Wednesday, September 29, 2010
A study was recently conducted by members of Utrecht University and the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Center at Deltares in the Netherlands. This research helped to identify areas where high groundwater depletion is occurring. Findings were published in Geophysical Research Letters, and a recap of some of the important points can be seen in the Discovery News article: Groundwater Levels Draining Fast. The article also provides some suggestions for how new irrigation techniques might be used to slow groundwater usage.
For further reading, see our recommended reading list for Understanding and Protecting Groundwater.
Photo Courtesy of The Western Producer.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
In addition to the award, MacDonald will attend an invitation-only, all-expense-paid coastal economics workshop in Charleston, S.C., sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), meant to help the NOAA Coastal Services Center identify what kind of information coastal managers need to make decisions later this month. And in October, the Embassy of Sweden has invited MacDonald, along with nine other U.S. mayors, to an all-expense-paid First European Green Capital Conference.
Congratulations, Mayor MacDonald!
City of Bayfield website.
Bayfield's eco-municipality initiative.
Recent AquaLog post about Mayor MacDonald.
photo courtesy of the city of Bayfield website
Monday, September 27, 2010
Ideas for and information about Banned Books Week can be seen here, and a listing of events by state is also available.
Photo of the Lakeview Branch Banned Books Week display courtesy of Madison Public Library.
Beside threatening aquaculture in these streams, drinking water with high nitrate levels is also a concern for humans. Aquifers and shallow wells are at risk and the potential for these nitrate levels to rise in the next few years as groundwater high in nutrient concentration penetrates the soil. Since private wells are not under the jurisdiction of the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, homeowners should test their water annually to make sure that it is safe.
The USGS's fact sheet for Nutrients in the Nation’s Streams and Groundwater gives a detailed analysis of the study's findings. For further reading suggestions, see our recommended reading list on drinking water quality.
Photo courtesy of Roger Wendell.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Obviously, there are many interdependent factors here, such as the methods companies use to grow the fish. AquaBounty Technologies, one of the sponsors of the GE salmon, submitted reports indicating the fish would be safe to eat, and safe for the environment. Many demand more research be done, and the public seems to be in agreement according to a study recently released by Food & Water Watch.
The FDA's Overview of Atlantic Salmon provides some useful information for interested parties. Food & Water Watch's release about the labeling of GE salmon can be seen here. For further reading, you can view our recommended reading list on aquaculture.
Salmon photo courtesy of dallasnews.com.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Incorporating different learning styles, including community service opportunities, there are over 90 activities available from Project WET. There are four main beliefs upon which Project WET was founded. One, water quantity and quality is important to all users. Two, knowledgeable water management is key to maintaining a healthy environment. Three, water connects a vast array of life and systems. Finally, being aware and respectful of water resources can encourage positive community involvement. Teachers are also able to sign up for workshops that are conducted by a network of Wisconsin facilitators.
For further curriculum ideas involving water, see our website.
Picture of Project WET booklet courtesy of WDNR.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
The sea caves at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore are unique and spectacular natural rock formations. These eroded sandstone formations were formed when lake water and waves eroded the soft sandstone near the water edge, yielding a series of caves carved out of the exposed sandstone cliffs.
In Lake Superior, many sea caves are located on two of the islands—Devils Island and Sand Island—as well as on a relatively remote area on the mainland near Meyers Beach. The mainland sea caves can be viewed from above on land by a rugged two-mile hike along the bluff top trail from the Meyers Beach parking lot, but the best way to see these rock formations is on the water.
...read the rest of the article on the Wisconsin Coastal Management website.
Read a recent article in the Summer 2009 Aquatic Sciences Chronicle for further information and to watch a video about the project.
Photo courtesy the National Park Service.
Monday, September 20, 2010
We have also added a climate change recommended reading list for children, as well as a list of websites that were designed specifically for kids. For teachers and educators, we have added a curriculum ideas page which will provide some good starting points for those wishing to incorporate climate change into their lesson plans.
