes, One Wetsuit at a Time

By Tim Campbell

In 2007, I was balancing a summer research internship in the Wisconsin Northwoods while attempting to remain a competitive triathlete. Things were going well; I was getting miles in on the bike, running in the morning, and I had a pristine lake, Roach Lake, to swim in. While I managed to do some science while I was there, I was really focused on training. I had it all planned out on my calendar, and one June weekend included a Saturday morning swim in Roach Lake, a quick trip south to Lake Winnebago for a Sunday race, and then a Monday afternoon swim.

Unfortunately, science got in the way of this weekend of racing, and I ended up spending most of the weekend collecting Chinese mystery snails. It wasn’t until five years later that I realized how catastrophic that plan could have been for my immaculate Roach Lake.

The reason why? Lake Winnebago is a host to a handful of aquatic invasive species (AIS), and wetsuits are one way AIS can move around. Had I gone to that race, I would have thrown my sandy wetsuit in a plastic bag and kept it there until I had to pull it on, still damp, for my Monday afternoon swim. On that wetsuit could have been zebra mussel larvae, Eurasian water milfoil fragments, or even a fish virus that I could have introduced to my pristine Roach Lake.

To help prevent such a catastrophic event from happening elsewhere, I’m working to prevent the spread of AIS so that everyone’s favorite open water swim stays as perfect as ever.

Excerpt from a guest column written by Tim Campbell, UW Sea Grant’s aquatic invasive species specialist, which appeared in the nationally distributed USA Triathlon newsletter, April 2012. Read the full story.

The Aquatic Sciences Center is the administrative home of the
University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute & University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute.

©2011 University of Wisconsin Board of Regents