Thursday, April 28, 2011

DNR Stocks Trout in WI Waters

In preparation for May 7th, opening day of the regular inland fishing season, the DNR has been making special deliveries of trout to local waters. Catchable size trout are being placed in waters where there would normally not be. These are areas where natural reproduction is not occurring, mainly because of reduced habitat.

Since trout numbers are up in other areas, it does no damage to relocate some of the trout for the benefit of the fishing season. Other trout for these drops have been farm raised at Lakewood State Fish Hatchery, Nevin State Fish Hatchery, Osceola State Fish Hatchery and St. Croix Falls State Fish Hatchery.

Photo credit: Brook trout, WDNR

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Update: Lake Michigan Water Trail

A draft plan has been compiled for the Lake Michigan Water Trail which would span approximately 450 miles of Wisconsin shoreline and increase public lakefront landholding while providing information on access points, safety considerations, activities, and points of interest to recreationists. Public open houses on the plan are being held to disseminate and review information dealing with public access points needed to close gaps in the trail. Background information will be provided by staff from the Wisconsin State Park System, National Park Service and the Bay Lake Regional Planning Commission.

A meeting will be held in Milwaukee at the Bay View Public Library on April 28th and in Green Bay at the Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission Office on May 3rd. Interested individuals are encouraged to attend to learn more about the project and share their knowledge or comments. For further details, see the DNR release. See our previous blog post for background information.

Photo credit: John Browning

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Library Instruction at the Water Library

This week individualized instruction sessions began to take place for Aquatic Sciences Center staff members interested in learning more about the UW-Madison library catalog MadCat and library resources in general.

A prepared handout (right) features instructions on how to find books, journals, known and unknown articles. Feedback has been very positive so far and staff seem excited when they hear about library services they were of which they were previously unaware. Spring is here in Library Land!

Monday, April 18, 2011

National Library Week Photo Contest

In honor of National Library Week last week, Wisconsin's Water Library hosted an all-staff photo contest. Submissions from various staff members were received and everyone was invited to a chocolate themed potluck in the library to vote on their favorite photos. Graduate student Robbie Greene's photo (right) took first place.
Greene also brought a water-themed chocolate treat (left) featuring gummy sea creatures for potluck goers. Participants enjoyed homemade brownies in addition to varieties of chocolate and cookies. We plan to make this an annual event.

Photo credits: Canoe by Robbie Green & Chocolate by Amy De Simone

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Earth Day: History and Action

Earth Day evolved from a national teach-in on the environment in 1970, an idea from Wisconsin's own senator, Gaylord Nelson. He felt that attention to environmental issues was fundamental to the healthy survival of our planet and that teaching and spreading awareness would inspire action and political support. Nelson was correct and Earth Day now spans over 150 countries and was April 22 was designated International Mother Earth Day by the United Nations in 2009. UW-Madison is home to The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies which holds an annual Earth Day Conference. This video collages participants' thoughts from last year's conference.

This year Wisconsin's Water Library is proud to be collaborating with The Rosemary Garfoot Public Library (RGPL) in Cross Plains, Wisconsin's first green library, to put on a special Earth Day storyhour presentation. RGPL does have a special environmental collection that you can read about here, and these books do circulate to Madison Public libraries as well. See the Water Library's reading list on environmental activism books for kids. There is also a wealth of additional information about Earth Day at this website.

Video credit: Nelson Institute at UW-Madison

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Proposed: Fish Feed for Lake Wazee

On what was previously the site of the Jackson County Iron Mine, Lake Wazee formed after the quarry's 1983 closure and is now the deepest inland lake in Wisconsin. The hole simply filled with water as time passed and the lake currently has no inlets or outlets. Lake Wazee, part of the surrounding recreation area, is fed by springs and spans approximately 154 acres with a maximum depth of about 355 feet. While the lake currently holds some trout, bass and walleye (previously stocked by the DNR), fishing has been lower than expected due to lake of food for the fish.
The DNR has proposed to stock cisco, a smaller fish that is generally eaten by the more popular game fish, in the lake to improve the fishing overall. If approved, this study would introduce the fish into the lake and then monitor their survival over a three to four year time period. The cisco are not seen as a threat to surrounding waters because they require coldwater habitats to survive. Comments are being accepted by the public on the matter.

For more information about the study, read the WDNR release. For more information about Lake Wazee, see this page. Browse our recommended reading list for book suggestions on fish and fishing in Wisconsin.

Photo credit: Cisco by Cornell University DNR

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

VHS: The Fish Disease, Not Your Old Videotapes

Imagine a type of Ebola, just for fish. Bulging eyes, hemorrhaging in the muscle tissue and internal organs, and pale organs are some of the clinical symptoms of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS), a deadly fish virus, which was confirmed to be present in Milwaukee waters last month. Since the virus affected thousands of gizzard shad in Lake Michigan, the DNR has been taking steps to prevent the spread of VHS. In addition to restricting bait which may be carriers of the virus, they are also requiring gear to be drained by boaters and anglers upon leaving the water or before entering the state. While VHS hadn't been an issue in Lake Michigan since 2008, assertive steps are being taken to combat it in Wisconsin waters.

This fact page put together by the WDNR has a wealth of information about VHS, and suggestions for preventing its spread are available here. For more information, read the detailed WDNR release, or the Journal Sentinel release. For books on fish and fishing, see our recommended reading list.

Photo credit: from WDNR website, Dr Jim Winton (USGS, Seattle WA), Dr Mohamed Faisal (MSU, Lansing MI) and Dr Paul Bowser (Cornell, Ithaca NY)

Monday, April 4, 2011

What Causes it to Hail?

The solid precipitation, hail, is actually made from ice and usually forms in large thunderclouds during severe storms. Hail stones can range in size from a quarter of an inch to larger than a softball. They are created inside clouds where strong winds are present, some blowing upward so that the cooling and expansion of air occurs. The process of layering happens as freezing raindrops become ice pellets. When the wind whips those around inside the cloud, their voyage through warmer wet regions causes them to pick up an extra layer or moisture which then freezes onto the pellet in the cooler air region. More layers are formed as the hail stone continues to travel around the cloud. They eventually fall from the cloud when they become too heavy to be held up by the winds. Stronger winds inside a cloud will lead to larger hail, and larger hail usually fall at a higher speed. Hail has been known to damage automobiles, houses, and farm crops among other things.

The library has a recommended reading list on weather books for kids and also a page of water facts for adults.

Photo credit: Madison Hail by Emily Eggleston