Monday, December 21, 2009

Looking for a children's book for the holidays?

Wisconsin's Water Library has many lists of great books for children on a whole long list of water-related topics from fish to oceans to the Great Lakes. Check out our long list of topics for some ideas:


For the littlest ones, there are some great ABC or counting books for read aloud fun.

For the older child, the library has a long list of books about great explorers, scientists and others that work in the world of water.

And you are never too old or too young to read a [fish] tale.

Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Suggestions for readings on climate change

With world leaders gathered in Copenhagen discussing climate change, the Water Library has cataloged some recent titles on this important topic into its collection:

Climate change : the science, impacts and solutions / by A. Barrie Pittock. London : Earthscan ; Collingwood, VIC, 2009. Call No. 030851

Pittock examines the latest analyses of climate change, such as new and alarming observations regarding Arctic sea ice, the recently published IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, and the policies of the new Australian Government and how they affect the implementation of climate change initiatives. 2nd ed.

Global warming : looking beyond Kyoto / Ernesto Zedillo, editor. New Haven, Conn. : Center for the Study of Globalization, Yale University ; Washington, D.C. : Brookings Institution Press, 2008. Call No. 030856

The volume gathers essays by leading experts, ranging from climate scientists to economic modelers to lawyers, prepared after a conference at Yale University in late 2005. The authors provide a diverse range of views on the hardness of the scientific evidence for climate change; on the prospects for building an international cooperative arrangement on the basis of the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012; and on alternatives to the Kyoto Protocol.

The great warming : climate change and the rise and fall of civilizations / Brian Fagan. New York : Bloomsbury Press : Distributed to the trade by Macmillan, 2008. Call No. 030860

Anthropologist and historian Brian Fagan reveals how subtle changes in the environment had far-reaching effects on human life, in a narrative that sweeps from the Arctic ice cap to the Sahara to the Indian Ocean.

Our choice : a plan to solve the climate crisis / By Albert Gore. New York : Melcher Media ; Emmaus, PA : Rodale: 2009. Call No. 030849

Our Choice gathers the solutions that could solve the climate crisis. It is meant to depoliticize the issue as much as possible and inspire readers to take action—not only on an individual basis but as participants in the political processes.

Storms of my grandchildren : the truth about the coming climate catastrophe and our last chance to save humanity / by James Hansen. New York : Bloomsbury USA, 2009. Call No. 030857

An urgent and provocative call to action from the world's leading climate scientist--speaking out here for the first time with the full story of what we need to know about humanity's last chance to get off the path to a catastrophic global meltdown, and why we don't know the half of it. Illustrations by Makiko Sato.

The Water Library also has an extended reading list if you wish to dig deeper into this topic. And these books are all available for checkout to any citizen from Wisconsin. Just send an email to askwater at

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What happens to a water balloon in space?

From the radio show SCIENCE FRIDAY (

About ten years ago, two scientists had a little extra time on board NASA's low gravity aircraft and came up with the idea of popping water balloons. Mechanical engineers Seth Lichter, of Northwestern University, and Mark Weislogel, of Portland State University, use the floating water balls to explain some basic principles of physics.

More information is available from NASA.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Still doing your holiday shopping?

Staff at Wisconsin's Water Library are still looking for perfect gifts for friends and family and would like to suggest checking out the publications store at the Aquatic Sciences Center. There are some great gift ideas:

PEOPLE OF THE STURGEON: Through a fascinating collection of images, stories, and interviews, this book chronicles the history of this remarkable fish (which can live for a century and grow to 300 pounds) and the cultural traditions it has spawned. The authors introduce a colorful cast of characters, from conservationists to spear makers to decoy carvers--many with a good fish tale to tell.

YOUTH ART T-SHIRTS: High quality, 100% cotton, T-shirts with a green theme - mercury pollution inspired the creation of hundreds of imaginative and vivid art work by students aged 10 to 18 from seven countries around the world. Eight designs are reproduced on T-shirts that were originally sold at an international mercury conference held in Madison in 2006

GREAT LAKES FISH POSTER: This colorful poster features beautiful and highly accurate illustrations of 35 native and exotic Great Lakes fishes by famed wildlife artist Joseph R. Tomelleri.

For more great gift ideas, check out the Pubs Store. And Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Water Library is tweeting

If you use the free social networking and micro-blogging service Twitter, be sure to follow Wisconsin's Water Library. Library staff have been tweeting since early June. We have been using the service to send messages about water- (and library-) related news of interest to our patrons.

Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Wisconsin's Water Library Twitter feed

Monday, December 7, 2009

Climate Change is big news this week

With the start of talks on climate change in Copenhagen, climate change is making big news. Wisconsin's Water Library has an extensive reading list for you to use if you want to learn more about the topics being debated and discussed in Copenhagen and around the world:

Link to recommended reading list

And anyone in Wisconsin can check out books in the Water Library. Please send an email to askwater at

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New research finds use for beach nuisance, Cladophora

If you have ever been on Lake Michigan in the summer, you might have experience the nuisance algae, Cladophora. During the past seven years, heaps of this rotting algae have piled up on some beaches around Lake Michigan. A powerful stench from the algae turns inviting beaches into wastelands. Walking is difficult, swimming is unthinkable, and mere breathing turns the stomach.

The offending plant is primarily Cladophora, a common filamentous green alga. Growing on submerged rocks, it looks like long green hair waving in the water. Cladophora is an important component of freshwater ecosystems, providing food and shelter for invertebrates and small fish. The recent excessive blooms in the Great Lakes, however, signal an ecosystem responding to both natural changes and human impacts.

Visit Wisconsin Sea Grant's page on Cladophora to read more and see a video about cladophora.

Read below about new research on cladophora - researchers in Sweden are working on creating paper-thin batteries can possibly from cladophora!
[Abstract from paper 'Ultrafast All-Polymer Paper-Based Batteries' by Nystrm, et al, Nano Lett., 2009, 9 (10), pp 3635–3639 [DOI: 10.1021/nl901852h; Copyright © 2009 American Chemical Society]

Conducting polymers for battery applications have been subject to numerous investigations during the last two decades. However, the functional charging rates and the cycling stabilities have so far been found to be insufficient for practical applications. These shortcomings can, at least partially, be explained by the fact that thick layers of the conducting polymers have been used to obtain sufficient capacities of the batteries. In the present letter, we introduce a novel nanostructured high-surface area electrode material for energy storage applications composed of cellulose fibers of algal origin individually coated with a 50 nm thin layer of polypyrrole. Our results show the hitherto highest reported charge capacities and charging rates for an all polymer paper-based battery. The composite conductive paper material is shown to have a specific surface area of 80 m2 g−1 and batteries based on this material can be charged with currents as high as 600 mA cm−2 with only 6% loss in capacity over 100 subsequent charge and discharge cycles. The aqueous-based batteries, which are entirely based on cellulose and polypyrrole and exhibit charge capacities between 25 and 33 mAh g−1 or 38−50 mAh g−1 per weight of the active material, open up new possibilities for the production of environmentally friendly, cost efficient, up-scalable and lightweight energy storage systems.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Important study on corrosion in Duluth Superior Harbor

Long-awaited research findings just published identify one possible mechanism responsible for accelerated steel corrosion in the Duluth-Superior harbor. The peer-reviewed paper published in CORROSION, The Journal of Science and Engineering, outlines a study led by Brenda Little, Senior Scientist, Marine Molecular Processes, Naval Research Laboratory, Stennis Space Center. The study was supported by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, and the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.

The press release goes on to say, "In layman’s terms, conclusions of this study describe the process by which specific iron-oxidizing bacteria attach to carbon steel, creating a “nodule” of biomass and corrosion products. Conditions beneath those nodules (i.e. “tubercles”) cause copper dissolved in harbor water to precipitate and adhere to the iron. When ice chunks scrape against those pilings each winter, the tubercles break, exposing the copper-covered iron to oxygen which, in turn, causes the steel in those pitted areas to corrode at a faster rate…creating an almost “Swiss cheese” effect in nearly 14 miles of steel pilings and dock walls along the Duluth-Superior waterfront."

Local participants in the work in Duluth Harbor include Gene Clark, specialist with Wisconsin Sea Grant and Dale Bergeron from Minnesota Sea Grant.

Expect to hear more on this important research.

Read full text of findings.

