Thursday, January 27, 2011

Against Aquatic Nuisance Species: GLMRIS

Conducted by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), other federal agencies, Native American tribes, state agencies, local governments and non-governmental organizations, the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS) will evaluate different methods of preventing the spread of aquatic nuisance species (ANS) between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River through open waterways. Aquatic nuisance species are defined as "a nonindigenous species that threatens the diversity or abundance of native species or the ecological stability of infested waters, or commercial, agricultural, aquacultural or recreational activities dependent on such waters" (GLMRIS page).

The results of this regional study will be available in four years. Concerns have been raised that something needs to be done about Asian Carp now, and critics are wondering if this is the best course of action. State DNRs have positively responded to this project. The study is hoped to provide suggestions for permanent solutions in addition to actions that are currently taking place. For more information, read the Green Bay release.

Study area map from GLMRIS website.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

That's One Big Fish!

In Winnebago, February 12th will bring the first day of a new season of sturgeon spearing. Since the fish population has increased, the DNR has been able to raise the catch limit this season and it is expected to break even last year's hearty records. One record catch last season was a 212 pound sturgeon speared by a Wisconsinite. The DNR is confident that the sturgeon management system they have in place helps to pro-actively involve the public while increasing the sturgeon population and fishing opportunities.

For further reading on fish and fishing in general, see our recommended reading list. We have also recently added to our ice fishing reading list. For fish identification, try our section of field guides on Great Lakes fish.

Photo credit: WDNR by Rachel Piacenza

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Dane County Partners for Recreation and Conservation Program

Dane County is encouraging communities and nonprofit organizations to submit applications with ideas for improving outdoor area recreation or natural resources. This new program, Dane County Partners for Recreation and Conservation (PARC), is aimed at creating "opportunities to not only enhance our quality of life but also bring in new tourism dollars and preserve valuable natural resources not found anywhere else" (Falk, Dane County Executive). This includes such initiatives as trail improvement and development, stream restoration, road widening for bike paths, or the expansion or addition of sports complexes.

This county assistance program was written into the 2011 county budget and supports up to $1 million dollars in funding to support proposals for enhancing recreation and conservation. Applications are currently being accepted. Detailed application information is available in the Channel3000 news release, as well as further information on the PARC program.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wisconsin's Water Library: Story Hour

Wisconsin's Water Library has been successful in our outreach programming to youth around the area. In addition to our Frog story hour, with real live frogs (pictured right), the library has also been working on other themes including early literacy with ABC's and counting, fish and waterfowl. During the story-times we read a few books to the children, sing a song or play Simon Says, and usually finish up with the ever popular craft.

Previously programming has included venues such as Monona, Baraboo, Black Earth, Mount Horeb, Cambridge, and Cross Plains Public Libraries, as well as work with the Ho-Chunk Nation and Head Start Program. The Water Library is excited to announce that in the upcoming months, a new series of story hours will be taking place. We look forward to seeing some familiar faces as well as getting to meet a few new ones. The public is welcome to attend any of the public library programs.

Upcoming Events:

January 27 - Ho-Chunk Nation Head Start
April 4 - Allied Drive Learning Center
More story hours will likely be added in the coming months. Watch our Facebook page for updates. To see more photos from past story hours, visit our Flickr page. For ideas and outlines of some of our past story-times, visit our website.

Photo credits: top right by Amy De Simone, middle by Anne Horjus, bottom right by Carolyn Betz.

Friday, January 14, 2011

GreenFILE: A database from BadgerLink

Brought to you by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), BadgerLink provides access "to quality online information resources for Wisconsin residents in cooperation with the state's public, school, academic, and special libraries and Internet Service Providers." (What is BadgerLink?) Through the website, resources are available including access to full-text magazines, journals, newspapers, reference materials and other specialized information sources. Many libraries allow for patron access to BadgerLink from public access computers within the library.

