Winter 2009

Great Lakes Maps

All 76 maps of the Great Lakes published by the U.S. Lake Survey from 1852 to 1882 are now available online at “No public institution has all of these rare historical documents,” said ASC librarian Anne Moser. “Digitizing and putting them online is probably the only way that anyone will ever be able to see them all together.” The Lake survey, created in 1841 by Congress, was charged with conducting a “hydrographical survey of the Northern and Northwestern Lakes” and preparing and publishing nautical charts and other navigation aids. This pioneering effort eventually grew into a comprehensive program of scientific investigations and monitoring of the Great Lakes conducted through NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Lake Superior NERR moves forward

Governor Jim Doyle announced that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) approved his nomination of the St. Louis River as a National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR). The St. Louis River is the largest U.S. tributary to Lake Superior and forms the headwaters of the entire Great Lakes System. Its waters and wetlands are nationally significant and provide critical habitat for birds, fish, and plants. The approved nomination continues the progress toward federal designation that will raise the national profile of Wisconsin’s Great Lakes resources and bring more federal funds to the region for research and outreach.

Dredging on Lower Fox to begin in spring

Dredging of the Lower Fox River to remove PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) is expected to begin this spring. A 39-mile section of the river contains approximately 8 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment. Approximately 4 million cubic yards will be removed by dredging, and roughly 600 cubic acres will be capped. For nearly two decades, one Fox River mill used PCBs to produce carbonless copy paper, and other mills recycled the paper. Together the mills discharged nearly 700,000 pounds of PCBs into the Fox River before the chemical was banned by the federal government in 1976. PCBs can cause a variety of developmental, immunological, reproductive, and neurobehavioral problems in humans and wildlife. The Lower Fox River is the largest single tributary source of PCBs on Lake Michigan.

The Aquatic Sciences Center is the administrative home of the
University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute & University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute.

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