Monday, November 30, 2009

In the news: Groundwater

There has been much written recently about a new work group in the Wisconsin State Legislature. A seven-person committee has begun examining groundwater regulation in Wisconsin. The legislature is debating tighter regulation of this resource, one that supplies 70% of drinking water in the state.

To assist our readers in understanding the issues Wisconsin faces, here are a few useful links to get your started:

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Groundwater page

Bibliography on groundwater from the Legislative Reference Bureau Library

Ground-water data for Wisconsin (from the U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Water Science Center)

Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine article (2006) on 'Wisconsin's Buried Treasure.'

Link to list of publications on groundwater, from WDNR

Groundwater Coordinating Council - an interagency group that is directed by law to assist State agencies in the coordination and exchange of information related to groundwater programs.

Central Wisconsin Groundwater Center - UW Stevens Point

And of course, Wisconsin's Water Library has a recommended reading list of items that anyone is Wisconsin can check out. Just send an email to

Monday, November 23, 2009

Asian carp possibly in Lake Michigan

You may have heard in the news recently about the possible invasion of Asian carp into Lake Michigan. Scientists say that the loss of the battle to protect this Great Lake could mean major havoc on the Lake Michigan ecosystem.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced last Friday that DNA testing shows the presence of Asian carp 6 miles south of Lake Michigan.

To learn more about Asian carp, read these FAQs posted by Phil Moy, a specialist with Wisconsin Sea Grant. He does a great job in updating the public on the facts surrounding this dramatic event.

Visit the US Corps of Engineer, Chicago District Chicago Fish Barrier site to learn more about the the fish barrier they have constructed.

Recent articles in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel describe the problem. Visit their Great Lakes, Great Peril special section and look for the section on Asian carp.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lake Superior research news

From UW Madison:


MADISON - Rising water temperatures are kicking up more powerful winds on Lake Superior, with consequences for currents, biological cycles, pollution and more on the world's largest lake and its smaller brethren.

Since 1985, surface water temperatures measured by lake buoys have climbed 1.2 degrees per decade, about 15 percent faster than the air above the lake and twice as fast as warming over nearby land.

"The lake's thermal budget is very sensitive to the amount of ice cover over the winter," says Ankur Desai, atmospheric and oceanic sciences professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "There is less ice on Lake Superior during the winter, and consequently the water absorbs more heat."

A wide temperature differential between water and air makes for a more stable atmosphere with calmer winds over the relatively cold water. However, as warming water closes the gap, as in Lake Superior's case, the atmosphere gets more turbulent.

"You get more powerful winds," Desai says. "We've seen a 5 percent increase per decade in average wind speed since 1985."

Those findings will be published Nov. 15 in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Read more.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bacteriodes & Milwaukee's "oozing" sewers

Months after a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article raised awareness over fecal contaminationin Greater Milwaukee's waterways, the Great Lakes WATER Institute and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have released a final report on the possible source.

Raccoons have been ruled out.

The research analyzed more than 1,000 stormwater samples (including inline stormwater and grab samples) from 62 municipal stormwater discharge locations over a three-year period. Using a new DNA based methodology, investigators searched for the genetic marker of a species of Bacteriodes, a bacteria associated only with humans.

It was found throughout Greater Milwaukee's watershed.

Three stormwater outfalls along Lake Michigan, for instance, had positive results in more than 70% of the samples tested. Stormwater outfalls along the Menomonee River were positive in 73% of the samples tested. Many more sample locations also tested positive for Bacteriodes.

To learn more about fecal contamination and the study, read the Greater Milwaukee Watersheds Pathogen Source Identification report (18MB PDF)

Make a Splash--Read

The Water Library is already preparing for summer. That's because kids will be making big splashes across Wisconsin next year. The 2010 public library summer reading program is called, "Make a Splash--Read." Kids everywhere will be jumping into exciting books on water.

To help public librarians, we've developed storytime ideas for two of of our favorite water-related subjects: frogs and fishing. Read, learn, create, and listen. The storytimes include book suggestions, crafts, and songs.

Make a foamy frog. Learn a silly song about fish.

We also compiled a list of some the best children's books about frogs and fishing. And don't forget, most books can be checked out directly from the Water Library!

Visit our website to learn more...

Storytime ideas
All about frogs reading list
All fish and fishing reading list

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Wisconsin-based Kohler named 2009 WaterSense partner of the year

Wisconsin-based Kohler Company continued to demonstrate its commitment to water efficiency by winning its second consecutive WaterSense Partner of the Year award as a manufacturer. EPA presented the award in October 2009 at the WaterSmart Innovations Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. EPA cited Kohler Company’s support for regional incentives and initiatives for water efficiency from Atlanta to Denver with its “mobile restrooms,” which are trailers fully equipped with Kohler toilets and faucets that have earned the WaterSense label. In addition to publicizing WaterSense on the road, in the tradeshow circuit, on reality television, and in the restrooms of New York City’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame Annex, Kohler gave WaterSense a national spotlight through its Save Water America Web site, which is dedicated to educating homeowners about water efficiency and supports Habitat for Humanity with a $1 million product donation.

To learn more about these WaterSense partners and the awards program visit:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New EPA report on fish contamination

In a new report, the Environmental Protection Agency has found a "widespread contamination" of fish in the nation's lakes and reservoirs. The result of a nearly decade-long screening-level survey, called the National Lake Fish Tissue Study, the report provides new baseline data for chemical residue in fish.

A statistical (random) sampling of 500 U.S. lakes and reservoirs, the study analyzed tissue samples of both predator fish species, like bass or trout, and bottom-dwelling species, like carp or catfish. The researchers tested the samples for 268 chemicals, including mercury, arsenic, dioxins and furans, pesticides, and semivolatile organic compounds.

The results are dramatic:
  • 49% of the sampled population of lakes had mercury tissue concentrations that exceeded the 0.3 ppm screening value for mercury, which represents over 36,000 lakes.
  • 17% of the sampled population of lakes had PCB tissue concentrations that exceeded the 0.12 ppb screening value for total PCBs, which represents about 13,000 lakes
  • 8% of the sampled population of lakes had dioxin and furan tissue concentrations that exceeded the 0.15 ppt screening value for total dioxins and furans, which represents about 6,000 lakes.
To learn more about the National Lake Fish Tissue Study, visit their website:

Or read the Final Report Executive Summary

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sturgeon's reintroduction at White Earth

The Water Library recently attended a keynote address by Winona LaDuke, an Anishinaabe activist from Minnesota's White Earth Ojibwe Reservation. In town for the Nelson Institute's Tales from Planet Earth Environmental Film Festival, her talk often focused on water.

Sturgeon, especially. Even a "Sturgeon General."

The White Earth band, located in northwestern Minnesota, has been restocking its waterways with the ancient fish for nearly a decade. With assistance from the Rainy River First Nations' hatchery in Canada, and their "Sturgeon General," Joe Hunter, the program has become increasingly successful. White Earth and Round Lakes are stocked with thousands of fry every year. Sturgeon are swimming again where they haven't been seen in decades.

And White Earth isn't alone. Efforts at resuscitating lost sturgeon populations are occurring throughout the Upper Midwest.

To learn more about White Earth's sturgeon program, read LaDuke's book Recovering the sacred: The power of naming and claiming. Cambridge, MA: South End Press

Or, check out the Water Libary's related reading lists:

Native Americans and the Environment
More about sturgeon

Friday, November 6, 2009

Films about water - free this weekend

The Tales from Planet Earth film festival starts tonight, Friday November 6th, in Madison, with an exciting lineup of films. There are several water-related offerings you shouldn't miss. Here are just a few to whet your whistle.. The full schedule of films and descriptions are found on the Web.

Trouble the Water (2008) - The film makes use of footage shot by aspiring rap artist Kimberly Rivers Roberts, as she and her neighbors in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans are trapped by Hurricane Katrina. What follows is an extraordinary portrait of terror, survival, and redemption. The film makes you question all over again the events surrounding the hurricane and how Americans think about and respond to natural disasters.

Sharkwater (2006) - Rob Stewart is a man of single-minded vision – a passionate diver and lover of sharks, he has made it his life's mission to try to stop the annihilation of the world's shark species. Traveling around the world, Sharkwater is his testament both to the importance of sharks to oceanic ecosystems and to the catastrophic devastation of sharks occurring daily due to human fear and greed.

