Thursday, April 30, 2009

Marshfield High School wins Nat'l Ocean Sciences Bowl

(Washington, DC) – Marshfield High School from Wisconsin won the 12th Annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB®) held at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum’s Sant Ocean Hall in a thrilling come from behind win this afternoon. Twenty-five high schools from all over the United States competed in the NOSB Final Competition with prizes and scholarships on the line. The NOSB is a program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership based in Washington, DC.

After winning their respective regional competitions in February, the twenty-five champion high schools traveled to Washington, DC for the opportunity to compete over their knowledge of our oceans during the two-day NOSB competition. The team from Wisconsin made it all the way to the finals before defeating Lexington High School in come-back fashion to win the 2009 NOSB title.

The top eight teams were:
8th Place – State College Area High School – State College, PA
7th Place – Raleigh Charter High School – Raleigh, NC
6th Place - La Jolla High School – San Diego, CA
5th Place – North Hollywood High School – North Hollywood, CA
4th Place - Mission San Jose High School – Fremont, CA
3rd Place – Cranston High School West – Cranston, RI
2nd Place – Lexington High School – Lexington, MA
1st Place – Marshfield High School – Marshfield, WI

Canterbury School of Florida won the James D. Watkins Sportsmanship Award for demonstrating the best sportsmanship throughout the NOSB final competition. Admiral James D. Watkins started the NOSB program in 1997 and was on hand to help present the award.

“What an exciting competition this year at the National Ocean Sciences Bowl Finals here in Washington, DC,” said Robert B. Gagosian, President & CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership. “The enthusiasm and excitement of the students was pervasive and it was thrilling to see the optimism and spirit of such young people, the future leaders of our country,” continued Gagosian.

Approximately 2,000 students from over 300 high schools participated this year. Through this educational forum, the NOSB strives to encourage and support the next generation of marine scientists, policy makers, teachers, explorers, researchers, technicians, environmental advocates and informed citizens.

US Climate Change Science Program

The U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) integrates federal research on climate and global change, as sponsored by thirteen federal agencies and overseen by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Council on Environmental Quality, the National Economic Council and the Office of Management and Budget.

Please go to CCSP Web site to see all their reports, research elements, and cross-cutting activities.

Promoting climate literacy

One important aspect of environmental study is climate literacy, or teaching climate change. The following resources offer principles, presentations, reports, and studies for those teaching, learning, or interested in climate change.

An Early Effort to Promote Climate Literacy
Compiled by NOAA's Climate Program Office

Communicating and Learning about Global Climate Change
From Project 2061 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science

The Case for Climate Literacy in the 21st Century
By Frank Niepold, David Herring, and David McConville
Presented at the Fifth International Symposium on Digital Earth

Environmental Literacy in America
By Kevin Coyle of the National Environmental Education & Training Foundation

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Professor, student start initiative to encourage rain gardens

James T. Spartz, a graduate student in the life sciences communication department, knows exactly where most of the excess rainwater from Madison’s Arbor Hills neighborhood flows: It ends up in three ponds in the UW–Madison Arboretum, where it deposits harmful amounts of sediment and organic nutrients.

“Stormwater runoff is a perpetual problem for [the Arboretum],” says Spartz. “It poses an ongoing threat to the unique ecology of [the area’s] waterways, and its flora and fauna.”

In an effort to help ameliorate this situation, Spartz and life sciences communication professor Bret Shaw are rolling out a community-based initiative this spring designed to encourage Arbor Hills residents to build rain gardens in their yards. If enough Arbor Hills residents are willing to install these landscape features — which collect and hold rainwater, allowing it to soak into the soil close to where it fell — the neighborhood could significantly reduce the volume of stormwater runoff reaching the Arboretum’s beleaguered ponds. Already, five homeowners have signed on.

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

NOAA Report Calls Flame Retardants Concern to U.S. Coastal Ecosystems

NOAA scientists, in a first-of-its-kind report issued today, state that Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs), chemicals commonly used in commercial goods as flame retardants since the 1970s, are found in all United States coastal waters and the Great Lakes, with elevated levels near urban and industrial centers.

The new findings are in contrast to analysis of samples as far back as 1996 that identified PBDEs in only a limited number of sites around the nation.

To view full report, go to NOAA.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

EPA finds greenhouse gases pose threat to public health

After a thorough scientific review ordered in 2007 by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a proposed finding April 17 that greenhouse gases contribute to air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare.

