Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Asian Carp: The Introduction You May Have Missed

While you have probably heard about the controversy and fears surrounding Asian carp, maybe you missed a bit of the background information. The term Asian carp actually accounts for four different types of fish according to the USDA: black carp, silver carp, the Bighead carp and grass carp. An article written by the California Academy of Sciences on these fish can be seen here.

These fish were originally introduced for the purpose of algae control, but then spread in an unintended manner. They can grow to over 20 feet long and 100 pounds, eating up to 40% of their weight a day in plankton. This causes a danger to the food chain, especially for the bottom of it. Asian carp are also know for jumping out of the water when they are scared or alarmed, which happens somewhat frequently in the presence of boats, since they feed near the water's surface. For a fish this size, unpredictable flight type movements have been known to injure boaters and fisherman. This video can help you get an idea of the movement of these fish.

For a suggested reading list on Great Lakes Fish, click here.

Asian Bighead carp photo by M. Spencer Green.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Yellow Perch Numbers Up In Green Bay

According to the Wisconsin DNR, Yellow Perch numbers are up this year, and are the third highest seen in the last 30 years. This may have to do with increased water temperatures that were present during spring and summer this year, as well as an early hatch. A high rate of mortality among first through third year yellow perch has the DNR concerned. Some causes are hypothesized, including predators such as walleye and/or northern pike, as well as birds called cormorants which the DNR are taking specific steps to control. More about the cormorant can be read here. Fishermen are not suspected as being problematic in this instance because most yellow perch they keep are around 8 inches or more, which typically occurs in the third year. Click here for the full press release from the WDNR.

WDNR photo shows an adult yellow perch with young-of-year perch.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lake Superior Bathymetric Lidar Collection is Complete

From NOAA:

Lidar is a laser-based technology used to map land, beach, and underwater elevations. Planes equipped with lidar sensors have been surveying much of Lake Superior’s nearshore bathymetry since early July, and as of August 12, 2010, this bathymetric lidar data collection effort is complete.

Over 900 linear kilometers of data were collected in forty-seven days. This exceeded the requirements of the contract by close to 200 linear kilometers, as the original requirement was for collection of 725 linear kilometers of data. Fugro Lads used the LADS MkII system to collect the bathymetric lidar along the shoreline up to 1000 m lakeward or to the extinction of the laser. The same system was used to collect lidar points on land to approximately 30 m inland, so that this collection could be tied to existing and future topographic lidar collections.

This effort, funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, was extremely successful and will yield data that is greater than 85% very good or good depth coverage. Data in these categories typically extends out to around 20m depth. The raw data will now undergo a refinement process and a quality assurance process. The final data will be delivered to the federal government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Services Center (Center), and the data will be served from the Center’s Digital Coast website by the winter of 2011. Through this website the data will be available for use, free of charge.

Standardized data protocols for processing, assuring quality, and serving the data will be followed, which means a wide variety of organizations can use these data for many different uses. Uses for this dataset are wide-ranging, including planning for restoration efforts, remediating stamp sands, evaluating essential fish habitat, enhancing navigation, and developing scenarios for lake level drop.

photo courtesy of Minn. Sea Grant

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lake Sturgeon - on a hook and a line

The lake sturgeon hook and line season opens September 4th and runs through September 30th. High water levels in state rivers should make this one interesting.

The 2010 season marks the fourth year that the minimum length for harvesting sturgeon is set at 60 inches, with a one-fish limit per season. There is a catch and release season on a stretch of the Menominee River downstream from the Hattie Street dam to Green Bay.

New this year is a catch and release season on the lower St. Croix River from St. Croix Falls Dam downstream to the Mississippi River from Oct. 1 through Oct. 15 to allow Wisconsin and Minnesota to have the same regulations for the same species. This is not reflected in the Fishing Regulations 2010-2011.

Remember to follow all required fishing regulations and bring your bug spray!

About the Hook and Line Season

News release from WDNR.

photo used by permission from the Shedd Aquarium, Chicago

Friday, August 20, 2010

90 years ago today, steamer sinks in Lake Superior

On this date in 1920, in Superior City, a lake steamer sank due to a collision in Lake Superior. The Superior City, a steel freighter collided with the steamer, Willis L. King, killing at least 28 men and one woman.

From the website, On This Day in Wisconsin (from the WHS), a favorite of Wisconsin's Water Library.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wisconsin Sea Grant Project Highlight - Corrosion

From Gene Clark, Wisconsin Sea Grant Coastal Engineering Specialist:

Several new project reports and articles (dated 2008 through 2010) and three new photos of harbor corrosion in Thunder Bay, Canada (from 2007) are now available on the Duluth-Superior Harbor Corrosion Study website from Wisconsin Sea Grant. Also included on the site is the most up-to-date fact sheet about the project.

Updated content includes:



All this new information and the rest of the project materials can be found here.

  • 2007 Field Investigations – Examples of Corrosion in Other Great Lakes Harbors & Marinas (Three Thunder Bay, Canada examples) taken by Jim Sharrow (Duluth Seaway Port Authority) can be viewed here.
Photo above is one of the new photos posted, by Jim Sharrow.