The River (1938)
- Legendary director Pare Lorentz's portraits of environmental devastation during the Great Depression remain some of the most brutal and revealing ever captured on film -- monumental landmarks in the history of American non-fiction film. In The River, he documented the effects of deforestation leading to massive soil erosion and flooding in the Mississippi River watershed.

Planning for Floods (1974) - Made for the Environmental Defense Fund in 1974 on the heels of then-record flooding on the Mississippi River, George Stoney's Planning for Floods explores the philosophy of the U.S. Corps of Engineers in controlling floods and reveals how this philosophy creates a false sense of security and mastery of nature - control repeatedly shown to be illusory in natural disaster after natural disaster.

See you at the movies!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

President Obama Signs Great Lakes Restoration Initiative into Law

With Obama's signature on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, work has quickly begun. One of the guiding documents will be the Wisconsin Great Lakes Strategy from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Read it.

WDNR has a Web page for the GLRI....

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

From the Water Library: New Books

We've all changed our clocks and raked our leaves - it must be time for winter... And that's a good time to read a book. Try one on climate change, wetland ecosystems, and sturgeon...

Check it out!

Remember, Wisconsin's Water Library will lend to any Wisconsin resident as well as to students, staff and faculty in the UW system. For more information on how to borrow books, just Ask Water.

Monday, November 2, 2009

UC Water Resources Center Archives' future is uncertain

It's the right time to have a water library.

With the impacts of climate change, pollution, and an ever-increasing human population, water is among the 21st century's most salient issues. It is the foundation for ecosystems and economies.

Everything rests on water.

It's disconcerting, then, to learn that a sister library is now threatened with closure. Located at the University of California, Berkley, the Water Resources Center Archives is one of very few water libraries in the United States. And it's among the best.

Recently, in order to save money, the University of California System ordered the archive absorbed by another institution. But in midst of California's state budget crisis, none have stepped forward. The Water Resources Center Archives' future is uncertain.

Read the Sacramento Bee article:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Go Big Read.... the conversation continues

If you attended any of the events that were part of GO BIG READ this fall, you know a little about Michael Pollan's thesis that states, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Here is a recent blog post to the Go Big Read blog by a Wisconsin farmer and UW CALS graduate. His post illustrates clearly that the ongoing, difficult debate about food and its production in our country is not over and certainly not decided. Have a read:

from a Wisconsin Farmer.

And the Water Library thinks this shows that GO BIG READ was a success, whether you are in the Pollan camp or not or somewhere in between. It's gotten people talking about a book... and food. And what's greater than that....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


A recent piece heard National Public Radio highlighted a new book coming out titled ALL CAKES CONSIDERED. That piece and the coming cold weather got the Water Library thinking about food and what the library has to offer for the culinary wizards in our state. There are five cookbooks in the Water Library available for checkout. All five are devoted to seafood.

The library is always looking to develop its collection so if you know of a book we should add to our collection, please let us know. Send a message to askwater @ If there is a definite winner recipe you try, please let us know and we'll put it on our blog.

Bon appetit!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Water and Children

Wisconsin's Water Library has just returned from the annual conference of the Wisconsin Library Association and would like to highlight some resources the library featured in a presentation to a group of youth librarians from around the state.

Next summer (2010) public libraries will host the summer reading program MAKE A SPLASH - READ! The Water Library has resources to help libraries. Check out our story time page, with two story times sketched out (FROGS and FISHES):

Water Story times

Monday, October 19, 2009

Very old climate data

Sometimes scientist need to look to the past for data... In Wisconsin, we are benefiting from some forward looking work being done by the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change. For example, the WICCI group recently published maps showing climate trends and projections based on 14 different models.

Some recent work by Dennis Wheeler of the University of Sunderland in Britain is reaching way back in history - 200 to 300 years for the weather data, inside 1800's era sea logbooks. The logbooks "fill the gaps in our meteorological history by providing information about the oceans."

Fascinating stuff!

Read more.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A picture paints a thousand words......

This is a must see - aerial bowfishers are working on the Illinois River to combat invading asian carp:

Where These Fish Are Jumpin’, Arrows Are Aimed

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A new neighborhood on the National Mall

The National Mall in Washington, DC, is now home to a solar village of energy efficient homes -- at least for the next few days.

The Department of Energy is hosting its fourth Solar Decathlon, a competition in which teams of college and university students compete to design, build, and operate the most attractive, effective, and energy-efficient solar powered house.

Teams are competing in categories that include best architecture, engineering, market viability, and net energy use. And water is a theme among most. From California's "xeriscape" landscaping that uses no supplemental water to UW-Milwaukee's water harvesting roof design, efficient water use is a key design component.

While California currently holds the lead, and UW-Milwaukee is far behind, judging continues. The overall winner will be announced this Friday, October 16th.

Brief videos of each team's entry can be found on the Solar Decathlon's You Tube channel:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Water-use Data for Wisconsin 2005

From the Wisconsin Water Science Center:

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Wisconsin Water Science Center is responsible for presenting data collected or estimated for water withdrawals and diversions every 5 years to the National Water-Use Information Program (NWUIP). This program serves many purposes such as quantifying how much, where, and for what purpose water is used; tracking and documenting water-use trends and changes; and providing these data to other agencies to support hydrologic projects. In 2005, data at both the county and subbasin levels were compiled into the USGS national water-use database system; these data are published in a statewide summary report and a national circular. This publication, Water Use in Wisconsin, 2005, presents the water-use estimates for 2005; this publication also describes how these water-use data were determined (including assumptions used), limitations of using these data, and trends in water-use data presented to the NWUIP.

Read full report here.

Friday, October 9, 2009

New report from USGS: Nonnative Fishes in the Upper Mississippi River System

From report abstract: The introduction, spread, and establishment of nonnative species is widely regarded as a leading threat to aquatic biodiversity and consequently is ranked among the most serious environmental problems facing the United States today. This report presents information on nonnative fish species observed by the Long Term Resource Monitoring Program on the Upper Mississippi River System a nexus of North American freshwater fish diversity for the Nation.

Read rest of abstract and full report.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Weird video of the day

National Geographic has posted a video of a bizarre fish found deep in the waters beneath Brazil. Scientists say there are about 30,000 known species of fish identified around the world, with many more yet to be discovered. Let's hope they don't all look like this one:

Bizarre fish video

If you'd rather see the beautiful fish of the Great Lakes, check out this nice Sea Grant Web site.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Friends Book Sale at UW Madison

AquaLog has heard that the Friends Sale offered by UW Madison is THE place to get books!

Organized by the Friends of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries, the sale starts today, Wednesday, October 7 and runs through Saturday, October 10 in conjunction with the Wisconsin Book Festival.

The sale is open to the public and is held in 116 Memorial Library, 728 State St.

• The Preview Sale ($5 entry) is Wednesday, Oct. 7, 5 pm - 9 pm. The prices for the books are $5.00 for hard covers and $3.00 for paperbacks.

• The Regular Sale (No entry fee) runs Thursday, Oct. 8 - 9, 10:30 am - 7 pm. The regular sale prices are $3.00 for hard covers and $1.00 for paperbacks.

• A $3-a-Bag Sale (bring your own brown grocery bag) takes place Saturday, Oct. 10, 10:30 am - 1 pm. From 1:05 - 2 pm all remaining books are free.

The semiannual sales are the largest used book sales in Wisconsin and include more than 15,000 books covering almost any subject including American studies, fiction, foreign languages, cooking, physical and biological sciences, computer science, government, political science, law, education, fine arts, self-help, reference, business, social sciences, religion, philosophy, women's studies, and history. There are also maps, DVDs, CDs, videos, and many LPs for sale.

Categories of special interest in this particular sale include: ancient history, American studies, English travel and history, evolution, African poetry and literature, and medieval Britain.

Nearly 60 volunteers coordinate the event, which draws students, faculty, and visitors from around the Midwest. Books for the sale are donated primarily by University of Wisconsin faculty, staff, students and Madison-area residents. Money from the sales help fund an annual lecture series, special purchases for the library collections, and a visiting scholar support program.

Friends Board Member Beth Kubly states “Given the current economic conditions, no bibliophile would want to miss this sale. There’s a fascinating array of books that would meet any reader’s interests.”