The proposed finding, which now moves to a public comment period, identified six greenhouse gases that pose a potential threat.

To read article, go to Environmental Protection Agency.

The Office of Water for the US EPA also issued their progress report for implementing the National Water Program Strategy in response to climate change in January for the year of 2008. To view the report, go to EPA.

EPA Launches “Healthy Watersheds” Initiative and Web Site

EPA has launched a new initiative called Healthy Watersheds that emphasizes protection and conservation of aquatic ecosystems. The initiative is being introduced on a new Web site, which provides information on tools to identify and protect healthy watersheds and their components. The Web site provides critical information for making strategic decisions to both protect and restore our nation’s waters. State officials will benefit greatly from the Healthy Watersheds initiative since they generally operate at the scale needed to implement strategic conservation decisions and are well-suited for assessing and managing watershed resources. Local governments, watershed practitioners, and regional agencies will also benefit from this initiative.

The Healthy Watersheds Approach addresses the watershed as a system of biota and habitats that are driven by critical processes such as hydrology, fluvial geomorphology, and natural disturbance regimes. Programs that protect and restore aquatic ecosystems are most effective when they recognize and integrate these dynamics and manage watersheds as systems.

While significant progress has been made in protecting and restoring water quality under the Clean Water Act, the nation continues to lose healthy aquatic ecosystems. Preserving healthy watersheds will provide the critical natural infrastructure needed to restore water quality. EPA’s new initiative is predicated on the simple truth that it is much more cost-effective to protect the many benefits provided by healthy watersheds than it is to restore them once they become impaired. Learn more at EPA.

Engineering students use EPA funding to conserve water at medical school complex

A group of engineering and science students are working to drastically reduce the amount of water used on the grounds of one of the university's latest building projects, and they've received funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to do it.

A team of eight students has designed a catchment system that will collect rain in canopies set on the roof of the Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research (WIMR), a three-tower complex expected to be completed in 2015 as part of the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. The rain will then be piped into 500-gallon cisterns that then water the grounds via a drip irrigation system.

To read more visit, UW-Madison news.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Ships ahoy

Boating season has begun here in Wisconsin. Wisconsin's Water Library would like to remind all you boatowners to be safe in Wisconsin's waters and please help keep them beautiful. Check out Wisconsin Marina Association for educational materials like the new Simple Solutions to Great Lakes Health Resource Guide including Great Lakes facts and responsible boating practices.

Our own University of Wisconsin Sea Grant is a partner with Wisconsin Marina Association. To get more information, go to Wisconsin Marina Association.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences

Join the New Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences
AESS: A Professional Society Whose Time Has Come

The National Council for Science and the Environment invites you to join with over 600 environmental scholars and scientists who have already joined the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences. Since its creation less than a year ago, AESS is quickly becoming the leading interdisciplinary society in higher education for people working in the fields of environmental studies and environmental science. Faculty, students, and education-minded environmental professionals and practitioners are encouraged to join. Initial membership is only $30/year for faculty & professionals and $15/year for students. Join now by going to

The Association's first annual meeting will take place in Madison, Wisconsin, October 8-11, 2009. Go to AESS web site to submit your abstracts and proposals for participation.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Environmental education resources

During this week of Earth Day, Wisconsin's Water Library thought it may be helpful to highlight some resources for environmental education, especially for children.

The Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence, or COSEE, is a network of regional centers created to promote the development of effective partnerships between research scientists and educators, disseminate effective ocean sciences programs and the best practices that do not duplicate but rather build on existing resources, and promote a vision of ocean education as a charismatic, interdisciplinary vehicle for creating a more scientifically literate workforce and citizenry.

Environmental Education for Kids, or EEK, is brought to you by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. This electronic magazine is for kids in grades 4-8. Surf around and learn more about the great outdoors.

Project Wild is one of the most widely-used conservation and environmental education programs among educators of students in kindergarten through high school. It is based on the premise that young people and educators have a vital interest in learning about our natural world. A national network of State Wildlife Agency Sponsors ensures that Project WILD is available nationwide --training educators in the many facets of the program.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day: Resources for Earth Friendly Living

from Madison Public and Wisconsin's Water Libraries

For most of this decade, Madison Gas and Electric, Madison Public Library, and Sustain Dane have teamed up to develop a special book and video collection dedicated to earth-friendly living and communities. With growing public interest in this subject, the partners have once again significantly enhanced the collection. The newest additions can be found in the vibrant, newly updated brochure, Greening Our World.