Book cover of Climate change begins at home: Life on the two-way street of global warming by David Reay.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Since the 1960's scientists have recorded cases of botulism in loons, but the numbers greatly increased starting in 1999. The Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, a branch of the USGS, has equipped ten loons with satellite transmitters in hopes of tracking migration and ultimately discovering physical and biological links to the botulism outbreaks. The loons were tagged in July and their migration can be followed on this website. These transmitters allow researchers to track temperature and pressure, as well as location, which they hope will reveal foraging information. Other loons were also tagged with geolocators which will record information that researchers will collect when they remove the tags during the following season.
You can hear the call of a common loon here. For further reading, click here to access our recommended reading list on Great Lakes Birds.
Photo of Biologists Luke Fara and Kevin Kenow recording the measures of a common loon courtesy of Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Details of the project funded by the grant are:
Grant Number: 00E00552
Total Federal Award: $1,500,000
Applicant Name: Brown County
Project Title: Cat Island Chain Restoration Project
Project Description: This project supports the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, pursuant to Public Law 111-88. Specifically, it consists of constructing a 2.5 mile barrier in Lower Green Bay to begin the process of restoring the Cat Island Chain of barrier islands. Three barrier islands will be created over the next 20 years. These islands will protect and enhance 1,400 acres surrounding Duck Creek (a tributary to Green Bay). This project will also provide immediate environmental benefits by protecting wetlands and promoting emergent and submergent aquatic vegetation growth in Lower Green Bay.
Vicky Harris, Wisconsin Sea Grant outreach specialist, has been working in this area for years. Read about her work.
To learn more about the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, visit their website.
image above from Wisconsin Sea Grant.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
These small European mollusks, about the size of a lima bean, have been discovered in abundance feeding on phytoplankton in Lake Michigan. A doughnut shaped collection of algae and other tiny plants was discovered in winter with the aid of NASA’s new Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS). Between 10,000 and 15,000 quagga mussels can inhabit one square meter in the soft lake bed and have been found in all of the Great Lakes. Consuming phytoplankton at a rate of five to seven times that of the production rate, the massive number of quagge are excreting enough to stimulate the growth of Cladophora algae (see the DNR article on it here). When the algae dies and decomposes, it eliminates oxygen from the surrounding waters increasing the likelihood of botulism. The predictable result from all this is a decline in lake species starting with smaller ones such as zooplankton, and then continuing on to chub and alewives, eventually leading to even the larger fish that inhabit Lake Michigan.
The Journal of Great Lakes Research has published the article on Kerfoot's research called "Approaching Storm: Disappearing Winter Bloom in Lake Michigan," which is available online, here. For an overview of the topic see the Michigan Tech News release, here.
Video of quagga mussels feeding by John Karl at UW Sea Grant.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
The Federal Register announcement for the Reserve appeared on September 3rd.
[Search help: Click on this link for advanced search and input September 3rd as publication date and search for the term "Lake Superior National Estuarine Reserve". The first hit will be the Federal Register notice.]
For more information about the reserve (including a link to the Final Environmental Impact Statement), visit NOAA's website.
Photo credit: Pokegama River wetlands - Mike Anderson; from the NERR's website.
Friday, September 3, 2010
In eastern and south-central Wisconsin, chloride levels exceeding US EPA chronic water quality criteria were found in 100 percent of urban streams during winter. These chloride levels are the determinant of toxicity in the water. Further, the chloride levels of the water were not declining enough even by the time summer came in order for those streams to be suitable for many aquatic inhabitants. Nationally, 55 percent of northern streams samples chloride levels exceeded US EPA chronic water-quality criteria.
Matthew C. Larsen, the Associate Director for Water at the USGS says: "This study suggests the need for advancements that will reduce salt loads to surface waters." Read the full release: "Many Urban Streams Harmful to Aquatic Life Following Winter Pavement Deicing" on the USGS website. For further reading suggestions, see our recommended reading list on Understanding and Protecting Groundwater.
Photo by Michael Pereckas