Monday, October 5, 2009

Wondering what's in your water?

Have you ever wondered what's in your drinking water? With a recent high-profile series called Toxic Waters in the New York Times on the state of the nation's water supply, it's no surprise that at least one user of Ask Water, our online reference service, did.

Thankfully, when it comes to drinking water, there's a mandate of transparency. Water systems that serve the same population year-round, known as Community Water Systems, are required to file Consumer Confidence Reports (CCR) annually. Including basic data on contaminants, violations and their potential health effects, and other water-related educational information, CCRs are good places to start learning about what's in your water.

And they're convenient. Since Community Water Systems are required to make a good-faith effort to notify their users, they often arrive without even asking. Maybe you've found one in your mailbox.

But if you haven't, don't worry. A few online databases can also do the trick.

In Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources maintains the Drinking Water System, a database on water quality testing that includes links to CCRs. It can be searched by Public Water System, or other things, like specific contaminants.

Nationally, the EPA also has a number of databases, including the Safe Drinking Water Information System. It can be found at

Friday, October 2, 2009

Banned books resource

If you live in Madison, Wisconsin and work with children of any age, you might already be aware of the incredible resource librarians and educators have at their fingertips: The Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC). The CCBC is a unique examination, study and research library of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The CCBC’s noncirculating collections include current, retrospective and historical books published for children and young adults.

They have extensive knowledge and expertise on intellectual freedom issues as they relate to children's and teens' access to materials in libraries and classrooms: check out their Web site.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Visualizing banned books

Check out this map created for Banned Books week - it shows via Google Earth the places where books have been challenged.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Celebrate the Freedom to Read

Banned Books Week 2009

Saturday September 26th marked the start of the national Banned Books Week 2009. Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.

This week AquaLog will be featuring posts related to this very important event.

To start, here is the offical Web site from the American Library Association that includes a list of the most frequently challenged books.

And read Dave Zweifel's recent column on intellectual freedom on Newspapers are another important player in the freedom to read and in support of our first amendment rights.

Look on AquaLog for more on intellectual freedom in the coming days.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Water found on the moon!

AquaLog doesn't typically highlight water stories in outer space but this looks fascinating. It also illustrates how science can still be surprised! Have a look a the photos and imagine life on the moon!


NPR story

Interview with USGS scientist about the finding

Thursday, September 24, 2009

An intersection of EATING, BOOKS, and SCIENCE

Tonight is Michael Pollan's big talk at the Kohl Center at UW Madison as part of the Go Big Read program. It's happening at 7pm. There has been much news, resources and information out about the common book reading but AquaLog just stumble across a new favorite:

Center for Integrated Agricultural Sciences Go Big Read site.

I like this site because it accomplishes a lot simply.

This AquaLog writer is looking forward to volunteering tonight at the Kohl Center - hope to see you there.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Migratory Birds of the Great Lakes

Here is a beautiful and interesting way to learn about the incredible birds that live this region of the country. The University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute created a Web site as a resource for people interested in birds and the Great Lakes.

Learn more about issues challenging Great Lakes migratory birds and related UW Sea Grant-funded activities. Funding provided by the National Sea Grant College Program, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the State of Wisconsin.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New climate change resource launched

The Water Research Foundation, a member-supported, international, nonprofit organization that sponsors research to enable water utilities, public health agencies, and other professionals to provide safe and affordable drinking water to consumers, has launched a new climate change clearinghouse for water professionals.

The Water Research Foundation has undertaken the Climate Change Strategic Initiative to establish a research program focused on impacts of climate change on water supplies. This clearinghouse is part of that initiative.

Link to site.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Adult fiction reading, from the Water Library

Wisconsin has been enjoying a lovely dry spell of late summer weather this month. That's not great for the farmers but outdoor enthusiasts like bikers and boaters, love it. There is a chance of rain this weekend, so why not pick up a water-related fiction book? We have a new reading list with some of our titles.

Any Wisconsin resident can borrow materials from the Water Library. Just ask!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

'People of the Sturgeon' book launch this Sunday

This Sunday, September 20th will mark the official launch of the new book, PEOPLE OF THE STURGEON, WISCONSIN'S LOVE AFFAIR WITH AN ANCIENT FISH. The event will begin at 4pm and will feature Sea Grant's very own Kathleen Schmitt Kline and Fred Binkowski, along with Ron Bruch from the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources. The coauthors will detail a few of the book’s topics in their presentation and recollect some of their personal favorite tales. Following the presentation, the authors will open the discussion and sign copies of the book.

If you are unable to attend the event on Sunday, you can order the book today, already signed by the coauthors. Visit the ASC Pubs store.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Robert McCloskey!

Today, September 15th, is the birthdate of the late, great children's book author and illustrator, Robert McCloskey. Though Mr. McCloskey authored and illustrated only eight of his own books and illustrated ten written by others, he received two Caldecott awards, three Caldecott honors, and countless accolades for his body of work.

His most famous books is MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS, about a family of mallard ducks living in Boston Public Garden. The Water Library has a copy for loan available. McCloskey's book, BLUEBERRIES FOR SAL, has a special place in the heart of the Water Library staff as it has been the favorite of both my daughters.

This quote attributed to McCLoskey sums up what might have been his appeal: "But I'm not a nut, really, as anybody can see. I have one foot resting on reality and the other foot planted firmly on a banana peel."

His biographical sketch in Wikipedia is here.

Brief biography here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Study Reveals Dynamic Wisconsin Climate, Past and Future

A very important study has just been released from the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that big changes are in store for Wisconsin’s weather during the next century. The future climate projections were developed through the UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies in support of the Wisconsin Initiative for Climate Change Impacts (WICCI), a partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and others to assess the potential impacts of climate change on Wisconsin industry, natural resources and human health.

Read the full text of the press release.

Two authors will be speaking at a community forum tomorrow at the Nelson Institute. Information on that forum is found here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Water Library featured in ENVIRONMENT

A column just out in ENVIRONMENT magazine - BYES OF NOTE - is all about the microblogging Web site, Twitter, the latest rage in social media. Written by George Clark, a librarian at Harvard University, the article is an excellent summary of Twitter: how it works, what it's good for, and he introduces some great Twitter resources around the country with environmental themes.

Wisconsin's Water Library began a Twitter feed in June and now has 69 followers. Library staff sends tweets on water- and library-related events, news, resources. The article features the library's Twitter feed.

If you would like to follow the library on Twitter, create an account and use this account:

Read Clark's entire article here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Finding Solutions to a Mysterious Corrosion Harbor Problem

A recent article written by Kathleen Schmitt Kline and Gene Clark, both of Wisconsin Sea Grant, is featured in the 2009 Wisconsin Great Lakes Chronicle, a publication from the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program. The article details studies of the corrosion issues found in the Duluth-Superior Harbor. The results of the studies will be beneficial for all facility managers around the Great Lakes as they consider
repair alternatives for prolonging the useful lives of their docks and supporting structures.

Read the full text of the article here.

For more information about the ongoing studies on corrosion, visit Wisconsin Sea Grant's Web site.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Today in Wisconsin History

From the Wisconsin Historical Society, "On this day in Wisconsin History" (a favorite site of the staff at the Water Library):

1860 - Sinking of the Lady Elgin
On this date the steamship Lady Elgin was lost on Lake Michigan and was one of the lake's most tragic maritime disasters. The ship had been chartered by Milwaukee's Irish Union Guards who had been in Chicago attending a fund raiser in order to purchase weapons to arm their unit. Their ship was struck by an unlit lumber schooner and sank. At least 300 lives were lost, many from Milwaukee's Irish Third Ward community. [Source: History Just Ahead: A Guide to Wisconsin's Historical Markers edited by Sarah Davis McBride, p. 17]

Study finds that half of the fish consumed globally is farmed

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that 50% of all fish consumed today comes from fish grown on fish farms. The study found that demand is creating the push to produce more fish for human consumption.

The full text should be available online shortly, on the PNAS web site. Read more about the study at the Stanford University.

To read about Wisconsin Sea Grant's efforts in aquaculture, visit our aquaculture page.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Swimming in the Great Lakes? Look Out for Rip Currents

An important message from Wisconsin Sea Grant:

MILWAUKEE (09/03/09) -- Whether wading off a beach or training for a triathlon, Great Lakes swimmers need to beware of hazardous rip currents. These narrow, fast-moving channels of water can be just as dangerous as those at ocean beaches, overpowering even the strongest swimmers. Last summer, a Sheboygan teenager drowned while swimming in Lake Michigan when he was unable to return to shore.