To view their collection, visit Madison Public Library.

Wisconsin's Water Library has many books and videos on similar topics of interest, such as green gardening, water conservation, Native Americans and the environment, and tools for conservation organizations.

Please feel free to request any of these books from Wisconsin's Water Library. If you are a UW-Madison student, faculty, or staff, please request books through MadCat.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

April 21, 1838 - John Muir Born

On this date John Muir was born in Dunbar, Scotland. He immigrated with his family to Wisconsin in 1849 and spent his youth working on his father's farms in Marquette County, experiences that are recounted in The Story of My Boyhood and Youth (1913). In 1868 he moved to Yosemite Valley, California, where he became a conservationist and leader in the forest preserve movement. His work led to the creation of the first national parks, the saving of California's redwoods, and the founding of the Sierra Club.
[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin Biography, SHSW 1960, pg. 261]

To see more bibliographical information or learn more about Wisconsin history, go to Wisconsin Historical Society. This was from their feature On This Day in Wisconsin History online collection.

Green Week at UW-Madison Memorial Union

Green Week is a celebration of Earth Day, the environment, and student conservation efforts. Between April 13th and April 29th over twenty events including concerts, eco fairs, lectures, and films will take place. This series of events will offer a fortnight of enlightening, educational, and interactive programs that address a wide range of environmental and social justice topics. The majority of events will take place on, or near, the University of Wisconsin campus.
A complete list of scheduled events is at the Memorial Union's website.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Earth Day conference explores Wisconsin’s energy future

How can Wisconsin best meet its energy needs in the decades ahead? And what have we learned from past efforts at energy planning and policy development?

People from across the state will grapple with these questions at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies' third annual Earth Day Conference on Wednesday, April 22, at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. The agenda includes a full day of plenary speakers, breakout sessions, a panel discussion and exhibits on the theme "Wisconsin's Energy Future."

To learn about the conference's speakers and sponsors, as well as how to register, visit UW-Madison News.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Earth Day television programs

During the week before Earth Day on April 22, Wisconsin Public Television and FRONTLINE present different programs related to our continuing struggle to lessen our footprint for future generations. Be sure to tune in.

“Earth Day and Beyond: Gaylord Nelson’s Good Fight,” a one-hour documentary about the late U.S. senator from Wisconsin for whom the Nelson Institute is named, will air on The Wisconsin Channel, the digital multicast service of Wisconsin Public Television, several times this month. The broadcast times are:

* Fri, 4/17/09 at 7:00 p.m.
* Sat, 4/18/09 at 2:00 a.m.
* Mon, 4/20/09 at noon
* Tue, 4/21/09 at 6:00 a.m.

Nelson conceived the first Earth Day, celebrated on April 22, 1970, to put environmental issues on the national political agenda. Its success paved the way for 28 major federal legislative acts, including the act that created the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Source: The Nelson Institute Blog

More than three decades after the Clean Water Act, two iconic waterways—the great coastal estuaries Puget Sound and the Chesapeake Bay—are in perilous condition. With polluted runoff still flowing in from industry, agriculture, and massive suburban development, scientists fear contamination to the food chain and drinking water for millions of people. A growing list of endangered species is also threatened in both estuaries. As a new president, Congress, and states set new agendas and spending priorities, FRONTLINE correspondent Hedrick Smith examines the rising hazards to human health and the ecosystem, and why it’s so hard to keep our waters clean.

FRONTLINE Examines Newest Health Hazards in Nation's Contaminated Waterways

Poisoned Waters
Tuesday, April 21, 2009, from 9 to 11 P.M. ET on PBS

Google Earth now includes third coast

When Google Earth 5.0 was released back in February, it included the capability to view the world ocean landscape from beneath the water surface. This capability now extends to the “Third Coast” of the United States, the Great Lakes. Through a cooperative effort with the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) and the NOAA National Geophysical Data Center, Google Earth now incorporates detailed bathymetry for the five Great Lakes. Users will be able to explore features such as the canyons and shoals in eastern Lake Superior, the Lake Michigan mid-lake reef complex, and the old river channel, now underwater, that once connected Lakes Michigan and Huron at the Straits of Mackinac.

To highlight some of the interesting coastal and subsurface features of the Great Lakes, the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory has assembled a narrated Google Earth tour, which you can download at Google's LatLong blog.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

National Library Week: In the News

"As the national economic crisis has deepened and social services have become casualties of budget cuts, libraries have come to fill a void for more people, particularly job-seekers and those who have fallen on hard times. Libraries across the country are seeing double-digit increases in patronage, often from 10 percent to 30 percent, over previous years.

