Protect the Places You Play!
Getting members of the public involved in raising awareness about not inadvertently transporting aquatic invasive species like quagga mussels and milfoil isn’t always easy. Getting them to film brief videos about the topic was significantly easier. In May, UW Sea Grant teamed up with the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council to host a video contest for June’s Invasive Species Awareness Month. Participants were encouraged to use social media like Vine, YouTube and Instagram to create their own “Protect the Places You Play” themed videos and share them on Sea Grant’s Facebook page. As the example filmed by Sea Grant staffers shows, creativity was abundant. Check out the winning video at seagrant.wisc.edu/ISAM.
Great Lakes BIOTIC Symposium
Sometimes, they sneak in through a bucket of live bait. Sometimes, they’re on ice in the back of a truck, destined for sale at an illicit market. And sometimes, they’re released into the environment by a pet owner looking to shed some responsibility. But however they arrive in their new destination, invasive species can be utterly destructive, upsetting natural food webs and creating expensive headaches in their new homes. On June 3 and 4, Sea Grant Outreach Specialist Tim Campbell teamed up with the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network to stage the Great Lakes Briefs on Invasive Organisms Traded in Commerce (BIOTIC) Symposium in Milwaukee. The event was designed to review current efforts and identify gaps in the research and management of invasive species like the red swamp crayfish, snakehead and parrot feather. Learn more at seagrant.wisc.edu/OIT.
Asian Carp White Paper
As part of an ongoing Great Lakes Sea Grant Network project, Titus Seilheimer, the fisheries outreach specialist for Wisconsin Sea Grant, is compiling a white paper that will list all the current Asian carp projects underway by Great Lakes and Mississippi River basin researchers. The overarching goal is to develop an education and outreach program that the network’s Asian Carp Coordinating Committee can use to help educate legislators and the public on the voracious and prolific filter-feeding fish and the environmental threat it poses.
Seilheimer is focusing on talking to experts about the gaps that may exist in the current Asian Carp research landscape—and which topics need to be focused on next. “It looks like early life history is coming out as very important to understanding the carp phenomenon,” he said. “Identifying the cues that cause the carp to spawn could be very key in identifying ways to short-circuit their advance.“
Social Science Reaches the Summit
Jane Harrison, Wisconsin Sea Grant’s social scientist, was part of a quiet revolution that occurred during the 4th Annual St. Louis River Estuary Summit meeting in February at UW-Superior. The two-day summit brought together more than 200 scientists, natural resource managers, industry members, students and community members to share the latest information about the estuary, which is a designated area of concern.
For the first time, a large chunk of one of the days was devoted to social science instead of the typical natural science presentations. Harrison was part of a panel of five social scientists, which included Minnesota Sea Grant’s Hilarie Sorensen and UW-Milwaukee student Katie Williams. They provided an overview of social science methods and projects to summit-goers and answered questions at the end of the two-hour session. They demonstrated how social science can be used to address natural resource management issues and how it can help scientists understand the current state of public knowledge and societal values regarding their projects.
Websites Share the Glories of a Wisconsin Summer on the Beach
With the thickest ice cover in 35 years on lakes Michigan and Superior finally receded and yielding the coastline to the glories of a Wisconsin summer, it’s a good time to remind those planning a trip to Milwaukee County beaches or to Park Point Beach in Duluth of a handy Web-based daily beach report.
Milwcountybeaches.org and parkpointbeach.org collect and share a wide range of beach information such as rip current forecasts, water quality, harmful algal blooms, wave heights, water temperature and weather data. Live-cams also give a birds-eye and real-time view of the beach action.
The websites are part of a project funded by the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and involve the Sea Grant programs in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan. The Milwaukee County Parks Department is also a partner in Milwaukee.