“Rip currents are a significant concern for swimmers at Great Lakes beaches,” said University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Water Safety Specialist James Lubner. “They can occur in many places, when waves push water up on beaches. That water then flows back toward the lake, sometimes forming a strong current.”

Not even the strongest swimmers can successfully swim directly against the current, but escaping from the current is possible if one knows how, Lubner said.

“The key is to swim parallel to shore until you are out of the current, then swim at an angle away from the current and towards shore” he said. “The currents are relatively narrow streams of water moving straight away from shore. So swimming parallel to shore will get you out of the current quickly.”

“The important thing is not to panic,” Lubner emphasized. He also cautioned swimmers and boaters to remember that the cold waters of the Great Lakes can sap a person’s energy quickly through hypothermia.

The University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute annually provides Great Lakes public beaches with free informational posters and brochures about rip currents in both English and Spanish. The brochure in English is available online at or in Spanish at

From the Water Library: new books

Fall is slowing creeping into Madison and with it, the chilly air. As it becomes colder here, Water Library staff tend to sit down and get reading. We have many new books for you to try on a wide range of subjects relating to water: boathouses on the Mississippi, Great Lakes shipwrecks, GIS cartography, fish, hydrogeology.

Check it out!

And remember, Wisconsin's Water Library will lend to any Wisconsin resident as well as to students, staff and faculty in the UW system. For more information on how to borrow books, just Ask Water.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Film on water

The Water Library has noted there is an incredible new film out, addressing the important issues relating to our Great Lakes.

WATERLIFE A film by Kevin McMahon

WATERLIFE follows the epic cascade of the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. From the icy cliffs of Lake Superior to the ornate fountains of Chicago to the sewers of Windsor, this feature-length documentary tells the story of the last huge supply (20 per cent) of fresh water on Earth.

Web site
Watch the trailer here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Teacher training opportunities

Educator Workshop and Events from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are now listed online on the EEK Web site. There are events on climate chance, water, critters, and more.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Upcoming conference of note

The 6th biennial State of Lake Michigan and the 9th annual Great Lakes Beach Association Conference will be held jointly at the Hyatt Regency, located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee. The agenda looks great and includes:

* Two plenary sessions
* Twenty-three topical sessions with 150 oral presentations
* A poster paper dinner reception
* An optional dinner reception with live music at Discovery World
* Your choice of five field trips
* A Virtual Beach-Model Builder Workshop
* Adjunct meetings of the Lake Michign LaMP Forum, the Lake Michigan Monitoring Coordination Council, the Lake Michigan Stakeholders, the Beach Health Interagency Coordination Team, and the U.S. Areas of Concern

Full details and registration information is available.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Water Library has been on hiatus

Wisconsin's Water Library was enjoying the last days of summer up on Washington Island in Lake Michigan last week so AquaLog has been a bit quiet... More posts will be coming soon but for now here are some interesting things to read about:

The Groundwater Coordinating Council 2009 Report to the Legislature is now available online. The Library contributed to this report.

Be sure to check out the new course offered on Shoreline Protection - Sept. 9 - 11, 2009. Sponsored by the UW Madison, Dept. of Engineering Professional Development.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Limnologist Casts Human Factor into Lake Study

MADISON - For well more than 100 years, a succession of eminent biologists and ecologists have used Wisconsin lakes as their laboratory, dissecting their physical attributes as well as the complex interplay of the plants and animals that live in them. A lake, after all, is a busy place, filled with aquatic vegetation, mollusks, microbial communities of all kinds and, of course, fish and the stuff they eat.

In short, a lake is far more than just a wet spot on the landscape. And in Wisconsin, we have more than 15,000 lakes and there is no question they are a beloved natural resource woven into the cultural and social fabric of our state. Lakes are iconic, used to draw tourists and businesses and to promote our quality of life. They are economically vital, underpinning recreational, real estate and sporting industries, and in some places, they represent a way of life. Up north, for example, in an area bounded roughly by Tomahawk, Eagle River, Park Falls and the Michigan border, is one of the world's greatest concentrations of freshwater lakes.

To read entire article, go to UW-Madison news.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Look what we found in the library!

Books on climate change. Not exactly anything rare or strange but as staff in the Water Library have been cataloging new books, we noticed there are two new titles that may be of interest to AquaLog readers:

Climate Change: Picturing the Science / by Gavin Schmidt and Joshua Wolf. New York : W.W. Norton, 2009.
Going beyond the headlines, this unprecedented union of scientific analysis and stunning photography by leading climate scientist Schmidt and master photographer Wolfe illustrates the ramifications of a shifting climate on the global ecosystem. (call number: 030844)

Understanding climate change : climate variability, predictability, and change in the midwestern United States / Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 2009.
This book focuses on the Midwestern United States -- a region that contains approximately one-fifth of the nation's population, plays a critical role in national agricultural productivity, and experiences a high frequency of extreme events. Employing observational data and model simulations, the research presented here provides detailed assessments of climate change, variability, and predictability over the past 100 years with predictions for the coming century. Edited by S.C. Pryor. (Call Number: 030845)

In addition, be sure to take a look at the library's recommended reading list on climate change.

All of these items are available for checkout - just send an email to

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New report on mercury in fish, water, and sediment

A new report from U.S. Geological Society shows mercury contamination detected in every fish sampled in 291 streams across the country. Mercury (Hg) was examined in top-predator fish, bed sediment, and water from streams that spanned regional and national gradients of Hg source strength and other factors thought to influence methylmercury (MeHg) bioaccumulation. Sampled settings include stream basins that were agricultural, urbanized, undeveloped (forested, grassland, shrubland, and wetland land cover), and mined (for gold and Hg).

Read press release.

Read full text of report.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New proposed rule for airport deicing operations

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced a proposal for more environmentally friendly practices for airport deicing discharges while maintaining the safety of airport operations. The new proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register, with a 120 day public comment period.

Read the EPA press release.

The full details from EPA are presented here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Will a well-mixed, warmer lake doom invasive fish?

The rainbow smelt, an invasive fish that threatens native species such as walleye and perch, may soon be feeling the heat — literally.

In an experiment that could show the way to evicting the unwanted fish from Wisconsin lakes, UW-Madison scientists and engineers hope to experimentally warm Crystal Lake in Vilas County in an effort to selectively wipe out the smelt. Using a device known as a GELI, an apparatus that looks like a submerged trampoline, the researchers will mix the waters of the 83-acre lake to warm the cool, deeper waters where the rainbow smelt thrive.

To read entire article, go to UW-Madison News.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sick Fish May Get Sicker: Climate Change and Other Stresses Expected to Affect Entire Populations of Fish

Entire populations of North American fish already are being affected by several emerging diseases, a problem that threatens to increase in the future with climate change and other stresses on aquatic ecosystems, according to a noted U.S. Geological Survey researcher giving an invited talk on this subject today at the Wildlife Disease Association conference in Blaine, Wash.

“A generation ago, we couldn’t have imaged the explosive growth in disease issues facing many of our wild fish populations,” said Dr. Jim Winton, a fish disease specialist at the USGS Western Fisheries Research Center. “Most fish health research at that time was directed toward diseases of farmed fish.”

In contrast, said Winton, recent studies in natural aquatic systems have revealed that, in addition to being a cause of natural death, infectious and parasitic fish diseases can produce significantly greater mortality in altered habitats leading to population fluctuations, extinction of endangered fish, reduced overall health and increased susceptibility to predation.

In addition, said Winton, populations of certain fish species have suffered catastrophic losses after non-native diseases were first introduced into a water body. Examples include whirling disease in the intermountain west and the recent introduction of viral hemorrhagic septicemia in the Great Lakes.

To read full report, go to USGS.

Friday, August 14, 2009

What Science Says About Beach Sand and Stomach Aches

By washing your hands after digging in beach sand, you could greatly reduce your risk of ingesting bacteria that could make you sick. In new research, scientists have determined that, although beach sand is a potential source of bacteria and viruses, hand rinsing may effectively reduce exposure to microbes that cause gastrointestinal illnesses.