But in some cities, this new popularity — some would call it overtaxing — is pushing libraries in directions not seen before, with librarians dealing with stresses that go far beyond overdue fines and misshelved books. Many say they feel ill-equipped for the newfound demands of the job, the result of working with anxious and often depressed patrons who say they have nowhere else to go."

By Susan Saulny and Karen Ann Cullotta
In April 1, 2009 of New York Times
To read more, Downturn puts new stresses on libraries.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

National Library Week: Wisconsin Water Facts

During National Library week, we like to showcase and highlight particular aspects of Wisconsin's Water Library and the resources on our website. Please take a look at our Wisconsin Water Facts and Did You Know? pages for more information. We think they are an excellent way to stay current on issues and topics of Wisconsin's waters.

Did You Know?
Wisconsin Water Facts

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

National Library Week: Look what we found in the library!

A big sturgeon!

Here some titles on sturgeon that you can take home with you.

Fishes of Wisconsin Field Guide
By David Bosanko
Cambridge, MN: Adventure Publications, Inc., 2007.
Wisconsin’s Water Library call number: 281489

Consuming Nature: Environmentalism in the Fox River Valley , 1850-1950
By Gregory Summers
Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 2006.
Wisconsin’s Water Library call number: 201668

The Philosopher Fish: Sturgeon, caviar, and the geography of desire
By Richard Adams Carey
New York: Counterpoint, 2005.
Wisconsin’s Water Library call number: 281496

Fishing the Great Lakes: An environmental history, 1783-1933
By Margaret Beattie Bogue
Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2000.
Wisconsin’s Water Library call number: 281026

Fishes of Wisconsin
By George C. Becker
Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1983.
Wisconsin’s Water Library call number: 281010

Fish Spawning Grounds in Wisconsin Waters of the Great Lakes
By Catherine E. Coberly and Ross M. Horrall
Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute, 1980.
Wisconsin’s Water Library call number: 280405

If you are a Wisconsin resident, please use Wisconsin's Water Library book request form. If you are UW-Madison student, faculty or staff, please request books through MadCat.

Look for People of the Sturgeon: A love affair with an ancient fish to be published in October. An expanded reading list on sturgeon coming soon!

Monday, April 13, 2009

National Library Week

April 12 through the 18th is 2009 National Library Week! We are very excited to celebrate libraries of all kinds and share information about our own Wisconsin’s Water Library. This year’s theme is Worlds Connect @ your library.

Our posts this week will highlight aspects of Wisconsin's Water Library or libraries around the World. We would like to start by explaining the history of National Library Week and the importance of the State of American Libraries report that was issued today.

National Library Week is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries - school, public, academic and special - participate.

In the mid-1950s, research showed that Americans were spending less on books and more on radios, televisions and musical instruments. Concerned that Americans were reading less, the ALA and the American Book Publishers formed a nonprofit citizens organization called the National Book Committee in 1954. The committee's goals were ambitious. They ranged from "encouraging people to read in their increasing leisure time" to "improving incomes and health" and "developing strong and happy family life."

In 1957, the committee developed a plan for National Library Week based on the idea that once people were motivated to read, they would support and use libraries. With the cooperation of ALA and with help from the Advertising Council, the first National Library Week was observed in 1958 with the theme "Wake Up and Read!"

National Library Week was observed again in 1959, and the ALA Council voted to continue the annual celebration. When the National Book Committee disbanded in 1974, ALA assumed full sponsorship.

State of the American Libraries Report
Every year a report is published on the State of the American Libraries, in order to acknowledge and support the efforts of the libraries nationwide. Especially in struggling times such as these, it presents a need for the libraries and their importance for lifelong learning and an educated society.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Frogs in Wisconsin

Here at Wisconsin's Water Library, we often receive questions about frogs. Many times patrons want to identify a frog, whether it is in their backyard or a new pet. Frogwatch USA is a great resource to identify frogs, not only because they have pictures, frog calls, and book suggestions to identify your frog, but you can search by state. To look at the frogs of Wisconsin, please visit Frogwatch USA.

If you get stumped, feel free to contact Wisconsin's Water Library with questions. We'd be happy to help!