GreenFILE, one of the more recent additions to the list of available EBSCO databases, allows users to access information covering many aspects of human impact on the environment. This multidisciplinary resource contains scholarly, government and general-interest titles. It covers topics ranging from global climate change, to green building, pollution, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy and more. Including indexing and abstracts for more than 500,000 records, GreenFILE can be a good place to start a search where you will also be able to find thousands of full text records. To access GreenFILE, visit the BadgerLink page, and next to EBSCO click on "Database List." Scroll down to GreenFILE and click on the link to access the database. For help with GreenFILE or other EBSCO databases, contact your local public library or use the Ask-a-Librarian link that appears at the top right-hand corner of any EBSCOhost screen.

Badgerlink logo from website.

Pew Center Climate Change Report

The Pew Center on Global Climate Change works through the collaboration of business leaders, policy makers, scientists, and other experts in order to approach the complex and often controversial issue of climate change. This is based on sound science, straight talk, and the belief that working together they can simultaneously protect the climate while sustaining economic growth. They are known for analyzing climate issues, working to inform policy makers, educating key audiences, and engaging the business community in the search for solutions.

A few months ago, the Pew Center released "Climate Change Adaptation: What Federal Agencies are Doing." This report focuses on the efforts and programs of federal agencies addressing climate change. It is aimed at facilitating "communication and collaboration across federal agencies as well as with numerous non-federal stakeholders focused on domestic adaptation policy" (Pew).

For further reading on climate change issues, visit the Water Library's recommended reading lists, split into categories including Economies and Society, Policy, Great Lakes, and Water.

Pew Logo from Pew website.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Wisconsin Climate Change Resource

Recently, a new multimedia resource, Climate Wisconsin, was put together by the Educational Communications Board (ECB). This interactive website features stories about the rapidly changing climate. The collection of multimedia includes ten videos and two interactive resources along with background essays and teaching tips. Educators can also access the Teachers' Domain where stories can be streamed or downloaded. The goal of this project is make these materials available in a variety of formats in order to support teaching and learning about climate change in Wisconsin.

Much of the content on the site, including background essays and teaching tips, was developed in collaboration with the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and Center for Biology Education at UW-Madison. Additional research contributions were made by the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI).

Screenshot of Birkebeiner video from Climate Wisconsin.

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Rules for Ballast Water in Great Lakes?

On January 26th, a public hearing in Superior will determine if Wisconsin regulations regarding ballast water discharged by ships in the Great Lakes will be changed to match those required by the International Maritime Organization. This would apply to large commercial shipping vessels that travel between the Great Lakes and the ocean. As cargo loads change, the ships take on or expel water in order to stay balanced. This water can also include plants, animals and pathogens. WDNR states "Ballast water is the primary way aquatic invasive species such as the zebra mussel, round goby and spiny water flea have been introduced into the Great Lakes over the last century." This proposed changed is aimed to combat the threat of invasive species.

For news and information about the Ballast Water Discharge General Permit, view the WDNR's page. For more information about the proposed changed to ballast regulations, read the WDNR news release. For general reading on Great Lakes ships and shipping visit the Water Library's recommended reading list.

Photo credit: Frank Koshere, WDNR website

Friday, January 7, 2011 Debuts Image Search

Put together by 18 U.S. government science organi-zations spanning 14 Federal Agencies, is a website providing access to government science information and research results. It allows users to simultaneously search over 42 scientific databases and 200 million science information web-pages. The site was originally launched in 2002 and has now moved on to version 5.0. The intended audience includes science professionals, students and teachers, and the business community. Further information about the site and its history can be found here.

Recently, added an image search feature to its page. The link to "Image Search" can be found on the bottom right of the home page, under the heading "Special Collections," and lets users quickly find science images including plant and animal, weather and space, earth and sun, and other images. The image search currently searches three databases simultaneously: The National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) Library of Images from the Environment (LIFE), The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Image eXchange (NIX), and The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Photo Library. Other image databases will be added in the future. This credible image collection is a very handy resource that can be used for free by anyone with an internet connection.

Photo of marine iguana found using image search and credited to NOAA Photo Library.