“Our mothers were right! Cleaning our hands before eating really works, especially after handling sand at the beach,” said Dr. Richard Whitman, the lead author of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study. “Simply rinsing hands may help reduce risk, but a good scrubbing is the best way to avoid illness.”

For this study, scientists measured how many E. coli bacteria could be transferred to people’s hands when they dug in sand. They analyzed sand from the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago. Using past findings on illness rates, scientists found that if individuals were to ingest all of the sand and the associated biological community retained on their fingertip, 11 individuals in 1000 would develop symptoms of gastrointestinal illness. Ingestion of all material on the entire hand would result in 33 of 1000 individuals developing gastrointestinal illness.

To read full report, go to USGS.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

In the News: Cudahy's move could aid UWM

Philanthropist and retired business executive Michael Cudahy has paid $1 million for the lease on the former Pieces of Eight restaurant property, another step in the effort to turn the lakefront site over to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

UWM wants to build a water research facility on the site, seen by economic development leaders as a key part of plans to boost water research and industries in the Milwaukee area.

Cudahy said Monday that he bought Specialty Restaurants of Wisconsin Inc., which holds the lease on the former restaurant property, owned by the City of Milwaukee.

Cudahy plans to donate the lease to UWM if city officials approve the university's proposal for a School of Freshwater Sciences building at the restaurant site.

That proposal is pending before the city Board of Harbor Commissioners, which is to meet Aug. 13. The board is to make a recommendation to the Common Council on whether the lease, set to expire in 2018, should be extended to accommodate UWM.

To read entire article, go to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Monday, August 10, 2009

People of the Sturgeon: Wisconsin's Love Affair with an Ancient Fish

People of the Sturgeon is now available! The Aquatic Sciences Center (ASC)'s Kathleen Kline is co-author, along with UW Sea Grant specialist Fred Binkowski and Wisconsin DNR's Fred Bruch. Purchase your copy today!

Now available at ASC's publications store.

2009 Sea Grant Awards

Congratulations to Wisconsin Sea Grant specialist Victoria Harris! She recently received a Mid-Career Sea Grant Award. Harris has been a Wisconsin Sea Grant specialist of Water Quality & Habitat Restoration for 10 years. From her office on the UW-Green Bay campus, she serves the area around Green Bay, Lake Michigan, including Brown, Oconto, Marinette and Door counties. Vicky’s initiatives focus on contaminated sediment remediation of the Fox River and Green Bay, sustainable community development, nonpoint-source pollution prevention in the Fox-Wolf and Green Bay watersheds, coastal habitat protection and restoration, and ecosystem responses to water quality improvements. She holds B.S. and M.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

To learn more about Harris, go to

To view all Sea Grant award winners, click on Sea Grant.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Google Maps Rumsey Historical Maps

David Rumsey is one of the world's great map collectors, and he has been very generous by sharing his treasures via the David Rumsey Map Collection website. Recently, Rumsey has selected 120 historical maps from his collection to link up with data from Google Maps and Google Earth. These maps are tremendous repositories of historical and cultural information by themselves, and when they are joined up with the other maps, they present a multifaceted way of visualizing the past, present, and future of these locales.

As the website notes, this is "a marriage of historic cartographic masterpieces with innovative contemporary software tools." First-time visitors can read the explanation of how this is done, and then scroll down to look through the list of maps, which includes Chicago in 1857, Moscow in 1836, Kyoto in 1709, and a celestial globe from 1792. Also, visitors can toggle the satellite view via the Google Maps overlay map in order to compare and contrast the changes that have occurred over the past decades and centuries.

To view historical maps, go to David Rumsey Map Collection.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Keeping it local: UW-Madison diners get 'homegrown' veggies

A new local food initiative on campus is starting very close to home.

For the first time this summer, UW Housing's Dining and Culinary Services is sourcing some of its produce from a small plot in Allen Centennial Gardens on campus. Diners at Frank's Place — the dining facility in Holt Commons — have been enjoying fresh greens, radishes and onions grown just a few hundred feet away, and some of the lettuce in the Babcock Dairy Store's sandwiches and salads may have had a shorter trip to the store than the patron eating it.

The vegetables are growing just west of the historic house in Allen Centennial Gardens, in a raised bed designed in the style of the traditional "kitchen garden" common in late 19th century Wisconsin.

To read full article by Jill Sakai, go to UW-Madison News.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wetlands resource from US Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency that provides information to the public on the extent and status of the Nation's wetlands. The agency has developed a series of topical maps to show wetlands and deepwater habitats. This geospatial information is used by Federal, State, and local agencies, academic institutions, and private industry for management, research, policy development, education and planning activities. Digital data can be viewed and downloaded through several methods.

Wetlands provide a multitude of ecological, economic and social benefits. They provide habitat for fish, wildlife and a variety of plants. Wetlands are nurseries for many saltwater and freshwater fishes and shellfish of commercial and recreational importance. Wetlands are also important landscape features because they hold and slowly release flood water and snow melt, recharge groundwater, act as filters to cleanse water of impurities, recycle nutrients, and provide recreation and wildlife viewing opportunities for millions of people.

To view the National Wetlands Inventory, go to US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Turfgrass irrigation system helps manage stormwater

MADISON - This summer, Doug Soldat is saving for a not-so-rainy day.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison soil scientist is banking rainwater, up to 8,000 gallons of it, enough to keep the lawn at UW-Madison's O.J. Noer Turfgrass Research and Education Facility lush through the driest weeks of summer.

Soldat and graduate student Brad DeBels installed two 4,000-gallon tanks, like rain barrels on steroids, that collect rainwater from the roof of the turfgrass facility's main building on Madison's far west side. Water from those tanks is used to irrigate nearby turf via subsurface drip irrigation lines.

Soldat views the setup as a prototype for a sustainable turfgrass irrigation system that does not rely on wells, water mains, storm drains or the electrical grid.

"In a three-month period we collected 19,000 gallons off the roof at the Noer Center and sent it all to the turf - 3,150 square feet of lawn," he says. "We were able to use and infiltrate all of the rain that that fell on the Noer Center's 7,000-square-foot rooftop."

To read entire article, go to UW-Madison News.

For information on another rainwater-saving technique, visit Wisconsin's Water Library's Rain Gardens reading list. Rain gardens capture water in a shallow depression planted with vegetation that filters the water as it slowly seeps into the ground. This creates cleaner groundwater and protects our lakes and streams.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Go Big Read: In Defense of Food available at Wisconsin's Water Library

The University of Wisconsin–Madison invites you to participate in its first common book program, Go Big Read. Initiated by Chancellor Carolyn “Biddy” Martin, the program will engage members of the campus community and beyond in a shared, academically focused reading experience. Students, faculty, staff, and community members are invited to participate by reading the book, and taking part in classroom discussions and campus events.

The book, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto is available from Wisconsin's Water Library. If you are a UW-Madison faculty, student or staff member, please request through MadCat. If you are a Wisconsin resident, you can request this title by filling out the book request form.

For more information and events for Go Big Read, go to Schedule of Events.

Friday, July 31, 2009

New report from USGS

Simulation of the Regional Ground-Water-Flow System and Ground-Water/Surface-Water Interaction in the Rock River Basin, Wisconsin by Paul F. Juckem.

A regional, two-dimensional, areal ground-water-flow model was developed to simulate the ground-water-flow system and ground-water/surface-water interaction in the Rock River Basin. The model was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Rock River Coalition. The objectives of the regional model were to improve understanding of the ground-water-flow system and to develop a tool suitable for evaluating the effects of potential regional water-management programs. The computer code GFLOW was used because of the ease with which the model can simulate ground-water/surface-water interactions, provide a framework for simulating regional ground-water-flow systems, and be refined in a stepwise fashion to incorporate new data and simulate ground-water-flow patterns at multiple scales.

To read full report, go to USGS.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

In the News: Stimulus money coming to Wisconsin to prevent water pollution

One million dollars will help Wisconsin and Minnesota prevent water pollution.

Governor Doyle announced that he will allocate $65,000 of this funding to support existing collaborative efforts with Minnesota to improve water quality on the St. Croix River, including reducing runoff of nutrient rich soil from constructions sites and farms in both states.

