Volume 3 2014


New Coastal Storms Projects Designed to Save Lives

Sea Grant Coastal Engineer Gene Clark will participate in two projects funded through the newly created NOAA Great Lakes Coastal Storms Program, a regional effort to make Great Lakes coastal communities safer and more resilient to storm and weather hazards and climate change.

Implementing Dangerous Currents Best Practices, $199,700

Partners: Michigan and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant; Coastal Management Programs in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan

This two-year project will address a pressing need to raise awareness among Great Lakes audiences about dangerous currents. Local partners will provide input and resources to connect with a variety of populations. Project managers will create new, consistent rip current messages for Lake Michigan beaches based on past experience and research. Beach safety kits that feature life jackets, throw rings, rescue boards and signs will be distributed along with publications. The project will also develop long-term strategies that incorporate regional collaboration and the latest technology and will continue after the grant work is complete.

Development of an Observation, Forecasting and Warning System for Rip Currents at Three Beaches in Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, $199,900

Partners: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Minnesota Sea Grant, NOAA/National Ocean Service, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program

This two-year project will use beach hazard forecasting technology to improve rip current identification, forecasting and public notification. Three rip-current-prone beaches are targeted: Bradford Beach in Milwaukee, North Beach in Port Washington, Wis., and Park Point Beach in Duluth, Minn. Video imaging will allow for identification and detection of hazardous wave conditions, and computer models will be used to better predict hazardous wave conditions. Communications with local communities will improve management and public safety at local beaches and increase public awareness about dangerous waves and currents in the Great Lakes.


Wisconsin Lake Sturgeon at Home in the Land of Lincoln

Fourteen lake sturgeon born and bred in Wisconsin have now become fully acclimated residents of the Land of Lincoln.

Back in December, Sea Grant Aquaculture Specialist Fred Binkowski took the fish to the Shedd Aquarium to become residents of the “At Home on the Great Lakes” exhibit. For the health and safety of this Wisconsin piscine crew and the current Shedd family, the sturgeon were quarantined. Now, they are all out of quarantine. Four of them greet Shedd guests each day as part of the touch exhibit. Five are in the habitat next to Asian carp. The remainder of the sturgeon are behind the scenes growing up for future exhibition.

“The reception for the sturgeon by our guests has been great. These animals are very popular and great ambassadors for the Great Lakes,” said Kurt Hettiger, senior aquarist for the exhibit.

St. Louis River Speaker Series Concludes

More than 115 people attended an informal monthly series of eight talks to learn more about the St. Louis River Estuary. The “River Talks” were hosted by Wisconsin Sea Grant and the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve to engage residents in discussions and learning opportunities about the river. Speakers included agency representatives, scientists, tribal representatives and outreach specialists. To revisit the series, check out blog posts.

The series will return again later this year. Stay tuned for more information.


Take That, Invasives

More than 60 representatives from nine different states gathered in Milwaukee in early June at the Great Lakes Briefs on Invasive Biological Organisms Traded in Commerce (BIOTIC) symposium. The event, organized by recently departed Invasive Species Outreach Specialist Tim Campbell and Minnesota Sea Grant’s Doug Jensen, collected several groups that don’t typically talk to each other: pet shop owners, industry representatives, outreach specialists and regulators. The primary aim was to identify and discuss both the major aquatic and plant invasive pathways and the research gaps that prevent developing best practices to manage them. In this respect, Campbell said the BIOTIC symposium was an unqualified success.

“We make the most progress when we’re talking to each other, sharing information and collaborating,” said Campbell. “The symposium showed us there’s a lot of great work going on, and how we can leverage it to do even better.”


A New Wave for the Fish Classic

It will be a fresh “Taste of Lake Superior” this year as Lake Superior Magazine takes the lead role for the fourth annual Lake Superior Fish Classic, to be held Sept. 24 at Glensheen, the Historic Congdon Estate in Duluth, Minn., on the shores of Lake Superior.

Sea Grant partnered in last year’s classic, bringing chefs from Wisconsin into the fish-cooking competition, which was started by Minnesota Sea Grant in 2010 as a way to promote Lake Superior’s commercial fisheries. Both Sea Grant programs will be sponsoring this year’s event, and Michigan Sea Grant will be added to the mix.

The 2014 Lake Superior Fish Classic will again feature a competition by regional chefs, with winners chosen by judges as well as popular vote by event attendees. Tastings of regional craft brews and fine wines will be available along with entertainment by area musicians. Tables on the estate grounds will feature items from local vendors and Sea Grant sharing Lake Superior facts.

To purchase tickets ($25) or for more information, access TasteofLakeSuperior.com.





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