Volume 2 2013

Barry Johnson

Program and People News

Barry Johnson Where is he now?

Barry Johnson, now a branch chief at the U.S. Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, in La Crosse, Wis., was supported as a Ph.D. student by Wisconsin Sea Grant during the 1980s for two projects. For the first, Johnson developed a computer model to look at the effects of a commercial harvest quota system on the yellow perch population in Green Bay. For the second, he helped develop a general fish bioenergetics model that could be applied to different species. Retired University of Wisconsin-Madison professor James Kitchell guided Johnson in these projects.

Johnson said the fish bioenergetics model gained him more professional attention than his perch work, thanks in part to the power of Sea Grant outreach.

“Jim Kitchell and his students had developed a number of fish bioenergetics computer models that were specific to particular species,” Johnson said. “My work built on that and on a general model developed by post-doc Steve Hewitt that managers could apply to any species for which they had appropriate information.” The model was designed to help managers determine how fish grow and how much they eat under different environmental circumstances and conditions of fishing mortality, Johnson said.

With the help of former Sea Grant Green Bay Outreach Program Manager Cliff Kraft, Johnson developed a series of workshops to teach resource managers and researchers how to use the bioenergetics model.

“My time in Madison prepared me to be an independent researcher at the highest level,” Johnson said. “The folks in Madison are at that level, and you can’t help but have some of that rub off on you.”

“It was an excellent experience,” Johnson said. “The kind of experience I would hope all Ph.D. students could have.”

Johnson sums up the Sea Grant student experience like this, “Students can get funding from a variety of sources, but Sea Grant’s infrastructure, both in Madison and around the state, provides extended support that was critical for the work I did and in bridging the academic and management communities.”

Providing the latest and best information

We’ve updated several of our fact sheets to provide the most up-to-date information about coastal engineering, cold weather and water pollution.

All are available by free download from our publications store (aqua.wisc.edu/publications). Look for “Nitrate in Groundwater,” “Arsenic in Groundwater,” “Mercury, Fish and Aquaculture,” “Danger, Thin Ice,” “Hypothermia: Surviving in Cold Water,” “Stabilizing Coastal Slopes on the Great Lakes,” and “Working With Engineers and Contractors on Shore Protection Projects.”

Julia Noordyk
New Water Quality and Coastal Communities Specialist

Preparing communities for coastal storms, enhancing the water quality of Green Bay, protecting wetland habitats— does all this sound like a job for a super human? Well, Julia Noordyk is up to the challenge. She began work as Wisconsin Sea Grant’s water quality and coastal communities specialist out of the Green Bay Field Office in March.

Her position is a combination of existing and new duties. Noordyk will be learning about the Green Bay habitat from Sea Grant’s Vicky Harris before Harris completes her post-retirement projects this summer. Given Harris’s 37 years of experience, some would say absorbing this knowledge will be a super-human feat in itself. Coordinating the Great Lakes Sea Grant coastal storm hazard network to deliver mitigation and coastal storms adaptation products across the Great Lakes will be among the job’s new duties. Her position will be partially funded by the NOAA Coastal Storms Program Office.

A former NOAA coastal management fellow, Noordyk comes to Sea Grant from the Maine Coastal Program where she was a senior planner working on outreach programs in offshore wind energy, water quality and coastal public access. Noordyk has a master’s degree in conservation biology and sustainable development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a bachelor’s in zoology from Colorado State University.

She brings a varied perspective, having worked in a wetland in the south of France, taught zoology in Madison and helped with the condor recovery program in California. With all this traveling under her belt, Noordyk is looking forward to putting down roots in Green Bay. “This job is the first official step into my career,” Noordyk said. “I’m excited about the chance to become part of the community and to be able to work within it.”

In fact, helping communities is what attracted her to her new Sea Grant job. “I like working with people and using tools to get groups together to solve problems,” Noordyk said. “I am also thrilled to work on the environmental pieces—the water quality, habitat restoration and coastal hazards. These are the type of issues I can’t wait to dig into.”

“We are pleased that Julia has decided to join us at Wisconsin Sea Grant,” said Phil Moy, University of Wisconsin Sea Grant assistant director for outreach and research. “Her enthusiasm, skills and abilities make her a terrific addition to our staff.”

Although she will miss her colleagues and the beauty of Maine, Noordyk is looking forward to exploring northeastern Wisconsin and being closer to family. Apparently, even super heroes need support.

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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