"In Wisconsin, we are blessed with an abundance of fresh water," Governor Doyle said. "From our rivers, to our lakes, to our Great Lakes, our waters define who we are. They drive our economy. They drive our recreation. They drive our way of life. I am pleased to allocate $65,000 to help improve water quality on the St. Croix River. Pollution is a continuing problem as populations along the river continues to increase. Wisconsin and Minnesota must continue to work hard and work together to protect this natural resource."

To read full article, go to

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Book Review: New Fish Cookbooks

Fish: The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking is written by Mark Bittman, author of How to Cook Everything. Bittman begins by explaining the best ways to buy fish and a brief review of the nutritional value of adding fish to your regular diet. Then, from Anchovies to Wolffish, he provides recipes and preparation organized by type of fish. This guide includes more than 500 recipes for 70 kinds of fish and seafood.

The Freshwater Fish Cookbook: More than 200 Ways to Cook your Catch is written by food columnist for Gray's Sporting Journal, A.D. Livingston. With wonderful color photos, this is a fisherman's cookbook. Many recipes have personal anecdotes and stories that add interesting flair to each fish.

In Cleaning and Cooking Fish, Sylvia Bashline gives you expert advice on preparing fish. Bashline has won several awards for her articles and photos dealing with a variety of outdoor subjects, particularly fish cooking techniques and recipes. This book also has a section dedicated to preserving fish, as in pickling and canning, that makes it quite unique from other fish cookbooks.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Shipwreck Explorers to Host Open House

A team of 10 underwater archaeologists will share their findings during a week-long exploration of a historic shipwreck at an open house, 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Thursday, July 30, at the Holiday Inn Harborview in Port Washington.

The public is invited to stop by, talk with the archaeologists about the project, and view underwater photos, videos, and a photomosaic of the wreck assembled from more than 100 images. The event is sponsored by the Port Washington Historical Society.

To learn more about the open house, go to the Aquatic Sciences Center News Room.

Can't make it to the open house? Check out a few titles from Wisconsin's Water Library to learn more about Great Lakes shipwrecks.

News from Wisconsin Sea Grant

Riding on the heels of its successful 2007 lecture series “Climate Change in the Great Lakes: Starting a Public Discussion,” Wisconsin Sea Grant has been awarded a $293,000 grant from the NOAA Climate Program Office Sectoral Applications Research Program (SARP).

The two-year grant partners Wisconsin Sea Grant with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research’s Cooperative Operational Meteorology, Education and Training (COMET) Program to develop centralized training for Sea Grant Extension agents and specialists to enable them to deliver consistent, science‐based messages regarding the likely effects of climate change in coastal areas.

Wisconsin Sea Grant and COMET will develop an interactive Web site to serve as a portal for the training course and permit NOAA and Sea Grant climate researchers to interact to bring up-to-date scientific information to coastal stakeholders. The resulting “wiki”—a collection of Web pages on climate-related topics that allows approved individuals to contribute or modify content—will help disseminate timely coastal climate information (climate change impacts, research results, reports, publications, etc.), and will continue to grow as new knowledge and information become available. The wiki will increase interaction between key NOAA scientists and coastal stakeholders through Sea Grant Extension and provide a forum for current climate science discussions.

To learn more, go to UW Sea Grant.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Assessing wetlands programs of the Great Lakes

The National Wildlife Federation and other partners released a report on July 7, 2009 highlighting the challenges of wetland protection in the Great Lakes region, with a focus on four Great Lakes states, including Wisconsin. This assessment may help raise awareness of wetlands need for protection, particularly regarding the President's 2010 Budget of $475 million to Great Lakes restoration.

To read the summary, go to National Wildlife Federation.

Friday, July 24, 2009

On the Lake Guardian with COSEE Great Lakes

The Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) Great Lakes invites 4th-10th grade teachers and non-formal educators to participate in one of two week-long Shipboard and Shoreline Science workshops aboard the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 180-foot research vessel (R/V) Lake Guardian every year. Educators work beside scientists, participating in Great Lakes research and stopping in ports for additional science experiences. In addition to shipboard and shoreline science, participants will examine curricula and resources and explore classroom activities relating to the Great Lakes and oceans.

In July of 2009, a group of 15 teachers spent seven days with a team of Great Lakes scientists aboard the EPA's research vessel the Lake Guardian living the life of a researcher on Lake Superior. One of the teachers made a video documenting many parts of the expedition. To view this video, click here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New Aquatic Sciences Center Chronicle online

Summer 2009 Chronicle is available online!

Be sure to check out Wisconsin's Water Library reading list on sea kayaking, as well as the front page article on kayaking safety in the Apostle Islands...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

EPA Releases Two Literature Review Documents Related to Recreational Water Quality Risks

Designed to protect swimmers from illnesses due to exposure to pathogens in recreational waters, the existing criteria are more than 20 years old. Since then, scientists have learned much about molecular biology, virology, and analytical chemistry. This new information will help us build a stronger scientific foundation for up-to-date recreational water quality criteria.

EPA's March 2007 Experts Scientific Workshop was a forum for discussion of critical research and science needs for developing new or revised recreational ambient water quality criteria in the near-term. The Report of the Experts Scientific Workshop summarizes the discussion of the scientific and technical panels.

To read the reports, go to Environmental Protection Agency.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wetland Gems

In May 2009, in celebration of American Wetlands Month, Wisconsin Wetlands Association launched our new Wetland Gems program. This program aims to increase public awareness of and appreciation for all of the state's wetlands and to generate community pride in and commitment to stewardship of local wetland treasures that have statewide, national, and even international importance.

What are Wetland Gems? Wetland Gems are high quality habitats that represent the wetland riches - marshes, swamps, bogs, fens and more - that historically made up nearly a quarter of Wisconsin’s landscape. Critically important to Wisconsin’s biodiversity, these natural treasures also provide our communities with valuable functions and services as well as recreational and educational opportunities. They are landscapes that both preserve the past and inspire for the future.

To learn more about Wetland Gems, go to Wisconsin Wetland Association.

Monday, July 20, 2009

'Motion picture' of past warming paves way for snapshots of future climate change

MADISON - By accurately modeling Earth's last major global warming - and answering pressing questions about its causes - scientists led by University of Wisconsin-Madison and National Center for Atmospheric Research climatologists are unraveling the intricacies of the kind of abrupt climate shifts that may occur in the future.

"We want to know what will happen in the future, especially if the climate will change abruptly," says Zhengyu Liu, a UW-Madison professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences and director of the Center for Climatic Research in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. "The problem is, you don't know if your model is right for this kind of change. The important thing is validating your model."

To do so, Liu and his colleagues run their mode back in time and match the results of the climate simulation with the physical evidence of past climate.

Starting with the last glacial maximum about 21,000 years ago, the team simulated atmospheric and oceanic conditions through what scientists call the Bølling-Allerød warming, the Earth's last major temperature hike, which occurred about 14,500 years ago. The simulation fell in close agreement with conditions - temperatures, sea levels and glacial coverage - collected from fossil and geologic records.

To read full article, go to UW-Madison News.
To learn more about the images, go to University Communications.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Book Review: The Frogs and Toads All Sang

The Frogs and Toads All Sang by Arnold Lobel

From the late Caldecott Medalist Arnold Lobel comes a brand new collection of rhyming stories about frogs and toads. Discovered by his daughter, Adrianne Lobel, these stories have all the same warmth, compassion, and humor that is found in his best-loved work. Brimming with sweet silliness, this new book reminds us why Arnold Lobel's characters continue to be so popular years after their debut.
Source: HarperCollins Publishers description

If you are a Wisconsin resident, you may check this book out from Wisconsin's Water Library by completing our book request form. If you are a UW-Madison faculty, student or staff member, please request through MadCat.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

The President's 2010 Budget provides $475 million in the Environmental Protection Agency's budget for a new interagency Great Lakes restoration initiative, which will target the most significant problems in the region, including invasive aquatic species, non-point source pollution, and contaminated sediment.

This initiative will use outcome-oriented performance goals and measures to target the most significant problems and track progress in addressing them. EPA and its Federal partners will coordinate State, tribal, local, and industry actions to protect, maintain, and restore the chemical, biological, and physical integrity of the Great Lakes.

Early this summer, one or more Requests for Proposals will be announced for competitive grants advancing the Initiative, in order that some grants may be issued as early as December. A series of stakeholder meetings, open to the public, will be held in July and August 2009 in various Great Lakes locations.