Ribbit, ribbit.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

In the News

A recent article from the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute's quarterly publication, the Aquatic Sciences Chronicle, featured a story on wild rice harvesting by Anthony Kern, a Sea Grant-funded researcher. Kern is examining the genetic makeup of remaining populations to find out how to preserve the identity of wild rice while expanding its distribution along the Lake Superior and Lake Michigan coastlines.

This article is now a feature on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association's research Web site. Please take a look at the happenings of NOAA, Wisconsin Sea Grant, and research on wild rice.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Book Review: Bodies from the Ice

Bodies from the Ice: Melting glaciers and the recovery of the past
By James M. Deem
Call number: 030840 Kids
Recommended for ages 10-15

"Melting glaciers is a frequent topic in today's headlines, and one that is explored on anthropological and environmental levels in James M. Deem's fascinating work. Explaining the scientific aspects of glacier formation as well as geographic conditions, Deem discusses how glaciers operate like "a giant conveyor belt-essentially a moving river of ice." With force and power, glaciers churn up, and turn up, mountain debris. This debris sometimes includes human remains that offer amazing insights into the past. From discoveries of an iceman in the Alps to ancient children of the Andes and the remains of native North Americans, Deem reveals how mysteries of human history are decoded from glacial meltings worldwide. Fascinating photographs complement the captivating narrative." -Description from UW-Madison's Cooperative Children's Book Center annual publication, Choices 2009, of book reviews for children and young adult literature.

If you are a Wisconsin resident and would like to check out this or any other book, please fill out our book request form. If you are a UW student, faculty or staff, please request books through MadCat.

Monday, April 6, 2009

In the News

Senator Feingold introduces bill that would restore protections to Wisconsin waters

Legislation Essential to Protect Lakes, Rivers and Streams as well as Restore Great Lakes

Sen. Russ Feingold introduced the Clean Water Restoration Act in the U.S. Senate today, a bill intended to restore historic safeguards to wetlands, lakes and streams in Wisconsin and across the nation. Passage of the legislation is not only important to protect Wisconsin’s inland waters, it is also essential to restoring our Great Lakes.

“With 15,000 lakes, 32,000 miles of perennial streams, 5.3 million acres of wetlands, and 1.2 quadrillion gallons of groundwater, reinstating the Clean Water Act is vital for Wisconsin,” said Melissa Malott, water program director at Clean Wisconsin, the state’s largest environmental advocacy organization. “By reinstating safeguards that protect our water supply, this legislation protects our state’s economic health as well as the health of our residents.”

To see full article, click here. Posted on April 2, 2009 by Bayview Compass newspaper out of Milwaukee.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Madison Area Municipal Storm Water Partnership (MAMSWaP)

Rather than submit individual applications to comply with the storm water discharge permit regulations contained in Wisconsin Administrative Code NR 216, 19 municipalities in central Dane County submitted one permit application jointly.

The goal of the municipal storm water discharge permit program is to reduce adverse impacts to water quality in our lakes and streams from urban sources of storm water runoff. The portion of Dane County addressed in this plan is rich in water resources that have been adversely impacted by storm water runoff.

Control of storm water pollution is most effectively implemented when people and organizations understand the impact of storm water pollution, its sources, and the actions they can take to control it. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) have identified the importance of informing and educating municipalities, the construction trades, professional service providers, and citizens about storm water pollution.

To learn more, visit MAMSWaP at Dane County Office of Lakes and Watersheds

Thursday, April 2, 2009

2009 Great Lakes Photo Contest

The Office of the Great Lakes kicked off an annual photo contest with the release of a 2008-2009 "Discover Wisconsin´s Great Lakes" calendar. Between August 2008 and February 2009, they received over 170 beautiful photographs from 67 photographers around the state as well as from Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, California, and as far away as Germany! Photos were judged based on creativity, composition and technical merit. Winning photos will be featured in the 2009-2010 calendar.

To see the list of winners and their photos, go to Wisconsin DNR.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

NOWRA's annual conference

National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA)'s
Annual Conference

The National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) annual conference serves as the premier conference for the conveyance of new research, regulations and policy, experience and practices in the decentralized wastewater industry.

This year's conference theme is Onsite: The Sustainable Wastewater Opportunity. Onsite/decentralized wastewater treatment has always been a "green" solution for water recycling. NOWRA is proud to promote onsite systems as a cost-effective, environmentally safe and long-term alternative for wastewater treatment services.

Milwaukee Hilton City Center
Milwaukee, WI
April 6-9, 2009