If you have any questions about the project and its results, please contact Gene Clark at (715) 394-8472 or at grclark@aqua.wisc.edu

New books about water for children

The Water Library has a new list of books for children and their adults!

This spring and summer, we have added books on a wide range of topics relating to water - climate change, ponds, frogs, science writing and more.

Check it out!

The library is continually adding to its collection so we encourage you to check back often to our Kids Library website.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Film Screening of Trouble the Water

A recent addition to the collection, Trouble the Water, was screened in house on Thursday. This film, documenting one family's experience before, during and after Hurricane Katrina, provides viewers with an in-depth perspective on what really happened within New Orleans. Filmed and narrated mostly by Kimberly Rivers Roberts (aspiring rapper Black Kold Madina), the story unfolds to bring to light the details of surviving each day with Katrina. This film was an Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature in 2009 and also won the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize in 2008 for Best Documentary.

For reading recommendations on Coastal Communities, please see our reading list, here. For further reading on Flooding, please see this reading list. An abbreviated list of videos that Wisconsin's Water Library carries can be seen here.

DVD cover photo from Trouble the Water film site.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Purple Loosestrife and Other Invasive Plants - What's the Big Deal?

The DNR is currently asking for the help of property owners in controlling the increasing population of purple loosestrife and other invasive plant species. They are also asking for people to report sightings elsewhere so that they can be dealt with. This year has seen a large increase in purple loosestrife in particular due to unusually warm and wet weather conditions. Within the first year, a new plant will produce thousands of seeds which can remain viable for years. New infestations need to be discovered and controlled to prevent further spreading. The DNR gives instructions for how to deal with the purple loosestrife plants in their article, here. This plant can grow to be over 5 feet tall, and quickly dominate large areas. It has a negative effect on native wetland plants, wildlife habitat, rare plants and animals, and can be a danger to waterways. For more information on managing lake plants, see our recommended reading list, here.

Photo by Elizabeth J. Czarapata from the DNR.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

UW Sea Grant Advisory Council Member Interviewed on "Rural Brain Drain"

Larry J. MacDonald, mayor of Bayfield, WI, a member of the UW Sea Grant Advisory Council, was recently interviewed for the Voices of Rural Wisconsin Project by PortalWisconsin.org. This nonprofit web site supports the state's culture, arts, humanities and history and was created by the Cultural Coalition of Wisconsin. This interview on rural leadership focuses on the phenomenon of "rural brain drain," which is the loss of the community's academically inclined youth who choose to leave the area to pursue higher education and seldom return. The interview is streamed in five parts here on portalwisconsin.org's website. MacDonald gives a descriptive background of the issue and hopeful suggestions on how to improve things. This is a common issue affecting many small towns in Wisconsin, and nationally.

Photo courtesy of City of Bayfield website.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

2009 NOAA State of the Climate Report Released

Our climate, defined as the long-term average of weather patterns, is changing. Data has been collected by more than 300 scientists reviewing key climate indicators which prove that the world has warmed. Coastal communities are one group threatened by climate warming. As water temperature increases, the water’s area expands, and an increased volume of melting ice sheets and glaciers are also accountable for rising sea levels. Written by an array of experts, the State of the Climate Report annually documents “the status of the climate system and our ability to observe it.” (p. 9) The concise Highlights report is available here, or you can view the full report here.

Arctic Sea Annual Ice Minimum (picture) from 2009 The State of the Climate Highlights.

Monday, August 2, 2010

ICAN-Great Lakes - Madison, WI - September 13-15

An International Coastal Atlas Network meeting focusing on the Great Lakes will be held from September 13-15, 2010 at the Pyle Center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus in Madison, Wisconsin. The meeting will bring together people who are interested in developing Coastal Web Atlases (CWAs) and linking them to analyze coastal issues at a broader scale.

The International Coastal Atlas Network serves a global reference for the development of CWAs. The Great Lakes meeting will be the fifth ICAN meeting since 2006. Previous meetings were held in Ireland, Oregon, Denmark, and Italy.

The ICAN-Great Lakes meeting will open on the afternoon of Monday, September 13th with an overview of ICAN and CWAs and will feature a showcase of mature coastal atlases with a focus on their impacts. The morning of the second day will explore use cases for interoperable coastal atlases, addressing topics such as marine spatial planning and climate adaptation. The afternoon will focus on building regional/thematic networks of coastal atlases and will explore how CWAs relate to initiative such as the Digital Coast and the Integrated Ocean Observing System. The afternoon session will also include a demonstration of integration of Great Lakes data from distributed sources to support decision-making. The technical session on the morning of Wednesday, September 15th provides training on implementing interoperable web map services and catalogs for CWAs led by Tom Kralidis of Environment Canada. There is a separate registration fee for this session and space is limited.

More information about the ICAN-Great Lakes meeting (including registration and lodging information) can be found at http://www.aqua.wisc.edu/ican/.