The one in Milwaukee will be held on Tuesday, July 21st from 5-7pm at
Doubletree Hotel Milwaukee City Center
Wisconsin Room
611 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53203

To learn more about the Initiative and meetings in your area, go to EPA.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Grandparents University

The Wisconsin Alumni Association and UW-Extension Family Living Programs offer Grandparents University each summer. This award-winning, two-day workshop is a chance for children (recommended ages 7-14) and their grandparents to come together and learn from each other in a dynamic atmosphere on the UW campus. What better way for grandparents and grandchildren to spend time together than sharing stories, reliving and creating memories, and earning a degree together from UW-Madison?

To learn more about Grandparents University, go to Wisconsin Alumni Association.

To see a video about water-related events during the sessions, produced by the Aquatic Sciences Center (where the Water Library is housed) click here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Book Awards in Wisconsin and Great Lakes

Finalists for the 2009 Great Lakes Book Awards have been announced. To be eligible, books have to have a Great Lakes theme or setting or be written by an author living in the region and have been published between June 2008 and the end of May 2009. The winners will be announced in late August by the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association.

To see the list, go to Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association.

Also, the Wisconsin Library Association's Literary Awards Committee of the Readers' Section have chosen What It Is by Lynda Barry as the winner of the RR Donnelley Literary Award, given for the highest literary achievement by a Wisconsin author in 2009. To view nominees and past winners of the RR Donnelley award, go to Wisconsin Library Association.

Wisconsin's Water Library has purchased two of the nominees for the Donnelley award, available to check out to Wisconsin residents. Wreck of the Carl D.: A True Story of Loss, Survival and Rescue at Sea and North of the Port can be checked out by going to our book request form. UW-Madison faculty, students and staff should request books through MadCat.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy Birthday SLA!

The Special Libraries Association is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The object of this Association is to "promote the interests of the commercial, industrial, technical, civic, municipal and legislative reference libraries, the special departments of public libraries, universities, welfare associations, and business organizations." Wisconsin's Water Library is a member of this association as a special library at UW-Madison.

The mission of the Water Library is to collect, preserve and provide science-based information and resources on the waters of the Great Lakes and Wisconsin in support of the programs of the Sea Grant and Water Resources Institutes. This collection serves both the faculty, staff and students of the UW system campuses as well as all Wisconsin residents.

Take a look at the historical time line posted in honor of the anniversary to see how far we've come.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

From Wisconsin's Water Library: New Books

Summer is in full swing in the Midwest and the Water Library has several new books of interest for your summer reading pleasure. We have recently added titles on many aspects of climate change, the science of water, caviar and cooking seafood.

Check it out!

And remember, Wisconsin's Water Library will lend to any Wisconsin resident as well as to students, staff and faculty in the UW system. For more information on how to borrow books, just Ask Water.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Water Quality in Carbonate Aquifers in the United States

A summary of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program study of water quality in carbonate aquifers of the United States. More than 1,000 wells and springs were analyzed for properties and contaminants including pH, major ions, nutrients, trace elements, radon, pesticides, and volatile organic compounds, in 12 carbonate aquifers in the United States.

Carbonate aquifers are the most widely used of all bedrock aquifers, and provide 22 percent of the United States public ground-water supply. Carbonate aquifers are those aquifers in limestone or dolomite bedrock. The NAWQA program has sampled well networks in many carbonate aquifers using similar methodologies, and thus provided one of the first opportunities to evaluate water quality in the various carbonate aquifers. This web site is a supplement to the National Water-Quality Assessment Program's report: Factors affecting water quality in selected carbonate aquifers in the United States, 1993-2005: Scientific Investigations Report 2008-5240. The site highlights the findings of this report, and provides additional details about the study.

To view full report, go to USGS.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Video Contest Winners Inspire Stewardship for the Nation’s Waters

WASHINGTON - The two winners of EPA’s first-ever water quality video contest made videos that will help educate the public about water pollution and give simple steps that people and communities can take to improve water quality.

“We are delighted by the number and quality of contest submissions,” said Acting Assistant Administrator for Water Michael H. Shapiro. “This is another illustration of how new Web technologies allow people to express their passion for water quality in new and exciting ways.”

In the 30 or 60 second category, “Protect Our Water - Check Cars for Oil Leaks” submitted by Lucas Ridley of Trenton, Ga. was the overall winner. His video illustrates one easy step you can take to protect your watershed through proper motor vehicle care.

In the 1-3 minute category, “Dastardly Deeds and the Water Pollution Monster” submitted by Nora Kelley Parren of Hinesburg, Vt. was the winner. Her animated video, made entirely out of discarded paper, illustrates how polluted runoff threatens ecosystems and offers tips people can take to protect water quality. The two winning filmmakers will each receive a $2,500 cash award, and their videos are featured on EPA’s Web site.

To view the two winners' videos, as well as others, visit EPA.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Book Review: Enduring Seeds

Enduring Seeds: Native American Agriculture and Wild Plant Conservation By Gary Paul Nabhan

Nabhan, one of America's leading ethnobotanists, takes you on a journey around the world to find seeds. Some seeds are native, others foreign, while some are abundant, others close to extinct. Each seed has a story, guiding the reader along a historical epic, generating a call to action wildlife and animal conservationists have provided for years. What makes Enduring Seeds unique is its obligation to spread the story of the loss of plant species in order to plant and grow a concerned, impassioned audience.

If you are a Wisconsin resident, you may check this book out from Wisconsin's Water Library by completing our book request form. If you are a UW-Madison faculty, student or staff member, please request through MadCat.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jean Craighead George!

Today is Jean Craighead George's 90th birthday. George is a writer of over 100 books in young adult fiction. From a young age, she began writing about nature and ecological issues. In the last fifty years, she has received the Newbery Medal twice for Julie of the Wolves and My Side of the Mountain, along with many other awards and accolades for her work.

To learn more about George and her many works, go to her official Web site.
Wisconsin's Water Library owns 6 of George's books, including:
One Day in the Desert
One Day in the Tropical Rain Forest
The Case of the Missing Cutthroats
Julie's Wolf Pack
The Missing Gator of Gumbo Limbo

To check these books out, please go to the Water Library's Web site. If you are a Wisconsin resident, please use our book request form. If you are a UW-Madison student, faculty or staff member, please go to MadCat.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wisconsin's Great Lakes Shipwrecks

Explore 17 of Wisconsin's Great Lakes shipwrecks through underwater video, historical photographs, and archaeological discoveries. To go beneath the surface of Lakes Michigan and Superior, go to Read from the journals of underwater archaeologists and learn the guidelines for protecting maritime heritage.

Site created by Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute and Wisconsin Historical Society.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Great Lakes photo contest

Great Lakes Forever has offered since 2005 to produce the annual Great Lakes photo contest in an effort to raise awareness of the Great Lakes and engage people in their protection

Read more.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Water Quality and Hydrology of Whitefish Lake

Whitefish Lake, which is officially named Bardon Lake, is an oligotrophic, soft-water seepage lake in northwestern Wisconsin, and classified by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as an Outstanding Resource Water. Ongoing monitoring of the lake demonstrated that its water quality began to degrade (increased phosphorus and chlorophyll a concentrations) around 2002 following a period of high water level.

To provide a better understanding of what caused the degradation in water quality, and provide information to better understand the lake and protect it from future degradation, the U.S. Geological Survey did a detailed study from 2004 to 2008. The goals of the study were to describe the past and present water quality of the lake, quantify water and phosphorus budgets for the lake, simulate the potential effects of changes in phosphorus inputs on the lake's water quality, analyze changes in the water level in the lake since 1900, and relate the importance of changes in climate and changes in anthropogenic (human-induced) factors in the watershed to the water quality of the lake.

To read publication, go to USGS Publications.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Wisconsin Maritime Museums

Traveling around Wisconsin this summer? Beat the heat and stop into a maritime museum on the way. There are quite a few in the state, so there is sure to be one along the way. Combining history, shipping, and the Great Lakes, Wisconsinites and out of state tourists alike can enjoy the exhibits these museums have to offer.

Wisconsin Maritime Museum

Wisconsin Marine Historical Society

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

The Bayfield Maritime Museum

Door County Maritime Museum

Ship's Wheel Gallery and Nautical Museum